NewsQuirks 388

TEMPER, TEMPEROn the eve of a week-long series of events in October to promote nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island, some 30 URI fraternity members faced off in a brawl with fists and beer bottles. Police reported five people were injured.In Tampa, Fla., Richard E. Clear Jr., a martial arts teacher who advertises his stress management expertise, apparently lost his cool, according to police, who charged him with shooting at a neighbor who complained about Clear's barking dog.WAIT FOR THE RE-RUNSJapan's Asahikawa cable television, serving 12,000 households, features the Goldfish Channel. Around-the-clock, commercial-free broadcasts alternate 12 hours of goldfish with 12 hours of tropical fish. The channel began as a joke, but its popularity has kept it on the air.SILVER LININGThe day after a branch of the financially troubled Czech Republic bank Agrobanka was robbed, Jiri Klumper, the head of Agrobanka, hailed the robbery as a sign that people had confidence in the bank by believing that it actually had money.SING-ALONGJapan's Clarion Co. introduced the Car Oke, a karaoke system for the car. It comes with 400 songs and a remote control so drivers won't have to take their hands off the steering wheel to punch in their selections.The government of Malaysia's Selangor state ordered karaoke bars to close at 11 p.m. to promote marital harmony. "Surely wives do not want their husbands singing in karaoke lounges until the wee hours of the morning. It invites quarrel," Selangor Chief Minister Muhammad Taib said, adding that the curfew would remain in place as long as the state "is responsible for avoiding confrontations in the bedrooms."WHY THEY CALL IT DOPEWhen a tow truck picked up Germain Berrelleza, 18, after his car broke down at Jacob Lake in northern Arizona, Berrelleza insisted on taking some things with him in the tow truck: clothing, personal items and his spare tire. When Berrelleza carried the spare tire into his motel room, the tow truck driver called police, who dismantled the tire and found 11 plastic containers of marijuana.WRONG ARM OF THE LAWWhile attending the Middle Atlantic Law Enforcement convention in Cincinnati, Trenton, N.J., police officer Christopher J. Kerins was arrested and charged with robbing a bank. His getaway was thwarted because he was unfamiliar with the city and asked the teller he robbed for directions to Interstate 71, where police spotted him.RED-CARPET TREATMENTIn an effort to impress delegates to an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in the Philippines, the government dispatched wrecking crews to tear down some 16,000 Manila slum dwellers' huts. "They are rushing the demolition of houses in areas where the APEC delegates will pass," said Belen Abago, organizer of a rally to protest the action. "Our government does not want APEC to see the squatters."Because Queen Elizabeth II's state visit to Thailand was scheduled for October, which is the heart of the rainy season, the government placed large dikes and sandbags around a number of sites that the queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Thai King Bhumipol and Queen Sirikit were scheduled to visit to prevent them from flooding. Also, a large dump near the Siriyalai palace was covered over, at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars, because Queen Sirikit didn't want to take a chance on her guests' smelling it.TAKING NO CHANCESDespite the end of the Cold War, Singapore announced that beginning next year all new houses must be built with bomb shelters. Noting air raid shelters have been under construction for years in schools, hospitals and apartments, Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng explained, "The government will ensure that there will eventually be enough shelters for everyone."BIRD BRAINSA city court in Oslo ruled that a picture on an egg carton of happy Norwegian hens wandering around a farmyard was illegal because the chickens actually spend their lives in tiny cages. The court said the picture could mislead consumers into believing that they are buying eggs from free-range hens. Arild Husefjeld, marketing manager for the Norwegian Egg Central, said the promotion was not designed as a literal representation of a chicken's accommodations, explaining, "You don't show pictures of a slaughterhouse when you're trying to sell meat."In Brazil, the world's second largest producer of poultry, only 75 people are capable of determining the gender of newborn chickens; 72 of them are of Japanese descent. Sexing must be done within the first 24 hours of a chick's life because gender determines what food and treatment each chick receives; however, the birds have no external sex organs and are equal in size and weight. "It is a profession that demands much patience and persistence," said Mario Kawahito, explaining it took him five years to learn the technique. "I think that is our advantage over Westerners."To try to rid its parking garages of pigeons, whose droppings get all over travelers cars, Denver International Airport began scattering corn soaked in the drug Avitrol, which officials described as "pigeon LSD." Avitrol is supposed to make the birds forget their whereabouts, but it has made some forget how to fly. Officials reported in September that about 100 pigeons had crashed and died.Tom Murphy of Pittsburgh sold two of his homing pigeons to buyers in Amarillo and Austin, Texas. In August, the two birds escaped and flew back to Murphy, making the 1,500-mile flight in five days.During a July race from Scotland to Wales, a 2-year-old British racing pigeon lost its bearings, crossed the North Sea and wound up in Norway, some 800 miles away. A Norwegian pigeon enthusiast found the bird and contacted its owner, Robert Jones, whose name was on the bird's tag. Jones told him to keep the bird because she was too far away to return. By September, however, the bird appeared so homesick that the Norwegian released her. A few days later, the bird arrived safely home.

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