Maybe It's the Heat

Summers seem to spawn weird news, which may say something about seasonal variations in news definitions. This summer is very rewarding for weird-news watchers, raising some not altogether serious questions.

Having perfected the pygmy pig years ago, Japanese farmers have now invented the square watermelon to save shipping space and ensure better fit in refrigerators. Does this mean fights over corner pieces of melon? Our next nominee for genetic reshaping--chickens.

Despite countless billions spent over decades, the nation's airports are seriously overcrowded. To address the worsening problem of airport overcrowding, the nation's airports have devised a new multibillion-dollar program to ... build more stores in airports so that passengers crowded into terminals have more to do while awaiting planes that are delayed because so many people are crowded there awaiting planes.

Creating happier shoppers in overcrowded airports would seem to encourage even longer travel delays so that passengers who thought they were going to catch an airplane to somewhere else could instead spend more shopping money locally. Does this mean we'll be able to fly from now-empty mall parking lots where we used to shop? And if the plane ever departs, will we be limited to two carry-on shopping carts?

A serious group of Midwestern business leaders including former Gov. Ed Schafer has assembled to improve the image of North Dakota, which they acknowledge is cold, snowy and flat. Their major proposal for image change is ... drop "North" from the state's name.

Amnesty legislation for pet ferrets illegally residing in California is weaseling its way through the state Legislature this summer. Since the anti-ferret law has worked so well, why don't we pass laws banning mosquitoes, fruit flies and fire ants? Also droughts and wildfires? San Marino, which already has laws banning sidewalk-washing anytime and Sunday leaf-blowing, defeated a Saturday afternoon lawn-mowing prohibition. But what about pool splashing?

Joseph Hornick Jr. is on a roll. He just won his fourth (fourth!) major Pennsylvania lottery jackpot. It was $71,000; his largest was $2.5 million. Now here's where a new law banning something could come in handy.

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