CELEBRITY TRADEMARK NEWS
The gruff, former Chicago Bears player and coach Mike Ditka recently teamed with a California winery to sell a signature line of wines, including a premium taste retailing for $50 a bottle. And actor Andy Griffith filed a lawsuit in November demanding that the former William Fenrick change his legal name back from “Andy Griffith,” which he admitted he acquired only to help himself get elected sheriff of Grant County, Wis. (he lost). And a man in China’s Fujian province applied to the government in November to sell female sanitary pads under the trademark “Yao Ming,” catching the superstar pro basketball player’s agents dumbfounded at the man’s audacity.
Among the indigenous rituals that survive today in Madagascar is the quinquennial “turning of the bones,” when families dig up their ancestors’ remains, polish them, show them around the village so the departed can see how things have changed, then re-dress and re-inter them. Not to partake is to show disrespect, bring bad luck and risk one’s own unsatisfactory afterlife, according to an October Wall Street Journal dispatch from Antananarivo.
BAD WATER/GOOD WATER
Some churches in Canada have begun actively condemning commercial bottled water—except where no other sanitary water is available—either as environmentally destructive or as the commercialization of God’s gift of life, according to a September report in Toronto’s Globe and Mail. At the same time, in Mumbai, India, as many as 1 million Hindus once again this year ritually dunked hand-made idols of the elephant-headed Ganesh, thus worsening the hopelessly polluted waters around the city.
CORPSES MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN YOU
Dead candidates continued to enjoy electoral success, with at least four winning hard-fought races in November. Katherine Dunton tied in an Alaska school board race but, though dead, won the coin toss and was elected. Glenda Dawson won her Texas state House seat, thanks in part to a colorful campaign mailer that went out a month after her death, touting her achievements but making no campaign promises. And Sam Duncan won a seat on a North Carolina county soil and conservation board, which was such a low-key race that even some of his backers were surprised to learn after the election that he had died in September.
KIDS THESE DAYS
Bryan Hathaway, 20, was arrested in Superior, Wis., in October and charged with molesting a deer carcass that he said had sexually aroused him when he saw it in a ditch. Hathaway’s lawyer has raised the defense that the anti-bestiality law only applies to sex with live animals.
THIS WEEK IN WACKY DRUNKS
Twice in October, motorists were arrested for DUI after driving up to the security guard house at the nuclear power plant in Braidwood, Ill., by mistake. According to police, Lloyd Kuykendall, 38, drove up and handed the guard $1, thinking it was a highway toll booth; 10 days later, Stanislaw Drobrzawski, 51, tried to align his car with the guard house, thinking it was a gas station pump. And in Des Moines, Iowa, in October, customer Michelle Marie Engler, 45, was arrested for public intoxication at the Big Tomato Pizza restaurant after boisterously demanding to know why her food was taking so long. An employee explained that she hadn’t ordered yet. MTW