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News of the Weird
 

Leading Economic Indicators


September 23rd, 2010

To most, the toilet is a functional appliance, but to thoughtful people, it can be an instrument upon which creativity blossoms.

" To most, the toilet is a functional appliance, but to thoughtful people, it can be an instrument upon which creativity blossoms. Thus, the price tags were high this summer when commodes belonging to two literary giants of the 20th century went on sale. In August, a gaudily designed toilet from John Lennon's 1969-71 residence in Berkshire, England, fetched 9,500 pounds (about $14,740) at a Liverpool auction, and a North Carolina collectibles dealer opened bids on the toilet that long served reclusive author J.D. Salinger at his home in Cornish, N.H. The dealer's initial price was $1 million because, "Who knows how many of Salinger's stories were thought up and written while (he) sat on this throne!"

" Blairsville, Ga., advertising agency owner Mike Patterson introduced the "first ever patriotic home-based business opportunity" recently, and, though it resembles a traditional "pyramid" scheme, Patterson termed it "network marketing" and an important way to fight government "tyranny." For joining up at $12, $24 or $50 a year and enlisting others, Patterson promises recruiters "up to $50,000" (actually, up to $283,000 by securing $50 memberships). On spelling- and grammar-challenged Web pages, Patterson laid out salesmanship "levels" and "matrix" patterns that promise a member 60 cents per $24 recruit  " leaving $12 for patriotic programs and $11.40 for Patterson. (For some reason, after rounding up 29,523 members  " Level 9  " the recruiter payout drops to 15 cents each.)

" In September, the Romanian Senate rejected a proposal by two legislators to regulate, and tax, fortune-tellers and "witches," even though the government is otherwise desperately seeking new sources of revenue. A prominent witch had complained about potential record-keeping burdens on the "profession," but one of the bill's sponsors told the Associated Press he thinks opposition came from lawmakers who were frightened of having spells and curses placed on them.
 
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