Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Ultimate Toilet

A US plumbing firm has created a luxury toilet equipped with laptop computer and flat-screen TV which it plans to give away in an online sweepstake.

Ohio-based Roto-Rooter says its "Pimped Out John" is designed to "fulfill all your wildest bathroom dreams."

Special features include an iPod music player and speakers, an Xbox video game console, a refrigerator filled with drinks and snacks and a cycling exercise machine.

"The bathroom is the perfect place for your very own throne. It shouldn't always be regarded as the room of last resort," Roto-Rooter vice president of marketing Steven Pollyea said.

"The average person spends 11,862 hours in the bathroom, which equals one year, four months and five days in a lifetime... a toilet should be the most wonderful location in your home."

Roto-Rooter spent about $US5000 ($6409) on parts and components to customise the toilet.

The Porcelain God: A Social History of the Toilet

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Hones Cab Driver Returns A Baggie Full Of Diamond Rings

(CBS/AP) QUEENS Never mind diamonds -- a New York cabbie was a Texas girl's best friend.

The driver returned 31 diamond rings he found in his cab after dropping off the passenger, who had left him with a 30-cent tip on a $10.70 fare.

"All my life, I tried to be honest," said Osman Chowdhury, a native of Bangladesh. "Today is no different."

But the 41-year-old cabbie from Queens did have a message: "I'm proud of what I did so that people know New York taxi drivers are honest."

What he did started on Monday evening, when he picked up the woman at a hotel in midtown Manhattan and drove her to an apartment building about 15 blocks away. She gave him $20 to pay the fare and asked for $9 back.

Hours later, at about 10 p.m., three other passengers with luggage discovered the woman's suitcase when Chowdhury popped the trunk open for them.

Chowdhury first drove to the building where he had dropped off the woman. But he had no idea in which of the many apartments she might be and didn't want to cause a disruption by knocking on doors.

He took the suitcase to the Manhattan headquarters of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a drivers' advocacy group to which he belongs. He and the alliance president looked inside and found two display cases with 31 diamond rings inside.

"I saw flashing, and I said, 'Oh my God! Diamonds!"' Chowdhury recalled. "I was shocked. I was trembling."

They also found a small luggage tag with a Texas telephone number they called -- the home of the woman's mother in Dallas. Meanwhile, she called the number, too.

The woman, who said she was a jeweler, got back the gems on Monday when she arrived at the alliance office around midnight -- incredulous at her luck. She offered Chowdhury a reward -- a check for $100.

"I cannot take a penny for being honest," he said, but he reluctantly accepted the money to cover the fares he lost while
trying to track her down.

He said it never occurred to him to keep the diamonds.

"I'm not going to take someone else's money or property to make me rich. I don't want it that way," said the soft-spoken cabbie, who was a contractor in Bangladesh until he came to the United States 15 years ago.

He does not own a cab but rents one.

"I enjoy my life. I'm satisfied," said Chowdhury, who is single.

He didn't even mind the meager tip.

"I think some people might be broke," he said. "Or they're distracted."

The woman from Dallas asked that her name not be made public.

© 2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Radical Honesty, The New Revised Edition: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth

Rent A Bag Idea

Cable thieves shafted in toxic mine

BEIJING, Feb 6 (Reuters Life!) - Two electric cable-stealing thieves in northeast China were rescued from a mine full of poisonous gas after spending 23 hours underground in a bid to evade police, state media reported on Tuesday.

The two men, from Jidong county, in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, fled down a 1,500-meter (5,000-ft) shaft full of carbon monoxide after being caught stealing cabling at a mine in Hada village, Xinhua said, citing police.

"The colliery... had halted production for safety reasons and police believed it could cave in at any time," Xinhua said.

Police waited at the mine's exits, deployed search parties underground, and yelled down the shaft with a loudspeaker, "but hours of shouting met with no response," Xinhua said.

After 23 hours, police heard a "weak voice" calling for help, and rushed down the shaft to pull the men out.

The men had difficulties in breathing and walking, but later recovered at a local hospital, Xinhua said, citing police.

The men were arrested and charged with stealing electric cable worth about $60,000.

In October, a Chinese man wanted on gun charges gave himself up after hiding in a cave constructed at the back of his house for eight years.

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