Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This Crazy WORLD #10

Highlights from the "Quick Takes" section of the September 20/27 issue of WORLD magazine.

Air assault

Dumfries, Scotland, is going to the birds—and finally the town is prepared to do something about it. With seagulls' increasingly aggressive behavior leaving the city's residents on edge for the next bird attack, local authorities created a task force to destroy bird nests and drive the pests from Dumfries. According to The Scotsman, the birds are even "divebombing children," prompting harsh rhetoric from Scottish Environment Minister Michael Russell: "Seagulls are a menace to Scottish towns and cities," he told The Scotsman.

Does this remind anyone else of Hitchock's movie The Birds?

AARP vs. the aged?

Of all the places 63-year-old Bonita Brady figured she might face what she calls "age discrimination," AARP was perhaps the last place she expected it. Even so, the Lansing, Mich., resident filed a lawsuit in August against the advocacy group saying that despite excellent job reviews, she was passed over for a series of jobs with the nonprofit group because of her age. She is seeking more than $25,000 in damages.

Let me get this straight: She is too old to work for the AARP? What's wrong with this picture?

Giant chaser

Undeterred by the size of the intruder—and his menacing weapon—Elk Grove, Calif., convenience store owner Amy Anand wasn't about to let a masked gunman rifle through her till. Despite training her employees to simply open the cash register and hand over cash to robbers, Anand had another plan. When the suspect—6-foot-5, 215-pound James Benefield, according to police—briefly looked away, Anand shoved the barrel of his shotgun toward the ceiling from behind the counter. In his reaction, police say Benefield accidentally broke the gun on the counter. As the smaller Anand made her way around the corner to confront him, police say Benefield bludgeoned Anand before he was eventually chased away by the woman. Anand suffered bruises but lost no money in the exchange.

Maybe if more people would do this, these punks would find another way to make a living!

Ashes to diamonds

Most people treasure family members, but a Swiss company is perhaps helping people go a little too far. For about $7,500, Algordanza of Chur, Switzerland, will take the ashes of a dead relative and turn them into a synthetic diamond. The company's chairman, Veit Brimer, told the Reuters news service that, "astonishingly," many of his customers are Christians: "They say: 'Why should I say goodbye? I'll see my husband in 15 years in heaven anyway.'" The technology, which involves high pressure and temperatures on carbon, is reportedly improving, and other companies are getting into the business. U.S.-based LifeGem offers to turn hair, including that of dead pets, into diamonds.

This is just nasty (IMHO, anyway). Let's hope that none of these "Christians" are Orthodox Christians!

Pretend champ

With much flailing and novelty, Craig Billmeier of Pleasanton, Calif., has found a degree of international fame not in his original career as a musician, but in his more recent hobby as a virtual musician. In two rounds at the Air Guitar World Championships, the two-time American champion Billmeier toasted the competition with two near perfect performances of imaginary guitar playing, landing him with the title of world-champion air guitar player. Competitors at the annual championship held in Finland on Aug. 22 score highly with judges for the ability to accurately simulate guitar-playing motions to match the accompanying guitar solos, the stage presence of the sans-guitar performer, and the artfulness of the performance as a whole. In a 2007 interview with a San Francisco blog,, Billmeier, who is known as "Hot Lixx Hulahan" on stage, gave advice for a future generation of faux-rockers: "Go Big. Ditch the shame. Grow your hair out."

Wow, now THAT is sage advice! Words to live by, to be sure. Much wiser than something like, say, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself!"


Clint said...

I teach an online class where several students wrote about burials, etc for an essay (it was in response to a short essay they read from their text).

I was shocked that a large portion of them said that they intended to be cremated.

I guess now they can at least hang around in jewelry or something, since they can be compressed into diamonds...

Molly Sabourin said...

On a related note, I read an article recently about a teenager whose parents have allowed him to quit high school in order to make a living competing in "Guitar Hero" (a popular Nintendo Wii game)competitions full-time. What a crazy world indeed.

Fr. James Early said...

I never ceased to be amazed by how widespread the detestable practice of cremation is, even among those who call themselves Christians. Any Christian who would be cremated does not understand the clear teaching of the Scriptures on the goodness of Creation, especially of the human body (or they just don't care).


It is a clear sign of the decadence of our culture that anyone can actually make a LIVING either pretending to play a guitar or by playing a pretend guitar. Clearly, many people in our country have too much time on their hands and/or too much money. Well, if the gentleman from Illinois is elected president, at least the latter problem will be solved (Oops! Did I say that out loud?)

My daughter's boyfriend has a Wii, with the "Guitar Hero" game, and he occasionally brings it over. My daughter Audrey loves to play it. I can guarantee you, however, that she will NOT be quitting school to prepare for a career in playing the game! :-)