Augusten Burroughs on addiction, writing, his family and his new book

Friday, October 12, 2007

I had an unofficial phone call from Gay Talese last Tuesday. He had just flown back from Colombia and he was cranky. “I’m happy to do an interview with you,” he said, “but what the hell could you ask me that’s not already out there? Have you even bothered to look?!”

“Jeez, Mr. Talese, lots of things,” was my response. I lied. The truth is that when I call people to interview them, I do not have a set of preconceived questions. My agenda is to talk to them and gain a sense of who they are; to flesh them out as humans. To find out what they think about the world around them at that moment. With Gay Talese I had little interest in talking about Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and with Augusten Burroughs I had little interest in discussing Running with Scissors. I want to know what they think about things outside of the boxes people have placed them in.

With a memoirist like Burroughs, even this is a challenge. What parts of his life he has not written about himself, other interviewers have strip-mined. When we met for dinner at Lavagna in the East Village, I explained to Augusten this issue. I suggested we make the interview more of a conversation to see if that would be more interesting. “Instead of you in the catbird seat,” I said, “let’s just talk.”

We struck an instant rapport. What set out to be an hour and half interview over dinner had turned into four hours of discussion about our lives similarly lived. I removed half of the interview: the half that focused on me.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s conversation with writer Augusten Burroughs.


  • 1 On addiction and getting sober
  • 2 On the Turcottes and his mother
  • 3 On his work
  • 4 On the response to his work from addicts
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On the gay community
  • 7 On his new book, A Wolf at the Table, a memoir about his father
  • 8 On women’s breasts and tattoos
  • 9 On losing his hair
  • 10 Sources
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Short-haired bumblebees reintroduced to UK

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A small population of Bombus subterraneus, the short-haired bumblebee, was reintroduced to the UK yesterday. The bee was declared extinct in Britain in 2000.

Around 100 queen bees were captured from Skåne, Sweden after the Nordic nation gave the go-ahead. After quarantine, around half of these were rejected to avoid introducing parasites alongside the bees. The rest have been released into a nature reserve in Dungeness, England.

“We’ve screened for four different parasite species,” explains biologist Dr Mark Brown of the University of London, where the bees spent two weeks at Royal Holloway. The parasites “can all damage bees in different ways.”

Work has been ongoing at Dungeness for years, establishing flowers the bees are known to like in meadows at the site, which, although rural, lies at the heart of an industrial area. Habitat loss is blamed for the bees’ extinction in the UK, with more intensive farming methods destroying meadows. South Sweden has less intensive farming, allowing the Swedish population to thrive. A normal survival rate of 20–30% is expected.

Organisations including the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Natural England, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) are involved in funding the project, with the reserve itself belonging to the RSPB.

The bees were last seen in Dungeness in the 1980s. The same spot lost the shrill carder bee at around the same time, but shrill carder bees have recently been rediscovered there.

It is the second attempt to reintroduce short-haired bumblebees to Britain, after an effort in 2009 using bees removed from New Zealand. British bees were introduced to New Zealand to aid pollination before they were threatened. The bees died in the UK and tests established they had low genetic diversity. There are plans to add more bees to the Dungeness programme to increase genetic diversity there.

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Woman finds human finger in bowl of chili at Wendy’s restaurant

Thursday, March 24, 2005

San Jose, California — A woman eating a bowl of chili at a Wendy’s restaurant bit into a chewy bit that turned out to be a human finger. She immediately spat it out, warned other patrons to stop eating, and upon recognizing the object as a finger, vomited.

“I’m more of a Carl’s Jr. person,” the 39-year-old Las Vegas woman, Anna Ayala, told Knight Ridder. She said this incident was her first visit to a Wendy’s restaurant. Ayala described how she found the finger, “Suddenly something crunchy was in my mouth,” she continued, “and I spit it out.”

According to Devina Cordero, 20, after Ayala found the finger, she ran up to her and Cordero’s boyfriend and said, “Don’t eat it! Look, there’s a human finger in our chili.”

“We went up to the counter and they told us it was a vegetable,” Cordero continued. “The people from Wendy’s were poking it with a spoon.”

The restaurant is located at 1405 Monterey Highway, just south of downtown San Jose.

Wikinews reporter David Vasquez drove his car up to the drive-thru menu and found that chili was still on the menu, at a price of US$1.19 for a small serving. He also witnessed workers unloading supplies from a semi-trailer truck in the restaurant’s parking lot, and carting them into the back door of the establishment.

According to Ben Gale, director of environmental health for Santa Clara County, the finger did not come from any of the employees at the restaurant. “We asked everybody to show us they have 10 fingers and everything is OK there,” he said. The found portion of the finger likely belonged to a woman because of its long and manicured fingernail, also found in the food.

Officials seized the food supply at the restaurant and are tracing it back to the manufacturer, where they believe the finger may have gotten mixed in with the raw ingredients used to prepare the chili. The restaurant’s operators were later permitted to re-open after preparing new chili prepared from fresh ingredients.

As this story was filed, there was no mention of the incident on the Wendy’s corporate web site. Wendy’s issued a statement through a spokesman.

“Food safety is of utmost importance to us,” said Wendy’s spokesman Joe Desmond. He referred to the incident as an “unsubstantiated claim.”

“We are cooperating fully with the local police and health departments with their investigation. It’s important not to jump to conclusions. Here at Wendy’s we plan to do right by our customers,” Desmond said.

According to county health officials, the unfortunate woman who bit into the finger is doing fine, despite her initial reaction. Officials also noted that the finger would have been cooked at a high enough temperature to destroy any viruses.

The Santa Clara county medical examiner reported that the finger had a solid fingerprint, although investigators did not say if a search of fingerprint databases would be performed to find the owner of the finger.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
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6 Things To Avoid During Sales Training

By Gavin Ingham

Sales training can be one of the more difficult parts of sales. It can be hard to explain what youre looking for; difficult to convince your sales team that they should do things your way; and a trial to get your sales team to actually do the things youve just trained them in. No one looks forward to sales training. But unfortunately, its an inevitable part of any company involved in sales. So in order to make things a bit easier for you, here are 6 suggestions of things to avoid during sales training.

1. Avoid training that promises fun and games. As tempting as it may be, sales training that promises fun and games to your employees is not always the most efficient way to train. Some experts say that trying to get your staff all riled up can be a waste of time and money, especially if the effort comes late in the day. If your company cannot offer job satisfaction in general, no amount of fun and games will be able to fix it. This is not to say that you should never offer fun and games during sales training, just that you should chose to do so with caution.

2. Dont wait until the end of the day. Anyone who has ever had a job knows how slowly the afternoon can drag on. Most people count the hours until they can go home. So planning a sales training meeting (which can already cause irritation in some employees) at the end of the day can be very ineffective. Your employees are already tired and bored, and the last thing they need is a boring meeting on how to improve their sales.

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3. Teach your sales representatives how to fish, dont just give them a fish. Youve heard the old saying give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and youll feed him for a life time. The same thing applies in sales training. You want to teach your employees how to get better sales. Dont just feed them one-liners or give them a product that is sure to sell with or without any assistance. Teach them principles that will improve their selling skills.

4. Dont bite off more than you can chew. Dont pack too much information in your sales training meetings. If necessary, schedule another meeting to finish going over the thing youve been discussing. But dont keep your employees in training meetings for hours upon hours. They will only get bored and frustrated and no one will learn anything useful. Youll just be wasting your time. So be sure that your sales training meetings are concise and brief. Each employee should come away with enough learning to make a difference in their selling, but not so mach that theyll ignore everything you say.

5. Avoid passing fads. Sales scripts are often taught as magic bullets: if you use this script youre guaranteed X-number of sales This approach is often popular among sales representatives, but is often very ineffective. In doing this youre not teaching your sales reps the skills they need to succeed. Sales training that follows fads, jumping from one sales system to another, may confuse sales people or turn them into cynics.

6. Avoid fear of motivational speakers. Sometimes what your employees really need is some motivation. Maybe they are already equipped with the best tools for sales; they just need to be motivated to do their best. Inviting a motivational speaker to one of your sales training meeting can be a very effective training technique.

About the Author: Gavin Ingham is a powerful sales motivation speaker and sales trainer throughout the UK and Europe. To learn more about how Gavin can teach your people the sales success mindset click here

or call us at 0845 838 5958


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Male Breast Tissue}

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Male Breast Tissue


Mac grath

Male to female breast enlargement and enhancement is gaining quite a bit of popularity these days. While it is true that most breast augmentations, whether a natural or surgical method, are performed on women, there are also a number of men desiring male breast enlargement.

For men who desire to grow female-like breasts, the options are almost identical to a women’s options for nonsurgical augmentation. While men can also undergo surgical breast augmentation, it may be more difficult due to a lack of protruding flesh to work with, since most men do not have a lot of extra tissue in the chest area to be conducive to implant insertion. Because of this, male breast augmentation surgeries can often come out looking more un-natural than usual, due to a lack of fleshy tissue to cover the round, and sometimes hard looking implant.

In some cases patients will experiences changes in pigmentation. It is important to avoid exposure to sun if this should occur as changes may become permanent. Additionally if the patient experiences excessive scarring as a result of glandular tissue being cut away, there may be a need for second procedure to remove the additional tissue.

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However, since gynecomastia is excess glandular tissue, often times the solution is to undergo surgical excision to remove the condition. In the case of pseudogynecomastia, the condition can occur during adolescence but it’s usually temporary and lasts only a few months. The condition occurs in overweight young men but can also occur in men as they get older. If you are unsure which condition you may fall into, your doctor may recommend a mammogram which can help determine the amount of glandular tissue located within the surrounding fatty tissue.

The most well known breast enhancement treatment is breast enlargement surgery. Surgery, popular among females, is far more complicated for males because males have a smaller amount of protruding breast tissue for the surgeon to work with. It is simply harder to insert implants to a male’s breast area. Due to this, the chances of risky complications in a male’s breast enhancement surgery are much higher than in a female’s. It is also likely that the surgical breasts will not look or feel real.

Natural male breast growth treatments include male breast enlargement pills and creams. Pills are either hormonal which means they contain estrogen or induce your body to develop it, or pseudo-hormonal which means that they contain phytoestrogens. Male breast enhancement creams provide an external stimulation to the breast area and nourish the breast tissue into feminine development.

On the other hand, hormonal pills may bring about other feminine changes apart from an increase in your breast size. These work by inducing your body to develop more estrogen and to decrease the production of male hormones. This may bring about other feminine characteristics such as feminine body odor, figure, softer voice and more.

You want to make sure the male breast enhancement products you use for the massage treatments are derived from plant estrogens and firming tonics. Quality serum creams containing caffeine as an external stimulator will make the breast massage more effective. Be aware not to consume caffeine orally from sodas or teas while taking male breast enlargement pills as this will dilute its effectiveness.

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Why Select A Vacation Home Rental?

Submitted by: Owner Vacation Rentals

A vacation home rental can provide you with many aspects that a standard hotel can not. For that reason, they can be one of the best choices that you have when you need a place to stay away from home. In fact, these rental homes can be just that, a home away from home. Although you may not have thought first of renting a house to stay in, there are some very key benefits to doing so that you really should know about.

While a hotel provides you with a room, a vacation home rental allows you to rest in a home. Here are some of the best reasons why you should consider this as the next place to rent when you are not at home.

A home offers many of the same things that your current home offers. You will have all the extra room to move as well as plenty of area to cook and to relax after being out all day. In fact, these vacation rental homes are set up to allow you to relax in them even when you are not out sight seeing.

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They also provide many of the amenities that hotels do only on a much more private level. Do you really like sharing a pool with a bunch of strangers? Some homes will feature these types of amenities so that you can relax in the way that you like to do so.

In addition, you can save money by renting a vacation home rental over the standard hotel room rental. That s because you can cook meals at the home instead of eating out every day on your vacation. Instead of spending countless dollars on expensive food, you can relax the way you normally do.

Vacation home rental opportunities are more widely available than many think. In many ways, private home rentals are available just about all times of the year, which gives you all of these benefits along with the flexibility that you need. In addition many home s offer affordable pricing especially in the off season. Unlike hotels, you do not have to go through all of the trouble of tracking down the sale price either.

The next trip that you take can easily happen when you book vacation home rentals. You will find that they are the perfect way to relax away from your home.

About the Author: Receive the benefits of working directly with the owner and not dealing with any agencies for your

vacation home rental

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vacation homes

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Interview with Innocent Watat, City Council candidate for Wards 3 & 4 in Brampton, Canada

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The upcoming 2006 Brampton municipal election, to be held November 13, features an array of candidates looking to represent their wards in city council or the council of the Peel Region.

Wikinews contributor Nick Moreau contacted many of the candidates, including Innocent Watat, asking them to answer common questions sent in an email. This ward’s incumbent is Bob Callahan; Balbir Babra, Manny Bianchi-Morfino, Dolly Khokhar, Maria Peart, Tim Turcott, and Sheila White.


  • 1 Interview
  • 2 French message
  • 3 Notes
  • 4 External links
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Canada’s Beaches—East York (Ward 32) city council candidates speak

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Beaches—East York (Ward 32). Four candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Donna Braniff, Alan Burke, Sandra Bussin (incumbent), William Gallos, John Greer, John Lewis, Erica Maier, Luca Mele, and Matt Williams.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.


  • 1 Sandra Bussin (incumbent)
  • 2 William Gallos
  • 3 Erica Maier
  • 4 Luca Mele
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Flash floods kill over a hundred in India, 500 missing

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Five hundred people are missing and as many as 150 are reported to have been killed by flash floods in India, caused by a sudden cloudburst that hit Indian-controlled Kashmir on Friday. The downpour struck the town of Leh and several surrounding villages, and reportedly caused a mud slide that hit the refugee-populated village of Choglamsar.

Associated Press reported that at least five foreign tourists were among those killed. Their nationalities are not known but New Delhi Television (NDTV) reported that 110 tourists, half of them foreigners, were being looked after at an Army transit camp on the Leh-Manali road. NDTV also said that the tourists had been given food, medicine and phone connections to their embassies. Flights have been arranged by the Indian government to bring affected foreign tourists back home.

Massive relief efforts are continuing; Farooq Ahmad, who is Inspector General of Police in Kashmir reported on Sunday today that “63 bodies had been identified so far and that rescue teams were fanning out to six villages near Leh that had not yet been reached during relief operations.” Believed to contain 5000 people, Choglamsar, on Leh’s outskirts, is one of the villages that rescuers have been clearing roads to reach.

The army has been called in to assist in rescue work. Thousands of troops, police and paramilitary soldiers were clearing roads in order to reach isolated villages. Those living in the upper reaches, whose housing was not adequate to provide protection, will have borne the full impact of the mud slides caused by the 12 mm of rain that fell on Friday in just a few minutes.

Officials said that rescuers were digging through crushed homes and piles of mud to search for survivors. The hundreds of reported injured are being treated at an army hospital and several makeshift clinics. Mohammed Deen Khan, a social activist who has been assisting in rescue work, said the mud was 15 feet high in some places. Heavy earth-moving equipment has been brought in to move the tonnes of mud and boulders blocking roads.

The rescue officials have faced a serious problem due to the severe damage of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) office, a telecommunication enterprise, leading to the complete disruption of communication in the Leh region. The general manager of BSNL reports that the damage has caused a loss of 120 million INR. Another telecommunication enterprise, Airtel, has provided SIM cards to local administration for setting up hotlines that people can call for assistance.

The major problem is due to the communication breakdown. If communication is restored it will help in co-ordination of rescue operations in a better way.

Pashi Tsetan, a local administration development wing (deputy director) said, “The major problem is due to the communication breakdown. If communication is restored it will help in co-ordination of rescue operations in a better way.” Other institutions like Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), the ITBP camp, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and others have also been affected.

1,314 people, mostly tourists, have been airlifted from Leh to Delhi. Three additional Indian Airlines flights from Jammu and Delhi have been planned. Three IL-76 and four AN-32 aircraft carried relief material to Leh this morning, and four more by Jet Airways and Air India and three by Kingfisher Airlines will carry relief material and doctors to Leh.

The ITBP has sent water tankers containing drinking water to affected areas. Medical camps have been set up in villages like Saboo. The bodies of eleven persons were transported to Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and Rajasthan this morning.

India’s crisis comes as Pakistan is experiencing the worst floods in the country’s history.

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Kissimmee Fl Vacation Packages: Around Disney World In 2 Days

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By William F. Gabriel

Disney World is nothing short of impressive and magical, and has been delighting millions of people who go there every year. Do not miss out on the fun and look for Kissimmee Fl vacation packages that would be sure to help you experience the best of Disney World on your vacation. Keep in mind that Disney World is huge with four major theme parks, two water parks, a downtown area, and other smaller attractions like the Off the Beaten Path section and golf courses. Is it possible to explore and enjoy Disney if you only have two days to do so?

Given the size of the place and the number of attractions involved, it can be tricky but it can be done. All it takes is a bit of planning and you are good to go. You do not have to see or try everything for your vacation to be well spent. You just have to know what each theme park or water park is offering in terms of rides, shows, and activities, and then determine which ones you would most like to see and experience. Get their schedules and know their location by using a map of the park. You can then plan how you are going to spend your days.

The best way to experience Disney World in two days is to get yourself a Magic Your Way Park Hopper with Water Park Options or what is considered to be the ultimate ticket that would allow you to visit Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Blizzard Beach Water Park, and Typhoon Lagoon Water Park throughout the day. As the Disney World Monorail System connects the parks, it would only take a few minutes for you to get from one park to the next. This would mean you could jump from one adventure to another in just one day. You might also want to spend one day at the theme parks and the next day at the water parks.

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The Kissimmee Fl vacation packages would be a big help in planning your Disney vacation from admission tickets to the parks to choosing which hotels in Kissimmee Fl would be the right accommodation for you. Your choice of theme park is as much important as your choice of lodgings. Look for a hotel that would be near the attractions and make sure that you can avail of free shuttle service to and from the theme park of your choice. You can also check for other amenities that you believe would make your vacation more comfortable and enjoyable.

Admission tickets and hotel accommodation are quite costly. With Kissimmee Fl vacation packages, you can get huge discounts on the park tickets and low nightly rates on your accommodation at one of the hotels in Kissimmee Fl. If you want to get better deals, you might want to go during off season, as the prices are considerably lower than ever. You can really save a lot during this time, which would give you more allowance for shopping and buying souvenirs.

About the Author: For more information about Kissimmee Fl vacation packages, please check out Hotels in Kissimmee Fl.


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