- No. 87 on the list of the world's greatest superheroes: Lady Luck.
"Lady Luck is the alter-ego of Brenda Banks, a young Irish-American socialite heiress, daughter of a mine-owner. Her costume consists a green dress, a large green hat, and a green veil in place of a mask. In some early versions representations of lucky charms hang from her hat brim. Like Denny Colt, hero of The Spirit, she does not possess any supernatural abilities."
- Official records reportedly show that [former North Korea dictator] Kim [Jong Il] learned to walk at the age of three weeks, and was talking at eight weeks. While at Kim Il Sung University, he apparently wrote 1,500 books over a period of three years, along with six full operas. According to his official biography, all of his operas are "better than any in the history of music." Then there's his sporting prowess. In 1994, Pyongyang media reported that the first time Kim picked up a golf club, he shot a 38-under par round on North Korea's only golf course, including 11 holes-in-one. Reports say each of his 17 bodyguards verified the record-breaking feat. He then decided to retire from the sport forever.
- Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman(notes) has spent more than half his career playing in desperation.
Freeman has had 27 career starts since Week 9 of 2009, his rookie season. Of those starts, 15 have been decided in the fourth quarter. Freeman has guided the Bucs to eight wins in those situations, including a rally from a 17-0 halftime deficit in Minnesota last Sunday.
"It's like my man Ron Prince said, "Do your best to play within the system for 3 1/2 quarters, but if you're behind at that point, it's time to play the superhero role and do what you have to do,'" Freeman said, referring to his coach at Kansas State.
- A man who leaped into an out-of-control Jeep as it weaved down a busy west Georgia parkway doesn't consider himself a hero after saving the driver, who had suffered a seizure.
"I don't really consider it being a hero, I just consider it being at the right place at the right time," Michael Perry told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday.
The driver of the Jeep, Christopher Sanders, said he just blacked out suddenly behind the wheel.
He credits Perry with saving him from being crushed by oncoming cars as his vehicle weaved and slowed on a 65-mph thoroughfare in Columbus, a city on the state line with Alabama. Cars were whizzing past during their evening commute about 7:20 p.m. on a Thursday a week ago.
Perry said it took mere seconds to park his truck and dive into the Jeep Cherokee, which he estimates was traveling around 15 mph when he took hold of the steering wheel. He said both of his legs were hanging from the vehicle as he guided the drifting Jeep to a stop against a guardrail.
Perry said he didn't hesitate when he saw what was happening.
"I just wanted to get him to safety and then make sure he didn't die on me," he said.
The 26-year-old mechanic said he always tries to aid stranded motorists if he can. In fact, he said he was on his way to help a friend who had run out of gas when he came upon the Jeep slowing and weaving ahead of him.
- A car thief who inadvertently scooped up a minivan with two kids and a poodle inside dropped the kids and the car at their home in Queens after the children scolded him for trying to raid the change tray.
The father of the two boys in the would-be stolen van, Sebastian Russo, tells The New York Post the fracas began when he parked his car outside a store on Cross Bay Boulevard to buy a leash for his toy poodle, Colette.
He left the vehicle running. Shortly after Russo entered the store, another man ran in and told him his van had been stolen.
"I panicked and ran out and flagged down a police car," Russo told the paper.
Russo and the officer commenced a frantic search for the children, but it was soon called off when Russo's wife called and told him the van was in their driveway.
The would-be car thief, frustrated by the lack of change in the change tray and the constant yapping of Colette the poodle, asked the kids their address, and dropped them off at home, reports the Post.
Then the thief, who told the kids his name was "Leo," ambled off down their street with his shirt over his face.
"I'm actually very thankful that he brought them home," Russo told the Post. "How mad can we be at him? He returned the car. He told my son, 'If you weren't in the car, I would've taken it.'"
- One of the more depressing things about these [London] riots is the way that the only thing that the Police can think of to say to us non-looters and non-arsonists is: "Don't join in" and "Let us handle it." If the bad guys start to torch your house, let them get on with it. If they attack your next door neighbour, don't join in on his side. Run away. Let the barbarians occupy and trash whatever territory they pick on and steal or destroy whatever property they want to.
There was a fascinating impromptu TV interview with some young citizens of Clapham last night, not "experts," just regular citizens, one of whom stated the opposite policy. Law abiding persons should get out of their houses, he said, en masse, and be ready to defend them.
The trouble with "letting the Police do their job" is that in the precise spot in which you happen to live, or used to live, their job probably won't start, if it ever does start, for about a week. In the meantime, letting the Police do their job means letting the damn looters and arsonists do their job, without anyone laying a finger on them, laying a finger on them being illegal. This is a doomed policy. If most people are compelled by law to be only neutral bystanders in a war between themselves and barbarism, barbarism wins. The right to, at the very least, forceful self defence must now be insisted upon.
- "If you think you have some kind of different level of understanding of the animals, that's when you think you're special and that's when you get hurt by them," Tyson said. "That's when you lose it. These animals don't understand. Pigeons are man's first feathered friend, but they need us in life. We have a relationship, us and pigeons, especially the thoroughbred pigeons. People take care of them very well, but you know what? They'd only live two years on the street, if they're lucky. And that's if they're lucky."
- Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his hope for an end to conflicts around the world, in his traditional Christmas Day message from the Vatican.
In his address from St Peter's Basilica, he called on Israelis and Palestinians to co-exist in peace.
He also appealed for peace in Somalia, Darfur and Ivory Coast.
- South Korean authorities said that, in addition to deploying thousands of armed police, they would use six goldfish which would be placed in the restrooms' water supply to ensure purity.
US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) countered Wednesday that goldfish suffer pain in much the same way as dogs and cats.
"Protecting world leaders is very serious, but so is protecting animals who feel pain just as people do," said PETA's executive vice president, Tracy Reiman.
- A series of incredible pictures taken at a South African game reserve document the first known time that a leopard has taken on and defeated one of the fearsome reptiles [a crocodile].
- Jeff Deck, co-author of "The Great Typo Hunt" with Benjamin D. Herson, in response to Al Roker's question, "What made you want to do this [travel the country correcting typos]?"
Well, I wanted to do something to change the world in a small way and I had to ask myself, "What am I actually good at, what is my own super power?". The answer I came up with was "editing". I worked as an editor and I can spot a typo at a hundred yards and that's how the great typoing got started.
- A Michigan man's life was saved after his terrier bit off his big toe, alerting him to the seriousness of an infection while he was passed out drunk, according to The Grand Rapids Press.
Despite wife Rosie's pleas, Jerry Douthett, a 48-year-old musician from Rockford, for months avoided going to a doctor to get his foot examined.
But after a heavy night of drinking approximately half a dozen beers and margaritas, Douthett passed out at home. That's when dog Kiko took his cue.
At the hospital, doctors found a bone infection and amputated the rest of his toe. Kiko has been called a hero for helping the man realize that he has Type 2 diabetes.
- Al Jazeera reported presidential sources saying that a firecracker went off near the convoy. It also said that journalists travelling with [Iranian president] Ahmadinejad did not witness any assassination attempt. The semi-official Fars News agency initally said a "homemade grenade" was thrown but changed the report within a few minutes, referring instead to a "homemade firecracker", which it said was thrown as a "sign of joy".
- South African police have charged a British tabloid journalist with helping a fan gain access to the England dressing room after a World Cup soccer match, national police commissioner Bheki Cele said on Tuesday ... Wright has been charged with attempting to "defeat the ends of justice" ...
- The U.S. Geological Survey is blaming day-to-day seismological changes for Sunday's 7.2 earthquake along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Deepak Chopra, the famed alternative-medicine practitioner and transcendental meditation guru, is pretty sure he knows what really happened.
"Had a powerful meditation just now -- caused an earthquake in Southern California," Chopra wrote to his nearly 179,000 Twitter followers shortly after the quake.
- Passion is contagious. It's an icy heart which can resist Gene Miller's call to be dashing and daring, courageous and caring.
- Why am I not following anyone on Twitter? Because superheroes don't follow.
- "We will go through the gate. If the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole vault in. If that doesn't work, we will parachute in...But we are going to get health care reform passed for the American people."
- The most effective secret identity is the one that nobody knows about.
- "I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility...It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice."
- Working around your parents' schedule is no way to fight crime and makes appointments with evil all but impossible to keep.
- [Anatoly Perminov, the head of Russia's federal space agency] said that he heard from a scientist that Apophis [an asteroid] is getting closer and may hit the planet. "I don't remember exactly, but it seems to me it could hit the Earth by 2032," Perminov said.
"People's lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system that would allow us to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people," Perminov said.
- A psychology professor, Frank Farley of Philadelphia's Temple University, who studies heroism, describes a ''situational hero'' as someone who ''lives an ordinary life and seeks no great adventures. [But] he is the man of the hour, because he and only he can do what must be done''.
- A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaida's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism, it is a recognition of history.
- A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson