SAN JOSE, Calif. – They advertise everything from restaurants and hotels to cigarettes and prescription drugs. So what's wrong with a billboard marketing to guys ready to say "I do"?
One woman has an answer for that: Nothing at all. Which is why she's seeking a husband on a billboard posted in front of a movie theater near Sydney, Australia, according to Reuters news service.
Helen Zhou — who lives in Sydney but is originally from Shanghai, China — took out the conspicuous ad with the blaring headline "HUSBAND WANTED" for $5,000 (U.S. $3,700), Reuters reported.
Zhou told her local newspaper, the weekly Southern Courier, that she made such a bold move because she'd encountered one commitment-phobe after another in the world of online matchmaking.
"People are happy to date but they don't want any commitment, only temporary relationships," the middle-aged Zhou told the Courier.
Her oversized personal ad, standing tall in Sydney's eastern suburbs, lists qualities Zhou wants — including age (up to 45), health status (good), habits (non-smoker and non-drinker), race (Caucasian), personality traits (good sense of humor) and financial background (solid), Reuters reported.
Zhou also reveals a flair for self-promotion, marketing herself on the billboard as beautiful, intelligent and in search of a "dream family with a fabulous partner."
"I'm not fussy," Reuters quoted Zhou as saying. "I guess I want a traditional sort of person, not really flash — an old fashioned kind of guy, not one who spends every cent and doesn't worry about tomorrow."
But Zhou may be looking for love in all the wrong places: So far, few men have answered the ad, according to Reuters.
The 'Key' to TV Overload
A number of people have found the key to turning off the mind-numbing drone of the TV.
Sales are humming for the new "TV-B-Gone" keychain that enables owners to zap most televisions off anywhere from restaurants to airports, The Associated Press reported.
The gadget, which offers peace and quiet from the relentless din of the tube, goes for $14.99.
"I thought there would just be a trickle, but we are swamped," inventor Mitch Altman of San Francisco said Monday in an interview. "I didn't know there were so many people who were into turning TV off."
Altman, 47, was flooded with hundreds of TV-B-Gone (search) orders last week after the pocket-sized remote control device got some play in Wired magazine and online media sites.
At times, the unexpected attention overloaded and crashed the Web site of his company, Cornfield Electronics (search).
The keychain fob works like a universal remote control, but one that only turns TVs on or off.
With the click of a button, the gizmo goes through a string of about 200 infrared codes that control the power of about 1,000 television models.
Altman said the majority of TVs should react within 17 seconds, though it takes a little more than a minute for the gizmo to emit all the trigger codes.
The inventor first got the idea for TV-B-Gone a decade ago when he was out with friends at a restaurant and they found themselves all glued to the perched TV instead of talking to each other. No one was around to shut the tube off.
The self-described "geek" with a masters in electrical engineering started tinkering with the concept full-time a few years ago, using money he had earned from a company he co-founded, data-storage maker 3ware Inc. (search)
Altman remembers spending most of his childhood unwittingly captivated by TV, watching shows like "Gilligan's Island" (search) and others — whether they were entertaining or not.
He quit as an adult and hasn't owned a television since 1980.
He has tested the TV-B-Gone remote discreetly in many places, including in other countries, and — with the exception of Hong Kong — says he usually gets little to no reaction from others after the background TV noise and glare disappear.
But he said he would never dare kill the power on the machines in places like sports bars, where patrons expect TVs to be on.
"I can be mischievous, but I'm not going to do anything malicious, and I don't want to make anyone's life more difficult," Altman said. "I just don't like TV, and I'd like people to think more about this powerful medium in their lives."
Altman doesn't claim that all TV is bad.
"There's just so little time in all of our lives," he said. "Why should we spend so much time on something we don't necessarily enjoy?"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Why They Call It 'Dope'
HONG KONG (AP) — It was not the best legal defense strategy: A Hong Kong man appeared in court on drug charges wearing a T-shirt that said "cocaine" and drew a stern rebuke from the magistrate, a newspaper reported Thursday.
Ho Heng-chau pleaded guilty to possession of three ecstasy pills, but while his lawyer was arguing for a lenient sentence on Wednesday the magistrate noticed the T-shirt, according to the Apple Daily newspaper.
"Do you know you're appearing in court?" Magistrate Ernest Lin was quoted as saying. "What are you doing wearing a 'cocaine' T-shirt? You might as well carry a sign that says 'I'm a drug head.'"
Ho, 20, did not respond, Apple Daily said.
The magistrate fined Ho $510, then chided the young man again over the shirt.
"Next time a police officer sees you wearing a shirt like this he'll confront you," Lin was quoted as saying. "Would you wear a shirt that says 'marijuana?'"
Judiciary spokeswoman Jaime Or told The Associated Press she had no information on Ho's case.
A Keepsake ... Ballot?
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A 61-year-old woman has admitted that she submitted a request to the Lancaster County Election Office (search) for an absentee ballot in her late mother's name.
But Carolea Adams said she just wanted the ballot for a scrapbook of her mother, Marguerite Adams.
Adams was putting the scrapbook together when a notice to request an absentee ballot arrived for her mother.
Adams told the Lincoln Journal Star that she thought, "Since voting for Mummy was such an important thing, I'll send it back through and get her ballot back with her name on it, and I'll keep it for her scrapbook of materials I'm putting together.
"I had no intent of voting on her ballot," she said. "I simply wanted the ballot and was going to put it in her scrapbook."
Adams was cited Wednesday on suspicion of fraudulently attempting to get an absentee ballot, a Class I misdemeanor.
Election Commissioner Dave Shively said it was the first time he could recall anyone trying to get a ballot for a dead person.
An election worker who scanned the daily obituaries caught the name.
Shively said he immediately called police.
Four times a year, election workers get a list of recent deaths from Nebraska's office of vital records. They also use obituaries to remove names from voter rolls.
Voter fraud is relatively rare and most people who engage in it are caught, election officials said.
Adams said she will be able to go through a diversion program for the citation.
"I deeply, deeply love my mother," she said. "When you are in a state of grief, you don't think as clearly as you ought sometimes."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A pastor says he was "just kidding" when he told airport security he had a bomb, reached into his luggage and pulled out a Bible, declaring, "This is my bomb."
Jose L. Gonzalez, a citizen of Spain living in Deltona, Fla., was arrested and charged with making a false statement.
The incident occurred as security screeners at the Nashville International Airport were searching his carry-on bag.
Gonzalez, a passenger on an Orlando, Fla.-bound Delta flight, had already raised suspicion when screeners found a laptop computer that he said at first he didn't have.
An investigation determined that Gonzalez did not pose a threat, but the FBI still arrested and charged him with making the statement.
"Upon being questioned by airport security officers about the above episode, Gonzalez admitted having said that he had a bomb," a federal criminal complaint states, "but insisted that he was just kidding.
"He claimed he had used the term 'bomb' as a way of referring to the Bible as having the ability to change one's life," the complaint states. "He admitted that it had been stupid and that he had not intended any harm."
U.S. Magistrate Judge Cliff Knowles presided over Gonzalez's initial court appearance Tuesday and advised him that, if convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a potential fine of $250,000.
Gonzalez was earlier reported to be part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (search). However, organization officials said Wednesday he is not a member of their group.
Seventh-day Adventist officials said Gonzalez is part of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement (search), a group that broke from the denomination in the mid 1860s and is headquartered in Roanoke, Va., officials said.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Catherine Donaldson-Evans.
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