It is increasingly difficult these days for a girl to go through the stage of “plain old kid,” according to a June Arizona Republic story, because clothing fashions seem to move from “toddler” directly to some form of “teen” (including “tween” and now “pre-tween”), with spaghetti-strap dresses and “ultra miniskirts,” but in tinier-than-ever sizes. In fact, reported the newspaper, GapKids recently offered a “white, crocheted string bikini you’d likely see Anna Kournikova wearing on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue [except that it] was for a 12-month-old.”
LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS
Faced with falling prices for domestic wine, a group of French vintners has made terrorist threats against the government and retailers who carry imports. The guerrilla gang, wearing black ski masks, released a video in May (so far ignored by the Sarkozy government), reminding officials about recent incidents in which small explosives were detonated in supermarkets that carry imported wines and in which a tractor-trailer carrying imported wine had been shot at. Said one hooded protester, “Blood will flow” if prices don’t soon rise.
PARENTS WITH TOO MUCH MONEY
Backyard play sets can range in price from less than $100 to high-end outfits of $2,000 to $12,000 that would typically include fancy combinations of rock walls, rope ladders, sandboxes and tunnel slides, and maybe a tower with roofs and rotating plastic guns mounted on the walls, according to a May report in Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel. Also available: the King Kong Carl McKee Custom, at 46 feet by 58 feet, featuring towers 16 feet high (price: about $46,000, installed).
THE CONTINUING CRISIS
In June, for the fourth year, professor Paul Worsey of the University of Missouri-Rolla conducted his Summer Explosives Camp, with 20 high-school-age kids learning the techniques of blowing things up (e.g., a tree stump, a watermelon, a dead chicken). Said one camper, “Some people like baseball [but] I just like to set off bombs.” Worsey’s main goal is to recruit mine-engineering majors to his school, but another benefit, he told National Public Radio, is that the school “attract[s] the kids that might otherwise get into a little bit of trouble [and] give[s] them… an opportunity for a career.”
PEOPLE DIFFERENT FROM US
Tony Hicks was hospitalized in Knoxville, Tenn., for separate wounds on July 1, 2 and 3; he was hit by a car one night, then released from the hospital the next day, but was back in after an intruder attacked him in his home, and after his release the next day, he was back after police shot him in connection with a robbery.
LEAST COMPETENT PERSON
On May 31, veteran big-rig operator Gilberto Cantu drove his 18-wheeler all the way through the Lincoln Tunnel (1.5 miles, from Weehawken, N.J., to New York City) even though the load was six inches too high for the tunnel, so that the truck’s roof continuously ripped and peeled off, slowing the truck and making a screeching noise the whole way. In addition, Cantu apparently ignored the several sound warnings and flashing lights by officers who tried to stop him inside the tunnel, and according to their reports, he appeared not even to understand why they had stopped him after he finally emerged. Cantu was not alcohol-impaired and, until then, had a “spotless” safety record. MTW