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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The week that was! (and still is)

The Maison d’Envie, an environment-friendly brothel in Berlin, is offering discounts to clients who arrive by bicycle ('other whoreticultural rebates by negotiation') and there seems to be no shortage of men prepared to help save the planet. "It’s good for the environment," says brothel-keeper Thomas Goetz (no relative to the one at Berlichingen, I presume), "and it’s good for the girls" (Why? because the patrons arrive saddle-sore and already knackered before they even get started?) "Take off your bicycle helmet, big boy!"

Also in Germany, the country of thinkers and drinkers, a study carried out by a psychologist reveals that a growing number of parents are treating their teenage children who have already everything, to virginal and penile waxing parties as an eighteenth birthday present.

Across the Channel in Scotland, Stewart Smith says he was stunned when, having dropped a £10 note in the street, he was fined £50 for littering.

In Mecca they're debating whether or not to cancel this year's Hajj (the annual pilgrimage) because of swine flu which, together with pork, is a prohibited import in the kingdom.

Across the Red Sea, Polish holidaymaker Magdalena Kwiatkowska says her daughter, age 13, fell pregnant from "spray sperm" (should that be 'stray'?) in the swimming poll of their Egyptian hotel. The mother is adamant that her daughter didn’t meet any boys while she was there and is determined to seek compensation.

Perhaps she could go looking for an old mattress in Tel Aviv's landfill sites. Anat of Tel Aviv tossed the mattress away when she bought her mum a new one as a surprise. But when the older woman returned home she “almost fainted”, as she had hidden her entire life savings, $1 million (£700,000), inside the mattress. Anat raced to the dump. But the mattress had already been sent on to one of two larger landfill sites.

American Airlines wants to know if you’ve been. They want you to go before you, well, go. You see, airlines are seeking to reduce fuel costs by reducing weight on planes. And American Airlines requires all passengers to use the bathroom before boarding the plane. Says spokeswoman Jeannette Spencer: “This is in the best interest for all our customers. Not only does it reduce fuel usage and lower costs, but it also reduces the lines for the bathroom on the plane at the gate and once it is in the air. We estimate that each year, 10,374 hours are wasted at the gate while our customers use the on-plane lavatory causing take-off delays. This will ensure that everyone has already gone before the flight departs.” Passengers must use the facilities at least twenty minutes prior to leaving and will not be allowed to board unless they have “tried to go” at least twice. Receipts - known as brownie points? - are provided at the facilities for proof of deposit.

Australian Air Force Corporal Robert Andrew James Samara bit off part of a junior colleague's ear. He has been ordered to attend a hearing.

Across the Tasman, one more reason to live in New Zealand (if you know the other one, let me know) is the news that MITSUBISHI Motors in New Zealand is offering a free goat with every Triton ute sold before August in a novel effort at correcting the economy. Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand general sales and marketing manager Peter Wilkins said the economy’s recovery was in the hands of the rural sector, and goats, like Tritons, were “hardy, versatile units which will integrate directly into existing farm operations”. Of course, more and more New Zealanders are coming to Australia. When questioned about this, former New Zealand prime minister Robert "Piggy" Muldoon responded that these migrants "raised the average IQ of both countries."

Not that we would want too many more of them as our own population is set to reach 22 million by the end of this year, 40 years earlier than expected. Social demographer Mark McCrindle says we have doubled our population since 1963, defying predictions 10 years ago that we would not reach above 22 million until mid-century. Mr McCrindle says despite the economic standstill, the nation has seen the highest number of births and lowest number of deaths ever. "It's almost like we've got the perfect storm of population growth," he said. He says if growth rates remain constant, the population will more than double again by 2050, exceeding 44 million.

In the Land of the Free, two judges in Pennsylvania were convicted of jailing some 2000 children in exchange for bribes from private prison companies. Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan sent children to jail for offences so trivial that some of them weren’t even crimes. A 15 year-old called Hillary Transue got three months for creating a spoof web page ridiculing her school’s assistant principal. Mr Ciavarella sent Shane Bly, then 13, to boot camp for trespassing in a vacant building. He gave a 14 year-old, Jamie Quinn, 11 months in prison for slapping a friend during an argument, after the friend slapped her. The judges were paid $2.6 million by companies belonging to the Mid Atlantic Youth Services Corp for helping to fill its jails. This is what happens when public services are run for profit. Just the tip of the iceberg?

After six years together, the relationship between a pair of gay male penguins at San Francisco zoo is apparently over, with Harry leaving Pepper for another penguin - Linda. Linda has been called a "home wrecker" but the Christian website OneNewsNow.com took the split as a sign that "nature prefers heterosexual relationships."

Still in the USA, a New York busker who entertains crowds of tourists in Times Square, dressed in nothing but a cowboy hat, boots, and a pair of white underpants emblazoned with the words "Naked Cowboy," has launched a bid to run for mayor. "No one knows how to do more with less than yours truly, and that's the kind of thinking I plan on sharing with my fellow New Yorkers when you elect me," said Robert Burck on his website www.nakedcowboy.com. What a burk! Or is he? He makes about $1000 a day busking and who-knows-how-much from all the products he sells on his website, including a replica of his guitar for $800 ("Sounds like crap but looks awesome").

In North Carolina, Bernie Madoff is rumoured to have been the inspiration for an alleged plot to bust him out of Butner Federal Prison. The plan involved five prisoners kneeling down by a wall. On their backs would kneel four more prisoners. On their backs three prisoners. And two more on their backs. Then Bernie would climb to the top and vault the wall. Bernie’s absconding would create a vacancy to be filled by someone from the second tier who would duly ascend to the top. He would be replaced by a felon below and so on until a new investor, sorry, escapee, would join the lowest tier. This would continue with all prisoners escaping until a few unlucky ones would be unable to vault the wall and each be sentenced to 321 years in jail.

While in Riverside, California, the good citizens have decided to change the name of a road, Wong Way, named after George Wong, the last resident of Riverside's former Chinatown, to Wong Street.

In Jimo, Shandong province, China, Liu, 27, has been cautioned by police for driving his motorbike with no hands or arms – literally. The Qilu Evening Post reports that Liu lost both arms at the age of seven after which he joined a circus where he learnt to ride a motorcycle without arms. Liu also had no license and promised police that he would not ride motorbikes again. He is now looking for someone to give him a hand.

... and if that wasn't enough, listen to some emergency calls: