PIRATES AND THE STOCK MARKET: A NATURAL FIT
In Somalia, which is without a central government to speak of and where very little functions beyond an Islamic resistance and individual warlords’ fiefdoms, a robust “stock market” has emerged in the city of Haradheere for “investors” in the seagoing pirate “industry,” to raise money and supplies for kidnappers in exchange for a share of the bounty once a ransom is paid. According to a December Reuters dispatch, 72 “companies” are listed on the exchange, enabling “venture capital” to fund greater piracy traffic and more sophisticated looting. There even seems to be a financial “bubble” at work, in that since the “exchange” opened, pirates’ ransoms have doubled to about $4 million per ship.
AND WE’RE AT WAR WITH THEM
Afghanistan’s national game, buzkashi, is attempting a marketing transformation inspired by pro football’s and basketball’s growths in the United States over the last several decades, according to a November USA Today dispatch. The main hindrance is that buzkashi is often little more than violent anarchy. A team of 12 men on horseback tries to carry a goat carcass the length of a field, around a goal and back, through an opposing team “defense” that includes almost any tactic short of murder. Spectators are often trampled by riders disregarding boundaries, and horses have dropped dead on the field from abuse or fatigue. The head of the Buzkashi Federation said he aims to present the game for consideration to the International Olympic Committee.
SUV GOTTA BE KIDDING
Shannon Broome, 15, of Jacksonville, Fla., with her leg in a cast and still laid up from a June rollover accident in an SUV, was hit again in December when another out-of-control SUV came through her bedroom wall and re-broke the leg (among other injuries inflicted).
THEY SHOULD TOUR TOGETHER
Rajeev Kumar of Calcutta, India, is well-known locally for playing the harmonica, specifically, using only his right nostril. For added show, Kumar plays two harmonicas simultaneously, with nostril and mouth. A BBC News reporter watching him (for a December dispatch) said Kumar’s strain was obvious. “[T]he veins running through his nose and neck bulge, his eyes pop out, and his face looks red and stretched.” And at Britain’s West Midland Safari Park, the African elephant “Five” spends portions of almost every day puffing away at a harmonica she found in her enclosure. Said a park spokesperson, “Five was making tunes within a few weeks.” (The talented Five also paints on canvas.)
ANOTHER ARGUMENT FOR STERILIZATION
Sara Foss, 39, the mother of 13 in Derby, England, who is scheduled to deliver No. 14 in March, told the Daily Mail in November of her vow to continue getting pregnant until she fulfills her desire to have twins. Her longtime, live-in boyfriend works as a boat-builder, but their main income is government benefits worth the equivalent of about $80,000 annually. (Foss, apparently also a fan of literature and movies, has kids named Artemus, Morpheus, Voorhees, Baudelaire, Blackbird, Echo, Malachai and Frodo.)
(1) Andre Stoltzfus, 17, was arrested in Saugerties, N.Y., in October after he allegedly counterfeited a $1 bill that a family member later used toward the purchase of a pack of cigarettes. (2) Bandanna-clad Jason Zacchi, 27, was arrested in Dearborn Heights, Mich., in November after, according to police, pointing a shotgun at a Wendy’s employee at the drive-in window and demanding money. Moments later, the shift manager angrily approached the window and yelled at Zacchi, “What the hell are you doing?” (The manager had recognized Zacchi through his bandanna. Zacchi is her son.) Chuck Shepherd, MauiTime