NEW FRONTIERS IN AMERICAN VACUOUSNESS
The WE cable network disclosed in August that it had ordered a nine-episode adaptation of a British series, Sex Box, in which a couple enters a large opaque chamber on stage and has intercourse. The pair, pre- and post-coitally, are clothed and seated before a panel of probably D-List celebrities, and will respond to questions and comment on their feelings and techniques (likely enduring praise and criticisms about their “work”). The series will debut sometime in 2015. (However, as the Daily Beast website pointed out, it might also be true that still, in 2015, even a split-second’s glimpse of a female nipple on any broadcast TV show would create a national scandal.)
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
The “trendy” 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, located adjacent to the Berlin Zoo and offering some of the best views of the city from its floor-to-ceiling windows, famously positioned the rest rooms of its Monkey Bar in front of the windows. Also, those heeding nature’s call are clearly visible to gawkers. Of course, guests are warned, by the Trip Advisor website and by the hotel itself with the admonition, “Please be careful. Not only the monkeys are watching.”
London designer Gigi Barker recently unveiled the Skin chair (priced at the equivalent of about $2,500), made of leather but with a “pheromone-impregnated silicone base” that makes it feel (and smell, perhaps) like one is “lounging in the fleshy, comforting folds of a man’s belly.” The Skin was scheduled for exhibition this month at the London Design Festival.
China’s insurance companies offer some of the world’s quirkiest policies, according to a September Reuters dispatch from Hong Kong. People’s Insurance Group, for example, will pay out in case a customer’s children display disappointingly “mischievous and destructive” habits. The Ancheng company offers a policy protecting a customer in case his mouth is burned eating “hotpot.” Ping An Insurance Group (actually, the world’s second-largest by market value) has recently offered an “accidental pregnancy before honeymoon” policy, and is one of three companies that competed to sell couples compensation in case a marriage is disrupted by a “concubine.”
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
New Orleans Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King, already indicted for falsifying her home address in her 2013 campaign for office, was spotted by a Times-Picayune reporter on Aug. 20 filing three registration papers for the Nov. 4 election in which she swore (under oath) to three different addresses–two of which appeared to be clearly erroneous. Her lawyer told the newspaper that the judge, who was suspended by the Louisiana Supreme Court following her indictment, had merely “misinterpreted” the instructions.
TEXAS SCHOOL GUN DEPOSITORY
As part of a nationwide distribution of surplus military equipment, 10 Texas school districts eagerly acquired a total of 64 M-16 rifles, 18 M-14s, 25 automatic pistols and magazines capable of holding 4,500 rounds of ammunition. District officials referred generally to the need to protect against school attacks such as the notorious incidents in Colorado and Connecticut, but a local Houston area police chief, seeking to reassure a nervous public, promised that the equipment would be used only by tactically trained officers and that, otherwise, would be locked in the department’s armory. A critic of the program told KHOU-TV that statistically, the typical active-shooter school situation lasts 12 minutes, hardly enough time to get to the armory and load up.
FINE POINTS OF THE LAW
In July, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Detroit, ruling on a judicial corruption complaint, managed to describe the actions of a Michigan state judge, “Hon.” Wade McCree, as “often reprehensible”–in that he had been carrying on a romantic affair with a woman involved in a child custody case he was judging. (The woman, of course, received favorable rulings.) But the Court of Appeals judges told the unlucky father that McCree cannot be sued because judges are generally immune from lawsuit.
Nick Olivas, 24, is a rare American. At age 14 (an age that, in Arizona, makes him legally incapable of consenting to sex), he fathered a daughter with a 20-year-old woman–paternity that he learned of only two years ago. The mother filed against Olivas for child support that now totals $15,000. Olivas is rare in that most states exempt rape victims from child-support orders–except that, since Olivas never made a police report of the incident, Arizona Child Support Services will not exempt him, and instead has obtained an order garnisheeing his wages at $380 a month.
Jonathan Thomas, 50, was charged with DUI and disorderly conduct in Washington Township, Indiana, in August after driving through two backyards one Friday evening and getting his vehicle stuck in the second. Police reported that Thomas “show(ed) his teeth to officers” and later “growled” at hospital security staff. Thomas’ day job is director of the Porter County Animal Shelter.