THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
The small, specialty restaurant Guolizhuang, in Beijing, serves mostly dishes made from various animal penises, according to a September BBC News dispatch, attracting discerning customers who come for the reputed health benefits. Sheep, horse, ox and seal are good for the circulation, the restaurant’s staff nutritionist said, and donkey improves the skin. Tiger, she said, has no particular value to justify its high price, but snake—“two penises each,” she said—is great for potency.
NEW FRONTIERS IN SCIENCE
In October, The Washington Post reported the growing movement among psychiatrists to call compulsive buying a separate, identifiable disorder and recounted this 62-year-old “shopaholic’s” therapeutic conversation with herself: “I would say [to the jewelry she felt compelled to buy], ‘You are so beautiful, I can’t live without you, I love the way you sparkle.’ The jewelry would say back, ‘You need me. You look pretty when you wear me.’ I would say, ‘I do need you. I can’t possibly think of being without you. But something has to change. I need to stop this. I can’t afford a penny more.’” The patient said she believes her compulsion stems from her relationship with her mother.
According to 2005 transcripts made public by The Wall Street Journal in September, a British Airways 747 flew its entire 10-hour-plus route from Los Angeles to Manchester, England, even though the pilot knew that one of its four engines had caught fire and burned up 30 seconds after take-off. The pilot surprised the Los Angeles tower by radioing his decision to fly on “as far as we can”—after checking with BA headquarters, which might have been mindful that returning to Los Angeles would have meant dumping $30,000 worth of fuel and possibly incurring $275,000 in European Union fines for the delay. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration initially proposed a fine for BA but recently closed its investigation.
THE NEW NEW ECONOMY
In October, London’s Daily Mail profiled Keith Jackson, 57, an engineer for the AquaTec Coatings company in Wales, whose occupation for the last 30 years has been watching paint dry (to gauge its application time). He said the job pays “fairly well” but “can be stressful.”
PEOPLE WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS
In October in Cincinnati, lines once again formed well in advance of the grand opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant, populated in part by out-of-town customers who chase openings around the country much as rock fans follow their favorite groups on tour. As usual, there were tents, sleeping bags, lawn furniture and portable generators in evidence. “We’ve been planning it for two weeks,” said a 24-year-old woman from New Richmond, Ind., who was there with her grandmother. The first 100 in line received coupons worth $260.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
Peggy Sue Hesskew, 44, was arrested in Kerrville, Texas, in November after she made a down payment to a hit man (actually, an undercover police officer) for a contract on her ex-husband. She made the contract even though the Kerrville Daily Times had reported the day before that police were on the lookout for a woman who had been asking around town for hit men. “You don’t get the paper?” asked the magistrate when she was arrested. “I was out of town,” she said. MTW