Mad Minute

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man is suing after he says one of his pinky fingers was caught in an airline armrest mechanism for nearly an hour during a flight to Los Angeles.

City News Service reports Stephen Keys has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against both American Airlines Inc. and SkyWest Airlines Inc., alleging negligence.

A representative for American, which has a flying agreement with SkyWest, referred all comment to SkyWest, which said, “We worked with our partner American to reach out to Mr. Keys regarding his bruised finger and look forward to swiftly resolving this matter. Due to the ongoing litigation, we cannot comment further.”

The complaint says the injury to his finger left Keys unable to perform such previously routine tasks as driving and playing with his children. It says Keys experienced weeks of intense pain and severe emotional distress.


MOSCOW (AP) — Russian media say a contraption presented by Russian state television as a high-tech robot was in fact a man in a commercially available robot costume.

The footage was shot at a high-tech show in the city of Yaroslavl that opened Tuesday, featuring "Boris the Robot." Forum organizers used Boris to enliven the event, having him dance to a pop song.

But a crew for Russian state television apparently thought Boris was real, and used footage of him dancing and speaking as an example of Russian technological prowess.

Online TJournal noted the lack of sensors, human-like movements and other discrepancies, and revealed that Boris was in fact a human clad in a costume sold under the name Alyosha by the Russian company Show Robots.


WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) — A New York state man who has been bowling for more than 90 years says he's still trying to improve his game as he turns 105 years old.

Tom Pisano bowls in the Monday and Wednesday leagues at AMF Empire Lanes in Webster, a Rochester suburb. League organizer Brad Larson says Pisano also stops by a couple other times a week to bowl additional games.

Larson says Pisano averages around 135 per game, but the centenarian always talks about improving his scores.

Pisano turns 105 on Wednesday and celebrated his birthday with his league friends.

Pisano, whose wife is also over 100 years old, says he bowls for the exercise.

When asked what the secret to longevity is, he replied: "The Lord takes care of me."


First responders on Wednesday rescued a trespasser — possibly a burglar — who was reportedly trapped for about two days in a grimy vent at a vacant Chinese restaurant in San Lorenzo, according to officials.

The man, seen caked in grease as he was stuck in the narrow passageway, was freed from the vent and taken into custody, Alameda County Sheriff's officials said.

Fire units were initially dispatched after receiving word from a neighboring business that someone was yelling from the restaurant, officials said.

As firefighters arrived at the scene along the 700 block of Bockman Road, they heard moaning coming from inside the restaurant. They eventually found the man who told them he had been stuck in the duct system above the stove for about two days.

Crews managed to free him in about 30 minutes, according to officials. The man did not suffer any serious injuries, but he was said to be suffering from fatigue, body cramps and pain in his extremities.


Dec. 12 (UPI) -- An Indiana woman who suspected a "porch pirate" was taking packages from her porch reviewed security footage and discovered the culprit was actually a "pooch pirate."

The Danville woman said the packages would go missing from her porch, but would later be found damaged in her yard.

The woman reviewed security camera from the most recent incident late last week and identified the suspect: her neighbor's dog.

The "pooch pirate" was taking the packages off her porch to chew in the yard.

The woman said the boxes were damaged by the dog, but their contents were intact.

A Florida man experienced a similar situation in 2017 when he reviewed security camera footage to find a missing package and spotted a neighbor's dog absconding with the parcel. Bob Hamlin said he waited until the dog's owners got home and they found his package, along with some other missing items, behind their house.


Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A surprised traveler on a busy Washington, D.C., road captured video of a teen taking a free ride by clinging to the back of a bus.

Rasta Tahj posted a video to Twitter showing the young man clinging to the back of a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority X2 bus as it traveled at a high speed on Benning Road Northeast.

"I was driving home from work and I look up, and there's a guy on the back of the bus," Tahj told WRC-TV.

Tahj said the teenager later contacted him on Twitter with an explanation for his behavior.

"He just does a lot of stuff like that; he couldn't really explain it," Tahj said.

Metro officials strongly condemned the teen's behavior.

"What we all witnessed in the video was note just unsafe, it was reckless," a Metro statement read. "While we are thankful that this person was not injured or killed, those outcomes were very real possibilities."


Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A Maryland woman said a bout with insomnia led her to a $13,323 lottery prize -- her second big jackpot from the Racetrax game.

The 72-year-old Owings Mills woman told Maryland Lottery officials a recent bout of insomnia the day before a long shift at the hospital put a series of numbers into her head.

"I kept looking at my clock, frustrated that I was still awake," the mother-of-six said. "The last time I remember seeing was 11:56 p.m."

The registered nurse said the numbers stuck with her when she bought a ticket for the Racetrax virtual horse racing game the next day at Common Brook Liquors in Owings Mills.

"I needed a combination to play and the 11:56 just popped into my head," she said. "I said to myself, 'Maybe it'll be lucky.'"

The 20-draw Trifecta bet on horse numbers 11, 5 and 6 earned the winner a $13,323 prize. The woman previously visited lottery headquarters in 2017 to collect a $125,000 Racetrax jackpot.


Dec. 12 (UPI) -- An animal rescuer in Britain said he used a popsicle stick covered in butter to rescue a cat trapped in the vent of a clothes dryer.

The RSPCA said animal collection officer Glenn Baird responded to a Worcestershire, England, home where a cat had crawled into a vent and ended up trapped in the piping behind the dryer.

"The curious cat had crawled inside the vent and pipework for the tumble dryer and got jammed in tight!" Baird said. "I couldn't get anything around her in order to pull her free and it was such a small space -- only about 6 inches wide -- that I couldn't get my hand in either."

Baird said he used a popsicle stick to butter up the inside of the pipe.

"I put butter inside the pipe using a lolly stick, removed the vent cover with my hammer and pushed her," he said. "Luckily, she slid right out!"

Baird said the cat was not injured.


(NPR) In the Illinois Capitol rotunda this month, several traditions are being celebrated. There's a Nativity scene for Christmas, a menorah for Hanukkah, and then something a little different: an arm holding an apple, with a snake coiled around it.

It's a gift from the Chicago branch of The Satanic Temple. Called "Snaketivity," the work also has a sign that reads "Knowledge Is The Greatest Gift."

Nearby stands a sign in which the state offers a civics lesson — and explains it didn't have much of a choice:

"The State of Illinois is required by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to allow temporary, public displays in the state capitol so long as these displays are not paid for by taxpayer dollars. Because the first floor of the Capitol Rotunda is a public place, state officials cannot legally censor the content of speech or displays. The United States Supreme Court has held that public officials may legally impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions regarding displays and speeches, but no regulation can be based on the content of the speech."

Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker told The State Journal-Record the temple has the same rights as religious organizations. "This recognizes that."

The Satanic Temple calls itself a "non-theistic organization" in its application to install the display.

In a GoFundMe campaign to raise $1,500 for the display, the group explains its mission: "The Satanic Temple—Chicago will no longer allow one religious perspective to dominate the discourse in the Illinois State Capitol rotunda during the holiday season. ... Please consider what you may do to help us bring Satan to Springfield!"

The group has installed similar displays in other states in recent years. A more snake-prominent version of the display has been a part of the holiday scene on the lawn of the Michigan Capitol. Outside the Arkansas State Capitol in August, the temple presented a statue of a goat-headed creature named Baphomet, flanked by two children looking up at him, to protest a display of the Ten Commandments.

Despite its name, many of the Satanic Temple's activities demonstrate a particular concern for fighting — or at least revealing — the influence of religion in public life. And satanic sculptures have so far been an effective legal strategy for making its case.

On its website, the Satanic Temple explains that its mission "is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will."

The temple has also taken steps to protect its trademarks, especially against depictions that present its symbols as actually nefarious. Last month, the temple settled a lawsuit with Warner Bros. and Netflix, after a reboot of the teen witch show Sabrina used a copy of the goat-headed statue in an episode. The temple argued the statue "not only infringed on its copyright, but damaged its reputation by portraying the statue as evil," The New York Times reported.

In 2008, a Springfield man got permission to install a Festivus pole at the statehouse, inspired by the holiday celebrated by the Costanzas on Seinfeld. A sign explained that the traditional airing of grievances would start early that year.


(SKY NEWS) South Koreans are buying tens of thousands of Kim Jong Un moisturising face masks ahead of a promised visit to Seoul by the North Korean dictator.

The "unification moisture nuclear masks" - nicknamed nuke masks - feature a picture of the smiling North Korean leader wearing a white sheet mask on the packaging.

Propaganda-style slogans appear on the individual packs, which cost 4,000 won (£2.80) each, including: "All hail moisture for all women of the North and South!"

Since the sheet masks were launched by skincare company 5149 in June, more than 25,000 have reportedly been sold in South Korea, which is known for its love of beauty products.

The masks claim to contain moisturising mineral water from the Paektu Mountains, a sacred active volcano on the border of China and North Korea, where Mr Kim and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in posed at the end of a three-day summit in September.

Many South Koreans appear to have eschewed Mr Kim's tyrant image, instead calling him cute and funny on social media.

This is despite it being illegal to speak favourably about the North Korean government in the South since 1948.

The law prohibits "praising, inciting or propagating the activities of an anti-government organisation".

The South Korean government has not cracked down on the masks or any positive comments about Mr Kim, although the two nations have technically been at war since 1953.

This year has been a turning point in their relations, with Mr Kim and Mr Moon meeting three times in 2018 - twice in the joint security area in between the two countries and once in Pyongyang.

At their last meeting in September, Mr Kim said he would go to Seoul "at an early date" after being invited to visit by the end of 2018.

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