You had me at hero ... not

"I've received more than my share of spam emails, but today's effort from a supposed American soldier currently in Afghanistan on a UN peace-keeping mission took a fresh approach which kept me reading," writes Sharon Holt. "It turns out he had 'recovered some funds from a terrorist sect that staged a bomb blast at Afghanistan capital Kabul last week'. In a strange twist of fate, this soldier has turned to me for 'advice and assistance' as well as my 'most urgent and swift positive response'. I am at a loss to know how this pink-cardiganed, slightly forgetful but well-meaning woman in her late 50s could do more than offer a comfy chair, a plate of date scones and a hot brew. Perhaps he somehow got wind of my love of the TV drama series Homeland?"

Food for thought

The common phrase, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch", which we all know to be true, came from the practice of saloons offering a free lunch to patrons buying at least one drink. Lunch consisted of salty finger-foods, encouraging the drinking of more beer. (The Russians say: "The only place you can get a free lunch is in mouse trap.")

Demoted bridesmaid

Tori Holder, of Georgia, US, said she was asked to step down from her role as bridesmaid, but was still asked to hold open barn doors for the bride during the ceremony. Holder told the BBC she had an awkward conversation with the bride-to-be who explained that because the groom's party had been reduced by at least two groomsmen, she would no longer be needed as a bridesmaid. She was however offered the job of opening large barn doors at the start of the ceremony. "I think one reason for the demotion is because I lived a solid 10-hour drive away she knew I wouldn't be able to join in a good number of bridal activities." As well as a new job, the bride gave her demoted bridesmaid a new dress to wear. "Little did I know until the freaking day of the wedding that our dresses were the exact same as the 12-year-old flower girl," said Holder.

Over-promising?

Rack and roll, thanks to Sideswipe ...

"I just discovered a story in Sideswipe and had my own lightbulb moment," writes a reader. "My conventional two-rack dishwasher came with the house and no instructions. So for two years I have been trying not to use my big dinner plates as they block the arm under the top rack. I noticed a second set of rollers on the top rack but couldn't figure out what to do with them - until I saw your item in the newspaper."

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Video pick

In an ABC News Australia segment from 1962, a TV reporter asks people on the street in Sydney, "Is there life on other planets?"