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How ...bizarre!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-08-11 09:37:20
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Haggis is English

hagisA haggis recipe was published in an English book almost two hundred years before any evidence of the dish in Scotland, a historian has claimed.

Historian Catherine Brown said she found references to the dish inside a 1615 book called The English Hus-Wife. The title would pre-date Robert Burns' poem To a Haggis, which brought fame to the delicacy, by at least 171 years. But former world champion haggis maker Robert Patrick insisted: "Nobody's going to believe it."

Ms Brown said the book by Gervase Markham indicated haggis was first eaten in England and subsequently popularised by the Scots. The first mention she could find of Scottish haggis was in 1747.


Astronauts wanted

chineseastronautWould-be astronauts competing for China's next space programme must comply with 100 rules - excluding those with bad breath or a runny nose.

The list, intended to recruit "super human beings", also prohibits those with body odours, tooth cavities or scars which may "burst open" in space. China will launch a space module next year and hopes for a docking by 2011. But aspiring "taikonauts" will get nowhere without marital approval. Wives get the final say under the new rules.

If a would-be astronaut's spouse does not like the idea of them going into space they must remain on earth.


Ex- courts building super charged with pot possession

pot_400The U.S. government filed a criminal case yesterday against former CNMI courts building superintendent Joseph R. Guzman for alleged possession of 19 marijuana plants last year. Information filed in the U.S. District Court charged the 48-year-old Guzman with one count of misdemeanor.

Chief Judge Alex R. Munson set the initial appearance for Guzman for Aug. 6, 2009, at 10:30am. Guzman and his lawyer, G. Anthony Long, signed a plea agreement yesterday with the U.S. government, represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Benedetto. Under the agreement, the defendant will plead guilty to the charge.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and maximum fine of $5,000 and $100 special assessment fee. Under the agreement, the U.S. government agrees to recommend no more than 30 days in prison on Saipan. The U.S. government also agrees to recommend a fine of $1,000 and $100 special assessment fee. Guzman was found with 19 marijuana plants on July 22, 2008.


Pricey lunch lands free trip to Rome

pasta_400A Japanese couple has turned down a free trip to Italy after they were hit with a $1,200 lunch bill at a Roman restaurant.
The Italian government extended the all-expenses paid holiday to Yasuyuki Yamada and his fiancee after they were hit with the bill at Rome's famous Il Pasetto restaurant. They were charged $350 for a single pasta dish and $200 just for service.  After paying the tab, the couple complained to police.

In a bid to repair the damage caused by the debacle, Italy's government offered the Japanese couple an all-expenses paid return holiday to Rome.  But Mr Yamada turned it down, describing it as a useless way to spend Italian taxpayers' money.


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Emanuel Paparella2009-08-11 13:20:55
On the last item, I read the outrageous story in Italian newspapers. I just came back from Italy and there is no doubt that prices have more than doubled at restaurants since the introduction of the euro and sometimes the food is not as good as it used to be. On the other hand, one need go to famous restaurants to eat well in Italy. At those restaurants one pays for the name and may end up eating worse than at a less well known trattoria. For example on the last day in Rome I took 20 students to the Goose restaurant, in the shadow of the St. Peter's dome behind the Vatican. We had a two course succulent meal and wine plus tiramisu and coffe at the end. The total bill for twenty persons came to twenty euros per person or 400 euros total or approximately $ 600, half of what the Japanese couple paid for ten times as many people; and I can wager that the food was just as good, even if the restaurant is not as famous. Moral of the story for those who cater to Italian tourism (a major source of income for Italy): dont't kill the goose that laid the golden egg. No pun intented.

Emanuel Paparella2009-08-11 13:25:59

Errata: one need not go...

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