BEST WATER EVER
New York City’s tap water is already widely regarded as world-class, in safety and taste (and subjected to a half-million tests a year by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection). But two entrepreneurs recently opened the Molecule water bar in the city’s East Village, selling 16-ounce bottles of the same water for $2.50, extra-filtered through their $25,000 machine that applies UV rays, ozone treatment and “reverse osmosis” in a seven-stage process to create what they call “pure H2O.” The owners of Molecule are a restaurateur/art dealer and a “social-justice activist” who is a “former world champion boomerang player,” according to a July Wall Street Journal profile.
CAN’T POSSIBLY BE TRUE
In 2011, the Liberty County, Texas home of Joe Bankson and Gena Charlton was raided by sheriff’s deputies, the FBI, state officials and a trailing media crew (alerted by the sheriff), checking out a tip that “25 to 30” children’s bodies were buried on the property. No evidence was found, and in a June 2012 lawsuit for defamation, Bankson and Charlton claim that the sheriff had organized the raid knowing full well that the tipster was a self-described “prophet” who had disclosed that her information came from “Jesus and the  angels” who were present with her. The sheriff said he did everything “by the book” and that a judge signed the search warrant confirming “probable cause” to believe that at least one crime (if not 25 to 30) had been committed.
NO CONVENTION FOR THIS GROUP
In July, the online magazine Salon profiled Virtuous Pedophiles–an effort by two notably articulate men who insist that their sexual fascination with children would never extend to personal contact. Said one (who claims “advanced degrees from prestigious universities”): “We do not choose to be attracted to children [but] we can resist the temptation to abuse children sexually.” He added, curiously, that “many” of the Virtuous Pedophiles “present no danger to children whatsoever.” Lamented the group’s co-founder, “Almost any group in the world can hold a convention, look out on a sea of faces, and say, ‘These are people like me,'” but because pedophiles are treated with such scorn, “we can’t.”
North Carolina state Rep. Becky Carney, an environmental activist, inadvertently cast the deciding vote in July to open up natural-gas hydraulic fracking in the state. The legislature had passed the bill earlier, but it was vetoed by Gov. Bev Perdue, and the House needed exactly 72 votes to override the veto and enact the bill. Carney’s tireless lobbying of colleagues appeared to have helped halt the overriders at 71 votes, but when it came time to push the buttons, Carney accidentally became the 72nd. She could be heard on her microphone in the chamber, saying, “Oh my gosh. I pushed green.”
IT’S JUST POLITICS
Mark Schimel told reporters in Albany, N.Y., in May that it was nothing personal that caused him to run for the Republican nomination to the state assembly from Nassau County–where the incumbent is his estranged wife, Democrat Michelle Schimel. Mark’s mother seemed quite upset at her son. “I can’t believe he’d do a thing like this [to Michelle],” she told a reporter. “I’m going to talk to him.”
DEMOCRACY FOLLIES (INTERNATIONAL VERSION)
In March in Ireland, Bundoran Town Councilor Florence Doherty became exasperated with colleague Michael McMahon, who opposed a bill to strengthen whistleblowers’ rights. “[T]his country doesn’t need whistleblowers,” McMahon said. Doherty replied, “Of course it does, you asshole.” In a later radio interview, Doherty repeated her word-of-the-day four times. And in a live TV debate in July, Mohammed Shawabka, a member of the Jordanian parliament, became enraged when his opponent, Mansour Seif-Eddine Murad, called him a secret Israeli agent. Shawabka removed a shoe and hurled it at Murad, who ducked, but then Shawabka pulled a silver pistol from his waistband and waved it around (though no shots were fired).
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
William Voss has a tough job, noted a Bloomberg News report in June. He is CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation, which relentlessly campaigns for improving airline safety regulations, but admits that his primary obstacle is… safe airlines. The last major-airline accident in the U.S. was 11 years ago, leading to complacency by airlines, passengers and regulators. “If anyone wants to advance safety through regulation,” Voss said, “it can’t be done without further loss of life.”
LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATOR
The median annual per-capita income in the New York City borough of the Bronx is about $18,000. In the adjacent borough of Manhattan, as the New York Post reported in May, a resident of a certain condominium on East 11th Street was about to pay over 50 times that amount just for a parking space. The space is a deluxe one, though: about 12 feet by 23 feet by 15 feet high, meaning that it can be configured to store more than one car.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
James Allan, 28, was sentenced to three years in prison in Oxford, England, in July for robbing a news shop. Allan’s getaway was delayed when he insisted, repeatedly, on pushing the front door open when he obviously should have been pulling. Finally, exasperated, he yanked off his balaclava, exposing his face to the surveillance camera, kicked the door, breaking the glass, and escaped. Police arrested him about three hours later nearby. (The 2000 British movie Snatch featured just such a memorable scene of push/pull helplessness.)