In Zimbabwe, where inflation is running between 2.2 million and 12.5 million percent a year depending on whether you believe the government or independent analysts, they issued a 100 billion-dollar bank note last week. By Sunday you couldn’t even buy a loaf of bread with it. So yesterday the government announced that it’s knocking 10 zeros off its currency, meaning 10 billion dollars will become one. The government plans to issue Sharpies so it can save money by letting citizens convert their own bills and let them add the unused zeros to the end of their nonexistent paychecks.
Archive for July 2008
When asked by the San Francisco Chronicle how he could be a 21st century president without using email, the Internet, or even computers, John McCain said it’s enough that he’s familiar with the technologies.”It doesn’t mean that I have to email people. I read emails,” he said, explaining that his staff is “constantly showing them to me as the news breaks during the day.” Then he picked up a piece of chalk and went back to writing the next day’s speech on his slate.
Need a boost to get you through the summer heat? How about a can of Unagi Nobori, a new drink that recently debuted in Japan which the manufacturer claims will boost stamina in hot weather. Oh yeah, in case your Japanese is rusty, Unagi Nobori means “Surging Eel.” And yes, the fizzy yellow drink is actually made from eel heads and bones. Drinking it is probably like pounding your head against the wall, it’s painful while you do it but you feel so much better when you stop.
A funeral home in Australia reports that while Amazing Grace, My Way, and What a Wonderful World are still the most popular songs at funerals, they’re getting more requests for rock songs, including Highway to Hell, Another One Bites the Dust, and Ding Dong the Witch is Dead. Meanwhile, on the other side they’re playing Get Back, I Hear You Knocking, and The Bitch is Back.
It’s enough to make Sunday Rose Kidman Urban and Knox Pitt-Jolie feel good about their names. A judge in New Zealand made a 9-year-old girl a ward of the court so he could change her name. I mean, so what if her parents named her Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii? The girl was glad to have a new name since even her closest friends didn’t know the old one, they simply called her “K.” As in, uh, Kidman or Knox. The judge won’t say what her new name is to protect the girl’s privacy, but hopefully he didn’t shorten it to Tallulah Willis. Or Scout. Or Rumor.
Yesterday President Bush explained the housing market mess by saying, “Wall Street got drunk…and now it’s got a hangover.” Adam Smith couldn’t have explained it better. Neither could White House spokesman Scott Stanzel who the other day referred to the timetable to get out of Iraq as “our joint aspirational time horizons.” Even Noah Webster couldn’t have explained that one.
How bad is the economy? One day Paulson says it’s okay, the next Bernanke claims it’s tanking, and all the while Bush thinks it’s peachy keen. But according to the Roadside Attraction Economic Index, it’s mixed. The Mystery Spot was packed this past Sunday, all tours through 7:00 pm being sold out by 1:00. On the other hand, two roadside attractions are up for grabs. First is White’s City, New Mexico, which is for sale. Yes, the whole town, which includes two motels, an RV park, a post office, a grocery store, two restaurants, a gas station, an opera house, and the Million Dollar Museum with its statue of a Woolly Mammoth, barbed wire collection, two-headed animal freaks, human skulls, and mummies. Too much real estate for you? Maybe you should bid on H.G. “Ben” Hartman’s house in Springfield, Ohio, which comes with two lots across the street and his popular folk art rock garden in the back yard, complete with miniature buildings, a castle, and cool sculptures, all for about $57,900. Two attractions for sale. It doesn’t bode well for the S&P Index this week.
Four months ago, Yvonne Hair and Nails, a salon in Alexandria, Virginia, starting offering customers an alternative to using razors to get rid of dead skin on their feet—fish. Garra rufa, which are also known as doctor fish, are tiny carp that nibble the skin off your feet as you soak them in warm water. So far 5,000 people have paid up to $50 to let 100 fish eat their skin and toe jam. But whatever you do, don’t try this at home. Especially if you keep piranhas in your fish tank.
The world chess boxing championship was recently held in Berlin and Nikolay Sazhin of Russia took the crown when Frank Stoldt of Germany left his queen vulnerable and Sazhin forced him to concede. Kind of an intellectual knockout. Chess boxing is a new sport that alternates a round of chess with a round of boxing until one person either beats the other at chess or beats him senseless. Not that hybrid sports are anything new. The Olympics has the biathlon, which combines cross-country skiing and shooting a rifle, and the pentathlon, which includes fencing, shooting a handgun, swimming, horseback riding, and running. If chess boxing catches on it’s only a matter of time until more hybrid sports pop up, like checkers kayaking, poker golf, and Candyland UFC, which will alternate rounds of the board game with an Ultimate Fighting cage match.
Iraq is holding a competition to design a new national flag. It’s not just for Iraqis, but is open to anyone who wants to enter a design. A committee will pick three designs, after which members of the parliament will vote for their favorite. The deadline for submissions is the end of September, with the final vote expected to come before the end of the year, the end of the war, or the end of the world, whichever comes first.
So much uproar over the New Yorker magazine cover with Barack and Michelle Obama on it. Sheesh! It’s satire. It’s humor. Besides, who cares if Obama wears muslin and held some corn when he took the oath of office for the Senate?
The price of oil is $138 a barrel. The cost of popcorn to movie theaters has gone up 50% in the last few months, meaning it costs more per barrel than oil. Yet according to the EPA, the “statistical” value of an American’s life has dropped over the past five years from $7.8 million to $6.9 million. It doesn’t take a financial genius to know it’s time to move your 401(k) money out of human life funds and into popcorn futures.
For the second year in a row, a Miss USA fell down during the evening gown competition of the Miss Universe pageant. A little advice for next year’s contestant: get a shorter gown, wear flats or platforms, put sticky stuff on your soles and heels, practice walking, and don’t feel pressured to continue the tradition. If you’re still feeling a little nervous about it, fake a leg injury and use crutches. There’s nothing to be ashamed of by pandering to the sympathy vote.
St Mary’s Airport in England is looking to hire a fourth air traffic controller. The salary is about $70,000 a year and, according to the ad, the applicant must have excellent vision since the airport is on a hill and is often covered in fog. A note at the bottom of the application says: “If you require this document in an alternative language, in larger text, Braille, easy read or in an audio format, please contact the Community Relations Officer.” I think I’ll stick to flying into Heathrow.
Last month when President Bush was in Rome, he said of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi that “We’re good friends.” Fast forward to the Group of 8 summit meeting the other day where the press kit the White House handed out to the press corps referred to Berlusconi as one of the “most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice” and said he’d been “accused of the very corruption he had vowed to eradicate.” White House spokesman Tony Fratto apologized, calling it a “very unfortunate mistake.” Bush said, “We were just kidding. That pasta-sucker may have a girly sounding name but he’s no more corrupt than I am.”
An AP-Yahoo News poll has found that pet owners favor John McCain over Barrack Obama 42% to 37%, while 48% of those who don’t own a pet—or are their guardians as they prefer to say in San Francisco—would rather see Obama become president. Nader, meanwhile, was favored by 3% across categories, the same as “Other” but less than the 12% who are undecided. This proves one thing—okay, three things: that the election process lasts way too long, pollsters ran out of intelligent questions in 1972, and the media need to find a disaster or celebrity divorce/birth/rehab to keep them busy. Hopefully soon.
Scientists at Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center say watermelon contains citrulline, a chemical that reacts with the body’s enzymes to be changed into arginine, an amino acid that boosts nitric oxide which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect as Viagra. Any time now you can expect to see spam showing offering cheap generic watermelons that will be shipped in plain brown wrappers.
The Raleigh News & Observer reports that the state DMV has notified nearly 10,000 people that their license plates may contain a vulgar acronym. WTF? Exactly. Anyone in the state with license plates containing “WTF” can get new ones free. That’s nice of them, but what a PITA.