Friday, March 03, 2006

The Week in News

Belgians Take Coke Bottles to Netherlands. The Associated Press reports that thrifty Belgians are gathering up their Coca-Cola bottles and taking them to the Netherlands to collect the deposit from Dutch supermarkets. Wasn’t this a “Seinfeld” episode? And raise your hand if you thought the Belgians were the Dutch.

The Handwritten Note Gains Currency. It seems that people are suddenly charmed by the handwritten note. How do we know this? Because handbag designer Kate Spade agrees—in fact, she’s just launched a line of high-end stationery. Quoth an NYC graphic artist: “The handwritten note is elitist and therefore a must for the fashion-conscious set. Of course, it must be written on fabulously heavyweight monogrammed stationery.” People in Nebraska read these kinds of statements and think folks from big cities are high-falutin’ crackpots. And this is why George W. Bush is president. New Yorkers, I beg you, think before you speak. At least until December 2008.

Poll Aims to Find Best-Kept Bathrooms. Five finalists have been named in the contest to spotlight businesses that maintain “exceptional hygiene, with style.” Sponsored by a bathroom supply company, the online poll is open to voters at The winner will be announced in April. Wouldn’t we all be better served by a guide to the worst public restrooms. And it has to be written by women—guys’ standards in this area are not to be trusted. Among my personal Top 10:

  • Toll plazas along the Indiana Turnpike; the sort of bathrooms where you poke open each and every stall at arm’s length and then choose the least disgusting option.

  • The National Park System—I know funding is an issue and you can’t expect five-star toilets on the trail up a mountainside, or even anything flushable, and we’re really here for the spectacular views, but Holy Horror Stories, Batman! If you’re trekking down the Grand Canyon and can hold your breath for vast periods of time and don’t mind flies landing all over exposed body parts, knock yourself out at the provided facilities.

  • Interestingly, any place of business where I’ve been employed. Ladies, do you make this sort of mess at home?

  • PortaPotties at outdoor festivals. I’m not even gonna go there.

Witness Says Enron Management Team Lied. Ever since I rented “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” I’ve become mildly obsessed with the trials of Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, who are charged with lying to defraud investors. Because I believe everything I see, I’m convinced these two are Dr. Evil and Satan, or at the barest minimum, greedy bastards. But I’m trying to keep an open mind. So I paid a visit to, where I learned that Ken is innocent of all charges and Enron’s bankruptcy can pretty much be blamed on the shady dealings of Andrew Fastow, Enron’s chief financial officer. Well thanks for setting me straight, Ken.


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