Tuesday, October 24, 2006

[NOTE: The ridiculous Blogspot.com had server trouble for about three hours today. Here's my post, but I don't have time to put in the links yet. Maybe later this afternoon. UPDATE: Didn't post them until about 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 25.]

We’re running out of end-games in Great Art, and this one comes pretty close to the precipice: At the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, Wales, the art is a completely bare space. What’s supposed to happen is that patrons walk in and use the bareness to imagine another installation they’ve seen “so that [the two installations] exist at two locations simultaneously, both here and there,” according to artist.

One story takes down two different nations at the same time: A Paris psychologist said he thinks about a dozen Japanese tourists a year have to seek treatment because they’re disillusioned to arrive and find the French so boorish.

Scottish Justice: First, a Japanese driver in Scotland beat a traffic ticket on “mistaken identity” because, well, all Japanese men look alike (the judge said). And then the Daily Record revealed that two prisons will give 300 inmates Christmas leave, including a double baby-killer, two knife murderers, a terrorist, a serial armed robber, a “heroin baron,” and a racist firebomber.

Ms. Ginnah Muhammad ran into the upper limit of tolerance for face-swaddling when a judge in Hamtramck, Mich., said she’d have to unveil when she testified because he needed to see her face to evaluate her credibility. No face, no case. She said no, so the $2,750 rental-car bill, which she had challenged, sticks.

Hey, this is a pre-Update. The next News of the Weird column appearing in print newspapers beginning this coming weekend will contain an item no longer valid (but which it is too expensive to re-do for those clients): Mary Carey, the ex-porn star running for governor of California again, dropped out yesterday to care for her mother, who is recovering from a recent fall. (Actually, that’s putting it kindly; she actually jumped off a building. More details as they emerge.) (I’ll fix the story for the online editions.)
The Oklahoma school superintendent candidate who wants to fortify pupils’ desks with used textbooks to stop bullets [Backstage, 10-19-2006] has now proposed that maybe new textbooks should come with Kevlar covers. (Seriously)

That’s Messed Up
While you were futzing over cutting coupons out of the Sunday papers the last few yrs, these investors were raking it in on state-pressured sales of utility companies that supposedly would introduce greater competition into the industry (and lower the rates for customers) (but it hasn’t worked out that way) (as it often doesn’t) (but that doesn’t stop savvy inside players from getting enormously rich rich rich along the way). From yesterday’s NY Times:

Four big investment firms bought a group of Texas power plants in 2004 for $900 million and sold them the next year for $5.8 billion.
Sempra Energy, parent of the utility in San Diego, bought nine Texas power plants with two partners in 2004 for $430 million, selling two of them less than two years later for more than $1.6 billion.
Goldman Sachs and its partners bought power plants in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio starting in 1998 and sold them in 2001 at a profit of more than $1 billion.

Below The Fold
President Bongo of Gabon said he feels fine and will probably run again when his term expires in 2012 (though maybe I should stop noticing things like “President Bongo”) . . . . . The Libertarian candidate for Alabama governor flashes her headlights to get voters to look at her platform . . . . . In southeast England, a serial train defecator (30 trains in three months) . . . . . A tough sell for academics: PETA banks on studies showing that fish are really smart and obviously therefore feel “terror” and “suffering” . . . . . The female mayor of Almere, Netherlands, said it would be a good idea, when the gov’t deploys troops overseas as peacekeepers, to send along some “professional gals” to keep ‘em company . . . . . Beer is dangerous, whether you (1) throw a keg onto a bonfire or (2) have a beer truck fall onto your car, dumping thousands of cans on you . . . . . The Friday night Ohio State Univ. elevator crash (that killed a student who had tried to climb out) might have been related to the fact that 24 people were squeezed into the 6x6 car . . . . . At least six high schools in Virginia Beach serve lunch at 9:05 a.m.