Cremated Grandma on backyard BBQ. Cashed her pension checks.

The family of a dead elderly woman cremated her remains on a makeshift barbecue and continued collecting her retirement checks amounting to more than $25,000, authorities in Northern California said.

Ramona Allmond’s daughter and grandson were arrested on suspicion of embezzlement, elder abuse and disposing of a body without a permit.

Allmond, 84, likely died of natural causes, though investigators were still trying to determine the exact cause of death, said Tehama County sheriff’s Capt. Paul Hosler.

Allmond’s daughter, Kathleen Allmond, 50, and Allmond’s grandson, Tony Ray, 30, told investigators their relative died in December. They left her body on her bedroom floor for a week before cremating the remains in their backyard fire pit, Hosler said.

Investigators said the two kept collecting Allmond’s monthly retirement checks, amounting to more than $25,000.

Certainly – “disposing of a body without a permit” – drew the strongest gasp of disapproval.

“Suicide Bomber” upset over rejection by The Price is Right

Police allege a San Francisco man angry at being rejected for the “Price is Right” TV show forced the evacuation of a high-rise by claiming he had a bomb.

Police cordoned off California and Battery streets in the Financial District after the man walked into a law office with a blinking white tube on his belt and wires leading to his hand.

The man allegedly said the tube was a bomb he devised because he was angry about being rejected as a contestant on the “Price is Right,” said police who arrested the man after determining the tube contained no explosives.

I could see the logic – if he was a lobbyist marching into Congress saying he didn’t get his money’s worth.

Bloggers ignore ban on posting Canadian election results

Canada’s 70-year-old law to control the release of voting results on election night has again stumbled in the age of the Internet. Within minutes of polls closing on Canada’s Atlantic Coast on Tuesday bloggers were making the results known in parts of the country where voting was still going on.

“I believe the polls have just closed in Newfoundland so gentlemen, to your mark, ready, go,” read a posting from a blogger writing under the moniker The Surly Beaver.

The results showing the Liberals were losing seats in that region hinted at the final outcome that saw Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper win a stronger minority government.

That would violate a 1938 law aimed at preventing knowledge of results in Eastern Canada from influencing voting in a later time zone, a spokeswoman for Elections Canada said on Wednesday.

The law was aimed at radio broadcasts in a country with six time zones, and has been difficult to enforce with the invention of the Internet.

Probably a reasonable law; but, when did reason start governing what people do on the Internet?

Obama buys prime time. Fox helps by pushing World Series back!


Look! There’s Bill Ayres hiding behind a tree.

Major League Baseball has agreed to push back the start time of Game 6 of the World Series by about 15 minutes so that Fox Broadcasting Co. could sell Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama half an hour of prime time on Oct. 29.

The campaign also has bought the same time period — 8 p.m. on Oct. 29 — on CBS and NBC so that he can run a 30-minute program on all of the networks. Each network is selling the time for between $950,000 to $1 million. Buying time on all of the major broadcast networks would allow Obama to reach more than 20 million people on the Wednesday before the election. A spokesman for Fox said the network will make available a similar 30-minute block of time for the Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain, if he chooses. Time for McCain would be either later that night (if there is no Game 6) or the following evening.

Major League Baseball did not have an immediate comment.

Where do we even start? Conservative TV networks who not only sell time to the candidate they love to hate – but, shove one of their cash cows around to accommodate said candidate?

This would be “Tee Hee” with all caps if I could stand it.

Irish bookmaker paying out early on Obama victory


Photo from Daylife

Ireland’s biggest bookmaker Paddy Power said Thursday it would pay out early more than $1.35 million on bets that Barack Obama will be the next U.S. president, three weeks ahead of the election.

The Dublin-based bookmaker said it made the “unprecedented decision” to pay on bets taken so far, following Wednesday’s final campaign debate between Obama and his Republican rival John McCain, which polls judged the Democrat to have won.

“We declare this race well and truly over and congratulate all those who backed Obama,” Power said…

In June a wager of 100,000 euros was placed on Obama to win at odds of 1-2, yielding a payout of 150,000 euros, it added.

BTW – You can still place bets on the margin of victory for Obama over McCain.

Suit against God tossed out: no address

A judge has thrown out a Nebraska legislator’s lawsuit against God, saying the Almighty wasn’t properly served due to his unlisted home address.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers filed the lawsuit last year seeking a permanent injunction against God. He said God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents in Omaha, inspired fear and caused “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”

Chambers has said he filed the lawsuit to make the point that everyone should have access to the courts regardless of whether they are rich or poor.

On Tuesday, however, Douglas County District Court Judge Marlon Polk ruled that under state law a plaintiff must have access to the defendant for a lawsuit to move forward…

Chambers has 30 days to decide whether to appeal. He said he hasn’t decided yet.

Suing a superstition may prove a point. The judge agreed that it’s pointless. But, then, so is wasting part of your life hoping for a superstition to change anything.

People, individually and collectively, make a difference. What they believe is part of the equation; but, beliefs that are grounded in imaginary friends aren’t doing anything to resolve any of life’ challenges – other than leftover Stone Age fears.

Huddle a little closer to the fire at the cave’s entrance. Get back to inventing the wheel.

Food vendor making kebabs – next to a dead employee!

A man discovered making kebabs near a corpse has been banned from managing food businesses and fined 3,800 pounds, according to Wolverhampton City Council.

Jaswinder Singh, 45, was found by police making kebabs at Pappu Sweet Center and Catering in Wolverhampton in August in a kitchen where a dead man was lying on a sofa.

As well the corpse, the policeman discovered another man smoking and spitting repeatedly on the floor, while in a room near the kitchen, a defrosting chicken, oozing blood and juices, was covered with flies.

Environmental health officers had visited the shop over a number of months previously where they had warned Singh to improve his food hygiene standards after finding rat droppings as well as a dead rat beneath a pot.

We were called to reports of a sudden death,” said West Midlands Police spokeswoman Joanne Hunt. “A post mortem was carried out, but found the death was not suspicious, so the matter was referred to the coroner.”

So, the coppers were called in for a suspicious death – but, no one from environmental health had checked recently even with a business history of cooking crud?

Sounds like pretty sloppy administration. Or worse.

Developing wireless soil sensors to improve farming

Ratnesh Kumar keeps his prototype soil sensors buried in a box under his desk. He hopes that one day farmers will be burying the devices under their crops. Kumar is leading an Iowa State University research team that’s developing transceivers and sensors designed to collect and send data about soil moisture within a field. Eventually the researchers are hoping the sensors will also collect data about soil temperature and nutrient content.

A major goal is to build small sensors (the prototypes are about 2 inches wide, 4 inches long and less than an inch thick) that can do their work entirely underground. The sensors won’t need wires or above-ground antennas, so farmers could work right over the top of them.

The sensors would also be able to report their locations. That would make it easy to find sensors if a plow were to move them or when batteries need to be replaced.

Kumar, an Iowa State professor of electrical and computer engineering, said the sensors are designed to be buried about a foot deep in a grid pattern 80 to 160 feet apart. The sensors would relay data along the grid to a central computer that would record information for researchers or farmers.

The sensors could help researchers understand precisely how water moves through a field. They could help them develop better models to predict crop growth and yield. And they could help them understand the carbon and nitrogen cycles within soils.

And those sensors could help farmers manage their nutrient and water resources. That could maximize yields and profits. And it could minimize environmental impacts.

Folks who haven’t worked around modern agriculture – even the apocryphal family farm – have no idea how much science and sensors, wi-fi and web-enabled communications are involved.

Hopefully this prototype system will lead to fewer additives and healthier food for us all.