Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Last Week

Last week in Siberia's Nikolskoye, a group of doomsday cultists barricaded themselves in a bunker and threatened to ignite themselves with 100 gallons of gasoline if the police interfered with them. Their master -- self-identified prophet Pyotr Kuznetsov -- not among his followers, teaches the sinfulness of watching TV, listening to the radio, handling money and all such evils. On the upside, the faithful will eventually get to decide who goes to hell.

Also last week, reports out of India have it that Guwahati has been overrun with rampaging monkeys, migrating into the city as nearby forests are developed. The monkeys rush up and slap women, and in one instance seem to have pushed New Delhi's deputy mayor off a balcony to his death. The problem is intractable, since monkeys are seen as an incarnation of the Hindu god of strength, Hanuman.

Meanwhile, the Norwegians have built a giant underground refrigerator, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, to preserve 4.5 million seeds for when Global Warming or nuclear war renders agriculture a non-starter for a few decades or centuries. Permafrost will ensure locked-in freshness for at least a thousand years.

In Switzerland the new sport of frozen-waterfall climbing is growing in popularity. In a similar vein, alcohol consumption among British minors is on a steep climb. Over a third of 14-year-olds admit they've been drunk within the past several weeks. The rise coincides with the liberalizing of licensing laws and the 24-hour sales of liquor. It had been hoped that removing restrictions would continentalize British "cafe culture" along French lines. Rather than turning Brits into sophisticated sommeliers enjoying the rolling bouquet of some fine midnight Chablis, their cobbled byways are flecked with coagulating puddles of vomit, and the NHS is enjoying a sharp rise in cases of cirrhosis of the liver.

In Kabul, bodyguards opened fire for five minutes on a crowd of school children when a moslem religionist exploded. The children had been welcoming visiting politicians touring a sugar factory in Baghlan province. Fifty dead. In a related story, maritime piracy is on the rise off the coasts of Somalia and Indonesia. More than 200 attacks this year, 15 sailors killed and 188 taken hostage, $15 billion in losses. Many attacks go unreported -- to avoid impounded vessels during months-long and fruitless investigations. Some assaults are fought off with high-pressure water hoses or high frequency sonic canon; sometimes hull walls are greased. The rise is blamed in part on mission creep among islamists, combined with the decline in the size of First World navies.

The 3000 operating centrifuges in Iran are capable of producing enough fissionable material for a working atomic device within one year, says the International Atomic Energy Agency. This finding comes at a time when Iranian president Ahmadinejad is calling former-presidents Khatami and Rafsanjani "traitors" and "more stupid than goats" for suggesting that Iran should compromise in order to ease international tensions. Instead, Ahmadinejad has replaced hard-line chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani with the even more strident Saeed Jalili, most prominent on the world scene for his attempt to convert Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to Islam.

The Rwandan New Times notes that Paris Hilton is planning on visiting that fair country. As part of a proposed reality TV program, The Philanthropist, the hotel heiress will be filmed teaching Rwandan school children and hobnobbing in healthcare clinics. The editorial comments that the young socialite is capable only of imparting to children how to be “superficial and self-centered,” and how to “pose like a desperate idiot in an empty room.”

In sunny San Francisco, the city fathers ... er, progenitors have decided to issue ID cards that omit any mention of gender. Name, birthdate, photo -- no male or female. It is "highly inconvenient," you see, "for people who change genders to make their legal documents match their new identities." By "new identities," of course, is meant their "real identities." God screwed up, so some people have to castrate themselves and have their penises turned inside out and shaped into a little sac. Or, contrariwise, some have their labia sewn into a sort of bag to hold a couple of rubber spheres, and some sort of cartilaginous finger-like appendage constructed out of ears and knee caps and toenails and whatnot. You now, a sex change. Cuz gender is just about the crotchal area. Any idiot knows that.

And finally, in New York retired cop Arno Herwerth has been instructed by the DMV to hand in his specialized license plate, because "it may offend someone." It read "GET OSAMA," which has been deemed "derogatory to an ethnic or other group." Well, technically the bureaucrats are correct. Al-Queda is after all a "group". We mustn't offend the islamists. That would be intolerant, know what I'm saying? What are we, at war with them or something? That's just crazy. Get out of here.

Everyone is so religious.


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