July 23, 2009
Look, I know that the global economy is tough, and when things get this hairy, some people are naturally going to turn to crime. But seriously, who the hell steals a truckload of curling stones? Is there a big market for smooth granite rocks of a regulation weight out there that I don’t know about?
Honestly, I kind of hope there is, because otherwise whoever stole fully one third of the Australian national teams curling stone is just a jerk and an idiot. Or a… rabid anti-curling fanatic? An embittered former sweeper?
But as stupid and spiteful the dumbest criminal in Australia this week – that dubious honor goes to Ronald Mitchell, the Nobel Prize hopeful who soaked himself in gasoline before charging at police, who proceeded to taser the suspect, thereby setting him ablaze. Which, all things considered, isn’t exactly a tragedy. I mean yeah, it sucks that the guy burst into flames, but in all of our lives, we make some choices that we know may get us set on fire. Huffing a bunch of gas, then pouring it over yourself, and then running at a cop with a lighter in your hand is one of those choices. C’est la vie.
May 8, 2009
Creepy crawlers of all sorts have been in the news this week, starting with the emergence of crowds of enormous eastern tarantulas. Known as “birdeating spiders” despite the fact that they don’t typically dine on avians, the huge arachnids have become troublingly prevalent in the small Australian town of Bowen. Today saw officials attempting to put a happy face on the matter after an initial media freakout at the notion of a city overrun by giant tarantulas effectively shut down tourism in the town. Apparently, the thought of hairy spiders as big as your head that can sicken humans and kill dogs with their venomous bite is bad for business. Local pest controller Audy Geiszler, for one, is doing his part to quell rumors of a ful blown spider invasion by concentrating on the good news – for example, says Geiszler, the town has seen “no cases of them eating children or anything like that.” Which is good news, I guess. But someone should tell Mr. Geiszler that the next time he’s trying to calm a worried public, he might want to pause before he plays the ‘No Children Have Yet Been Consumed By Enormous Spiders’ card.
Meanwhile, farmers in China’s Xinjiang province are under siege by legions of unidentified worms. The thorny, green, inch long beasties, are going through grassland like a giant organic lawnmower, turning pasture into brown soil acres at a time. Found in densities of up to 3,000 creatures per meter of soil, the creatures have descended on the village in such numbers that 50 families have had to flee their homes, which were also overrun.