The G-8 summit opened Friday in Okinawa. And after reading the newspaper
headline, "G-77 frustrated with G-8 inaction on debt relief," it became readily
apparent that you won't exactly impress friends or chat up that attractive
account executive at the weekend barbecue recounting the drama of the
summit, no matter how many hundreds of millions of dollars the Japanese
government is spending on this annual ritual. Instead, I offer the following
tidbits that should be immediately inserted into conversation as
soon as there is even the slightest hint of any summit talk:
In London, the Worshipful Company of
Grocers rode camels (a reference to their
spice-trading origins) past a smiling Queen
Mother at a pageant to help celebrate her
upcoming birthday with the kind of eccentricity
that makes England one of the world's oddest nations. But unlike the G-8, at
least the Queen Mum had something to celebrate. She turns 100 in a few days.
Bring on the camels!
Any summer barbecue needs a shark story, and
boy do I have one for you. This week, two great
white sharks were filmed systematically hunting
down an unlucky surfer in South Africa. In the film,
courtesy of a watching tourist, one of the sharks is
actually seen riding a wave as he moves in to take
a huge chomp of the guy's surfboard. But what
really confounded the scientists was the other
great white seen zeroing in for the kill from the
other side. Unbelievably, the surfer survived to tell
the story. Apparently great whites do not like the
taste of surfboards.
Want something closer to Okinawa? How about
swimming with deadly, poisonous sea snakes? I
bet the Japanese have not told Bill (Clinton), Tony
(Blair) and Jacques (Chirac) about the incredibly
poisonous snakes that swim about the islands of
Okinawa. Even more dangerous Bill, pay
particular attention to this these snakes have a
tendency to come onto the beach late at night. So
anyone planning some tomfoolery on the beach
may want to reconsider.
Where is Lucie Blackman? For that matter, who
is Lucie Blackman? Lucie is a pretty blond
Englishwoman who disappeared one night from a
Tokyo nightclub. British prime minister Tony Blair
is among those concerned about the fate of the
former British Airways flight attendant; on his way to
Okinawa, Blair actually met with Lucie's dad, Tim,
who is trying to put pressure on the Japanese
government to step up efforts to find his 21-year-old
daughter. This is a particularly embarrassing case
because it involves one of the shadier sides of
Tokyo life the booming business in trafficking
attractive Western women to Japanese
businessmen willing to pay top dollar for the
chance to sit next to and fondle blondes.
Finally, three cheers for my favorite car, the
Volvo, known as one of the world's safest cars. This
time, the brilliant engineers from Sweden foiled the
suicide attempt of a 37-year-old Belgian social
worker. The woman threw herself 27 floors from
one of the tallest buildings in Brussels in a
determined effort to meet her maker only to be foiled by the roof of a Volvo.
The car somehow cushioned the blow and the woman survived with barely a
scratch. The owner of the Volvo now has a real dilemma: The car was only five
days old and he can't decide whether to try and get some reimbursement for
the car. "I wouldn't want to burden this woman, but it was my car and she
wasn't insured." Only in Belgium.
Enjoy the weekend.