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Thursday, January 17, 2008

JFK Baggage Handlers Charged for Stealing $250,000 in Jewels

NEW YORK - Two baggage handlers at Kennedy airport are accused of stealing more than $250,000 worth of diamonds and other jewelry.

Queens prosecutors said Monday that a 51-year-old worker and his 39-year-old supervisor are charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property. They say the jewelry was stolen last week from a container marked "high value" that was being shipped from Switzerland to Brazil.

Police say the supervisor broke the seals on the container and gave three boxes of jewelry to the other worker. They say the worker then hid the jewelry in his jacket before placing it in a locker at an American Airlines terminal, where investigators found it.

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20 Qualities for a Successful Life


How do you define a successful life? Is it by how much money or stuff you have amassed, or is it by the legacy you leave behind? All too often we equate a successful life with material possessions. Yet, there are millions of people out there who lead successful, fulfilled lives who may be of modest means. They may not be rich in the financial sense, but they are rich in life and values.

So what are the things we should strive for to make our lives successful and have a positive impact on those around us? Here is a list of traits that I think defines what true success in life is all about. Does your list differ?
  1. Sincerity. Be sincere in your actions. Don’t try to deceive or impress others. Be yourself, and do what you feel is right based on your values and beliefs. You will be surprised at how people accept you when you stop trying to be someone you aren’t.

  2. Unfeigned. Be genuine in what you do; your actions speak louder than your words. Don’t falsify or embellish events that may have happened. Don’t say one thing and do the other.

  3. Wholehearted. Be enthusiastic about what you do. Show it. Be committed to life and everything that you set out to accomplish in life. Devote yourself to your family, friends, and community and commit yourself to being the best father, husband, wife, mother, friend, and neighbor you can be.

  4. Honest. Be honest in your dealings with yourself and with others. When others interact with you, let them see someone who is reputable, respectable and genuine. Do what you say you will do and never use fraud or deception to get ahead in life. Let ethics, morals, and honor be your compass.

  5. Heartfelt. When you do something for someone, or they do something for you, let your thanks and emotion be openly and outwardly expressed towards them.

  6. Hearty. Be someone who displays an honest, warm, and exuberant personality to those around them. Let your feelings show and let them be genuine when they do.

  7. Humility. Don’t lead a life thinking you are better than others or are superior to those around you. Modesty and humbleness will leave a far more ever lasting impact on people than trying to show off.

  8. Personal integrity. Always follow your heartfelt values, and never let a situation or anyone steer you away from doing what you know is right. Be someone that people can look up to and respect and not someone who trades his or her moral values for material gains in life.

  9. Incorruptibility. Let it be known that you stand firm for what you believe in and that your morals, values and actions are not for sale. Don’t let outside forces corrupt the person you are.

  10. Sound. Show good judgment and sense in life. Don’t let prejudices or emotions cloud your judgment.

  11. Whole. Be focused on what you want to achieve in life. Give everyone you interact with your complete and undivided attention.

  12. Courtesy. Practice good manners even though others around you may not.

  13. Civility. Graciousness and respect go a long way in life. What is more, they are viral – when people see you doing it they are more apt to practice civility themselves. Be kind to others and extend courtesy towards them. Don’t interrupt people when they speak and don’t dominate the conversation.

  14. Wisdom. Gain from the wisdom that is inside you. Understand the inner qualities of people and learn how to understand situations that might be different than we are used to.

  15. Charity. Practice kind, gentle, and compassionate treatment of others – especially those who may be undeserving. Learn to extend a hand to help others, even though they themselves may not have helped you.

  16. Empathy. Be aware that each person is different and may have different values and beliefs than those that you hold. Be understanding of the feelings and thoughts of others without having to be told or reminded of them.

  17. Sympathy. Share your feelings with others and understand the emotional situations that people go through. Put yourself in their shoes.

  18. Compassion. When someone is in distress, reach out with a genuine interest in helping alleviate their suffering.

  19. Altruism. Think of others without thinking of yourself. Do good things for people without expecting something in return for yourself.

  20. Magnanimous. Be generous in life. Give of your time, money and wisdom. Share with others so they can see the true joy and adventures of life themselves.
There are the qualities I think helps lead a person to life a successful life. Clearly everyone's views will differ, as they should. What are some qualities that you think define success in life?



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Can You Eat Your Way Out Of This?

I recently read a story on Neatorama about a restaurant that’s making customers sign a waiver before eating anything doused in their signature hot sauce made with savina peppers. It’s similar to the challenge at Buffalo Wild Wings – a customer who wants to try “The “Blazin’ Challenge” has to sign a waiver and must finish 12 of the hottest wings offered in less than six minutes.

This made me think about other restaurants that offer their patrons a prize for finishing a certain helping of food. I hesitate to post these, because as soon as my husband sees the list he will take it as a personal challenge. Nevertheless, below are a few places where you can get your meal for free – if you’re up to the challenge of horking down ten percent of your body weight in half an hour.

The Beer Barrel Belly Buster
Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub
Clearfield, Pennsylvania

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If you scoff at the idea of a quarter pounder, maybe Denny’s 15-pounder will wipe the smile off of your face. The 20-inch patty comes on a 17-inch bun and includes two onions, a whole head of lettuce, 25 slices of cheese, three tomatoes and lots of mayo, mustard, relish and ketchup. If you and a friend can get the whole thing down in three hours or less, you’ll get the $30 burger for free.

Apparently that wasn’t enough for Denny, though. Just last year, he introduced the 123-pound burger. That’s not a typo. One hundred and twenty-three pounds. It’ll set you back $379, but you get 80 pounds of meat, a pound of lettuce, ketchup, relish, mustard and mayo, 160 slices of cheese, five onions, 12 tomatoes, two pounds of banana peppers, 33 pickles and, of course, a 30-pound bun. [Image courtesy of Offroaders.com.]

12-Egg Omelets
Beth’s Café
Seattle, Washington

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Looking for a hearty breakfast (and skyrocketing cholesterol)? Look no further than Beth’s Café in Seattle. They serve omelets in two sizes there – six eggs for the light eater, 12 eggs for the truly hungry. The omelets come with all-you-can-eat hashbrowns, too. (Note: no prize at this place, just an impressive bullet point to add to your eating resume.) [Photo courtesy of the Official Wedding Website of Jeff & Lisa.]

The Texas King
The Big Texan Steak Ranch
Amarillo, Texas

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Belly Buster Challenge
Pizza Party (formerly Pizza & Pipes)
Santa Clara, California

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There are some pretty stringent rules to enter the Belly Buster Challenge (a 20″ pizza). Here’s a sampling:

• One person must eat ONE BELLY BUSTER pizza made with cheese and two toppings in one hour or less
• Entire pizza must be eaten including the crust
• You may consume water or any other beverage
• We will supply water, you pay for any other drinks
• No dipping the pizza in the beverage
• You must keep the pizza down until all the pizza is consumed
• Management is the sole judge of completion of the challenge
• If you can’t keep it down YOU CLEAN IT UP
• You may not win more than once

But the reward is great: for eating a whole 20″ pizza in less than an hour, you get your entry fee back (half the price of the pizza), a t-shirt, a picture immortalizing your efforts on the wall at the restaurant, a certificate and a free extra large pizza every month for the next year.

You can read about one man’s 37-minute triumph over the Belly Buster (and two of his friends) here. You can also watch video of it here. Alas, champion competitive eater Joey Chestnut doesn’t live too far from Santa Clara and came in to break the record again. His time? A mere 15 minutes.

Monster Burritos
Pinata’s Mexican Grill
Bethpage, New York

monsterburritos.jpg
Yeah, two burritos doesn’t really sound like they would be too much of a challenge to eat, even given a time limit. But when the burritos are three pounds each, the story kind of changes. Pinata’s has a Wall of Shame for those who fail in their attempt and a Wall of Fame for those who succeed. From what I can tell, only two pictures reside on the Wall of Fame, and those two pictures are apparently of competitive eaters – “Krazy Kevin” Lipsitz and Don “Moses” Lerman.

Finally, here’s one that doesn’t offer you a prize for finishing, but sounds pretty interesting anyway:

Cold Sweat Ice Cream
Sunni Sky’s
Angier, North Carolina

ColdSweat.jpg

Spicy ice cream? Yep. So spicy, in fact, customers have to sign a waiver before they even taste it. It’s mixed with three types of pepper and two types of hot sauce. One of the first customers to try it had to go to the bathroom pretty much immediately and throw up. He’s had it several times since then and hopes to go for the record – 14 ounces in one sitting.

And here’s a fun video of a morning show DJ attempting to eat a cup of Cold Sweat. Warning: there is an emergency trip to the bathroom involved at the end.

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The Yiddish Handbook: 40 Words You Should Know

The Yiddish language is a wonderful source of rich expressions, especially terms of endearment (and of course, complaints and insults). This article is a follow up on Ten Yiddish Expressions You Should Know. Jewish scriptwriters introduced many Yiddish words into popular culture, which often changed the original meanings drastically. You might be surprised to learn how much Yiddish you already speak, but also, how many familiar words actually mean something different in real Yiddish.

There is no universally accepted transliteration or spelling; the standard YIVO version is based on the Eastern European Klal Yiddish dialect, while many Yiddish words found in English came from Southern Yiddish dialects. In the 1930s, Yiddish was spoken by more than 10 million people, but by 1945, 75% of them were gone. Today, Yiddish is the language of over 100 newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts, and websites.

  1. baleboste
    A good homemaker, a woman who’s in charge of her home and will make sure you remember it.
  2. bissel
    Or bisl - a little bit.
  3. bubbe
    Or bobe. It means Grandmother, and bobeshi is the more affectionate form. Bubele is a similarly affectionate word, though it isn’t in Yiddish dictionaries.
  4. bupkes
    Not a word for polite company. Bubkes or bobkes may be related to the Polish word for “beans”, but it really means “goat droppings” or “horse droppings.” It’s often used by American Jews for “trivial, worthless, useless, a ridiculously small amount” - less than nothing, so to speak. “After all the work I did, I got bupkes!”
  5. chutzpah
    Or khutspe. Nerve, extreme arrogance, brazen presumption. In English, chutzpah often connotes courage or confidence, but among Yiddish speakers, it is not a compliment.
  6. feh!
    An expression of disgust or disapproval, representative of the sound of spitting.
  7. glitch
    Or glitsh. Literally “slip,” “skate,” or “nosedive,” which was the origin of the common American usage as “a minor problem or error.”
  8. gornisht
    More polite than bupkes, and also implies a strong sense of nothing; used in phrases such as “gornisht helfn” (beyond help).
  9. goy
    A non-Jew, a Gentile. As in Hebrew, one Gentile is a goy, many Gentiles are goyim, the non-Jewish world in general is “the goyim.” Goyish is the adjective form. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich is goyish. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich on white bread is even more goyish.
  10. kibbitz
    In Yiddish, it’s spelled kibets, and it’s related to the Hebrew “kibbutz” or “collective.” But it can also mean verbal joking, which after all is a collective activity. It didn’t originally mean giving unwanted advice about someone else’s game - that’s an American innovation.
  11. klutz
    Or better yet, klots. Literally means “a block of wood,” so it’s often used for a dense, clumsy or awkward person. See schlemiel.
  12. kosher
    Something that’s acceptable to Orthodox Jews, especially food. Other Jews may also “eat kosher” on some level but are not required to. Food that Orthodox Jews don’t eat - pork, shellfish, etc. - is called traif. An observant Jew might add, “Both pork and shellfish are doubtlessly very tasty. I simply am restricted from eating it.” In English, when you hear something that seems suspicious or shady, you might say, “That doesn’t sound kosher.”
  13. kvetsh
    In popular English, kvetch means “complain, whine or fret,” but in Yiddish, kvetsh literally means “to press or squeeze,” like a wrong-sized shoe. Reminds you of certain chronic complainers, doesn’t it? But it’s also used on Yiddish web pages for “click” (Click Here).
  14. maven
    Pronounced meyven. An expert, often used sarcastically.
  15. Mazel Tov
    Or mazltof. Literally “good luck,” (well, literally, “good constellation”) but it’s a congratulation for what just happened, not a hopeful wish for what might happen in the future. When someone gets married or has a child or graduates from college, this is what you say to them. It can also be used sarcastically to mean “it’s about time,” as in “It’s about time you finished school and stopped sponging off your parents.”
  16. mentsh
    An honorable, decent person, an authentic person, a person who helps you when you need help. Can be a man, woman or child.
  17. mishegas
    Insanity or craziness. A meshugener is a crazy man. If you want to insult someone, you can ask them, ”Does it hurt to be crazy?”
  18. mishpocheh
    Or mishpokhe or mishpucha. It means “family,” as in “Relax, you’re mishpocheh. I’ll sell it to you at wholesale.”
  19. nosh
    Or nash. To nibble; a light snack, but you won’t be light if you don’t stop noshing. Can also describe plagarism, though not always in a bad sense; you know, picking up little pieces for yourself.
  20. nu
    A general word that calls for a reply. It can mean, “So?” “Huh?” “Well?” “What’s up?” or “Hello?”
  21. oy vey
    Exclamation of dismay, grief, or exasperation. The phrase “oy vey iz mir” means “Oh, woe is me.” “Oy gevalt!” is like oy vey, but expresses fear, shock or amazement. When you realize you’re about to be hit by a car, this expression would be appropriate.
  22. plotz
    Or plats. Literally, to explode, as in aggravation. “Well, don’t plotz!” is similar to “Don’t have a stroke!” or “Don’t have a cow!” Also used in expressions such as, “Oy, am I tired; I just ran the four-minute mile. I could just plotz.” That is, collapse.
  23. shalom
    It means “deep peace,” and isn’t that a more meaningful greeting than “Hi, how are ya?”
  24. shlep
    To drag, traditionally something you don’t really need; to carry unwillingly. When people “shlep around,” they are dragging themselves, perhaps slouchingly. On vacation, when I’m the one who ends up carrying the heavy suitcase I begged my wife to leave at home, I shlep it.
  25. shlemiel
    A clumsy, inept person, similar to a klutz (also a Yiddish word). The kind of person who always spills his soup.
  26. schlock
    Cheap, shoddy, or inferior, as in, “I don’t know why I bought this schlocky souvenir.”
  27. shlimazel
    Someone with constant bad luck. When the shlemiel spills his soup, he probably spills it on the shlimazel. Fans of the TV sitcom “Laverne and Shirley” remember these two words from the Yiddish-American hopscotch chant that opened each show.
  28. shmendrik
    A jerk, a stupid person, popularized in The Last Unicorn and Welcome Back Kotter.
  29. shmaltzy
    Excessively sentimental, gushing, flattering, over-the-top, corny. This word describes some of Hollywood’s most famous films. From shmaltz, which means chicken fat or grease.
  30. shmooze
    Chat, make small talk, converse about nothing in particular. But at Hollywood parties, guests often schmooze with people they want to impress.
  31. schmuck
    Often used as an insulting word for a self-made fool, but you shouldn’t use it in polite company at all, since it refers to male anatomy.
  32. spiel
    A long, involved sales pitch, as in, “I had to listen to his whole spiel before I found out what he really wanted.” From the German word for play.
  33. shikse
    A non-Jewish woman, all too often used derogatorily. It has the connotation of “young and beautiful,” so referring to a man’s Gentile wife or girlfriend as a shiksa implies that his primary attraction was her good looks. She is possibly blonde. A shagetz or sheygets means a non-Jewish boy, and has the connotation of a someone who is unruly, even violent.
  34. shmutz
    Or shmuts. Dirt - a little dirt, not serious grime. If a little boy has shmutz on his face, and he likely will, his mother will quickly wipe it off. It can also mean dirty language. It’s not nice to talk shmutz about shmutz. A current derivation, “schmitzig,” means a “thigamabob” or a “doodad,” but has nothing to do with filth.
  35. shtik
    Something you’re known for doing, an entertainer’s routine, an actor’s bit, stage business; a gimmick often done to draw attention to yourself.
  36. tchatchke
    Or tshatshke. Knick-knack, little toy, collectible or giftware. It also appears in sentences such as, “My brother divorced his wife for some little tchatchke.” You can figure that one out.
  37. tsuris
    Or tsores. Serious troubles, not minor annoyances. Plagues of lice, gnats, flies, locusts, hail, death… now, those were tsuris.
  38. tuches
    Rear end, bottom, backside, buttocks. In proper Yiddish, it’s spelled tuchis or tuches or tokhis, and was the origin of the American slang word tush.
  39. yente
    Female busybody or gossip. At one time, high-class parents gave this name to their girls (after all, it has the same root as “gentle”), but it gained the Yiddish meaning of “she-devil”. The matchmaker in “Fiddler on the Roof” was named Yente (and she certainly was a yente though maybe not very high-class), so many people mistakenly think that yente means matchmaker.
  40. yiddisher kop
    Smart person. Literally means “Jewish head.” I don’t want to know what goyisher kop means.

As in Hebrew, the ch or kh in Yiddish is a “voiceless fricative,” with a pronunciation between h and k. If you don’t know how to make that sound, pronounce it like an h. Pronouncing it like a k is goyish.

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The Pirate Bay: Demonoid is Welcome in Sweden

After two months of downtime, it is still uncertain whether Demonoid will ever return. However, if it is up to The Pirate Bay, it will. The Pirate Bay has recently offered 2 servers to the Demonoid team, in Sweden of course.

demonoidWill Demonoid ever return? That was the question we asked last December. There was some hope for the thousands of Demonoid users when Deimos, the founder of the site, said that he was looking for a new location to host the popular BitTorrent tracker. He said: “Money is an issue, but the real problem at the moment is finding a suitable place to host the website. There has been no luck there. And there’s some personal stuff I need to take care of that takes most of my time at the moment, and that does not help.”

It now seems that there’s some good news for Deimos as The Pirate Bay is offering their help. In fact, they claim to have two servers lined up for Demonoid already. Pirate Bay’s Brokep made this public in a recent interview on the Subdemon techcast where he said: “We tried to contact the guys behind Demonoid and we’ve set up a tracker for them but they haven’t responded. But, we have two servers running for them if they want to set it up.” Brokep also says that he hasn’t heard back from Deimos yet, but it sure is a great gesture.

If Demonoid decides to take them up on their offer they will not be alone. In 2007 quite a lot of torrent sites moved to Sweden, and to PRQ in particular. Sweden is considered to be a safe haven for BitTorrent sites, and PRQ is popular because it is owned by TiAMO and Anakata, two of the founders of The Pirate Bay. Ironically, however, The Pirate Bay is not hosted in Sweden or at PRQ, which is probably a wise decision.

In the remainder of the interview Brokep and the interviewers discuss some of the recent news surrounding The Pirate Bay, such as the huge pile of paperwork they received last month, the new protocol they have been developing, and the explosive growth of their tracker. It is definitely worth listening to, and I’m looking forward to the next episodes of this podcast, and to more news surrounding Demonoid.

You can download the podcast, including the interview here, or stream (might be buggy) the torrent and listen to it right away, with Bitlet.

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