In disgusting kissing news, trucks, deadly snakes at risk

Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Malaysian Shahimi Abdul Hamid, 33, announced that on March 11, he will, as a matter of Asian pride, challenge the world record for speed-kissing a venomous snake, which is held by an American, and he smooched up a 9-foot-long cobra at his press conference. And on Oct. 31, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune police column, "An employee of a business ... complained that a former co-worker had been constantly showing up and kissing his truck, leaving lip marks all over it. Police warned the man to stay away."
In September, fertility experts interviewed by London's Daily Telegraph said an alarming number of women were choosing in-vitro fertilization not because of trouble conceiving but merely because "fast track" pregnancies better fit their busy lifestyles. (Said one clinician, "Some people are horrified by the idea that they have to have sex two to three times a week.") And in October, an official at the Erasmus fertility clinic in Brussels, Belgium, said that because more lesbian couples were seeking insemination at a time of dwindling sperm supplies, the clinic might have to restrict its services to male-female couples.
In a race between two African-Americans, Don Samuels was elected again to the Minneapolis City Council in November, despite (or thanks to) his 2004 statements that he can effectively serve the city's blacks because he descended from "house slaves" in the South rather than "field slaves." Meanwhile, City Council member Clark Griep failed in his bid for mayor of Broomfield, Colo., despite his "October surprise" of revealing that the incumbent mayor, Karen Stuart, had had an extra-marital affair eight years ago with him. (She denied it.)
Former Durham, N.C., city council member Jackie Wagstaff was beaten in the race for mayor last fall, having run as "J-Dub" on a "gangsta" platform, promising to bring "street teens" into her administration. (Eight of the 17 mayoral and council candidates in Durham, including J-Dub, had criminal records.)
Some of the most heavily armed park rangers in the world (carrying AR-15 and Galil automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns and protected by body armor) patrol 124,000 acres west of Mexico City, to protect monarch butterflies. The rangers keep loggers out of the area because the monarch population (22 million, this season) represents an 80 percent drop from the year before.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service once again in December rejected efforts to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered species in Nevada, despite general agreement among biologists that the last confirmed sighting of one in the state was in 1941. (The agency said its hands are tied by the wording of the law.)
In November, prominent, occasionally self-mutilating performance artist Marina Abramovic, 59, performed "covers" of other performance artists' seminal works (with their permission) in her "Seven Easy Pieces" show at New York City's Guggenheim Museum. In one, according to a New York Times profile, she covered her head in honey and gold leaf, cradled a dead rabbit and whispered to it about pictures on the wall (original artist: Joseph Beuys). In another, she lay on a bed above lighted candles and made cuts on her fingers while slides of women painting their nails flashed on a screen (original artist: Gina Pane). However, she was stymied by the denial of permission for her fondest proposed "cover": Chris Burden's 1973 piece in which his hands were nailed to the roof of a Volkswagen as it was rolled out of a garage.
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