28 September 2007: Records are good for you

This year's Guinness World Records book is published today, so we'll follow tradition and report a few of the more interesting achievements that it documents.

  • The record for smashing watermelons over your head is held by Australian John Allwood, who broke 40 in just one minute;
  • The most books typed backwards is 57, by Italian Michele Santana;
  • American Jackie Bibby shared his bath with a record number of live western diamondback rattlesnakes - 75 of them, to be precise;
  • And Frenchman Michel Lotito has the weirdest diet, having consumed a total of 128 bicycles, 15 supermarket trolleys, six chandeliers, two beds and a pair of skis.

Other records include throwing a washing machine for the longest distance; keeping the most yo-yos going simultaneously; and holding your breath, which you would have to do for more than 14 minutes to have a hope of winning for next year's book.

SaintFM feels that few of the achievements have any practical application, though maybe German Thomas Vogel is an exception: in one minute he managed, with one hand, to unfasten 56 bras.

27 September 2007: Gone home in 60 seconds

Californian police thought they'd scored a victory in their narcotics war when they stopped three Mexican youths just inside American territory who they believed were smuggling drugs.

The arresting officer handcuffed them and put them in his patrol car while he searched their truck. Unfortunately for him he left his engine running with his keys in the ignition, so one of the lads, still wearing handcuffs, grabbed the steering wheel and headed back into Mexico.

Mexican police used a helicopter to locate the American patrol vehicle, which they found in a remote area near the border.

The youths escaped.

26 September 2007: Spellbound

An astrologer in northern Greece has been charged with fraud for casting fake spells.

The astrologer took payments from a woman over a nine-month period, supposedly for spells to induce her lover to return. In total the payments came to about 100,000 pounds.

Eventually the woman despaired and spoke to the police.

Astrologers and diviners make a brisk business in Greece, where belief in the 'evil eye' still runs strong, and where the reading of palms and coffee-cups is commonly used to plan relationships and even business deals.

25 September 2007: Unidentified flying objects

There is usually little to amuse on the tense Israeli-Syrian border, but a recent escapade makes an exception.

Israeli radar systems picked up a potential incursion from Syria by unidentified aircraft, and sounded the alert. Fighter planes were scrambled to intercept the enemy, and raced to their target, only to discover that the invaders were: a flock of birds.

Israeli radar admitted the mistake, saying that officers had been unable to rule them out as enemy aircraft from the screen and were preferring not to take any risk.

24 September 2007: Politics with no cover-up

The new women's political party in Poland says it has nothing to hide, and is proving it with its new campaign posters.

The posters, for the parliamentary elections on October 21st, show various of the candidates posing nude.

Seven women, including the party's founder and president, appear on the posters, with the slogan "Everything for the future... and nothing to hide."

Polls taken before the posters' launch gave the party only 3 percent of the vote. If the posters improve that, politicians around the world will doubtless start thinking very carefully.

21 September 2007: Judgement Day

A court in the USA is to be asked to cast judgement on the ultimate judge -- God himself.

A lawsuit has been filed against the Almighty (in all his various aliases) for causing "fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues" and other alliterative catastrophes.

The suit asks the court for an injunction ordering the defendant (i.e. God) to stop these activities and pay compensation for the damage done. The originator argues that, as these things are described in law as "Acts of God" it is God to whom the case must be directed.

According to reports "neither God nor any of his/her spokespersons could be contacted for comment".

20 September 2007: A hole in each one

Australia will soon have the world's longest golf course.

Plans to build the course received a welcome boost yesterday when the Australian government offered funding for the venture.

The 18-hole course will stretch along the Eyre Highway, which crosses treeless desert in the south of the continent. There will be one hole placed in each town along the way, and one at a remote sheep farm. In total the course will be 750 miles long, stretching from an inland mining town to the coast.

The golf idea was created to promote tourism in the remote-area and encourage people who drive along the highway to stop and see the local towns.

19 September 2007: Not so blue pills

Three men have been found guilty of a multi-million pound global conspiracy to sell fake Viagra and baldness cures.

The fake tablets were manufactured in illicit factories in China, Pakistan and Asia and then sold to unsuspecting customers in the UK and America for up to £20 per tablet.

The trial heard the fakes looked almost identical to the real thing, with carefully forged packaging, logos and patient information leaflets.

The counterfeits were sold via the Internet, to unsuspecting consumers who spent large amounts of money unaware that they were buying fakes.

SaintFM expects that the perpetrators will be given a stiff sentence.

18 September 2007: Sailors getting bigger cups

The Australian military has been forced to defended its decision to pay for female sailors to have breast implants, claiming the operations were not carried out for cosmetic reasons.

An Australian Defence Force spokesman refused to say how many women had had the operation funded by the Australian tax-payer.

He said the military would not pay for the surgery just to make the women "look sexy" but would pay where there were what he called "medical, dental or compelling psychological or psychiatric reasons".

Exactly what "medical, dental or compelling psychological or psychiatric reasons" would apply to breast enhancement was not stated.

SaintFM wonders whether this ruling also applies to male Australian sailors who wish to enlarge aspects of their bodies?

17 September 2007: Signs of the times

Campaigners for good English have attacked the growing tendency for people to put up stupid signs. As examples, they cite a number of silly so-called 'information' notices such as:

  • a packet of peanuts carrying the warning "may contain nuts";

  • a steam iron with the instruction "Do not iron clothes on body";

  • a bicycle manual with the observation "Removing the wheel can influence the performance of the bicycle";

  • sleeping pills that say "may cause drowsiness"; and

  • an aircraft door with a notice advising "Do not open door while airborne".

  • "They assume a lack of intelligence on the part of the reader", a spokesman commented.

    Other dislikes include a road sign which read "Caution: water on road during rain" and a police notice which simply said "Don't commit crime".

    The spokesman concluded: "If nothing needs to be said, say nothing."

    'nuf said.

    14 September 2007: Go on; make my day

    A would-be robber in Columbia made a mistake when he tried to hold up a school with a gun.

    Far from being intimidated by the weapon, the students promptly disarmed and subdued him. When police arrived all they needed to do was take him to hospital.

    His mistake was in trying to rob the local Karate school.

    13 September 2007: Home from home

    A British couple have been living in a budget roadside hotel for more than 20 years because they love never having to do the laundry or cooking.

    Although David Davidson and his wife Jean now live in the Travelodge Motel, which is just off the A1 trunk road in Grantham, they have kept their old flat in Sheffield and return every fortnight to collect the post.

    They are not bothered by having the smallish room, or by the passing traffic which rumbles along throughout the night. They pay about 15 pounds per night for the room which, as a UK newspaper points out, is less than some people pay for their mortgage. For that they get all their cooking, cleaning, laundry and maintenance done and they don't get large heating bills in the winter.

    The hotel is now renaming their room The Davidsons' Suite, and plans to mount a plaque in the reception to mark the anniversary of their arrival.

    They do sometimes go on holiday - and always stay in a Travelodge hotel.

    12 September 2007: A night to remember

    One Russian province is suffering from a declining population, and has decided that its future depends on it taking action.

    So today has been designated "Family Contact" day. It is unofficially being described as "Conception Day".

    The theory is that children conceived today will be born on or around Russia's Constitution Day on June 12. Mothers who succeed in giving birth on that day wil get prizes, the nature of which are yet to be confirmed.

    A series of concerts and exhibitions will take place today and employers have been encouraged to grant workers a day off.

    SaintFM thinks that the best time to grant workers a day off might have been tomorrow - to recover.

    11 September 2007: Give us a clue

    Police had little difficulty locating the culprits after a gang ransacked a campsite in northwest England. One of them had written his name on a wall.

    The 18-year-old was so drunk he wrote "Peter Addison was here!" in black marker pen, as well as his gang's name, on one of the campsite's walls.

    The campsite's owners were amazed that the names were genuine. "I thought that would be a decoy", one commented.

    "The daftness of this lad certainly made our job a lot easier", police admitted.

    10 September 2007: Winds & Trees

    A period of strong wind across St. Helena, starting in the evening of 5th September, caused an interruption to many aspects of island life. Falling trees blocked roads and brought down power lines and telephone cables.

    As a result Saint FM was unable to compile and broadcast the ‘And Finally …’ item on Friday 7th or Monday 10th September.

    Normal service should resume tomorrow.

    Trees permitting.

    6 September 2007: A Full Moon

    A group of Australian anti-war protesters is planning a cheeky protest against a visit by US President George W. Bush: - baring their bottoms in what they hope will be a world-record 'moon'.

    The "Bums Not Bombs" group will particularly target Bush because of his unpopular war in Iraq.

    The group says it needs 4,000 cheeks -- that is, 2,000 people -- to break the previous world-record moon.

    The group also plans to perform a "21 Bum Salute", to represent each of the countries attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, currently being held in Sydney.

    5 September 2007: Amazing Grace

    The Church of England has published a series of prayers aimed at helping people cope with the stresses of working life.

    The prayers include one for frustrated commuters, which concludes "Let me know your peace and grace ... For the sake of my sanity."

    Another likens work to "trying to blow a boulder uphill with a straw".

    And for those who's days consist of one irritating telephone call after another, how about saying this brief prayer each time the 'phone rings: "Father, as I talk to this person, give me a listening ear and a gracious tongue."


    4 September 2007: Negativity banned

    The mayor in one Russian city has decided that his local officials need to be more positive. So to help them he has banned a string of negative phrases.

    The list of 27 phrases that can no longer pass the lips of city officials include:

    "I don't know"
    "What am I supposed to do?"
    "That's impossible"
    "Nobody told me"
    "It's lunchtime"

    The mayor warned in a statement that "the use of these expressions by city administration officials ... will speed their departure."

    Another phrase from the banned list is "We haven't got the money."

    3 September 2007: A Bridge Bandit

    Russian police have detained a 45-year-old municipal worker. He's charged with stealing a bridge.

    The metal road bridge disappeared from a river crossing in a region east of Moscow. Police said they tracked it down to the man, who they say used his work truck to remove it, chopped it up and sold it for scrap.

    In a statement police called it "the bulkiest theft of the year".

    SaintFM expects the culprit will get a long span in jail.