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December 24, 2007

News of the hilarious kind ...

Someone has put together a range of funny news stories for the year. These include a story about a US Department store whose Deli staff obviously got carried away with the marketing effort and labelled ham " Delicious for Hannukah". I doubt the really strict Orthodox Jewish community saw the funny side, although I am sure their less strict brethren may have. Certainly the red faces at the store must have been a good laugh.

One that shows the clash of cultures as Europe becomes one big happy family comes from Holland where Dutch anglers objected to Polish immigrants fishing their lakes - apparently the Dutch fishermen release the fish back into the lake. The Poles eat them. Definitely a culture clash there! But I reckon top prize has to be the Belgian entrepeneur who put his entire country up for auction on eBay. I suppose the real joke is that people actually bid for it - and eBay had to halt the auction and withdraw it after the Belgian government complained.

Running a close second in the "Ooops!" stakes has to be the Chinese story of officials restocking a river with truckloads of live carp - only to have the local populace assemble just downstream to catch the lot within hours. The joys of bureaucratic central planning and solutions ....

A separate news item drew my attention on the culture clash front. Apparently the Spanish have started a fightback against the invasion of their idea of Christmas by that upstart Santa Claus and his reindeer. It boils down to the fact that the Spanish traditionally give presents to children on Epiphany - not Christmas, but now the commercialisation of Christmas has seen the arrival of Santa and all that goes with that. So now a Spanish advertising agency has produced a probably very PC incorrect and possibly offensive ad showing the Three Kings as rap artists who ask "who the H*** are you?" and machine gun a jolly fat red suited figure in a dark alley. Well, I'm not sure I go along with that level of disapproval, but I think we sometimes lose the message in all the hype.

My favourite of the whacky news is the 100 year old German lady who finally agreed to move into an old age home. Only to move out again six weeks later saying the other residents were too old and boring. She has gone back to her own home and her cat. Now there's the way to go!

PARIS (AFP) - A selection of wild and wonderful news items from 2007:

- The CNN TV network had to apologise to US presidential hopeful Barack Obama after it confused his surname with the first name of the world's best-known terrorism suspect. A sequence on the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden carried the caption "Where's Obama?"

- An Australian bank was embarrassed when it emerged that it had issued a credit card to a cat. The owner of Messiah, a ginger tom, had put in the spoof application to test the bank's security system.

- A 100-year-old woman in Germany moved out of her retirement home after six weeks saying she found the other residents not only boring but also "too old". She returned home to her cat.

- Switzerland's army inadvertently invaded the tiny neighbouring state of Liechtenstein. A unit on manoeuvres got lost at dead of night, officials said.

- The Norwegian government abolished a regulation that had allowed strip-clubs to claim exemption from sales tax on the grounds that their performances were an art form.

- A British man claimed the dubious distinction of making the first ever mobile phone call from the summit of Mount Everest. "It's cold" were his first words.

- Fishery officials in China restocked a river with 13 truckloads of live carp, only to realise that thousands of residents from a nearby city had immediately swarmed to the banks a short way downstream and caught most of them.

- Transport officials in Australia try to discourage men from driving too fast with a series of TV ads featuring attractive woman suggesting that speeding males were trying to compensate for inadequate virility.

- A town in South Korea which spent some 140 million dollars to build its own airport was then forced to admit that no airlines actually wanted to fly there.

- The Chinese capital Beijing began a campaign to improve its signposting in English ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games. Among signs in need of correcting were ones for "Pubic Toilets," and "Deformed Men" -- the latter indicating facilities for the handicapped.

- A US man who ordered flowers for his mistress sued the florists after they sent a note to his home thanking him for his order -- thereby informing his wife of his infidelity.

- An African medicine man dived into a river in Tanzania after promising his fellow villagers that he would bring back revelations from ancestral spirits lurking underwater. He drowned.

- A child maths prodigy who started university in Hong Kong at age nine, said he found the courses too easy, and rather boring.

- A Belgian prankster reacted to a prolonged political crisis in his native land by putting the entire country up for sale on the Internet auction site eBay. The company halted the bidding.

- Dutch anglers were up in arms against immigrant workers from Poland, who also enjoy fishing in the many local lakes. The problem being that the Poles actually eat the fish they catch, whereas the Dutch believe in simply putting them back in the water.

- A posh food store in New York was embarrassed after an employee, who was clearly not Jewish, stuck a "Delicious for Hanukkah" sign on hams. Jews, for whom Hanukkah is a religious holiday, do not eat pork.

Posted by The Gray Monk at December 24, 2007 02:56 PM

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