August 27, 2004

LinkNews Digest [08/27/2004]

Flashmob Opera Planned by BBC-3

If the people won't go to the opera, bring the opera to them — and when they least expect it.

In a somewhat unorthodox addition to its autumn television schedules, the BBC has announced that next month it will surprise commuters by staging an opera at an unnamed London rail station, without any warning.

The 65-strong orchestra and three opera singers will swoop in unannounced, with selected members of the public joining in as a chorus after being contacted at the last minute by mobile phone text message.

The event, to be broadcast on the BBC 3 satellite channel, is based on the concept of "flashmobbing", an Internet craze in which people agree to converge in a public area and join in a seemingly random act.

"Flashmob — The Opera" had been specifically designed to make opera more appealing to younger audiences, said BBC 3 controller Stuart Murphy. "We were trying to work out how we could do something that is a big event and that audiences would find entertaining," he said.

"You Might Be A Redneck If..." #487

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Somewhere between the junk food aisle and the automotive department, Pat Byrd and Bill Hughes fell in love. So it was only natural that they should marry where the magic happened -- Wal-Mart. "It never dawned on me to have it anyplace else," said the 55-year-old bride.

Neither bride nor groom work at the discount store. Still, they spend more time there than many employees do, wandering the aisles and visiting friends for up to six hours a day, nearly every day since the store opened two years ago.

"I talk to people and walk around for exercise, and we always buy a soda or a sandwich or something," 51-year-old Hughes said. "If we're not here, the store people worry about us. They're our family."

They celebrated their blooming love with a ceremony Friday in Wal-Mart's garden center. The store manager was a groomsman, and a fabric department employee was matron of honor. A garden center employee, Chuck Foruria, walked alongside Pat as she rode her motorized shopping cart down the makeshift aisle, her oxygen tank in the basket.

"Who gives this woman in marriage?" asked Stacey Garza of the Free Will Church."Her friends and family at Wal-Mart," Foruria replied
Link (CNN)

The Internet Age Ushers In "Telepsychiatry"

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - When people with depression can't easily get to a psychiatrist's office, they can be helped by telepsychiatry -- that is, remote treatment delivered over personal-computer-based videoconferencing equipment and cameras mounted on the monitors.

In a new study, patients treated through telepsychiatry were as satisfied and their symptoms resolved as early as those who were treated in person. Dr. Paul E. Ruskin, a psychiatrist at the VA Maryland Health Care System in Baltimore, and his team enrolled 119 veterans with depression in a clinical trial involving eight therapy sessions over 6 months. Fifty-nine patients were assigned to telepsychiatry, and 60 were treated in person.

Depression scale scores were halved, at least, in 49 percent of patients in the remote group and 43 percent of those in the in-person group, a difference that was significant statistically. Both groups of patients reported high levels of satisfaction, with no difference between groups, Ruskin's team reports in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

I don't know how much I'd trust a Psychiatrist who telecommutes. I'd always think he was surfing for Porn while pretending to listen to me complain.

Ellen = God, ergo God = Ellen.

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Comedian Ellen DeGeneres is getting a promotion -- to supreme being.

DeGeneres will star as God in a remake of the 1977 comedy "Oh, God!" The original starred George Burns as the creator and John Denver as a supermarket manager tapped as a new prophet.

"Ellen is a strong comedian and she has always done material about God and questions about God," said Jerry Weintraub, who produced the original movie and also will oversee the remake.

Cingular Introduces "Escape-A-Date" Feature

"Escape-A-Date" is the perfect service to use when you are afraid that your blind date may not be just right for you. This new service allows you to schedule a "rescue" phone call at a pre-set time. That way, you'll be called at the time you specify. The service tells you exactly what to say to set the tone for a speedy escape. There are eight randomly generated humorous scripts.

Here's an example:

Hey, this is your escape-a-date call. If you're looking for an excuse, I
got it. Just repeat after me, and you'll be on your way!

"Not again! Why does that always happen to you? ... Alright, I'll be
right there." Now tell 'em that your roommate got locked out, and you
have to go let them in. Good luck!

With "Escape-A-Date," you'll never be at a loss if you need a timely rescue.

Dave Matthews Band Dumps More Crap on Unsuspecting Public

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- The state of Illinois sued the Dave Matthews Band on Tuesday for allegedly dumping up to 800 pounds of liquid human waste from a bus into the Chicago River, dousing a tour boat filled with passengers.

The lawsuit accuses the band and one of its bus drivers of violating state water pollution and public nuisance laws. It seeks $70,000 in civil penalties.

"Our driver has stated that he was not involved in this incident," band spokesman John Vlautin said in a statement. He said the band "will continue to be cooperative in this investigation."

According to the lawsuit, on August 8 a bus leased by the band was heading to a downtown hotel where members were staying. As the bus crossed the Kinzie Street bridge, the driver allegedly emptied the contents of the septic tank through the bridge's metal grating into the river below.

More than 100 people on an architecture tour were showered with foul-smelling waste. The attorney general's office said no one was seriously injured. After the incident, the boat's captain turned the vessel around and took passengers back to the dock. Everyone received refunds, and the boat was cleaned with disinfectant.
Link (CNN)

"He died like THIS... *urk*!"

BOMBAY (Reuters) - India's first execution in 13 years has claimed an additional toll of at least two children dead in mishaps as they re-enacted the highly publicized hanging of a man convicted of raping and murdering a schoolgirl.

Two weeks ago, 41-year-old Dhananjoy Chatterjee was hanged in the eastern city of Calcutta after 13 years on death row. On Sunday, 14-year-old Prem Gaekwad died when he tied one end of a rope around his neck and swung the other end on a ceiling fan in his Bombay home, in an apparent re-enactment.

"The boy's father told us Prem was a very bright but curious kid and kept asking questions about how Dhananjoy would be hanged," said assistant police inspector Dilip Suryawanshi.

Last week, a 12-year-old girl died in the eastern state of West Bengal, when she tried to demonstrate for her younger brother how Chatterjee was executed, newspapers said. And a 10-year-old boy in the same state almost died last week when he and his friends acted out the execution, taking the roles of Chatterjee, the hangman, a doctor and the prison warden.

Taxi Driver Returns Lost Silver Medal

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- A taxi driver returned a silver medal left in his cab by Dutch rower Simon Diederik, Olympics organizers said Wednesday.

Diederik left the medal, which he won Sunday, in a taxi on Monday evening.

After an announcement about the loss to all 5,000 taxis working that night, the medal was handed over to organizers and will be given to the athlete.

The driver will be given a gift for returning the medal, organizers said.
Link (CNN)

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