Pot for Pets
As nine states next month ask voters to approve some form of legalization of marijuana, a “new customer base” for the product—pets—was highlighted in an October New York Times report. Dogs and cats are struck with maladies similar to those that humans report in cannabis success stories: seizures, inflammation, anxiety, arthritis and other pain and subsequent social withdrawals. The “high”-producing THC element cannot be used because it is notoriously toxic to dogs, but other elements in the drug seem to work well not only for dogs and cats but, by anecdotal evidence, pigs, horses and domesticated wild animals.
In September, Charles Lawrence III, 60, was sentenced to eight years in prison for attempted sexual assault despite his claim that it was just bad eyesight that caused the problem. He had arrived at a house in Fairfield, Connecticut, to have sex with a male he had met online, but the event turned out to be a “To Catch a Predator” sting. Lawrence, an accountant, claimed that, in text messages with the “boy,” he had seen “18” as his age, when, according to police evidence, the text read “13.” (Bonus: Lawrence knew “Predator” newsman Chris Hansen socially and commuted daily on the train with him, according to Lawrence’s lawyer.)
A 23-year-old woman on a bus in Istanbul, Turkey, was attacked by Abdullah Cakiroglu, 35, in September because, as he told police, he had become “aroused” by her wearing shorts. (Initially, he was not arrested, but after a protest on social media, police came to get him—though for “inciting,” not assault.) He told police, “I lost myself” because the woman had “disregarded the values of our country,” and “my spiritual side took over, and I kicked her in the face.”
Government in Action
Kevin and Tammy Jones opened their guns-and-coffee store in an old bank building in Hamilton, Virginia, in August, but despite the controversies about the ease of gun acquisition in America, their Bullets and Beans shop has had a harder time pleasing government regulators over the coffee than over the firearms. Kevin told Washingtonian magazine that there were no problems in getting gun-shop and firearms-instruction permits from state and federal agencies, but several local-government roadblocks delayed the coffee-sales permit: the property being zoned for “retail” but not food or drinks; permission to open certain businesses near residences; and a coffee shop’s need to have “parking.”
Latest Religious Messages
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared Oct. 13 Oilfield Prayer Day to cap a statewide initiative of mass wishing for improved performance of the state’s energy industry, which has been in the doldrums recently with the worldwide drop in oil prices. Though the initiative’s founders, and the associated Oil Patch Chaplains, were largely Baptist church leaders, the governor emphasized that all religions should be praying for a more prosperous industry.
In September, a court in Paris upheld France’s government ban on people smiling for their passport and identity photos. One official had challenged the required straightforward pose (“neutral,” “mouth closed”), lamenting that the French should be encouraged to smile to overcome the perpetual “national depression” that supposedly permeates the country’s psyche.
The baseball-like “pesapallo” might be Finland’s national game, reported The New York Times in September, despite its differences from the American pastime. The ball is pitched to the batter — but vertically, by a pitcher standing next to the batter—and the batter runs the bases after hitting it, though not counterclockwise but zigzag style, to a base on the left, then one on the right, then back to the left. The game was invented in Finland in 1920 and has achieved minor notoriety, with teams from Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Australia vying for a “world cup” that so far none has been able to wrest from Finland. (Reassuringly, however, “three strikes” is an out in Finland, too.)