After being around for over 500 years, and being widely spoken in a country that’s been in existence for 140 years, Italian is now the Official Language of Italy™. Itsa abouta timea.
Archive for March 2007
The city of Chicago has fined the first restaurant for violating the recently passed ordinance outlawing foie gras — Hot Doug’s, a hot dog stand. In blatant violation after being warned, Doug Sohn continued to serve a hot dog slathered with the fattened duck-liver delicacy as well as “duck fat fries,” though you can only get those on Friday and Saturday. He got off light. He could have been fined as much as $500 but only had to pay $250, probably because he wasn’t caught selling them, just listing them on the menu with a price. How silly. The only one who should be fined is anyone dumb enough to actually eat a foie gras dog. Yum!
Most people give up a favorite food. Others forgo a habit like cigarettes, alcohol, or chocolate. But CNN reports that there are students who are making the ultimate sacrifice by giving up (gasp! shock! awe!) MySpace and Facebook for Lent. Hey, it’s not a bad idea, really. It means they can eat all the meat they want on Friday in the hope that it will calm their hand that’s twitching because it’s dying to type in www.myspace.com.
An Israeli political party that supports the legalization of marijuana has told its followers to abstain during Passover because weed isn’t kosher for Passover. The good news is that, according to a spokesperson, “If the rabbis say cannabis is non-kosher for Passover, it is apparently kosher during the rest of the year,” so next Hanukkah you can light up more than just candles. L’chaim!
The results of the autopsy on Anna Nicole Smith are in, and the Broward County medical examiner says she died from a lethal combination of drugs and an infection from an abscess on her butt, where she’d been injecting herself with meds. They found nine prescription drugs in her system as well as six over-the-counter ones, including Ativan, Cipro, Klonopin, Methadone, Noctec, Robaxin, Soma, Topamax, Valium, Human growth hormone, Nicorette, and Tamiflu. Two are sedatives, two are muscle relaxers, and three are anti-anxiety drugs. Doctors say that’s not really a lot, there are at least a dozen other drugs listed in the United States Pharmacopeia that she didn’t have in her system.
Calvin Klein is putting out a new fragrance called CK in2u. It comes in a white plastic and glass bottle — you know, the same materials that make up an iPod — and is aimed at, in the company’s words, technosexuals. Or as you might call them, 20-somethings. Klein hopes people pick up on the word technosexual since they trademarked it last year. Oh, sorry. I mean technosexual®.
A team of mathematicians claims to have solved a 120-year-old puzzle about a theoretical object with 248 dimensions known as the “Lie group E8.” The solution is so complicated that the handwritten solution would cover the Manhattan, and if you wanted it in digital form would take days to download. Lightyears if you’re still on dial-up. The project’s leader says “many mathematicians can’t understand” what the object even is. And there are reportedly no obvious practical applications for the solution. Now if they could only put that much energy into figuring out why we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, talking about why Westerners can’t be as successful at Middle East diplomacy as Japanese, said “Japanese are trusted. If (you have) blue eyes and blond hair, it’s probably no good. Luckily, we Japanese have yellow faces.” Yeah, but blonds have more fun.
If you’ve been waiting to be hip again and not feel like an uncouth Philistine Neanderthal hick when you ask for *gasp* tap water in a restaurant, your time has arrived. Fancy restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area including Chez Panisse are dumping bottled water and serving filtered tap water — still and house-carbonated. It’s free trade, shade carbonated, and naturally caffeine-free. Hopefully. They’re not doing it because they realized it was absurd to charge for bottled water that can cost 240 to 10,000 times as much as tap water, but rather to be environmentally sensitive, promote sustainability, and because they just couldn’t figure out another way to combine radicchio foam with tofu confit in a 1.5 ounce portion and call it an entree so they had to do something different.
The bidding has started for a chance to win a breakfast or tea date with Alan Greenspan and his wife, NBC news correspondent Andrea Mitchell. The auction is part of a fund-raiser to benefit the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial and the current bid is $12,600. If that sounds too serious for your taste, you can also place a bid for a walk-on role on Desperate Housewives (current bid $1,600), a chance to report the weather with Al Roker on The Today Show (now $175), and VIP Seating at Larry King Live (currently no bids). You have until April 6th to bid for Greenspan, so start saving your money now. Then be sure to ask him if he thought it was a good investment or not.
Have you always hoped that one day an airline would be nice and upgrade you to first class for free? Well, they did that recently for an elderly woman who was on on British Airways flight to India. When she died in the coach section, they moved her body to first class. And sat her next to a man who was sleeping. A man who woke up to find a dead seat mate. At least he didn’t have to worry about her spending the whole flight chatting him up and showing him photographs of her family, friends, and pets when all he wanted was to do the in-flight magazine crossword puzzle and sleep.
A brothel in Cologne, Germany, is offering a 50% discount to senior citizens. Men who can prove they’re at least 66 years old can get a “normal session” that usually costs 50 euros ($66.54) for half price between noon and 5 p.m. every day. True that’s nap time, but it’s worth waiting until later in the afternoon to snooze if it means being able to take advantage of an Early Bird Special.
A group of delegates who are working to rewrite Bolivia’s constitution say the country should change its coat of arms by getting rid of the laurel and olive branches and replacing them with coca leaves. After all, the country is the third largest producer of cocaine in the world, why not be proud of it? If the change goes into law, don’t be surprised to see Afghanistan put poppies on its flag, Mexico add a marijuana leaf to its coat of arms, and the United States replaces the one-eyed pyramid on our one dollar bills with a handgun.
New Mexico has had a state cookie (the bizcochito), a state bird (the roadrunner) and a state question (“Red or Green?,” which doesn’t refer to traffic light confusion, but rather which kind of chili you prefer). Well now they have an official tie — the bolo. With luck they’ll soon have an Official State Legislature With Better Things To Do With Their Time.
The New York Times apologized on Monday for having misspelled the name of one of President John F. Kennedy’s closest advisers in an article about his having introduced Barack Obama at a fund-raiser. Oh yeah, and for the 134 other times they misspelled it in articles and headlines over the past 50 years. His name is Theodore C. Sorensen, not Sorenson. That may be a record for them. Last November they admitted to having misspelled the name of the now defunct New York City department store Gimbels 120 times, though in their defense they did spell that one correctly 500 times.
Israel has recalled its ambassador to El Salvador, Tsuriel Raphael, after he was found in his back yard drunk, naked, and bound, complete with sex toys and a ball gag in his mouth à la Pulp Fiction. Normally no one would have cared except you just don’t do that on the Sabbath.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who often campaigned on family values issues, has admitted he was having an extramarital affair while he was pushing for the impeachment of President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair. He did say, however, that he shouldn’t be viewed as a hypocrite. After all, he was only Speaker of the House, he eventually married the congressional aide he was having the affair with, and besides, he never had sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.
Roland Fortin took out a half-page ad in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Super Bowl Sunday challenging fitness guru Jack LaLanne to a four-round boxing match. Fortin is 91 years old. LaLanne is 92. LaLanne didn’t see the ad until this week and hasn’t responded directly, though a spokesperson said, “That’s not quite his cup of tea.” Or did she mean, teaspoon of Geritol? Since Fortin has a one-year edge, maybe he should be handicapped by having to box with one hand tied behind a walker.
The Navy has awarded a contract to Invocon, Inc. to develop a “non-lethal, stand-off weapon for military and law enforcement personnel that could ultimately work through walls and other non-metallic structures.” Using beamed RF (radio frequency) energy to “excite and interrupt the normal process of human hearing and equilibrium,” the weapon would incapacitate everyone in a room by making them lose their balance and fall to the ground. “Second order effects would be extreme motion sickness,” the company notes. In other words, it’s enough to make you puke.
The state House of Arkansas unanimously approved a resolution yesterday declaring that “Arkansas’s” be the official possessive form of the state’s name. Because it’s a nonbinding resolution, however, no one needs to obey it, including state agencies which wouldn’t even have to worry about changing their stationery. So don’t fret, you can spell Arkansas’s possessive any way you like. But remember, “its” is possessive, “it’s” is a contraction for “it is.” That is the law.