Dispatches from the Silly Season

It’s the silly season, the dog days, cucumber time – take your pick. In any case, hot and sunny summer weather has finally arrived here in Northwest Europe over the past couple of weeks, and real news is hard to find.

Other than the usual, ongoing violence in Iraq, of course. But it’s been good weather for taking the Segway out for riding past diners at one sidewalk cafĂ© after another, as I recently did over in Germany, in Bremen/Hannover/Oldenburg – that’s why I was away. But I’ll spare you the link to my other website to read about that; you always know where to find it anyway on the left side of this homepage.

So let us consider: 101 uses for a condom, other than the purpose for which they are originally made. This article in the Dutch Algemeen Dagblad (Indian Condoms: More Than One Use) fills us in on the ingenious employment for condoms they have come up with on the subcontinent. For one thing, road construction companies like to add them when they mix asphalt; the latex ultimately makes the new road smoother, with fewer cracks. That same material has also shown itself to be useful to roofers, to make roofs more watertight. All of this is in addition to alternative uses many of us might have already known about, such as in the construction of balloons for children and also as a container for water.

Those condoms with lubrication have found a special use which you might not know about: cleaning gold. That used to be done with molten wax, until gold-producers and those involved in using it to decorate clothes (gold-highlighted saris are particularly popular in India) found how much better this worked.


The result is that, according to estimates from researchers out of the University from Lucknow, only twenty to twenty-five percent of condoms are used as they are “supposed” to. That may not seem like such a big deal, but for quite a while governmental institutions in India have given away condoms for free as part of campaigns against AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases. That policy is not going to work quite as well when most of these are then sold by their original recipients to those desiring to use them for one of the new purposes given above, or others. And it does indeed seem that the growth of AIDS in India has not yet been slowed down.

But there’s always a silver lining: the Indian government could spin this condom policy failure in a creative way to gain itself some new friends. Like the Catholic Church, which would have you believe that condoms do not work to prevent sexually-transmitted diseases, or even pregnancy, anyway. Or of course the Bush administration, which for AIDS prescribes sexual abstinence.


Then another bulletin from the Belgian Standaard about closer to home, namely in the Dutch city of Oss, down by the bigger cities of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Nijmegen. (Still don’t know where I’m talking about? It’s central-eastern Netherlands, where an arm of Germany stabs in towards the country’s heart.) Yesterday morning the Oss police were called out to deal with an unwelcome intruder to the city: a cayman, i.e. a reptile which is a close relative to the alligator, this specimen measuring some 70 cm long. Considering that most of that will be tail, it wasn’t that an alarming beast overall, and by the time the police arrived they found that a passer-by (termed by De Standaard a reptielenliefhebber, or “reptile-lover”) had already put a hammer-lock on the animal, which was then spirited to the reptile-house at the zoo in Vlissingen (Zeeland; that’s western Netherlands, on the coast). What is alarming is that they still can’t figure out where it came from, i.e. how it got on the streets of Oss.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Comments are closed.