Britain’s "National Phobics Society" has a new campaign: I don’t know what’s involved in such a "campaign," but it appears not to be quite to the point of a telethon. The serious problem being addressed involves potential kidney damage, which we’re all against. So NPS is publicizing that at least 4m Britons suffer from, er, toilet phobia—the fear of using public restrooms. Some sufferers even pass up otherwise good employment if they don’t like the workplace restroom situation. Yr Editor suggests for any forthcoming NPS training film some of the urban surveillance videos in the U.S. featuring our ubiquitous, uninhibited street urinators gleefully streaming wildly against buildings and into shrubs.
Celebrity Section of Backstage: Denise Richards, oops, my bad, that’s Denise Richards, on a film shoot in a Vancouver suburb, had had it up to her saline with paparazzi and tossed two of their laptops off of a balcony, hitting an 80-yr-old woman, who initially says she’s not interested in suing . . . . . In West Palm Beach, one of the three kids who tried to mug David Copperfield (forcing him to reach into his repertoire for the ol’ empty-pockets distraction) pleaded guilty . . . . . The real Andy Griffith sued the Wisconsin Andy Griffith, who had changed his name legally from William Fenrick to improve his chances of being elected sheriff (he lost) (Andy wants him to change it back) . . . . . And speaking of name trademarks, some guy in China’s Fujian province has inexplicably tried to market women’s, er, sanitary pads, under the brand name Yao Ming.
Below The Fold
Canada’s Public Works Ministry, realizing it has to cut down its wild spending, hired a consulting firm for $21M to figure out how to do that . . . . . Michigan may be struggling like any other state with the No Child Left Behind benchmarks, but it has such confidence in its 5th-graders that if they take a safety course, they can legally go shoot animals . . . . . A Georgetown Univ. kid, whose dad bought him a luxury off-campus row house on a swanky street, tries to get around D.C. rich-neighborhood zoning laws by establishing a zoning-exempt "church" so that all his partying buds can live with him . . . . . The F State’s space-cadet Katherine Harris, trailing all year by about 25 points in the polls, said yesterday that she absolutely believed that she’d win her Senate contest Tuesday night, right up to an hour after the polls closed, when the Associated Press called it (she lost by 22) . . . . . Recurring Theme: The world-famous zoo in Chiang Mai, Thailand, said it would try to encourage panda mating by showing panda porn videos.