News of the Weird

NEWS OF THE PRETENTIOUS

– Why live with a cat if one cannot take it out for some wine together? The Apollo Peak in Denver and the Pet Winery in Fort Myers, Florida, serve a variety of the real grape to humans and nonalcoholic proprietary drinks for the kitties to enjoy tableside (or underneath). “Pinot Meow” ($12) in Denver and “Meow and Chandon” ($15) in Fort Myers, are specialties — basically watered catnip, according to a February New York Times report (so the felines can also get buzzed). The wine outing is the human’s preference, of course, with a loftier cachet than the “happy hour” most cats might prefer (say, a “sardine bar”). [New York Times, 2-15-2017]

— “I tried the $5,000 hamburger, and it was absolutely worth it,” wrote the apparently straight-faced CNBC reviewer Robert Frank in February, describing his meal at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay restaurant Fleur. (The burger included Waygu beef, foie gras and truffles, and was served with a similarly inexplicably priced wine.) Other recent consumer challenges: an $18 cup of coffee at Brooklyn’s Extraction Lab; a $100 bottle of Norwegian iceberg water (Svalbardi.com); a $2,000 pizza at New York City’s Industry Kitchen (caviar, truffles, gold flakes); and a $25,000 taco at the Grand Velas Los Cabos resort in Mexico (caviar, brie, Kobe beef, langoustine lobster, rare tequila — and once again with the gold flakes). [CNBC, 2-23-2017] [WABC-TV (New York City), 2-8-2017] [Fox Business, 3-3-2017] [Industry Kitchen, 12-17-2016] [Houston Chronicle, 3-9-2017] 

BRIGHT IDEAS!

— A councilman in Overtornea, Sweden, introduced a bill (a “motion”) that workers be given paid “sex breaks” during the business day in order to improve well-being and, thus, job performance. The primary beneficiaries would be married, fertile couples, but all workers would receive the benefit. And employers, said Councillor Per-Erik Muskos, would have to “trust” their employees because some surely would “cheat” (by not having sex!). [International Business Times, 2-21-2017]

GOVERNMENT IN ACTION

— Illinois has problems: a $130 billion unfunded pension crisis, 19 months without a budget, the lowest credit rating and highest property taxes in the country, and the murder rate in Chicago. However, at least the state house of representatives is not standing by idly. In February, it moved to designate October 2017 as Zombie Preparedness Month (basically, adding “zombie invasion” to the list of mobilizations for any natural disaster and urging residents to stockpile food and supplies for up to 72 hours). [Wall Street Journal, 3-7-2017] Readers’ Choice

THE PASSING PARADE

Miami defense lawyer Stephen Gutierrez caused quite a spectacle on March 8 when, representing a man accused of arson, he rose to address jurors, and his pants appeared to catch fire. He insisted afterward that a malfunctioning e-cigarette caused smoke to billow from his pocket, but observers had a field day with metaphors and “stunt” theories. [Miami Herald, 3-8-2017]

ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT

Perhaps there are parents who (according to the Cinepolis movie chain) long to watch movies in theaters while their children (aged 3 and

up) frolic in front in a “jungle-gym” playground inside the same auditorium. If so, the company’s two “junior” movie houses (opening this very week in San Diego and Los Angeles) may bring a new dimension to “family entertainment.” Another view, though, is that the noise (often “screaming”), plus the overhead lighting required for parents to monitor their tykes’ equipment-usage, plus the planned $3-per-ticket surcharge, will soon create (according to the Guardian critic) a moviegoing “apocalypse.” [The Guardian (London), 3-8-2017]