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Curious Times May 19, 2004



There is a great Web site titled "Just So You Know," which lists dozens of unsavory facts about George W. Bush, which American voters should keep in mind during next November's elections. Among the many obscene tidbits, these glaring issues: I attacked and took over two countries; I spent the U.S. surplus and bankrupted the U.S. Treasury; I shattered the record for the biggest annual deficit in history; I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in U.S. history; I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in U.S. history; I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind; I dissolved more international treaties than any president in U.S. history; I withdrew from the World Court of Law; I am the first president in U.S. history to refuse United Nations election inspectors access during the 2002 U.S. elections; I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in U.S. history; members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history (the poorest multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her). Get all the grim details at


Every great artist knows that when the creative well runs dry, it never hurts to pull out a cheap gimmick to get them talking about you again. And so we have the first novel ever written entirely without verbs. A Frenchman writing under the pseudonym Michel Thaler has released Le Train de Nulle Part (The Train From Nowhere), a novel sorely lacking in action and relies instead upon angry passages of adjectives to describe dislikeable commuters on a train. Unfortunately, the author's interview about the release of the novel was much more interesting than the book itself. "My book is a revolution in the history of literature," claimed Thaler, who described verbs as "invaders, dictators, and usurpers of our literature." He added, "The verb is like a weed in a field of flowers ... you have to get rid of it to allow the flowers to grow and flourish." (Telegraph)

the more the merrier

An 80-year-old Indian man who has been married 90 times is looking for 10 more wives in order to crack the 100-marriage mark. But surprisingly, he isn't doing it to get into the record books. Udaynath Dakshiniray has married 90 women from poor families and given each of them at least five acres of land. He says his quest for 100 wives is a social mission. "In a country where unmarrieds are looked down upon in society, I marry them to help them overcome social stigma and harassment." He says he still has about 400 acres of land he wishes to distribute to the poor. (Ananova)

BLOOD-SUCKING KILLER BUGs would be more interesting

The bizarre life cycle of the cicadas is about to cause the largest insect invasion ever recorded on Earth as trillions of the flying bugs are set to emerge from their underground lairs for a short bout of hot insect sex before they all die and begin the cycle again. Scientists are eager to study the strange ritual, as the cicada emerge only once every 13 or 17 years for their mating frenzy. Huge portions of the eastern U.S. are bracing for the swarm, which will see trillions of the bugs emerge from the ground. Although the insects are harmless to humans, the mating call of trillions of them can get very annoying, and the smell of their decaying corpses can be a bit rank. On the bright side, cicadas have no defenses making them easy prey, and supposedly they taste like canned asparagus. The next swarm of cicadas is not due until 2021. (BBC)


The Australian government is asking its citizens to have lots of sex and create many more babies in order to keep up the nation's population. Peter Costello, Australia's treasurer, created a benefits package that includes over $2,000 for each baby born after June 2004. "If you can have children it's a good thing to do," said Costello. "You should have ... one for your husband, one for your wife, and one for your country." He also recommended that many Australians need to have extra babies to make up for their friends who "aren't even replicating themselves." He finished his press conference by urging everyone to go home and screw. "You go home and do your patriotic duty tonight," he urged. (Reuters)