Erring On The Side Of Seagal! A tank and several armored vehicles with dozens of SWAT officers and a bomb robot rolled into a generally quiet Phoenix neighborhood on March 21, startling the residents. Knocking down a wall, deputies raided the home of Jesus Llovera, who was “suspected” of running a cockfighting business, and, indeed, 115 chickens were found inside, but Llovera was alone and unarmed, and his only previous connection to cockfights was a misdemeanor conviction in 2010 for attending one. “We’re going to err on the side of caution,” said Sgt. Jesse Spurgin. Adding to neighbors’ amazement was the almost-fanciful sight — riding in the tank — of actor Steven Seagal, who had brought his “Lawman” reality TV show to Phoenix.
Inferior Designers Businesses typically resist government regulation, but in March Florida’s interior designers begged the state House of Representatives to continue controlling them, with a theatrically ham-handed lobbying campaign challenging a deregulation bill. Designers righteously insisted that only “licensed professionals” (with a minimum six years of college and experience) could prevent the nausea Floridians would suffer from inappropriate color schemes (affecting the “autonomic nervous system” and salivary glands). Also, poorly designed prison interiors could be turned into weapons by inmates. Furthermore, deregulation would contribute to “88,000 deaths” a year from flammable materials that would suddenly inundate the market in the absence of licensing. Said one designer, addressing House committee members, “You (here in this chamber) don’t even have correct seating.” (If deregulation is successful, competition will increase, and lower fees are expected.)
Cure For Mosquito Bites Young girls “grow up” prematurely, often aided by hungry retailers such as the U.S.’s Abercrombie & Fitch and the British clothiers Primark and Matalan, each of which this spring began offering lines of padded bras for girls as young as 7 (8 at Abercrombie & Fitch for the “Ashley Push-Up Triangle”), with Matalan offering one in size “28aa.” Child advocates were predictably disgusted, with one Los Angeles psychologist opining that permissive mothers were trying to compensate through their daughters for their own lack of sexual appeal.
Don’t Mess With Their Priorities In January, while the Texas Legislature debated budget cuts that would almost certainly cost Allen High School (just north of Dallas) at least $18 million and require layoffs of teachers and other school personnel, construction was continuing on the school’s new $60 million football stadium. Noted a New York Times report on the stadium (which 63 percent of voters approved in a 2009 bond referendum), “(O)nly football supersedes faith and family (among Texans).”
Death Panels? Marla Gilson, 59, was fired in April after her employer callously rejected her offer to work from home in Chevy Chase, Md., at reduced salary, while she recovers from chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant for her leukemia. Gilson’s job was chief executive of the Association of Jewish Aging Services of North America, which serves 112 facilities that help frail and elderly Jews during their final years. Gilson’s termination also made her health care much more expensive and potentially made her uninsurable in the future if her treatment is successful. (Nonetheless, the board of directors thanked her for her service and wished her a “speedy recovery.”)
Up The Bum Marie Stopes International is a prominent London charity that robustly promotes a woman’s right to choose abortion, but a whimsical public service campaign in January has created unusually savage criticism. The organization partnered with the British comedy music band The Midnight Beast to produce a video suggesting anal sex as a contraceptive of choice. Among the lyrics of one song, “One up the bum, and it’s no harm done/One up the bum, and you won’t be a mum.”
Ducking Insane A Tulsa, Okla., physician, writing in a 1992 issue of the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, reported on a 32-year-old woman whose neighbors had just had a large satellite dish installed in their yard. The woman became convinced that she was being wooed by Donald Duck and that the dish had been placed there to facilitate his communicating with her. She spent lots of time “hovering” around the dish and eventually undressed and climbed into it, where she said later that she had consummated marriage to Mr. Duck.
Nice Piece! Sigurdur Hjartarson’s life’s work is his Phallological Museum in the fishing town of Husavik, Iceland. As the world’s only all-penis attraction, it draws tourists by the thousands, eager to see the 276-specimen collection of desiccated or stuffed organs from a wide range of animals. However, only in April (15 years after it opened) did the museum acquire a human penis, donated by the late Pall Arason, an acquaintance who, said Hjartarson, “liked to be in the limelight … to be provocative.” To an Associated Press reporter inquiring of the “size” of Arason’s donation, Hjartarson said only, “You will just have to come and see it.”