Hail to the (former) chief

A big day in Texas, where the brand new George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened. All five living US presidents were there to commemorate the Bush presidency. Jay Leno’s Tonight Show had some exclusive pictures.



Special brew

From today’s Times. Now you can get your pizza and beer at the same time.


A bizarre beer that tastes like pizza is to go on sale in bars around the world.

Tom and Anthea Seefurth came up with the idea after creating a quirky brew for a contest in Chicago. “We had been home brewing for about ten years and began to compete in local amateur competitions,” said Mr Seefurth, 49.

“The pattern for the winners is that the beers stood out because they were very tasty and different.

“We went to our garden and neighbours to pick one of every herb and use it in a brew. The beer won high marks and our friend commented that it was a good pizza beer.

“That planted an idea for the next year’s brew — except we would use only pizza spices and toss in tomatoes and a wholewheat pizza crust for fun.”

Mamma Mia Pizza Beer, which is 4.7 per cent alcohol, can be either drunk or used as a meat marinade. The Pizza Beer Company is in talks with a UK retailer.

Stinging rebuke

Raymond, the mascot for baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, is in hot water for holding up this sign during a game this week. The club has apologised but the fan who made the sign, a US Army veteran who served in Iraq, says they can’t take a joke. I’m not sure Steve Irwin’s family would be laughing.  Wonder how he’d feel if somebody showed off a sign mocking his fellow soldiers who died in combat?


Face time!



Not for the faint of heart, or complete arachnophobes such as Mrs L, news reaches us of “face-sized” spiders in Sri Lanka. The article’s first paragraph says it all…


By Matt Peckham


Some thing may forever haunt our dreams. Like the words “spider” and “face-sized” used in a sentence together.

And yet here those words are, straight from northern Sri Lanka, where scientists say they’ve discovered a new type of giant tarantula with a leg span of up to eight inches. Grab your rulers and mirrors, because yep, that’s about the average length of a human noggin.

As if that weren’t frightening enough (or cool enough — you pick), this particular spider was found living in trees. Anyone who’s ever walked beneath a tree and wound up brushing away a tiny spider knows that some arachnids enjoy an arboreal life, dangling from silken threads to surprise unsuspecting trail-walkers. Now imagine one the size of a volleyball landing on you like one of the facehuggers from Alien.

And in case you were thinking they probably look far worse than they are, this one’s actually quite venomous. Oh, and fast — because of course it is. So now imagine being chased by a poisonous, sprinting, face-sized spider.

But okay, let’s focus on saying nicer things about this poor not-so-little spider for a moment. According to Wired:

Covered in beautiful, ornate markings, the spiders belong to the genus Poecilotheria, known as “Pokies” for short. These are the tiger spiders, an arboreal group indigenous to India and Sri Lanka that are known for being colourful, fast, and venomous. As a group, the spiders are related to a class of South American tarantula that includes the Goliath bird-eater, the world’s largest.

Yes, we know of at least two spiders bigger, not that that’s any consolation: The “goliath bird-eater” mentioned above (its name probably speaks for itself), and the appropriately cave-dwelling “giant huntsman,” the world’s largest spider, with an average leg span of — avert your eyes, arachnophobes! — a full 12 inches.


Biting the hand that feeds…

One of journalism’s oldest truisms is that ‘dog bites man’ is not news, but ‘man bites dog’ is. How about when pet dog bites off boy’s finger, Dad shoots dog dead, gets big knife, cuts open dead dog’s stomach to retrieve the finger, sends it to hospital with injured son, where doctors determine it’s too damaged to be reattached? Now that’s GOT to be a story!