A study by researchers at Brigham Young University found that people in a room that had been sprayed with citrus-scented Windex were more virtuous than those in an unscented room, being more prone to split money evenly with other people, willing to volunteer their time, and apt to donate money to charity. They also could see out of their glasses better, had a craving for oranges, and grinned like Stepford Wives saying, “My windows have never been cleaner and streak-free! And I’ve never felt so uprightly moral!”
Archive for October 2009
Wal-Mart quietly began selling coffins on its website last week. They offer 15 caskets and dozens of urns in prices ranging from $999 to $3,199. They ship within 48 hours and let you pay for your purchase over a period of 12 months with no interest. Assuming, of course, that you’re around to finish paying. This comes on the heels of Costco, which has been selling coffins in select stores since 2004 and more recently started selling them online. The selection is similar but at Wal-Mart you don’t have to buy a six-pack.
For a woman who prefers breasts to thighs—and when it comes to their body, name one who doesn’t?—a plastic surgeon in Miami is liposuctioning excess fat from a part of the body that has too much and using it to augment the breasts. Not only does it look more natural than implants and leave no scar or incision, it’s environmentally correct because your fat is being recycled instead of being released into a landfill. Think of it as downsizing and upsizing at the same time.
The three McDonald’s restaurants in Iceland are all closing this weekend, thanks to rising costs that meant they’d need to increase the price of a Big Mac by 20 percent, which would have made it the world’s most expensive, costing a whopper—I mean, whopping—780 krona, or $6.36. The franchisees plan to reopen the stores under the name Metro. Maybe they should stick to traditional Icelandic favorites like cured shark, singed sheep heads, and laufabrauð (deep-fried bread). With special sauce, of course.
A Japanese clothing manufacturer has released a men’s suit impregnated with titanium dioxide, which the company says will break down and kill any swine flu—uh, H1N1—on the fabric in a matter of hours. Costing $590, the suit comes in four colors to match your face mask and, even though it eliminates 40% of the virus, won’t do a damned thing to help flu paranoia.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told CNN he governs Italy out of a sense of duty, not because he enjoys it. “I’m doing what I do with a sense of sacrifice,” he said. “I don’t really like it. Not at all.” When asked about his supposed affair with 18-year-old aspiring model Noemi Letizia, he said the exact same thing.
When Miss California USA officials took Carrie Prejean’s crown last June for belligerent behavior, lack of cooperation and contract breaches, or her opposition to same-sex marriage depending on which side you believe, it was disclosed that not only had Prejean had breast augmentation surgery so she could be competitive in the national pageant, but pageant officials had loaned her the money. Well now they’re suing to get her to repay the $5,200 she borrowed for the implants. She’s writing a tell-all book, they want the book’s profits, and legal minds everywhere are wondering, Is it legal to repay a loan for fake breasts using counterfeit money? And if she doesn’t pay up, can you garnishee her breast implants?
A researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara reports that when a dead salmon he bought at a local market was put in an fMRI scanner and shown a photographs of humans displaying different emotions, the scan indicated parts of the fish’s brain lit up. Proof the fish was still thinking? Or does it show that even salmon have a sole? According to study leader Craig Bennett, who had previously scanned a pumpkin and a dead bird to no avail, it simply shows how easy it is to get misleading results from an MRI. Maybe they should try the experiment with Richard Heene, Balloon Boy’s father, and see if they discover any brain activity there.
Sure, Starbucks has come out with Via, an instant coffee they say is revolutionary and worthy of carrying their logo, but can it make you look younger? Heck no, but a new version of Nescafe released in Singapore might. New Nescafe 3 in 1 includes coffee, skimmed milk, and 200 mg of collagen, the protein cosmetic surgeons use to remove facial wrinkles and puff up the lips. Can Botox Coke and Special K with Silicone be far behind?
A company in Massachusetts is putting out pill bottle caps that call to remind you to take your pills. You set the time you’re supposed to take it, then if the bottle isn’t opened, the cap and a night light start blinking. A few minutes later they play music. If that doesn’t work, the built-in cell phone calls the company’s computer, which calls or sends a text message. The big question is, What ring tone do you use for your pill bottle? Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit? Something from Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill? Or Just Like a Pill by Pink?
In honor of Barbie’s 50th birthday—she doesn’t look a day over 25, does she?—French shoe designer Christian Louboutin is creating three special edition dolls that will wear mini versions of his shoes and come with little Louboutin shoe boxes. But sacre bleu! Louboutin says the curvaceous Barbie’s ankles are fat. Too fat, in fact, to wear his shoes. So Mattel is doing a little, uh, plastic surgery on Barbie’s legs for these dolls. Coming soon: Botox Barbie and Nip ‘n Tuck Barbie.
Ever sat around trying to decide whether to buy or sell a stock? If so, you need “The Rationalizer,” a gadget created in the Netherlands by Philips Electronics and ABN Amro bank. You just put on their “EmoBracelet” and—voila!—you turn into a gloomy, whiny, suicidal singer. Just kidding. Actually it’s a galvanic skin response sensor—think the finger part of a lie detector or Scientology E-Meter—that measures how much you’re sweating, then sends a signal to an “EmoBowl” on your desk that glows yellow, orange, or red depending on how emotional you are. Supposedly it helps warn you when you’re being too emotional to be rational about the stock trade, but since it can’t tell positive from negative emotions, you might just be excited, not irrational. Think of it as an expensive Mood ring. Or another executive desk toy like the Newton’s Cradle, those suspended metal balls that bounce side to side as they hit the others.
A survey conducted by video game company Konami found that one out of five Japanese men polled were interested in pursuing love with a character in a video game. It also found that 40% of them thought this was a viable consideration. When asked to define reality, 64% of the respondents said they weren’t sure but they expected to know once they reached Level 7, though they admitted they’d need to look up a game cheat to get there.
Dalton Chiscolm is upset at Bank of America because he says he got inconsistent information from a Spanish employee and that checks have been rejected because of incomplete routing numbers. So he did what any irate customer would do—he sued the bank for “1,784 billion, trillion dollars.” To put that in perspective, it’s 1 followed by 22 digits, more than the 2008 gross domestic product of the entire world, and even greater than the number of Late Show employees David Letterman’s had sex with.
For years people have debated whether the Shroud of Turin is really the cloth Jesus Christ was buried in or just a medieval fake. Now an Italian scientist says he can turn out one a week. Luigi Garlaschelli wrapped a specially woven cloth around one of his students, painted it with pigment, then baked it in the oven for a few hours and washed it. Voila! Instant Shroud. Although he’s presenting his findings at a conference of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims on the Paranormal this Saturday, the Create-a-Shroud kit won’t be ready on time for holiday gift giving this year, though you’ll still be able to give a Chia-sus Pet that grows long green hair and a beard.
The new Nieman Marcus Christmas catalog is out and even they realize we’re in a recession. “Tokens of affection don’t have to be extravagant,” they say in the catalog’s introduction, proven by the fact that more than 40% of the gifts listed cost less than $250. Thanks goodness! Of course there’s still a limited-edition Jaguar for $105,000, a $73,000 motorcycle, and an environmentally-friendly chandelier made from 366 plastic bottles pulled from a landfill for only $12,000. As Kermit would sing today: It’s not easy being green; neither is it cheap.
Egyptian lawmakers are calling for a ban on the importation of a Japanese-made kit that helps a woman fool her new husband into thinking she’s a virgin. The Artificial Virginity Hymen from Gigimo costs $29 and expands to make you feel tight, then at the appropriate moment oozes a liquid that “look like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groans, you will pass through undetectable” explains the company’s website. Since what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, they’ll soon be releasing a book for men called “How to Act Like You Have No Idea What You’re Doing While Hiding your Untreated Chancres.”
When Kraft decided to put out a new, milder version of Vegemite in Australia by combining it with cream cheese, they thought they chose the perfect name from the 48,000 suggestions they’d received: iSnack 2.0. Not surprisingly, customers hated it, which was probably the idea. Not to mention that Men at Work’s update of their song would sound silly as “He just smiled and gave me an iSnack 2.0 sandwich.” So now Australians can vote online for their second favorite name, choosing from Vegemite Cheesybite, Creamymate, Smooth, Snackmate, Vegemate and Vegemild. Either way, it’s still mostly yeast extract and cream cheese. Yum!