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Curious Times: I Love Mommy's Money, Texting Champion, Cat Pee Bouquet



A Brooklyn man's six-year-long impersonation of his dead mother came to an end last week when police finally busted his scam to collect her Social Security checks. Thomas Parkin, 49, regularly dressed up in a wig, sunglasses, nail polish, red lipstick and his mom's old clothes in order to cash her benefits, which have totaled more than $100,000 since 2003. The scheme began to unravel last year when Parkin filed bankruptcy for his mom so that "she" could get up to $40,000 in subsidies to help pay for her mortgage. Parkin defended himself to the officers by claiming that he had actually taken over his mom's identity. "I held my mother when she was dying and breathed in her last breath, so I am my mother," he told investigators. Nevertheless, Parkin is now being charged with 47 counts, including grand larceny, perjury, forgery and conspiracy. (


Hit up Google if you want to see one of the strangest mug shots in recent memory, taken of a drug dealer who was arrested halfway through his appointment at the hair stylist. While getting his hair braided, Marcus Bailey, 25, got a call from some dudes who wanted to buy some crack. So he stepped outside into a car to complete the transaction, at which point, police nabbed him and took him into custody. The result is a mug shot with half of Bailey's hair in tight little braids and half straggling all over the place, a lovely photo that will surely be a hit with the larger, stronger men he'll meet in prison. (


A 15-year-old girl from Des Moines, Iowa, won the Third Annual Texting Championship last week after beating out 250,000 competitors while texting blindfolded and texting while walking on a treadmill. The girl claims to have built up her skills by sending more than 14,000 text messages every month to her friends, who probably wish she would give them a break. Meanwhile, on the other end of the generational mad-skillz spectrum, a 51-year-old Virginia man finally won his first national spelling bee after once losing the Scripps National Spelling Bee when he was 13 years old. ( News)


A six-year-long, $12 million study of New Zealand's wines discovered that one of the core aromas of their most popular wines is the smell of cat pee. "We're talking about parts per billion, very tiny amounts to make the wine more complex and interesting,'' explained so-called wine connoisseur Sue Blackmore. "If you had a whole lot of the compounds that give you cat's pee, it obviously wouldn't be great, but it's amazing what a little can do.'' (


The latest psychological studies of old folks have found that perfectionism takes a harsh toll on health and life expectancy. The research published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people "who expressed a strong motivation to be perfect" were more than 50 percent more likely to die over the course of the study. On the other hand, the traits of conscientiousness, extroversion and optimism significantly lowered the risk of an early death.


A team of Japanese robotics engineers have thrown down the gauntlet to the world's greatest football (i.e. soccer) players, saying that a team of robots will host the World Cup by the year 2050. Shu Ishiguro, head of the Robot Laboratory in Osaka, Japan, issued the challenge, saying that "by 2050, our aim is to beat the winners of football's World Cup and we are very confident that we will be able to do that." For now, their 38-centimeter (15-inch) tall robot, VisiON, has been designed to make its own decisions completely independent of human control, and has also learned to recognize a football and give it a good kick. VisiON also has rudimentary defensive skills, being able to identify opponents and shield possession of the ball. One great advantage the robot possesses is 360-degree vision. In preparation for its inevitable World Cup championship, cocky programmers have already perfected the robot's victory stance. (The Scotsman)


Seventy-two percent of pet owners kiss their pet before they kiss their spouse after getting home from work, and 18 percent of pet owners consider their pet a "genius."

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