Ya know, you can’t make this stuff up….

The news is rife with absolutely amazing little bits—factoids, we might call them—about what’s going on “out there”, and I don’t mean outer space. Doesn’t take much more than a skimming of the news to find a fine selection of nutballs running around in front of God and everybody and coming up with really goofy stuff—head-scratchers that one might want to steer clear of on a dark night.

Take state legislatures—always a good place to look for the common sense-challenged—they come up with some doozies, Ohio not excepted. Minnesota, for instance had a bill presented that would prohibit showing party affiliation on the ballot…Democrats, Republicans, they’re all the same, in the opinion of one legislator. Then there’s one that’s pretty smart (Must have been an aberration) that required all products labeled “Flushable” to actually dissolve in water or the maker would be charged with criminal negligence , with the possibility of fines or jail time. This is big in the waste water universe because all of those wet-wipes and diapers and such are clogging up municipal treatment plants, causing major problems, especially when they get contaminated with the various medications people keep putting down into the pipes, even though they’ve been told innumerable times not to.

One I could particularly relate to requires that magazine subscription services specify the start and end dates of relevant subscriptions and make it clear whether they are new or renewals. I keep getting supposedly gratuitous magazines that I never have ordered but the service keeps saying they just want me to “try” the publications. Do I sound like somebody who’d subscribe to Glamour, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, Marie Claire, New York? I get the cooking stuff– Saveur, All Recipes, that sort of thing (Bon Appetit is getting a little too tony for me lately, since it seems to be focused on ingredients not necessarily found at your corner IGA, more likely on your recent vacation in Costa Rica). I get Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Grit, even the AARP Magazine. Somebody’s computer feedback on my literary preferences has gone haywire.

Then there’s “Tier Zero”. What the hey is that, you say. Depending upon which information sites you go to, it’s either the greatest investment opportunity since George Washington Carver invented peanut butter or the biggest scam out there in InternetLand. You could get in on the ground floor investing in classic or exceptional special-issue sneakers(Nike Quickstrike) or revolutionize the storage capacity of all your computers…as long as you can keep straight your CPU, your IOPS, your HMS, your SSD or your PCle. Got that?
The Week magazine (and several other news outlets, I think) broke the news that the Trump White House will have a special “glam room” to accommodate “hair, make-up, and wardrobe for Melania Trump and the first family”. Somebody’s got to do the “do” for the President too, I’ll bet. You notice that it never moves? Rain, wind, snow, it doesn’t matter, that stuff is set, ready for any eventuality. Welded in place?

And here’s news of progress (?) in civilization. Last year, according to The Week Russia instituted its first(!) ban on domestic violence (striking of a spouse or child), but this year an arch-conservative lawmaker has declared that this was a “baseless intervention into family affairs” and that mothers and fathers could be arrested for causing “just a scratch”. She wants to decriminalize some domestic violence. Putin, kind-hearted soul that he is, thinks that this is just fine. (A historical note: once upon a time, husbands were reportedly permitted to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than a thumb. This has little or nothing to do with the expression “rule of thumb”, and stretched further back into antiquity than the English judge who, supposedly, made the pronouncement.)

When was the last time someone spoke of “losing his/her marbles”? Well, a trucker somewhere around Indianapolis, IN lost his and it caused major traffic situation somewhere around I 465, the beltway around the city. A semi-trailer truck became just a semi truck when the trailer part detached and spilled about 38,000 pounds of marbles (the little round guys, not the building/decorating material) onto the southbound lanes. Much of the day was taken up removing all of that glassware out of the lanes, the shoulder and the median. Imagine coming upon that as you’re speeding along at 70 mph! Wowzah!

And if you just want to get away from it all, some Austrian officials have posted a job opening for a hermit to live alone in an ancient Catholic cliff dwelling in the mountains—no heat no
running water, no electricity or internet access—nice view. The ideal candidate will be able to support himself/herself and to counsel with visitors coming to the hermitage seeking the meaning of life. Not a gig for just anyone.

I’m not applying—no cat food.