November 12, 2002

Big and Important News I

Big and Important News I Can't Keep Quiet About Any More

I routinely surf the Web looking for news items and quaint bits of idiocy that I can write about in my weekly column when I can't mine my own personal experience. However, because I've been able to write about myself for the past couple of weeks, my cache of odd news items has reached critical mass and I simply have to spout out about them or I fear I'll explode.

Okay, I won't explode, but wouldn't it be disconcerting if people could actually explode at will without hurting others? You could be walking down a mall, when suddenly the person next to you realizes they bought the wrong size shoes and, in a fit of anger, detonate in a spray of crimson and sinew that soaks everyone in a 20 foot radius. Sure, it's a gross thought, but it certainly would add a whole new dimension to the human equation, i.e. watch your stress, or you'll explode. Where was I? Oh, yes, odd news items.

We begin with a doozy. According to a Nov. 6, Reuters new report, Workers to Donate Sperm to Pay Plant debts. Excuse me for just a second. . . HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! There, I'm back.

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Workers at a Romanian car factory have decided to donate sperm to get the debt-ridden plant out of the red, private television ProTv reported on Tuesday.

Myself, I'd probably start scanning the want ads before I volunteer my little swimmers to save my job. Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy my current work environment, and I'm pretty good at my job, but doing the five finger knuckle shuffle in the name of job security just seems a little severe.

WORKER: Hi, honey! I'm home!

WIFE: How was work today?

WORKER: Oh, good, I guess. Seems the plant has some sort of financial concerns, so I may seem a little less than "interested" in you for awhile. But, don't take it personally. I'm simply going to be masturbating to save my job.

WIFE: Oh, okay. Would you like a sandwich?

"Our feasibility study shows that if 1,000 workers donate their sperm for several months, we can get enough funds to pay part of the plant's debts," Ion Cotescu, trade union leader at ARO Campulung, told ProTv.

Feasibility study? Here's a thought. Rather than conducting expensive feasibility studies on worker sperm donation, perhaps the union could have dedicated the money to something a tad more productive like, say, keeping its members fed for a couple of weeks.

I'd actually like to see that feasibility study, you know, provided the pages aren't stuck together. Two other things strike me in that totally rich sentence. First, the union isn't asking for a one-time "donation." No, they want workers to donate sperm for several months! Second, with 1,000 workers donating sperm for several months, they can only garner enough money to pay part of the plant's debts. Facing that kind of bankruptcy, you'd think they would throw in the towel. Er, I guess they are kind of throwing in the towel. Ewwwwwwwwwwwww.

Cotescu said the decision came after reports in the local media said a fertility clinic in the western city of Timisoara offered donors the equivalent of $50 a visit. The monthly average wage in Romania is around $150.

Now we're talking! Fifty bucks a pop?! And here I've been tossing off all these years for free! I'm such a fool. I could have been a millionaire by now, or at least really, really, really well off! Seriously, with that type of money, um, up for grabs, I'd quit my job at the factory and just "donate" for a living, and I'd probably skip to work each day while whistling a jaunty tune.

Cotescu told Reuters the sperm donation scheme also amounted to a protest against the government's privatization authority APAPS which had failed to find a strategic investor for the plant.

"They always told us to come up with a solution. Now, we have found one that even the best economists have never thought of. I hope APAPS will like it," he said.

Sheesh. Here in America we've been wasting out time with strikes and picket lines.

Okay, it's tough to follow up a good sperm donation news story, but there are a couple of other nuggets that I need to share.

According to another Reuters article from Oct. 31, Bed Forces Sleepyheads To Rise In the Morning.

NUREMBERG, Germany (Reuters) - A German schoolgirl has invented a "merciless bed" to ensure that sleepyheads get up in the morning.
The bed gradually raises the mattress after an alarm rings. After five minutes, the sleepyhead is rolled onto the floor.

"I constructed it myself," Iris Koser, 16, said at an exhibition of inventions this week.

Believe it or not, that's the entire news article. But, I guess it pretty much explains the important details. Now, I have to admit, when it comes to alarm clocks, I'm a chronic snooze button pusher. My fastest movement of the day is when I shoot forth my sleep-heavy paw and slap the snooze button. Total elapsed time -- .3 seconds. Given my love affair with the snooze button, I'd probably get pretty pissed at a bed that tumbles me to the floor. Besides, considering my stubborn sleep nature, I'd simply curl up on the floor and sleep for an additional four hours.

But, leave it to the Germans to come up with inventions that cancel each other out. According to News of the Weird, German inventor Matthias Knigge said he has developed a desk with an inflatable airbag, for office workers looking for a quick nap (Hamburg).

Posted by Ryan at November 12, 2002 10:54 AM
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