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NEW FRONTIERS IN VACUOUSNESS Wednesday, September 24
In August, WE cable network disclosed it ordered a nine-episode adaptation of a British series, “Sex Box,” in which a couple enters a large opaque chamber on stage and has sex. The pair, pre- and post-coitally, are clothed and seated before a panel of lesser celebrities, and will respond to questions and comment on their feelings and techniques (likely enduring praise and criticisms about their “work”).
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT Wednesday, September 24
The “trendy” 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, beside the Berlin Zoo and with some of the best views of the city from its floor-to-ceiling windows, has famously positioned the restrooms of its Monkey Bar in front of the windows, also, and those heeding nature’s call are clearly visible to gawkers. Guests are merely warned, by the Trip Advisor website and by the hotel itself, with the admonition, “Please be careful. Not only the monkeys are watching.”
SIGNS OF THE TIMES Wednesday, October 22
“Selfie fever” has begun to sully the sacred Islamic pilgrimages to Mecca, according to scholars who complained to Arab News in September. What for centuries has been a hallowed journey intended to renew the spirit of Islam (that all Muslims are called upon to experience at least once) has come, for some in the so-called “Facebook era,” to resemble a trip to Disneyland, with visitors to the Sacred Mosque texting friends the “evidence” of their piety.
JUST IN CASE Wednesday, September 24
China’s insurance companies offer some of the world’s quirkiest policies, according to a September Reuters item from Hong Kong. People’s Insurance Group, for example, will pay out in case a customer’s children display disappointingly “mischievous and destructive” habits. The Ancheng company offers a policy protecting a customer in case his mouth is burned eating “hotpot.”
NEW NORMAL Wednesday, October 22
Just in time for California’s new law requiring explicit consent for students’ sexual activities is the free iPhone/Google app Good2Go, which developer Lee Ann Allman promises will simplify the consent process (and even document it). As described in a September Slate report, Good2Go requires the initiator to send the prospective partner to at least four smartphone screens, wait for a text message,
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT Wednesday, September 24
New Orleans Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King, already indicted for falsifying her home address in her 2013 campaign for office, was spotted by a Times-Picayune reporter on Aug. 20 filing three registration papers for the Nov. 4 election in which she swore (under oath) to three different addresses — two of which appeared to be clearly erroneous.
HARSH REALITY Wednesday, October 22
New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell manages his own fantasy league team by “drafting” NFL players for virtual competitions based on their real-life statistics of the previous weekend. Donnell lamented to New Jersey’s The Record in October that he had benched virtual “Larry Donnell” on his fantasy team the week before because he thought his other tight end (“Vernon Davis”) would do better.
FROM OUR COLD DEAD HANDS Wednesday, September 24
As part of a nationwide distribution of surplus military equipment, 10 Texas school districts acquired a total of 64 M-16 rifles, 18 M-14s, 25 automatic pistols and magazines capable of holding 4,500 rounds of ammunition. District officials referred generally to the need to protect against school attacks such as the notorious incidents in Colorado and Connecticut, but a local Houston area police chief, seeking to reassure a nervous public, promised the equipment would be used only by tactically trained officers and that, otherwise, would be locked in the department’s armory.
KARMA’S A BITCH Wednesday, October 22
In August, the Tampa Bay Times reported a dispute in Dunedin, Florida, between 12-year-old lemonade-stand operator T.J. Guerrero and an adult neighbor, Doug Wilkey, trying to close him down as an unlicensed entrepreneur, despite T.J.’s business plan for assisting his favorite animal shelter. Of course, T.J.
FINE POINTS OF THE LAW Wednesday, September 24
In July, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Detroit, ruling on a judicial corruption complaint, managed to describe the actions of a Michigan state judge, “Hon.” Wade McCree, as “often reprehensible” — in that he had been carrying on a romantic affair with a woman involved in a child custody case he was judging.
 
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