Salted Caramel Soda Because-Pepsi!

Well Pepsi's got a new idea-a desert soda-but you'll have to travel to Japan to sample it. Christmas Cola, which goes on sale there Nov. 21, is a white soda described as having a "sweet and tart strawberry aroma" and that's modeled after Japan's seasonal Christmas cakes, which are sponge cakes covered with white whipped cream and strawberries. But don't feel too left out. Back in the good old USA, Pepsi is also pushing another limited-run soda - Salted Caramel Pepsi, which, despite its apparently disgustingly sweet taste, is ironically reported to have less sugar than original Pepsi. Food & Wine magazine is already playing favorites, deeming the cake-flavored pop "intriguing" but noting that caramel "belongs on brownies and cookies, not in a bottle." Ad Age notes that, as pumpkin spice season comes to a close, holiday-themed food and beverage items are taking over the shelves, and PepsiCo isn't hesitating from embracing that holiday spirit: The company is also offering a red-and-green version of Cap'n Crunch cereal, chocolate-dipped Lay's potato chips, and snowflake-shaped Cheetos, per a press release. (Food & Wine)

New Teen Trend: Digital Self-Harm

Anyone with a kid knows cyberbullying is a huge problem among teens - and an alarming new study finds a bizarre trend - that sometimes, kids inflict the bullying on themselves. Researchers surveyed almost 5,600 US students between the ages of 12 and 17, and around 6% reported they had engaged in what researchers are calling "self-cyberbullying" or "digital self-harm." Children had anonymously posted hurtful content about themselves, or sent themselves hurtful messages so they could then respond. It can happen via texting, email, social media, video games, web forums, and more. The study's lead author, Sameer Hinduja says, "It's a new phenomenon, and this is definitely happening." Boys are more likely to engage in the practice, with 7% reporting they'd done so compared with 5% of girls. Nearly half of the children who'd engaged in digital self-harm gave reasons ranging from wanting attention to a desire to appear victimized so they could justify bullying others. Some reported feeling self-hate, depression, or having suicidal thoughts; others said they were bored or did it in an attempt to make fun of themselves. The biggest risk factor for self-cyberbullying was having been a victim of cyberbullying or in-person bullying from others in the past; other risk factors included identifying as gay, having depression symptoms, having engaged in physical self-harm, having stolen something or seriously hurt someone else physically, and having used illegal drugs. The research was partly inspired by the suicides of an English 14-year-old and a Texas 15-year-old who'd been harassed online; in both cases, officials ultimately found they'd sent themselves harassing messages. (Health Day)

Dangerous Pencils

At Equestrian Trails Elementary School in Florida, teacher Mandi Kapopoulos noticed what she thought was a trail of juice in the hallway. She followed the trail and found third-grader Kolston Moradi - and realized it wasn't juice. Kapopoulos said, "There were pools of blood at his feet and his whole shirt was covered in blood." Kapopoulos tells the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Moments earlier, Kolston had been stabbed in the arm by his own freshly sharpened pencil, which was poking out of his backpack. The pencil went about 6 inches deep near his armpit and jabbed an artery. Kolston later said he "didn't really feel anything" and wasn't screaming or crying or saying anything." Kapopoulos says she wrapped her sleeve around Kolston's arm in a makeshift tourniquet and yelled for help. Elizabeth Richards, a fellow teacher who had spent two years in nursing school, elevated Kolston's arm and pressed on the wound. They stayed with the 8-year-old for the 20 minutes it took for emergency crews to get there. It's a good thing they did. The boy's mother, Annalisa Moradi told reporters, "The EMT told me that if the teachers hadn't acted as quickly as they had, my son would be dead." Amazingly, Kolston got two staples in his arm at the hospital and returned to school the next day. His fellow students then got a warning about keeping their pencils in their pencil cases. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Put Your Damn Cell Phone Down at Church... because the Pope Says So!

Pope Francis is calling it a "very ugly thing." He's talking about people using cell phones during Mass. The Pope added, "Please! Mass is not a show!" noting he's "exasperated." Another beef the pontiff brought up: kids not knowing how to do the sign of the cross, instead "moving their hand all over their chest." Applause can be heard from the audience in a video of his remarks. (Unfortunately, taken by a cell phone) Francis has taken on the subject of phones before, telling the faithful earlier this year to swap out their phones for Bibles and warning in last year's apostolic exhortation of the damage to relationships that cellphones can cause. However, at least one churchgoer tries to justify her own phone use saying, "I have my Bible in my cellphone. So I'm looking at it, but I'm reading my Bible or finding the Scripture." (BBC)

A $7.5 Million-Dollar Watermelon

An Alabama man who said he tripped and broke his hip while buying a watermelon at Walmart has won a $7.5 million verdict in his lawsuit against the retailer. Henry Walker was awarded the damages after a jury trial in Phenix City, Alabama, just west of the Georgia state line. Walker sued saying his foot became trapped in a pallet beneath the watermelons as he reached for one of the fruits on June 25, 2015. When the then-59-year-old turned back toward his shopping cart, he fell. One of his lawyers says that Walker's days of playing basketball three times a week ended with the injury, which now requires him to use a walker. Charles Gower, another of Walker's attorneys, said Walmart should have covered the pallet so that it could not entangle a shopper's foot. Walmart has maintained that the display was not dangerous, and that any negligence was Walker's fault. In a court filing they said, "Walmart continues to display watermelons in the same manner as it did on June 25, 2015. These displays come to the store from the producer already packaged and ready to be dropped and displayed." And you can bet your roll-back prices Walmart is planning to appeal what they called an excessive judgment. (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)

Was Your Pet a Lab Animal?

Beagles are used in animal research because they are gentle, forgiving and people-pleasing. And now there's information out on how to tell if that beagle you adopted was rescued from a lab. One way is to flip his ear over and check for a faint tattooed number. Another giveaway is if it's missing its vocal cords. Dogs that can't make a sound are typically from a laboratory. A microchip can also trace the dog it back to a lab. (Newser)

What the What?

Gonna tell you right up front-this is really weird. Over in South Africa, popular televangelist and Incredible Happenings Ministries leader Paseka 'Mboro' Motsoeneng is demanding that viewers be shown how he used the power of prayer to revive a parishioner's erection. It's been branded pornographic by South Africa's Soweto TV that has refused to air the footage-mostly because during ceremony the man immediately used his newly re-found virility to have sex with his grateful wife in front of the film crew! Pastor Mboro said, "I tried to stop them but they told me that they couldn't stop because they were starving for months." The grateful wife said, "My husband got his erection back and when he came back from outside to call the crew to film our testimony, we were already busy having sex. We just couldn't wait as it had been long since we had sex. I apologized to the pastor for doing that because that was embarrassing." Pastor Mboro has blurred out the sex for his TV show and claims the testimony of the couple is no more pornographic than other programs on the station. Mboro is a controversial figure in South Africa due to the phenomenal success of his Incredible Happenings Ministries and his lavish wealth. He appeared in a BBC documentary in 2004 called The Millionaire Preacher. (Metro)


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