THE LORD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS • LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR THEORY OF DEMOCRACY • ONE CHEER FOR FAMILY VALUES • 

THE LORD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS

A 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich that features the face of the Virgin Mary is finally back up for sale after eBay reversed its earlier decision not to allow bidding on the item. Diana Duyser, the owner of the miracle sandwich, claims that she spotted the image of the Virgin Mary after she took the first bite out of her grilled cheese sandwich ten years ago and kept the item in a plastic bag until the advance of technology finally gave her this chance to make some easy money off her gift from God. In her item description posted on eBay, Duyser claims that the sandwich has survived without any mold or disintegration despite not being preserved in any way. You can view the "miraculous" image of the Virgin Mary at eBay, where the hightest bid as of this writing is at $15,100.

LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR THEORY OF DEMOCRACY

People often look to George Orwell as one of the most accurate predictors of the present-day political system. But giving him a run for his money is Henry Louis Mencken, a political commentator who, as far back as 1920, said that the steady decline of democracy would lead to a "downright moron" occupying the White House. Writing in the Baltimore Evening Sun on July 26, 1920, Mencken explained that "the larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide ... the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre ... The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people ... On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

ONE CHEER FOR FAMILY VALUES

Now that it's no longer politically correct to test harmful substances on unsuspecting innocent victims, the American government has changed tactics and now simply bribes poor folks in order to keep science marching forward. Last week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the launch of a new study to test the harmful affects of exposure to toxic pesticides on children. The study, ominously labeled CHEERS (Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study), proposes to track how chemicals can be ingested, inhaled, and absorbed by children ranging in age from a few months to three years old. In exchange for exposing their children to lifelong health risks through this program, the EPA is offering each family $970, a free video camera, a T-shirt, and a framed certificate of appreciation. The research is being funded by such chemical giants as Dow, Exxon and Monsanto, leading critics to suggest that the results of the study will definitely be biased to favor the chemical industry, and will unnecessarily endanger the health of the children serving as test subjects. (www.epa.gov/cheers/)

A DEFORMED BODY ONLY A MOTHER COULD LOVE

Now that the era of circus freak shows has passed, we're going to have to make do with the Internet. Next stop, a Web site that has posted photos under the heading "Fairly Freaky Animals." Be warned, these photos are a bit more than "fairly" freaky. Actually, many of them are downright grotesque. But I know you like that sort of thing, so head on over to www.greenapple.com for your sick amusement. The Web site explains that "these animals can come into existence as a freak of nature, from physical accidents or by intervention of humans," and includes the categories of deformed frogs, contorted cows, freaky fish, twisty cats, misshapen swine, headless chickens, three-legged animals, two-headed animals and much more.

MAY YOU LIVE IN CURIOUS TIMES

What a total bummer. Turns out that my favorite Chinese curse--"May you live in interesting times"--isn't actually a curse at all, but was taken from the 1900 book The Wallet of Kai Lung. Two other curses follow: "May you come to the attention of those in high places" and "May the gods grant your prayers." (The Guardian) :

Get more bizarre news at www.curioustimes.com.

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