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Bitter Pill

In recent years, the lemon has become synonymous with crapped-out cars and dodgy U2 tours. But it appears that the beleaguered fruit is headed for a revival. This week, scientists and grocers alike were surprised to learn that a debate is raging in Thailand about whether to market the acidic fruit as a contraceptive. Seemingly oblivious to the dangers of setting back public health by millennia, politicians in Bangkok are debating whether inserting a slice of lemon into the vagina would be a natural and effective alternative to the condom, diaphragm or pill. Crackpot birth control crusader Senator Mechai Viravaidya argues that the high level of citric acid and low pH in lemon juice can kill sperm in thirty seconds. Mr. Mechai insists he is only suggesting this for rural dwellers, who may not have condoms available (but may perhaps live in a lemon grove) and therefore find the ridiculous technique useful. Grasping for common sense, local reporters challenged a pharmacist on the idea of going fresh and fruity: “Even on our skins, lemon juice can cause irritation. We are talking about our most sensitive part here.” Other hotly debated recommendations include never having sex under a full moon, while facing eastwards or doing it in “the fashion of the dogs.”

Lust for Life

Samuel Johnson once said, “If you tire of London, you tire of life!” Well, one Londoner is sick of it. David Wilson is waging a one-man campaign against prostitutes’ calling cards taped to phone booths. He’s set up a website encouraging locals to “adopt” a booth and remove the cards each day. British Telecom removes 150,000 cards a week, but they are quickly replaced. Even new legislation that threatens offenders with a six-month jail term or a £5,000 ($8,000) fine has done little to deter these shameless criminals. Despite Wilson’s good intentions, there is some gray to the issue. One prostitute called “Debbie” defends the guerrilla advertising technique: “The girls are going to go back on the streets, and if they haven’t got nowhere to take a punter, they’re going to go in people’s basements, in gardens, anywhere they can bring them.” But a former “carder,” who gave the job up when it became a criminal offense, told BBC London that some thrill-seekers now earn more than £1,000 a week to post. “Nowadays the people who are doing it are hardened criminals – crackheads, junkies, homeless – people with nothing to lose.” What next? Kids giving wet willies on the subways? Old ladies stealing candy from babies?

For the Birds

Forget macrobiotic diets, expensive training equipment and steroids; a North Englander named John Hanson may just have invented a surefire key to optimum athletic performance. It goes like this: We cage Manchester United player David Beckham for a week or two, therefore preventing him from doing the nasty with wife and erstwhile Spice Girl Victoria. Then, in full view of the golden-footed midfielder, another soccer star from an opposing team comes over to “Beckingham Palace” and gives Posh a good shagging. Posh is then dangled behind the goal line of Beckham’s next game, thus ensuring that Beckham score enough goals to win the game and be reunited with his dear wife. Following this logic, Hanson, a racing pigeon owner, banned his bird Hanson’s Pride from mating with partner Snowy. The tortured bird also spent a week housed next to a cage where Snowy mated with another hen. Mr Hanson then took the homing pigeon to Bergerac (in the southwest of France), to see if it would be able to find its way back. The pigeon took just fourteen hours and sixteen minutes to complete the 632-mile journey back to Snowy, smashing the record by a day. An uncorrobarated report suggested that a seriously P.O.’ed Hanson’s Pride proceeded to peck the shit out of the feathered interloper and repeatedly crap on his owner’s car.

Bring ’em Young

For those planning to spend time in Salt Lake City (a.k.a. the Mormon Promised Land), TWIS advises you to take note of some cultural differences. For starters, drinking a cup of Joe and enjoying a smoke might cause locals to think you’re in league with the horned one, prompting them to command their team of wives to avert their gaze. For two Japanese teenagers, a summer spent in Utah resulted in a little more than culture being exchanged. In an piece of bureaucratic bungling worthy of the I.N.S, the girls, who were on an exchange program, were inadvertently placed with a host family of alleged polygamists. Gwen Springmeyer, volunteer coordinator of the summer exchange, said if she had known the family household was a hotbed of tag-team bed swapping, she would have chosen a different family. In the spirit of cultural exchange, a group of Brigham Young sophomores will be spending next semester at Japan’s bukakke academy.

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