NOTHING'S BETTER THAN A LAUGH AT THE EXPENSE OF THE DESPERATE
There's a great book out there called They Call Me Naughty Lola, which is a compilation of hilarious personal ads taken from the pages of the London Review of Books. The reason I like it so much is because it makes writing this column so damn easy. So here are some highlights for your enjoyment: "They call me naughty Lola. Run-of-the-mill beardy physicist (M, 46)." "Bald, short, fat and ugly male, 53, seeks short-sighted woman with tremendous sexual appetite. Box no. 9612." "Either I'm desperately unattractive, or you are all lesbians. Bald, pasty man (61) with nervous tick and unclassifiable skin complaint believes it to be the latter but holds out hope for dominant (yet straight) fems at box no. 1075." "My finger on the pulse of culture, my ear to the ground of philosophy, my hip in the medical waste bin of Glasgow Royal Infirmary. 14% plastic and counting." "Geriatric brainiac and compulsive NHS malingering fool (M, 81), looking for richer, older sex-starved woman on the brink of death to exploit and ruin every replacement operation I've had since 1974. Box no. 7648." "These ads try too hard to be funny. Not me, I'm a natural. Juggling, monkey-faced idiot (M, 36). Box no. 5312."
TO CELEBRATE OUR PHONY COMMITMENT TO EACH OTHER
Great news for slackers! If you think going to all the trouble of learning real skills in order to get a real job is way too much work, I've got a great career move for you. Seems that Japan is suffering from a lack of fake Western priests for the fake Christian weddings, which are all the rage in that country. While Japanese Christians only make up about 1 percent of the population, as many as 90 percent of the weddings are now done in a Christian style. And since there are almost no white Japanese Christian priests, opportunistic foreigners are filling the void and making good coin as fake priests for the ceremonies. "Being a fake priest is big business in Japan," said a British man now carving out a new career in Sapporo. "It's far better paid than teaching in a language school." (BBC)
SCREW YOUR COMPUTER
If you're still wondering what to get me for Christmas this year, look no further than the "Humping Dog USB Key." Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like, a USB key in the shape of a plastic toy dog that "humps" your computer when you plug it in. There's even a cool little demonstration video, which I've posted at CuriousTimes.com. These sell for about $9 at Cube-Works.co.jp, although they are kind of hard to order if you don't read Japanese ...
FAKE NEWS RULES THE WORDS
The publishers of the Merriam-Webster dictionary have joined the world of fakiness by giving "Word of the Year" honors to a word which isn't actually a word. This year's winner--truthiness--was coined by political satirist Stephen Colbert in October 2005 and defined as "truth unencumbered by the facts." According to the folks who created this award, the word truthiness best summed up the year 2006, beating out competitors "war," "insurgent," "sectarian" and "corruption" by a margin of five to one. Earlier this year truthiness was also recognized as sort-of-almost legitimate by an institute called the Global Language Monitor, which also praised another of Colbert's made-up words, Wikiality, which is defined as "reality as determined by majority vote." (The Guardian)
CATCHING A BUZZ
Researchers at Ohio State University have discovered that honeybees are the perfect subjects for studies of alcoholism. Whereas most animals need to be tricked into drinking alcohol, honeybees, says Dr. Charles Abramson, will happily drink the equivalent of a human downing 10 litres of wine at one sitting. "We can get them to drink pure ethanol, and I know of no organism that drinks pure ethanol, not even a college student" he says. The idea of using bees came to him when he noticed that bees loved to forage around discarded wine bottles. (New Scientist)
A HANDY TRICK IF YOU WANT TO TEAR SOMETHING APART WITH YOUR CLAWS
Scientists at the Fauna Communication Research Institute in North Carolina have discovered that tigers have the ability to roar in such a way as to create a low-pitched "infrasound" that can momentarily paralyze other animals or humans. (London Telegraph).
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