Malaysian Shahimi Abdul Hamid, 33, announced that on March 11, he will, as a matter of Asian pride, challenge the world record for speed-kissing a venomous snake, which is held by an American, and he smooched up a 9-foot-long cobra at his press conference. And last Oct. 31, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune police column, “An employee of a business … complained that a former co-worker had been constantly showing up and kissing his truck, leaving lip marks all over it. Police warned the man to stay away.”
In September, fertility experts interviewed by London’s Daily Telegraph said an alarming number of women were choosing in-vitro fertilization not because of trouble conceiving but merely because “fast track” pregnancies better fit their busy lifestyles. Said one clinician, “Some people are horrified by the idea that they have to have sex two to three times a week.”
In a race between two African-Americans, Don Samuels was elected again to the Minneapolis City Council in November, despite—or thanks to—his 2004 statements that he can effectively serve the city’s blacks because he descended from “house slaves” in the South rather than “field slaves.” And City Council member Clark Griep failed in his bid for mayor of Broomfield, Colo., despite his revealing that the incumbent mayor, Karen Stuart, had had an extra-marital affair eight years ago with him (which she denied.)
TAX DOLLARS AT WORK
The Los Angeles Times, after a public records search, found in January that the city’s Department of Water and Power had spent $1 million in the last two years in a campaign to convince residents that the city does, indeed, have top-quality municipal water, yet its employees spent $88,000 of taxpayer money during the same period on commercial bottled water.
In November, prominent, occasionally self-mutilating performance artist Marina Abramovic, 59, performed “covers” of other performance artists’ seminal works (with their permission) in her “Seven Easy Pieces” show at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum. In one, according to a New York Times profile, she covered her head in honey and gold leaf, cradled a dead rabbit, and whispered to it about pictures on the wall (original artist: Joseph Beuys). In another, she lay on a bed above lighted candles and made cuts on her fingers while slides of women painting their nails flashed on a screen (original artist: Gina Pane). However, she was stymied by the denial of permission for her fondest proposed “cover”: Chris Burden’s 1973 piece in which his hands were nailed to the roof of a Volkswagen as it was rolled out of a garage.
A judge in Montgomery County, Md., ruled in January that angrily pulling down one’s pants and “mooning” a neighbor (even in front of the neighbor’s 8-year-old daughter) is not illegal in the state (though the judge did call it “disgusting”). And widespread news reports in December at first said a Blue Springs, Mo., woman had “swallowed” her cell phone after an argument with her boyfriend, but of course, miniaturization technology is not quite that advanced, and, several days later, Blue Springs police said it was not a swallowing but an attempted cramming and arrested the boyfriend. MTW