It's a strange, strange world

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By John Pawlak

It’s been quite a week. The United States Senate’s vote on gun reform, the Boston marathon bombing and the intense manhunt that followed, continued deterioration of negotiations with North Korea, increasing violence in Russia’s North Caucasus region, the Syrian civil war, protests in Bahrain and riots in Venezuela following Maduro’s election victory over Henrique Capriles.
Sometimes, you just want to turn off the television and listen to some nice relaxing music. You know, like Green Day or The Ramones?
It does get exhausting to keep up with the insanity. What ever happened to the simple life? And so I found myself perusing more peripheral news stories, looking for something that would give me some hope for this world.
I’m not sure I found any, but I’ll give it a shot. Let’s start with the weather.
The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. But in Maryland, it’s taxpayers who are getting soaked.
The governor of Maryland has levied a “storm management fee” on land owners to help offset the $14.8 billion cost of reducing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the Chesapeake Bay due to storm-water runoff from impervious surfaces (roofs, driveways, sidewalks, etc.). Yeah, a rain tax. So much for not fooling with Mother Nature, eh?
With showers on my mind, I found myself reading about Allentown, Penn. There, they boast the world’s first “hands free video game” in the men’s room at the Lehigh Valley baseball stadium. Full-bladdered patrons can “steer through a snowmobile course while trying to hit penguins” by relieving themselves with “well aimed streams.”
Of course, like any product, advertisement helps curb the cost. The video screens occasionally remind the penguin killers to make an appointment for a prostate exam.
The park now enjoys cheering crowds both inside and outside the bathrooms, mostly to the tune of drowning penguins.
Speaking of streaming relief, the University of Singapore had been studying the Chinese soft-shelled turtle and discovered that it urinates through its mouth. The turtles do their thing, then stick their heads in a nearby puddle and wiggle their open mouths to rinse it out. This may sound strange, but it happens to be very functional. It reduces the amount of water required for the turtles to stay hydrated.
 Ah, but what is strange is that this discovery has prompted doctors to begin research on how to utilize this mechanism for humans who have undergone kidney failure. Rather than use dialysis to remove waste from their bloodstream, researchers are looking for ways to induce “urea excretion” through the mouth. Then it would be like going to the dentist. Rinse and spit!
I don’t know. The whole idea leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Boy, it’s a strange world out there, and getting stranger every day.
Take Bellevue, Ohio for example. A man was arrested for having sex with his neighbor’s picnic table. Now, I don’t think there’s any commandment against coveting thy neighbor’s picnic table, but still it doesn’t seem right to take advantage of inanimate objects like that. I suppose he was just fortunate that it was a metal table and not one made of wood.
Perhaps we should move on to a sweeter topic. How about ice cream? Well then, we’re back to turtles! In Japan, you can order turtle ice cream. I’m not sure which parts of the turtle are used in the ingredients, but I’m hoping it’s not the mouth.
They also make octopus ice cream, ox tongue ice cream, jelly fish ice cream, and squid ink ice cream. I think I’ll stick to sorbet.
Oh my, how to end this? How about something more intellectual, like a community’s effort to engage young readers through cultural enrichment? You know, activities to induce people to visit their public library?
Dalkeith, Scotland is trying to do exactly that by offering free “pole dancing lessons” at the library. Ferndale, Mich., took a “more moderate” approach and approved the sale of alcohol in the public library.
You know, if these two libraries ever hook up together, they could throw some pretty darn good parties!