What do you do when you’re a King, need a wife, and there’s no match.com, CraigsList, or Blind Date around? If you’re the King of Swaziland you hold a Reed Dance, where more than 50,000 bare-breasted virgins wearing beaded mini-skirts dance around the royal stadium while carrying machetes and singing tributes to the groom-to-be in the hope that he’ll pick them to join his 12 other wives in multi-matrimonial bliss. And to think, the guys on ElimiDate only get to choose from four.
Archive for August 2005
A company in Japan is about to start selling a child-shaped robot as a housesitter, a clever way to skirt child labor laws since, as far as my 20-second Google search can ascertain, humanoids aren’t covered, though this could turn out to be a litmus test for John Roberts’ Supreme Court nomination if word gets out. Manufactured by Mitsubishi-Heavy Industries Ltd. (motto: “Lightweights need not apply”), the robot is 3-feet tall, weighs 66 pounds, can recognize 10,000 words, and is named Wakamaru. Oh yeah, and it will sell for about 1.58 million yen (US$14,300). Here are ten reasons why a robot is better than a child.
Does shopping wear you out? Has the Ferris wheel, shark tank, and dinosaur museum in the mall sapped your strength so you’re just too tired to look for new shoes? If you’re at The Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, you’re in luck. Just stop at MinneNAPolis, the new store where for 70 cents a minute you can take a snooze in one of three themed rooms: the lovely Asian Mist room, Tropical Isle, or Deep Space. Sure that comes to $42 an hour, about the cost of a night at the Motel 6 down the block, but if it means you’ll feel refreshed and ready to hit the rest of the four miles of storefronts at the mall then it’s worth it. Remember, a rested shopper is a happy shopper.
Sure you know you can buy cheap toilet paper, chicken breasts, and caskets at Costco, but did you know you can buy an original crayon drawing by Pablo Picasso for only $129,999.99? You can also get art from Chagall, Miro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani, and Peter Max. Or the handy Kirkland Art Sampler 6-pack. They’re only available online, but a note says, “Costco.com products can be returned to any of our more than 400 Costco warehouses worldwide.”
“Uh, I bought this drawing online but it doesn’t go with my couch. Can I exchange it for 260,434 rolls of Kirkland toilet paper?”
Remember when the town of Halfway, OR changed its name to Half.com in return for 20 computers? How about when every town that was approached about changing its name to Got Milk? turned down the honor? No? Well, that shows what good promotions they were. Not to let those lessons cramp their style, EchoStar Communications Corp., better known as the Dish Network has upped the ante. They say they’ll give 10 years’ worth of free satellite TV service to every household in a U.S. town that legally changes its name to Dish. This means the company would shell out about $4 million for 1,000 households. Or, if New York City were to take them up on it, $12 billion. C’mon, Bloomberg, think of the political capital you’d get out of that one.
In an effort to entice Americans to cross the border into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, a city in the midst of a drug war that has resulted in 115 people being gunned down and 40 U.S. citizens being kidnapped so far this year, the town’s tourist board has started offering free bus tours. With an armed police escort. If the plan is successful, expect to see the program expanded to Detroit, Baghdad, Camden, NJ, and the opening of the next Ikea store.
While past research has shown that tall adults earn more money than shorter ones, a new survey by economists at the University of Michigan shows that what matters more is how tall a person is when they’re 16. Yes, they checked at ages 7, 11 and 33 — they don’t affect future wages. Much of the raw data came from the U.S. National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, so maybe the moral is that longitude matters.
British newspapers are reporting that Da Ali G Show star Sacha Baron Cohen was thrown into the water off a Malibu beach by Pamela Anderson’s security guards. Apparently he crashed Anderson’s dog’s wedding as his alter ego, Kazakhstani TV journalist Borat, wearing swim trunks, a leather jacket and a Village People-style cap as he arrived in a raft. He stormed to the altar, knocking Anderson to the ground and disrupting the ceremony in which her golden retriever Star was getting married to her chihuahua Luca. Forget Cohen crashing the wedding. Forget the security guards playing Marco Polo with him. Pamela Anderson’s dogs were getting married on the beach. Now that’s weird.
Scientists are floating a proposal to bring elephants, lions, and camels to the Great Plains to replace the saber-toothed tigers, mastodons and, well, camels that roamed there 13,000 years ago. You know, until people showed up and were hungry. If they’re successful in rolling back the calendar the next steps will be importing Siberians to repopulate the plains with Indians, horse-drawn wagons to replace cars, and alchemists to take the place of scientists.
A gallon of gas in San Francisco – $3.15
A gallon of gas in England – $6.24
A gallon of gas in Iraq – $0.05
The war in Iraq – Priceless
P. Diddy, the performer formerly known as Sean Combs, Puff Daddy, and Puffy, now wants to be called plain old Diddy. His next move will be to switch to a symbol, possibly the one Prince used until he decided it was a truly dumb idea and shed it in favor of, well, Prince. After that Diddy will probably revert to Sean, shorten it to S, and if he’s not careful will just be called The Artist Formerly Known. Check back before Christmas to find out the proper way to address his greeting card.
Now that Atkins Nutritionals, the company that took the carbs and taste out of everything, has filed for bankruptcy, what’s a poor dieter to do? Don’t despair, the Read The News Diet Plan is here.
Item 1 - Takeru Kobayashi, five-time winner of the Nathan’s Famous hot dog-eating contest at Coney Island, ate 100 pork buns in 12 minutes on Sunday. The day before he chowed down 83 vegetarian dumplings in eight minutes.
Item 2 - On Saturday, 98-pound Sonya Thomas of Virginia ate 44 lobsters in 12 minutes. That’s 11 pounds of lobster meat. Previous feats include eating 65 hard-boiled eggs in six minutes and 40 seconds, 167 chicken wings in 32 minutes, and 8.3 pounds of Armour Vienna Sausages in 10 minutes.
Victoria Beckham, better known as Posh Spice, David’s wife, and Einstein’s successor, told a Spanish reporter that she has never read a book, including her own book, Learning to Fly, or her husband’s two autobiographies, My World and My Side. According to the Daily Mail she said: “I haven’t read a book in my life. I haven’t got enough time. I prefer to listen to music, although I do love fashion magazines.” In other news, I’ve never listened to the Spice Girls.
- The Kool-Aid Man turned 30 at a birthday celebration in Hastings, Nebraska this past weekend. The grinning pitcher doesn’t look a day over 29, even though he’s been topped off with Everclear since he was about 10.
- 7-Eleven’s brain freezing Slurpee recently turned 40. Over 11 million of them are sold every month, with the most popular flavors being Coke, wild cherry, and banana. Flavors which never caught on include tuna casserole, Drano, and Doug Flutie’s Old Sweat Socks.
Space Adventures Ltd, the company that sent two tourists into space, is looking to take two others on a flight around the moon. For a cool $100 million per person. The trip would last between eight glorious days and nights, and 21 days of living hell, depending on whether they stop at the International Space Station and Solid Waste Recycling Center (not affiliated with Club Med). They say they’ve identified a thousand possible customers who have the money, time, and lack of conscience not to feel bad about spending the money on themselves when it could feed the 400,000 children who will die from malnutrition, starvation, and hunger-related diseases over the next 10 days for a year.
Muslims in France can now buy fast food. A restaurant named Beurger King opened up outside Paris that serves beurgers — I mean, burgers — fries, chicken, and doughnuts that are all halal, or made according to Islamic dietary laws. Of course they sell Mecca Cola. For real. No word on what the American fast food chain Burger King thinks, but they may have to stand in a lawsuit line behind the Burqa King women’s clothing chain and the Bulgar King tabouleh cafes.
Part I - A man in Taiwan went to a clinic complaining of shortness of breath and high fever. X-rays showed something lodged in his bronchial tubes. It turned out to be a set of dentures he’d been searching for, having lost them in a fall three years ago. Now that bites.
Part II - LuAnne Barber of Wrightsville, Georgia, woke up with a stomach ache a few weeks ago. It got bad enough that her husband took her to the emergency room. A quick exam determined that she was in labor. And no, LuAnne and her husband had no idea she was pregnant. She said it never dawned on her because of her history of back problems, an unpredictable monthly cycle, and pain medication she thought was making her gain weight. Ignorance may be bliss, but unexpectedly giving birth is a pain.
A German publisher of foreign language dictionaries has put out a male-female dictionary so women can try to understand men better. Good luck. I mean, viel glueck. Entries in the shopping category section explain that when a man says “that doesn’t suit you” he means “it is too expensive,” and if he says “buy that one” he really means “I want to go home.” I assume these pertain to shopping for clothing and not male-female dictionaries. In that case if a man says “buy that one” he really means “please, buy any one if it will help.”
Move over Dolly, scientists in South Korea say they’ve cloned a dog. Named Snuppy, which they claim is short for Seoul National University Puppy and not the market most likely to buy such a thing — Snobby Yuppie — it was the result of 2,000 eggs being used to make 1,000 embryos, one of which managed to develop into a healthy puppy. Pretty much the same odds as the lottery. The Afghan hound and its father — or would that be twin brother? — are being held by U.S. forces trying to determine if they know whether Osama bin Laden is still in its original homeland.
Q: What’s worse than Martha Stewart?
A: 151 Martha Stewarts in the same room.
In a ploy to promote her upcoming TV show, which she creatively named Martha, Martha Stewart is looking for 150 other Martha Stewarts to come on the show. Audience members will be asked to figure out which one looks like she recently got out of jail and if they guess correctly will be taught how to make a lovely holiday centerpiece from rubber bands, paper plates, and 17 four-carat diamonds. Marquise cuts, of course. Since you never know where you’ll find a Martha Stewart, the search is even being publicized in India. Shaheena Stewart, contact your sister now!