Monday 10/20/08

Human Interest News   —   Posted on October 20, 2008

By The Editors of

Idleness and folly
Nanny State residents in the United Kingdom may soon have to pay a $37 fine for leaving their engines running while stuck in traffic. British officials announced they will roll out phase one of the project aimed at curbing carbon emissions in one West Sussex city by January and could soon expand the program nationwide if denizens don’t put up much fight. Officials say wardens will target folks who leave engines on at railroad crossings and in heavy traffic jams. But the AA, a British auto insurer, notes that unless a vehicle can remain off for more than a minute, the gas required to start the car would exceed the amount needed to idle.

A rose by any other name
Persona non grata has turned to vinum non gratum in the San Francisco wine scene. The wine-buying elite in the liberal Bay Area have projected their annoyance with Republican Sen. John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as vice presidential running mate onto a wine that bears a similar name to the Alaska governor. According to one local wine merchant, sales of the formerly popular Palin Syrah wine, a Chilean organic red vino, have plummeted since McCain’s announcement. “Before McCain made his announcement it was selling very well, because it’s an affordable wine and it’s from South America,” said Celine Guillou, co-owner of the Yield Wine Bar in San Francisco. “Then he made his announcement and we hear people making comments constantly about the wine.” Other areas of the nation have different tastes, however. Sales of the boutique wine have spiked in conservative Houston and even in staunchly Democratic New York City.

Wakeup call
Greek police reported last week that two airplanes had to delay landing for 40 minutes and instead circled over the Aegean Sea. The reason: An air traffic controller had overslept, and the pilots’ repeated tower calls for directions went unanswered. The planes finally were able to land safely at their destination on the island of Lesbos. Police said the controller, whom they did not name, would face a suspension of a few days.

Animal guilt
No fingerprints were possible for an Egyptian thief. A local judge in the Nile River Delta area sentenced a donkey to 24 hours in jail after police discovered the animal to be in possession of corn on the cob stolen from a nearby agricultural research institute. The donkey’s owner escaped jail time but garnered a $12 fine.

No cooking
If Eddie Mangini wants to enjoy a fresh breakfast before school, he’ll now have to bring home the bacon. Mangini and 27 other seniors at Middletown High School in Connecticut gained suspensions after school officials broke up a quiet breakfast barbeque of eggs and bacon before school in the student parking lot on Sept. 23. The two-day suspension of the 28 seniors who cooked out next to a propane grill confused Mangini and other students. “We didn’t have beer, we didn’t have weed, we had bacon,” Mangini told the Middletown Press. School officials made no comment to the newspaper.