Friday, July 27, 2007

All Things Bright And Beautiful

Say what you want about the pope, but he's definitely no flat-earther.

DOWN TO EARTH. In the clash between creation and evolution, Pope Benedict XVI is calling for bilateral coexistence.

“They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the pope said. “This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.”

He said evolution did not answer all the questions: “Above all it does not answer the great philosophical question, ‘Where does everything come from?’”
I think we know the answer, and it's not Wal-Mart... or Darwin.

MORE JOBS AMERICANS WON'T DO. Why march on a picket line when you can pay somebody else to do it? In Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, a carpenters' union is hiring the homeless.

From the Washington Post:
They're hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. Many were recruited from homeless shelters or transitional houses. Several have recently been released from prison. Others are between jobs.

"It's about the cash," said Tina Shaw, 44, who lives in a House of Ruth women's shelter and has walked the line at various sites. "We're against low wages, but I'm here for the cash."
That $8, we observe, is well above minimum wage. Did it ever occur to the union they might not need higher wages if they weren't paying higher wages to their picketers?

HIT THE TAB. If your Lightning Round executive editor ever needs a reminder to keep his spirit free of spirits, I need only look at the bar tab run up by a Middle Eastern banker from one of London's high-end nightclubs:

As reported by the Daily Mail:
- One Methuselah (equivalent in size to eight normal-size bottles) of Cristal champagne costing £30,000
- 28 bottles of Dom Perignon champagne costing £17,300
- 40 bottles of Cristal champagne costing £15,360
- Two Jeroboams (equivalent in size to four normal bottles) of Cristal champagne costing £9,600
- Nine Magnums (twice the size of a normal bottle) of Dom Perignon champagne costing £6,900
- A Methuselah of Belvedere vodka costing £1,400
- A Magnum of Grey Goose vodka costing £380
- A bottle of Absolut vodka costing £220
- Six cans of Coke and 17 Red Bulls costing £94.50
- Eight bottles of still water costing £52
- A bottle of Pinot Grigio white wine costing £25

Unsurprisingly, as more and more bottles of alcohol appeared, the original group of 16 were joined by many more people, until a 'full-blown party' was taking place in the club's VIP area.

It was nearly 5am on Sunday when the businessman finally called it a day and stumbled out of the club. Total cost of the evening, including service charge: £105,805.28.
By the way, that "service charge" came to £10,382.74. The tax: £13,951.03. We haven't even talked about the hangover.

As one of our cranky staffers said, "It's not th' parts, it's the labor where they git ya!"

THANK YOU FOR NOT SMOKING. Disney is now banning smoking in its films, and discouraging it in releases under the Touchstone and Miramax labels.

From the Financial Times:
The Disney move is the latest blow Hollywood has dealt the tobacco industry and comes weeks after the Motion Picture Association of America, responsible for the film ratings system, said it would consider smoking alongside other factors, such as violence or sexual content, when rating a film.
In fact, we hear they're creating a new rating for films with smoking: L&M. And it's still okay for Mickey and Minnie to take a drag on the back lot between camera setups.

FLATTERMATIC. Washington artist Tom Greaves has come up with the Compliment Machine.

From the AP:
People walking by a bright red-and-white striped box on a busy street in the nation's capital may be surprised to hear a reassuring voice say, "You have nice eyes."
Or, "People are drawn to your positive energy."
Almost sounds like the Pick-Up-O-Matic.

GRIM RE-PURRRRR. Here's one cat you definitely don't want crossing your path if you want to live. Oscar, a feline who lives in a Providence, Rhode Island, nursing home, seems to know who's about to die and curls up next to them hours before they exit this world.

From the AP:
After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.

[Dr. David] Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. "This is not a cat that's friendly to people," he said.
Oscar has been accurate in about 25 cases, and Dr. Dosa has written about him in an article for the New England Journal of Medicine. Nobody's sure how Oscar tells the living from the dying, but he's appreciated for it:
Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his "compassionate hospice care."
FUNNY BUSINESS. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld has his own motivational program, and you don't have to buy a book to learn it. Just read it here from LifeHacker.

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