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The worst drivers in the world

There’s a saying in the Philippines that “if you can drive in Manila, you can drive anywhere.” Anywhere in the Philippines maybe. Manila has the worst traffic conditions in the country. There are simply way too many vehicles for the available road infrastructure. And the nightmare is compounded by the utter lack of discipline shown by everybody, but specially by the drivers.

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Cars are parked illegally, further constricting the already narrow roads. Public utility vehicles stop in the middle of the road to pick up and let off passengers, and many times refuse to move forward even if the stoplight has turned green. Motorcycles dart in and out of traffic, drivers blithely assuming that the other cars will brake hard when they cut them off. Drivers think nothing of getting caught up in traffic in the center of intersections, even when the road ahead is obviously not moving. The resulting gridlock forces the drivers to drive on the opposite lane. And the pedestrians. They cross wherever they like, even just below footbridges. Authorities put up steel barriers to prevent jaywalking but pedestrians just climb over these.

But if you think that this is chaotic, try going to most cities in India.

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Imagine the worst of Manila traffic conditions. Then add cows roaming on the street. And that quirky Indian habit of honking like crazy. Unlike in most of the world where blowing your horn for more than a split second will invite a display of the middle finger or worse, this is actually encouraged in India.

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As you can see, they even politely say please.

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During a trip in Lucknow, I was with a group of professionals in a minibus and the driver was just mental, trying to get us to a meeting on time. Vehicles were literally inches (or less) from each other but he was driving fast anyway. He kept weaving and cutting off the other cars, while us passengers were basically being thrown off our seats. The clincher was when we reached a congested bridge, and the guy simply went to the opposite lane and drove into oncoming traffic. Just like in the movies. While I had my eyes closed and prayed, the other Indians were just grinning. It’s a wonder that the bus didn’t even get a single scratch.

By the way, traffic in Dhaka, Bangladesh is as bad, but surprisingly drivers also manage to keep their dilapidated buses intact and dent free. Vietnam has a multitude of motorcycles, which gives the impression of chaos. But look closely and there is some sort of ballet choreography going on with all the driving and pedestrians crossing the roads. We didn’t see a single accident during a weekend there. Reader’s Digest named China as the most dangerous place to drive, what with a toxic mix of the American propensity to “play chicken” combined with the oriental compulsion to avoid losing face at all costs. But my few trips there were all smooth and accident free.

And then there is Cairo. Serendipity brought me and my wife to Megahed, who drives his own “tourist” car. He spoke decent English and was enthusiastically telling us all the sights along the road from the airport. So we hired him to bring us around the following day. At first we noticed that he was driving a bit too recklessly, like tailgating at more than 60 kph, but things got worse as the day went on. Megahed showed extreme impatience with slow drivers and even pedestrians, and tried to pass everyone else on the road. At least, in Manila and Lucknow, cars were inches apart, even in the most congested roads. In downtown Cairo, the cars sort of overlap, so overtaking means side mirrors will regularly scrape against another. Bumpers and fenders do what their names suggest they are for. Megahed’s driving style seemed to be the norm, turning the streets into a bump car playground. That was when we noticed that all cars in Cairo, without exception, had dents all over. Side mirrors were either badly scratched up or were barely hanging on.

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Noticing that I kept moaning and whimpering in the back during the trip, Megahed repeatedly looked back (while the car was moving) trying to calm me down by saying alternately  “Relax. Don’t worry. You are in Cairo. The last accident place in the world.” He probably doesn’t realize how much the last sentence scares me. Granted that he’s not a native English speaker, so what does he mean exactly? Are we about to meet the last accident of our lives, in Cairo?

Anyway, during the day trip to the pyramids and downtown Cairo, Megahed had five fender benders and even ran over one pedestrian while backing up. But what really amazed me is that every time cars bump into each other, the drivers scream what must be expletives at the other guy, and then go on their way. Megahed explained that as soon as one of the drivers apologizes, then everything is fine. In Manila, something like that happens and out come the guns.

Unfortunately, in the last accident we had, the other driver refused to apologize, resulting in fisticuffs and police. Here’s Megahed, about to tear the other guy’s head off.

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By the way, on the trip back to the airport, obviously we hired another driver. This guy was a bit more careful, at first, but near the airport he got a call on his cellular phone. He then morphed into another driver from hell, blowing his horn continuously at the driver in front, who he probably found to be driving too slowly. Just before he let us off he deliberately crashed into the car in front, then jumped out. We thought he was going to strangle the other guy but he simply hurried to open the trunk to get our bags. He got our money then left immediately. The other driver? He took like 10 seconds before he got out of his car, looked at the bumper, shrugged, then drove away.

Manila drivers are wimps. Cairo drivers are the worst in the world.

It Aint’ Easy Being Green

According to Yahoo! News, a couple living in the small European country of Jersey (sic), married in a Shrek-themed wedding, green makeup and all.

And I was like “What? There is a European country named Jersey?”

Paul Bellas, 42, and Heidi Bellas, 30, got the idea while watching the movie with their son.

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“The essence is that Shrek represents true love. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, if the love is there then that is what it is about,” says Paul.

I don’t know. I think you should say something like that only when you’re good-looking. Definitely not when you look like an emaciated/anorexic Shrek:

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Or when you already look like Fiona (without the green skin) to begin with:

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They should be thankful that their son Leo doesn’t look like either of them:

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Registrar Sue Groves said: “I had to see them before the got their make-up applied as I can’t marry people who aren’t recognisable.” She claims to have carried out many novelty weddings in her time.

Yes, I know. There are weirder things going on in New Jersey, but the couple is from Jersey (off the British Isles), which is arguably an independent state. They probably should have just named the place Far, Far Away.

Hand Job

Ok, this one leaves me aghast, and I don’t know where to start. Talk about a guy with balls, and apparently nothing else.

Andrew Wardle, 39-year-old male, from Manchester, Britain, was born without a johnson or a willy. And he’s letting the whole world know about it. In doctor-speak he has “penile agenesis” a condition that apparently affects only 1 in 20 million men, or (I already did the math) less than 200 poor souls world-wide.

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In an extremely rare and complicated three-part operation, a flap of skin from his forearm, with its blood vessels and nerves, will be folded into a tube and grafted into the pubic area.

According to The Sun, “his surgeons must build from scratch a new penis that can pass urine, have feeling, make sex possible and look natural too.” See the illustration from The Sun:

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Natural looking? Only if your penis looks like a roll of duct tape, or medical bandage.

Actually, he’s had several surgeries since infancy. That’s not surprising since penile agenesis is associated with other medical conditions like bladder exstrophy (his urine bag is hanging out of his body, go figure). What’s surprising is this picture of Andrew as a child.

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Is that his sister’s hand over his crotch?

When it dawned on him how different he was, he turned to drugs like ecstasy and LSD as a coping mechanism. He said: “By taking drugs I gave myself the perfect cover. I’d bed girls but said things could only go so far because the drugs meant I couldn’t rise to the occasion.”

Wait a sec. Bed girls? (Aghast face) Actually, Andrew boasts that he has slept with about 100 women. And he say’s 20% of the women know of his, uh, deficiency. The other 80% were presumably too drunk or stoned to care.

How did he manage to bed all those girls when most men with complete anatomies don’t even come close to sleeping with a hundred women in their lifetime? Unapologetically, he claims it’s due to a combination of good looks, charm, and the gift of gab. So, as you probably suspected all along, a good tongue will make most women happy.

There you go. Andrew Wardle, the very definition of chutzpah.

This is one guy whose arm I’d like to shake, or on second thought, I’ll just salute him, thank you.

Eagle Cybersex

In the movie “Continental Divide” a big city reporter (played by the late John Belushi) was trying to woo an eagle researcher (played by Blair Brown) by describing the mating rituals of the bald eagle while in flight in sexy, romantic detail.

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With the magic of the Internet, eagle voyeurs will now be able to view two Philippine Eagles (a highly endangered specie, formerly known as the monkey-eating eagle) getting it on, 24/7. Yeah baby!

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A livestreaming project was launched today in Davao by the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), in partnership with a local telecom provider and Ustream.tv

According to the PEF, the eagles are an “active breeding pair that hopefully will be able to produce an offspring during the 2013 breeding season.” Dennis Salvador, PEF executive director, said, “With this, we will be able to raise public awareness and this is the best time for our own specie to be known worldwide,” hopefully referring to the eagles.

In tech-speak “the streaming uses a pan–tilt–zoom (PTZ) camera that is capable of remote directional and zoom control, controller, microphone, and computer to capture, process, and unicast video stream to a service provider who broadcasts it across the internet,” said the telecom provider. In zoophile-speak this translates to “good eagle porn.” Voyeurs not only get to see eagle parts in action up close, they get to hear all the moans and groans too!

In related news, celebrity psychiatrist Randy Dellosa cautioned that the male eagle might develop performance anxiety if he finds out that the mating sessions are being shown live on the Internet. Also, photos of eagles doing it doggie-style were released by scientists today.

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Twin-Twin Situation

A Texan woman had a Valentine’s Day surprise when she gave birth to four boys. Not quadruplets but two sets of twins. Identical at that. Tressa Montalvo, 36, of Houston, said she and husband Manuel, 43, have been going for a brother or sister for firstborn son Memphis for more than two years, but got substantially more than they bargained for.

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And they’re not stopping until they get a girl, according to Manuel. In a masterpiece of “you don’t have to tell us” news, online news agencies report that all four were born by Caesarean section on the same day. As if it’s likely for some to be delivered vaginally and others by C-section, and on different days at that. Two sets of identical twins happen when ova split twice before implanting in the uterus, and share two placentas.

What are the odds of that?!

Actually, scientists know. The odds of a woman giving birth to non-identical twins are one in 80. Identical twins are bit rarer, with odds of one in every 240 cases. However, two sets of identical twins happen only once every 70 million births. Multiply that by 365 if the birth has to happen on Valentine’s Day.

The lucky couple has named the four boys Ace, Blaine, Cash and Dylan. “We tried to stick to the A-B-C-D theme when naming them,” Tressa Montalvo said in a statement.

In related news, former Philippine president, former actor, now Manila mayoral candidate, and well-known womanizer, Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada has admitted that he has three sets of firstborn sons. That he knows of.

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These three sons are Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito with wife, former First Lady and Senator Luisa Ejercito; congressman Joseph Victor Ejercito with First Mistress (and now San Juan City mayor) Guia Gomez; and Jojo Ejercito with former model Joy Rowena. “We tried to stick to the J-O theme when naming them,” Erap says.

Pope Benedict resigns! Hell freezes over!

Pope Benedict XVI announced that he is resigning as head of the Catholic Church. The 85-year-old pontiff cited age (too much) and physical strength (too little) as the reasons for giving up the papacy.

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The news was met with shock and disbelief from the faithful, since popes usually serve until they die (John Paul II), or are killed (John Paul I  – just kidding, lighten up non-conspiracy theorists). The last papal resignation occurred in the 15th century, as the joke goes, when Joseph Ratzinger was still in short pants.

Many leaders of the Vatican hierarchy were caught off guard, with Cardinal Angelo Sodano saying the announcement came “like a lightning bolt in a clear blue sky.” Coincidentally, a photo taken during a rainstorm the night of the announcement (February 11) showed just that (news item).

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In related news, Satan released photos of Hell when Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, 89, resigned declared the post of senate president vacant during the height of the “Christmas bonus” scandal a few weeks ago.

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Senator Enrile, is of course, still Senate President at this time. When asked for comment about the Pope’s resignation, JPE reportedly said “Talaga? Bata pa yun ah!” (“Really? But he’s still young!”)

Dog Face

Cats seem to be lording it over the Internet these days, but this dog certainly went viral. Tonik, a Shih Tzu–poodle mix, avoided being put to sleep by having a face that to some, resembles a human.

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Because of his new found fame, Tonik has 350 people willing to pay $250 to adopt him. Homeward Bound (the dog halfway house where Tonik is being kept) owner Jen Schwartz, said that the dog was very reserved and might not be a good fit for families with children. Well, you would be shy too if you were a dog looking like a human.

Or not. This human who is a dog looks like a dog, is a very outgoing and popular child.

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The world’s hairiest girl (as certified by Guinness), 11-year old Supatra Sasuphan, is one of just 50 known sufferers of Ambras Syndrome. Other than thick hair growing on her face, back, arms and legs, the Thai seems like any child her age, enjoying swimming, dancing, TV, and playing with friends.

She is not up for adoption anytime soon.

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