Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fall 2014 Potpourri

This seems like a good week for my Fall potpourri, especially since recent issues of Time magazine (particularly the Oct. 13 one) were full of tidbits that left me scratching my head. I found items that cover everything from crazy animal stories to alcoholic beverages.

Let’s start with animals. A gentleman from Canada was caught sneaking turtles into the U.S.—51 of them, to be exact. According to the magazine, he had them “hidden between his legs and strapped to his body.” I assume they weren’t the snapping turtle variety. Then again, someone stupid enough to do this probably didn’t think it through very well. There was nothing in the report about the status of his family jewels.

All the major networks picked up the story about the pooch that had a thing for socks. The Portland vet who unraveled this found 43 and a half of them in the Great Dane’s stomach. This raises several questions, like: What happened to that other half sock? If 43 ½ is the capacity of a Great Dane, what’s the capacity of a Dachshund? And of course, How do you remove 43 ½ socks from a Great Dane and what do you do with them afterward? I’m thinking it could give new meaning to “Salvation Army.”

And this from Jimmy Fallon: a zoo in Japan just realized that both hyenas they’ve been trying to mate for years are male. You may think this is funny, but for the two hyenas, it’s been no laughing matter. Thanks, Jimmy.

Now let’s talk some beer and wine. Scientists in Spain invented an “electronic tongue” that can tell one variety of beer from another. It’s 82% accurate, which is way better than I would be. You have to wonder how much beer they’ll taste before they find a practical use for such a tongue. Not to be outdone, the Danes came up with a machine that uses nanosensors to measure how dry a wine is. If they need someone to do quality control checks on the machine’s results, I’m their gal.

What is it about Europeans and their wine and beer? Belgium is building a pipeline 3 kilometers long that will chunnel—I mean funnel—beer from a big brewery to its bottling plant. It will mean 500 fewer delivery truck drivers on the roads (and at a rest stops after sampling too much of their cargo). Expect thousands of residents of Bruges to be praying that the conduit springs a leak near their house. Talk about a “pipe dream!”

The media has recounted a considerable number of dumb actions by a variety of humans. Like the postman in Brooklyn who had a hoarding problem. He kept over 40,000 personal letters that he chose not to deliver, who knows why. No word on whether he even read any of them. And then there’s the UPS worker who stole a diamond worth $160,000 and then traded it for some marijuana—$20 worth. Hello? I just can’t make this stuff up.

Some human activity was not just dumb, it was downright bizarre. The U.S. Coast Guard had to rescue a man who was “running” from Florida to Bermuda in a human hamster wheel (aka an inflatable paddle bubble). He was promoting world peace when he got caught up in the Gulf Stream. To his credit, he did ask the Coast Guard for directions to Bermuda earlier in his journey. (“Turn left at that big swell…”) Eventually exhausted (surprise, surprise), Mr. Hamster sent a message for help.

The hamster wheel also inspired the development of a new desk, created by two artists in San Francisco. You stand and pedal while you work. My husband wants one of these; he thinks it will help strengthen his knees. I have no idea if it will work, but if I can watch him going nowhere, I’ll buy one for him. If you’re thinking  “dumb and dumber,” I don’t blame you.

Finally, a tidbit from my mother’s homeland, again via Time. In a move to lower costs, Italy’s Parliament reduced from $172,000 to $125,000 the amount that its in-house hairdressers can get paid. Assumedly those are annual figures. Really? At those rates (even the reduced ones), they should call them estheticians. And along with your haircut and styling, you should get a mani-pedi and a coupon for cappuccino at George Clooney’s villa on Lake Como.

That will do it for this Fall’s potpourri post. Time to start collecting tidbits for Spring.

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