Like tattoos and blood pacts with the devil, getting a pet is a decision that can have long-term effects. A well-written guest column in today’s Enquirer titled, “One-day gift is lifetime commitment” explains how pets aren’t the same as other gifts people don’t like, because they cost a lot of money after you buy them and will pee all over everything and eat your couch. In some ways, getting a kitty or a puppy is like getting a furry little kid. The only differences between getting a baby or a baby animal as a present are that baby animals are many times cuter than baby humans and aren’t as likely to require 18 frustrating years of constant care like children do.
THURSDAY DEC. 20
Banking giant HSBC recently agreed to a $1.9 billion settlement of money-laundering charges related to cartels funneling more than $881 million of drug proceeds through the bank between 2006 and 2010. In a display of how loudly money talks in our judicial system, nobody from the bank will have to serve a day in jail. U.S District Judge John Gleeson asked prosecutors today to write a brief explaining the reasons he should approve of the settlement, saying: “There’s been some publicized criticism of this. I think you should feel free to address it.” The prosecutors are expected to cite the benefit of letting white-collar criminals pay their way out of the clink in order to encourage defendants to start coming to court looking more dapper. It will be considered a fact that if you wear a suit while committing crimes and also wear one to court after being busted, you stand a way better chance of avoiding jail time than if the only fanciful garment in your closet is your tight-fitting “Funeral/Court Suit.”
FRIDAY DEC. 21
Part of being an American is having cable television.
SATURDAY DEC. 22
When the first learning institutions on this planet opened thousands of years ago, their operators knew how important having sports stadiums was to their educational mission. Not much has changed since then. These days, the University of Cincinnati is trying to raise funds for $70 million in improvements to Nippert Stadium, where its football team has played games on campus for like 100 years. UC wants to gain entry to a different athletic conference, and the school’s chances of doing so will be improved by having a larger, more modern football facility. Jeff Wyler and other donors to UC support the planned renovations, although some alumni contacted by fundraisers were reportedly disappointed to learn that the “improvements” didn’t include reinstituting the alcohol policy from the good old days when you could sneak 18-packs of beer in and sit wherever you felt like.
MONDAY DEC. 24
The New York Times today published a scathing review of the new Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam. The story, titled, “Why Is This Museum Shaped Like a Tub?,” stopped just short of making jokes about the architect’s mom, but did include quality burns such as “entering an oversize plumbing fixture to commune with classic modern art is like hearing Bach played by a man wearing a clown suit.” Although the reasons for the tub-structure aren’t well explained in the review, two theories on this subject are that the tub structure was erected to remind “creative types” that they still need to practice good hygiene, and because the museum is located in a city where people buy hallucinogenic mushrooms and weed in stores.
TUESDAY DEC. 25
The British Medical Journal this month includes some Christmas-related science. A study featured in the issue compares reindeer noses to the noses of people. For next Christmas, the researchers plan on studying why Coca Cola is the carbonated beverage of choice for polar bears and why they wear scarves in those commercials even though they are in their natural habitat, so they shouldn’t be cold.
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