Jewish World Review Dec. 9, 2003 / 14 Kislev, 5764

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Keep your name out of this book | Perhaps the most astonishing thing about "Unusually Stupid Americans" is that the book is only 288 pages long.

Written by Kathryn and Ross Petras, "Stupid Americans" is a compendium of dumbness perpetrated on or by U.S. citizens. (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

Chapters include Stupid Education in the U.S.A., Stupid Government and Bureaucracy, Stupid Food, Stupid Lawyers and well, you get the picture.

One of my favorite chapters is Stupid Homes and Vacation Spots in the U.S.A., mainly because my house is not specifically mentioned in it. The authors point out that many people are so anxious to take advantage of low interest rates that they do not thoroughly check out a property before buying it. One buyer, to his regret, failed to ask the question that all prospective homeowners should ask before signing the contract, namely: "Is my back yard-to-be filled with rotting animal corpses?"

Apparently a California woman was having a garden pond dug in her new backyard when she noticed an unpleasant aroma emanating from the hole. Deeper excavation elevated the aroma from "unpleasant" to "Good Lord, what died?" Which turned out to be an extremely perceptive question, since it was eventually discovered that the woman's back yard had been used as a cow burying ground by some local dairy farmers.

The situation was eventually rectified, but I think it's safe to say that cheese is no longer among the woman's favorite foods.

Speaking of dead things, you may (or more likely may not) want to spend your next vacation visiting Nederland, Colo., especially if you can time your visit to coincide with the town's annual Frozen Dead Guy Days. Grandpa Bredo died in 1989 at age 101 but his grandson, a follower of cryonics, had him frozen in hopes that one day he could be thawed and compete in a Lindy Hop contest. (I am making that last part up because I have no idea what good could come of thawing out a 101-year-old dead guy.) Back to reality, which in this case is far weirder than anything I could dream up: Each month a caretaker re-packs the corpse in fresh dry ice and once a year Grandpa Bredo is wheeled (slid?) out for Frozen Dead Guy Days which, besides the public exhibition of Grandpa, includes coffin races. I don't know what the festival food includes, but I would personally stay away from anything frozen.

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Speaking of terrifying foods, the events of 9/11 have made everybody a little skittish, though until now I was not aware that hot dogs posed a threat to our national security. But apparently they do, especially if you make the mistake of driving your Oscar Mayer Weinermobile too close to the Pentagon. Security officers pulled the motorized hot dog over to investigate and found no problems, other than the fact that the bun seemed a trifle stale. Said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell: "Obviously this was a mistake. This hot dog posed no threat to us."

But if driving a hot dog, even one of the non-lethal variety, close to the Pentagon seems like a pretty dumb idea, you have not been keeping up with the antics of certain airline passengers. For example;

  • An American Airlines flight had to make an unscheduled landing to eject (who else?) a college student who had attempted to recharge a AA battery by heating it with a cigarette lighter.

  • A passenger was detained at Lambert Field in St. Louis when he attempted to bring on board an alarm clock with six toy sticks of dynamite attached to it.

But fortunately, our ever- alert airport security teams are doing all they can to protect us from terrorists smuggling breast milk.

Security guards at JFK International Airport in New York City were suspicious about three bottles of milk a woman was carrying (along with her infant daughter). The woman said it was breast milk for her daughter and volunteered to dribble some on her arm and lick it to prove the milk did not pose a threat to the crew or passengers. Seeing through this obvious ploy, the guards insisted that the woman drink some milk from each of the bottles because, she was told, "there could be explosives in the baby bottles and I could throw something at the stewardesses."

An excellent point. The career-threatening injuries sustained from a hurled nipple could lead to a very costly lawsuit.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


12/03/03: When tots control the world
11/18/03: Danger: TVs falling from above
11/11/03: Songs that won't go away
11/04/03: Keep technology away from the monkeys
10/29/03: A career of sensational regrets
10/22/03: Ig Nobels reward weird science
10/16/03: TV golf needs a kick in the pants
10/08/03: That's geek to me
09/30/03: A man, a woman and a cat
09/22/03: A tale of two spams
09/16/03: Librarian action figure will be taking no guff
09/10/03: Slackers need to remain invisible
09/02/03: No fun in the summertime
08/26/03: The algebra of love
08/11/03: Journey to the center of the pavement cracks
08/06/03: Word dominance by U.S. appears a fait accompli
07/28/03: Ads that are hard to swallow
07/09/03: Keep cows out of the classroom
07/03/03: Little-appreciated facts about unshaven men
06/24/03: Brother, can you paradigm?
06/18/03: Cats, TV not a good mix
06/10/03: In defense of grumpiness
06/04/03: Do we really need keyboards in our Port-A-Johns?
05/29/03: Always a dull men's moment
05/21/03: Bad PC hygiene leads to bugs
05/12/03:Army mops up; Tony Blair doesn't
05/06/03: Grill a hamburger for PETA
05/01/03: Exams spice history
04/23/03: Too much money? Tax me more!
04/14/03: When good gourds go bad
04/11/03: One fish-tale that isn't --- and that's no lie!
04/02/03: Do you really want to know what your dog's thinking?
03/26/03: Pajamas make high school less stressful
03/21/03: It's time to be nice to the French
03/03/03: The ultimate clean and constructive sport
02/12/03: Get a bang out of cleaning with cruise vacuum
02/06/03: Voluntary kindness? Not likely
01/28/03: Signs our economy is on upswing
01/22/03: There may be cash in your old underwear
01/15/03: Banish these words, now more than ever
01/07/03: Coughing as an art form
12/24/02: Parents shell out for missed homework
12/17/02: French government says no to @ symbol
12/11/02: A latecomer joins fellowship of the DVD
12/02/02: Don't worry, be fat, unfit and really happy
11/18/02: Intrigued by a German invention that could get teens out of bed before the crack of noon
11/06/02: A noose by any other name ...
10/29/02: Iranian dogs on notice
10/22/02: Talk about a job that stinks --- literally!
10/15/02: The official world's funniest joke
10/02/02: Japanese turn eyes to computer haikus
09/27/02: Oh, no! Bosses want to know what's on your mind
09/24/02: An airbag, humanity's salvation?
09/06/02: Come listen to a story about a man named ... Bill
09/03/02: You're not in preschool anymore!
08/30/02: A charming idea from a brutal, whacked-out, megalomaniacal dictator-for-life
08/26/02: Blubber water? How to put on the pounds by gulping H20
08/21/02: The latest evidence that Mother Nature is out to kill us
08/13/02: Computers, airplanes and Canada don't mix
08/06/02: The sky's not falling? Dang it!
08/02/02: Some fond memories of worst TV shows
07/30/02: Pay my credit-card bill, please?
07/25/02: Something to celebrate
07/22/02: Baseball needs to ban the fans
07/16/02: Hasbro should consider new inaction figure
07/11/02: Decline in trash-talking is harming our mental health? Well, #@%&!
07/08/02 Americans retain right to fork tongues
07/01/02 These laws were made to be broken
06/18/02 Watching enough commercials?
06/03/02 Throwing your vote to the dogs
05/08/02 Hey, Mom, could you spare a dime?: Parents' obligations unending

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