Some air traffic controllers have been protesting a government dress code that says they can’t wear shorts, jeans, T-shirts, and halter tops to work by showing up in dresses, which apparently aren’t on the verboten list for men. They’re following a longstanding tradition of cross dressing, one that goes back at least to the 15th century B.C.. Scientists the other day announced that they used DNA to identify an Egyptian mummy as pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut, who’s best known as the female pharaoh who dressed like a man and wore a false beard. It’s a safe bet no one mistook her for Cleopatra.
Archive for June 2007
A bill drafted by Britain’s Justice Ministry proposes to dump the term “prostitute” from the country’s criminal statutes and substitute the term “persons who sell sex persistently” instead. A spokeswoman said they want to do this to remove the stigma of being called a prostitute. The bill defines a “person who sells sex persistently” as someone who does so twice or more in a three-month period. Anyone who does it less frequently is just a slut.
Convicted murderer Patrick Knight spent his last few months on death row soliciting jokes so he could use the funniest one in his last statement before being executed. He received several hundred, mailed and emailed through a MySpace page someone set up for him. When the big moment came, Knight choked, saying. “I said I was going to tell a joke. Death has set me free. That’s the biggest joke. I deserve this. And the other joke is that I am not Patrick Bryan Knight and y’all can’t stop this execution now. Go ahead, I’m finished.” Two jokes, no laughs. So you don’t feel cheated, here’s one courtesy of my brother: Did you hear about the man with one testicle? He was half nuts.
The Justice Department has asked Boston election officials to translate candidates’ names into Chinese characters for ballots in precincts that have a large Chinese population. Since a name generally can’t be translated, they have to find characters that closely match the sound of each syllable. So while it might sound right, it could mean something very different. Depending on the characters used, Mitt Romney can be “Sticky Rice” or “Uncooked Rice.” Fred Thompson is “Virtue Soup.” And Barack Obama becomes “Oh Bus Horse.” Best is Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s name, which can be read as “Sun Moon Rainbow Farmer”, “Imbecile”, or “Barbarian Mud No Mind of His Own.” How confusing. Aren’t those last two the same name most politicians already have?
A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found that men were more likely than women to have sex before they were 15 years old, have at least 15 sexual partners during their life, and have two or more sexual partners in the past year. They’re also more likely refuse to be hooked up to a polygraph machine while answering the survey questions.
Some 300-year-old manuscripts by Sir Isaac Newton that have never been seen by the public are going on display in Jerusalem. They show that the man who formulated the law of gravity and the three laws of motion used the Book of Daniel to calculate the date for the apocalypse — which he said would occur no earlier than 2060 — detailed the dimensions of the ancient temple in Jerusalem, and even predicted that the Jews would return to the Holy Land before the world ends. He also calculated when hell would freeze over, when pigs would fly, why this night is different from all other nights, and what weekends were really made for. Unfortunately he blew that one. He thought weekends were made for Amstel Light.
When they saw the ultrasound of their baby, a New Zealand couple quickly decided on a name. No baby naming books, familial memorials, or trendy biblical names for them — they decided to name their child “4real.” When they filed the name with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages as required by law, the name was rejected because in New Zealand a child’s name can’t begin with a number. If the couple can’t come to an agreement with the agency by July 9, the baby will be officially registered as “real.” The baby’s parents, Pat and Sheena 2dumb4words, haven’t decided yet what they’re going to do.
Tired of having to order pizza and a beer, a Chicago real estate broker developed pizza flavored beer. Yup, he added tomatoes, oregano, garlic, and basil to a batch of brew and, since he didn’t throw up when he tried it, named it Mamma Mia Pizza Beer and somehow convinced a restaurant in Aurora, IL, to sell the stuff. He’s experimenting with salsa beer, curry beer, and oatmeal raisin cookie wheatbeer just in case the pizza beer’s a hit. Can tuna flavored Coke, peanut butter and jelly milk, and pâté flavored pinot be far behind?
After a long search to find something they haven’t issued rules for yet, the Vatican released Ten Commandments for drivers. The 36-page document, actually called “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road,” covers the moral aspects of driving a car. And the immoral ones. It discusses road rage, respecting pedestrians, keeping within the speed limit, avoiding rude gestures while driving, and the Fifth Commandment which reads: “Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.” Hands on the road, buddy. Not surprisingly, praying while driving is okay. It’s even encouraged. And sometimes it’s necessary. There’s no mention of driving while using cell phones, eating Big Macs, or applying mascara, or whether it’s okay to use the carpool lane when you’re by yourself because “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are always with me.”
Queen Elizabeth has had an iPod mini for about two years. Last year she made her Christmas Day message available as a podcast. And she uses her cell phone to send text messages to her grandchildren. Now, according to the Daily Telegraph, it turns out she has an email address. And uses it. Of course she doesn’t actually type the emails, she dictates them to her aids who take care of the dirty work. Hey, have you ever tried typing while wearing white gloves?
After nearly 50 years of selling items like the Veg-O-Matic, Popeil Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone, and Inside-The-Shell Egg Scrambler, Ronco Corp. has filed for bankruptcy. They say they’re not going out of business and have a potential buyer. How much, you ask? Ron Popeil sold the company to a holding company in 2005 for $40 million in cash and a $16 million note. But wait, there’s more! The company now owes more than $32.7 million and has only $13.9 million in assets. Now how much would you pay? Find out on the next court date, June 19.
Two days ago, the crew of the international space station were hooking up cables to the station’s solar panels when *ZAP* the computers that control the craft’s orientation crashed. Damn Blue Screen of Death. They’ve been busy trying to reboot them but, alas, no success. NASA says if the computers can’t be fixed and Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are too busy to go up and get them working, the crew members might have to return to Earth early. Meanwhile, back on Earth, a woman in Palatine, IL, has been picking up black-and-white video from inside the space shuttle Atlantis on her baby monitor. A spokesperson from NASA says it’s not coming directly from the shuttle and suggests she change the channel so she can watch the space station crew hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del over and over and over.
McDonald’s likes to localize their food in different countries. They offer seaweed flavored fries in Japan, the McShawarma and McKebab in Israel, and the Greek Mac is a hamburger in pita with yogurt sauce. This week they announced that beginning in August customers in Norway will be able to buy a fresh salmon wrap. That’s right, an American fast food company will be rolling Norwegian salmon in a Mexican tortilla. Can McLutefisk Shawarma, Gravlaks McMuffin, and lingonberry lassi be far behind?
Pepsi, getting desperate to do something to catch up to Coke’s sales in Japan, has introduced a new soda there — Pepsi Ice Cucumber. It’s green, they say it’s refreshing, and it doesn’t really have any cucumber in it, only artificial cucumber flavoring. Yum! Pepsi hopes a drink that’s “cool as a cucumber” will be refreshing in the summer heat. Not to mention bank account filling. Lord help everyone if it’s popular or the next cooling drink they’ll come out with will be Pepsi Cold As A Witch’s Tit. Also artificially flavored, I hope.
The head of the town of Buija, China, and a colleague were sentenced to 18 months in jail for letting a blind contractor build a bridge that collapsed during construction, injuring 12 people. Officials at Halliburton are appalled — appalled that they didn’t think of it first. “We believe in being an equal opportunity employer. We need contractors we can tell we’re sending to Fiji who won’t realize they’re in Iraq.”
Ah, Rome! There must be something in the air that makes one feel so good there. Oh, there is. It’s caffeine and tobacco. Also cocaine and marijuana. In a recent study, scientists at the Institute for Atmospheric Pollution found particles of cocaine and marijuana in the air. True, it was only 0.1 nanograms per cubic meter, but that just means you have to breathe deeper to detect it without having to buy expensive scientific instruments. Alarmed, the city is launching a campaign to clean things up: “Drugs in the air, it’s nothing to sniff at.”
After meeting with the Pope on Saturday, President Bush said he “was in awe.” He went on to say that the pontiff is “a very smart, loving man” and that it was “a moving experience.” He then added, “It’s a shame about that celibacy thing, though. Well, and that I met Laura first. But then this was our first meeting and I don’t want to rush anything. Do you think he liked me?”
Scientists at Osaka University in Japan have created a robot that acts like a toddler. Child-Robot with Biomimetic Body, or CB2 as they affectionately call it, is 4 feet tall, weighs 73 pounds, and wobbles when it walks, just like a 1- to 3-year-old. A 1- to 3-year-old who’s the size of an average 9-year-old. It has cameras for eyes, an audio sensor for ears, and speaks using an artificial vocal cord. It also cries when its hungry for new batteries, poops in its titanium Pampers, and realistically burps on your shoulder after you feed it 3-in-1 Oil. And spits it up all over your freshly washed shirt.
Dutch students at the Helicon Vocational Institute have come up with a unique class project — powdered alcohol. That’s right, just add water and you get a bubbly, green, lime-flavored drink that contains 3% alcohol. Booz2Go sells for about $2 — you supply the water — and they say it’s okay to buy some if you’re a minor because it’s not in liquid form. I wonder what happens when you add Mentos to it.
The Senate plans to vote next week on a proposal to raise the fuel efficiency standard to an average of 35 mpg for cars and trucks by 2020, an increase of about 10 mpg over current levels. And yes, we’re talking 13 years from now. Auto executives are trying to get it defeated, claiming it would hurt business. They should quit their short-sighted bellyaching and take a tip from the music and movie industries. When record companies put out an improved product — the CD — everyone went out and bought new copies of all the record albums they already owned. At a higher price, no less. When movie studios started putting movies on DVD people went to see the movie, then paid a second time when they bought the DVD. Hey, Detroit! Wake up! Put out a radically improved super high efficiency car — heck, call it the CD — and people will buy it. You’ll make money. It will help the industry, not hurt it. Hey, at least you don’t have to worry about piracy. No one can download a car illegally and drive it, or make a copy and give it to their friends. Yet.