To fund a new Iraqi economy and government after the March 2003
invasion, the U.S. Federal Reserve shipped 484 pallets of
shrink-wrapped U.S. currency, weighing 363 tons, totaling more than $4
billion, and, according to a House of Representatives committee staff
report in February, most of the cash was either haphazardly disbursed
or distributed to proper channels but with little follow-up tracking.
By March 2007, The Times of London
found bank records revealing that two unremarkable Baghdad
small-business men (appointed to the defense ministry) eventually
deposited over $1 billion in private accounts in Jordan, and that U.S.
efforts to buy state-of-the-art equipment for the Iraqi Army were
seriously undermined because middlemen purchased only cheap, obsolete
Polish munitions and pocketed the savings.
On Jan. 31, several hundred Japanese husbands recognized the second
annual Beloved Wives Day to upgrade Japanese men’s notorious, deeply
ingrained indifference to their spouses. Among the husbands’ vows: be
home from work by the unusually early hour of 8 p.m.; actually look
into the missus’s eyes and say “thank you;” and try to remember to call
her by her name (instead of, as many apparently do, merely grunting at
her). Divorce in Japan remains relatively rare, but marital
estrangement has been rapidly increasing in recent years.
A professional burglar was arrested in the village of Klevan,
Ukraine, in February according to a report from the German news agency
DPA after he broke into a church to steal gold fixtures, fell asleep,
got locked in the weekends-only facility for five days, and survived on
the only liquid available: sacramental wine.
Britain’s Health and Safety agency headquarters reportedly posted
signs in various locations in the building warning workers not to
attempt to move chairs and tables by themselves, but to call for
porters (for which 48 hours’ notice was required). In April, London’s Daily Mail
reported, not surprisingly, that the agency’s workplace injury record
was very low. And the head teacher at Bramhall High School in
Stockport, England, decreed recently that students, who wear neckties
to class, must use clip-on ties, in part because of the risk of
CREME DE LA WEIRD
In March, police in Trenton, N.J., arrested four men in separate
incidents and learned that they fancy themselves as “diplomats” from
the Abannaki Indigenous Nation and claim immunity from the laws of the
“so-called planet Earth” (and Mars and Venus, too). One allegedly
possessed an unidentified “controlled substance,” and the others were
driving cars with made-up “diplomat” tags. The four showed no
ostensible ties to the Abenaki Indigenous Nation, a tribe that first
appeared in North America in the 17th century and which is still
present in the northeastern U.S.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
Anthony Perone, 20, pleaded guilty in March in Connecticut in
connection with two stalking letters he admitted mailing to a woman he
had fallen for in the third grade but who apparently had spurned him.
The rambling, incoherent letters explicitly threatened death, and
Perone had intended to send them anonymously. But he lived with his
mother and had given each envelope to her to mail, and, unknown to him,
she had thoughtfully added his name and address before posting them. MTW