The Sideshow
  • Blue wig, big success: Meet Bakesale Betty

    Alison Barakat, aka Bake Sale Betty (Mike Krumboltz/Yahoo)Alison Barakat, aka Bakesale Betty (Mike Krumboltz/Yahoo)

    It’s open only 15 hours a week. There’s no sign. The tables are old ironing boards. Its only marketing tool is a blue wig. And the line to get in winds around the block. It’s Bakesale Betty’s, a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop and one of Oakland’s most popular restaurants.

    "I feel like if you looked up 'Mom and Pop Business' in the dictionary, there'd be a picture of us," says Alison Barakat, better known as Bakesale Betty. Along with Michael Camp, husband and father to their three kids, the 30-something Barakat has built Betty’s from farmers market weekend hobby to local institution.

    She's easily spotted in the kitchen thanks to her bright blue wig. The wig, she says, is what helps transform her into Betty. "It was never intended to be a marketing tool," she says. It was just a way to spice things up when she went to the farmers markets back in the day. "The wig ended up being the best marketing tool I'll ever come up with in my whole life," she says. She estimates she's gone through

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  • Most people would not go out of their way to make a 7-foot-long alligator a more efficient swimmer. But a team of researchers in Arizona are doing just that, having attached a prosthetic tail to the back of an alligator to help the creature live a more normal life.

    “The fact he doesn’t try to bite [the tail] is a good sign,” Russ Johnson, president of the Phoenix Herpetological Society, told the Arizona Republic. “Learning how to use it is going to take a lot of training.”

    Johnson said that Mr. Stubbs, 11 years old, lost his tail to the jaws of another alligator about eight years ago. He was found in the back of a truck, along with about 30 other illegally held alligators, near Scottsdale, Ariz.

    Without a tail, Mr. Stubbs has gone through most of his life struggling to swim. The physical limitation has prevented him from being released back into the wild, along with the other rescued alligators.

    Over the years, Johnson and others have taught Mr. Stubbs to swim using his front legs,

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  • Jason Carr's headstone (Andrew Laker/AP Photo/The Republic)

    A Catholic church has put the brakes on a headstone designed with the NASCAR logo.

    Sharon Carr, to honor her late husband, Jason Carr, had a a headstone built in the shape of a couch and decorated with images of a dog, a deer, and NASCAR and Indianapolis Colts logos to represent his interests. But according to the Daily Mail, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Indianapolis has refused to let the headstone in, saying it doesn’t meet the requirements of the century-old cemetery.

    In turn, Carr is now suing St. Joseph, arguing that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis Properties Inc., which owns the cemetery, never produced any guidelines for headstones until a year after she wanted to add the $9,600 monument. Her husband died in a car accident in 2009.

    The Rev. Jonathan Meyer, priest at St. Joseph, disputes this, telling the Daily Mail, “They told her not to move forward with the purchasing of the monument, but she went ahead anyway.”

    He added, “We have consistently communicated the

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(2,368 Stories)
  • Final Glance: Railroad companies

    Shares of some top railroad companies were mixed at the close of trading: CSX fell $.10 or .3 percent, to $31.00. Canadian National Railway Co. rose $.30 or .4 percent, to $68.47. Canadian Pacific Railway ...

  • Grieving Dutch minister made Europe re-think Russia sanctions

    By Justyna Pawlak BRUSSELS (Reuters) - When Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans spoke to his European Union peers of his grief and anger over the downing of a Malaysia Airlines airliner over eastern Ukraine, it was a turning point in Europe's approach to Russia. Several ministers had tears in their eyes when Timmermans said he had known personally some of the 194 Dutch passengers among the 298 people who died on the plane, which Washington believes pro-Russian separatists shot down in error. "To my dying day I will not understand that it took so much time for the rescue workers to be allowed to do their difficult job, and that human remains should be used in a political game," Timmermans told the U.N. Security Council hours earlier, before flying overnight to Brussels for the crucial EU session. Until that meeting on Tuesday, Europe had trailed the United States in imposing economic sanctions to pressure Moscow into working to defuse the eight-month crisis in Ukraine in which hundreds of people have been killed.

  • Earth survived near-miss from 2012 solar storm: NASA
    Earth survived near-miss from 2012 solar storm: NASA

    Back in 2012, the Sun erupted with a powerful solar storm that just missed the Earth but was big enough to "knock modern civilization back to the 18th century," NASA said. The extreme space weather that tore through Earth's orbit on July 23, 2012, was the most powerful in 150 years, according to a statement posted on the US space agency website Wednesday. "If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire," said Daniel Baker, professor of atmospheric and space physics at the University of Colorado. Instead the storm cloud hit the STEREO-A spacecraft, a solar observatory that is "almost ideally equipped to measure the parameters of such an event," NASA said.

  • Why Apple may never have another product as successful as the iPhone
    Why Apple may never have another product as successful as the iPhone

    Despite a hunger for the next big thing among consumers and investors, don’t expect another Apple blockbuster anytime soon.

  • This mutual fund is 1 of only 2 that repeatedly trounce the competition: Here’s how
    This mutual fund is 1 of only 2 that repeatedly trounce the competition: Here’s how

    According to a new study by S.&P. Dow Jones Indicies, only two out of 2,862 mutual funds managed to attain top-quartile performance for the five years between March 2010 and current day. One of those two funds was the family-run Hodges Small Cap Fund based in Dallas, Texas.

  • US evacuates embassy in Libya amid clashes
    US evacuates embassy in Libya amid clashes

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States shut down its embassy in Libya on Saturday and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort amid a significant deterioration in security in Tripoli as fighting intensified between rival militias, the State Department said.

  • 15,000 Russian Troops Reportedly Reach Ukrainian Border
    15,000 Russian Troops Reportedly Reach Ukrainian Border

    Reuters has reported that Russia has now amassed 15,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, according to information supplied by a U.S. ambassador to NATO.

  • Wyoming Town for Sale Includes Home, Bar, and General Store, But It Has a Few Downsides
    Wyoming Town for Sale Includes Home, Bar, and General Store, But It Has a Few Downsides

    Your wish to own a town can be granted — if you have $1.5 million to spare. Welcome to Aladdin, Wyo. Population: 15. Yes, the town is named symbolically after the riches-seeker in the folktales of "Arabian Nights." Judy Brengle's husband had bought her the town as a gift after their kids left for college. It's now up for grabs, a la handwritten for-sale sign.

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