Mark Nuckols, a business student at Dartmouth, has begun selling a tofu-like food, Hufu, that is flavored to resemble what he believes is the taste of human flesh. His target audience is those who already enjoy cooking with tofu, as well as any actual cannibals who might settle for artificiality in order to avoid legal problems and logistical hassles. Nuckols said he has never tasted human flesh but based his recipe on cannibals’ reported descriptions of the flavor.
ALWAYS PICK SCISSORS
In April, according to a New York Times story, when a Japanese art collector sought to choose between Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses to handle a sale (which ultimately brought in $17.8 million) and quixotically asked the two houses to play rock-paper-scissors for the privilege, Sotheby’s lost out on the eventual $2.3 million commission by choosing paper.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
Thomas E. Mason was charged with robbing the Fortress Bank in Winona, Minn., in June; he was arrested nearby and identified by bank employees, but the main evidence against him was the threatening holdup note, which began, cheerfully, “Hi, I’m Thomas Mason.” And Henrick Alemba Kutwa, 29, was arrested in Durham, N.C., in June and charged with
numerous counts of using stolen credit cards; he was caught when he used one card at a local motel and signed the receipt with his own name.
In June, Co-President Stephen S. Crawford of the financial giant Morgan Stanley (who was installed in the job in order to ensure management “stability” during the company’s currently shaky status with investors) signed a two-year contract at $16 million a year which allowed him, if he changed his mind, to resign and promptly collect all $32 million. A few days later, he resigned. The “stability” was needed at faltering Morgan Stanley because longtime CEO Philip J. Purcell had just been eased out, but his contract called for $113 million in severance pay.
THAT’S A SCAM?!
In the course of a rare crackdown on Nigerian “419”/“advance-fee” scams, a Nigerian court in July sentenced a woman to 30 months in jail, plus fines, in a case in which the victim was not a gullible, e-mail-reading American, but a bank. Brazil’s Banco Noroeste S.A. was apparently suckered into advancing money for a nonexistent new airport in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, which ultimately cost it $242 million (much of which it later recovered).
HEY, KIDS LIKE BOATS
The Massachusetts attorney general’s office said in June that it was investigating whether longshoremen’s unions have for years been
putting some members’ kids as young as three on their membership rolls so that they will accumulate seniority and thus be eligible for higher starting pay if and when they worked as longshoremen.
British biochemist James Shippen and colleague Barbara May created the Indipod, supposedly the first portable toilet made for cars (4-wheel-drive vehicles) and tested it recently by traveling from Scotland to Italy without using any restrooms along the way. The Indipod, to be installed in the trunk, sells for the equivalent of $550.
AT LEAST THE FOOD’S GOOD
Japanese customers who attempt to eat at one Western-style restaurant in Jilin, China will be turned away unless they first apologize for Japan’s occupation of China during World War II. Japan’s Kyodo news service, via a July Reuters dispatch, reported no apologies so far.
POINT WELL TAKEN
Researchers from Technische University in Munich, Germany, writing in the
Journal of the American Medical Association
in May, found that patients with migraine headaches were helped just as much by acupuncture needles stuck randomly into their bodies as by needles at the precisely prescribed pressure points.
A University of Birmingham (England) professor, working from a third-century Greek text of the New Testament’s
Book of Revelation
, found that the number representing the Antichrist is probably not 666, but 616, in that 616 referred to the Emperor Caligula. A Church of Satan official in New York had no comment except to say that his church will use whatever number Christians fear.
(1) Lisa G. Berzins, a nationally known psychologist and expert on eating disorders, was arrested in a West Hartford, Conn., convenience store in July after, according to police, passing out from inhaling the aerosol from three cans of whipped cream. (2) The Virginia Employment Agency, which handles unemployment compensation, announced layoffs of 400 employees in June for lack of work because unemployment is so low in the state. (3) Todd Christian, 26, who flies 40 feet through the air as “Todd the Human Cannonball” for Britain’s Cottle and Austin Circus, was fired in June because he refused a training assignment in Brazil, protesting that he doesn’t like long airplane flights.
In April, off-duty San Antonio, Texas, police officer Craig Clancy went into a public men’s room stall to answer a call of nature. As he lowered his trousers, his pistol dropped from his waistband onto the floor, firing, twice, with one bullet nicking the leg of a man washing his hands nearby.
SMOKING IS BAD FOR YOU
Smoke started rising from Israel’s finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he was sitting for a radio interview in Jerusalem; he had stuffed his lighted cigar inside a pocket to comply with the room’s no-smoking policy (May). In Foreman, Ark., Jeff Foran, 38, suffered facial injuries when he leaped from a fast-moving car to retrieve his cigarette, which had blown out of a window. According to a state trooper, alcohol was involved in Foran’s decision. (May). In New York City, a 28-year-old man fell to his death from a ninth-floor window sill, and police believe a gust of wind might have dislodged him while he was taking a cigarette break from an otherwise smoke-free apartment (March). MTW