1. At the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., the world's largest daisy, the "titan arum" (Amorphophallus titanum, if you must know), continues in its stubborn refusal to bloom, despite the thoughts, mantras, prayers, and hopes of well-wishers worldwide. Also known, fittingly, as the "Corpse Flower," this perverse, contrary weed only blossoms when it wants to: often, years or even decades elapse between blooms. (The most recent exhibition was in 2007.) When it finally blooms, it is truly spectacular, and truly horrible: as tall as a basketball hoop, it boasts "the largest known unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom." It is a very big daisy indeed. Alas, in the words of the Botanic Garden's site, "the odor is often compared to the stench of rotting flesh." Once the blossom collapses (within 24-48 hours), the smell stops. It could bloom at any time; live TV cameras are trained on it, which can be viewed on the Internet, if you have that much patience. Here it is, in all its nascent dreariness:
2. Rochelle Harris, 27, of Derby, England, recently returned from a holiday in Peru, accompanied by some unwelcome stowaways. Although she had contracted no illnesses while on vacation, she began to experience headaches, shooting pains in her face, and a strange scratching sound inside her ear. Upon consulting a physician, she was understandably dismayed to learn that flesh-eating maggots were snacking on the inside of her head, having hatched from eggs laid by a Peruvian fly, specifically a New World Army Screw Worm fly. Mrs. Harris' little tenants were evicted, and she suffered no lasting damage, although she has expressed no desire to revisit Peru.
3. Call Daniel Ellsberg! Call Edward Snowden! The military-intelligence complex has lied to us - - - and to our children - - - once again! In an unprecedented scandal, it was revealed that "Cap'n Crunch," the beloved figurehead of a popular children's cereal, is not a Captain at all, but merely holds the rank of Commander in the United States Navy. The facts were unearthed when unnamed sources noticed that Crunch is wearing the three stripes of a Navy Commander, not the four of a Captain. Speaking to Foreign Policy magazine, a bold whistleblower set the record straight: "'You are correct that Cap'n Crunch appears to be wearing the rank of a U.S. Navy commander,' Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty, a U.S. Navy spokeswoman, tells Foreign Policy. 'Oddly, our personnel records do not show a "Cap'n Crunch" who currently serves or has served in the Navy.'"
4. The War on Children continues on other fronts, as well. In Dundee, Michigan, following a visit to a water park, a grandfather was nonplussed when his four year old grandson opened his Burger King Kids Meal and pulled out a fully-loaded marijuana pipe. The dejected child, who had hoped for a toy or at least a cardboard crown, whined and pouted for several hours, as his grandfather angrily confronted the child-hating, drug-pushing Manager of the restaurant. It can be no coincidence that, in 2007, an eight year old child in Ottawa, Illinois found a loaded marijuana pipe and a lighter in his Happy Meal.
5. In a typical example of intellectual arrogance leavened with stupidity, a once-respected "science" network on television has posited the possibility that the universe doesn't really exist, unless it does. It might just be an illusion. (Zen Buddhists greeted the news with a shrug, saying "Who didn't know that?") The network then resumed its constant assertions that the theory of Darwinian evolution is a fact that must not be questioned.
6. In a related story, scientists in Victoria, B.C., are petitioning the Canadian government to reverse its decision to close their research center, The Centre of the Universe. Unofficial government sources say that the decision was made to mollify the Obama administration, which insists that the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the center of the universe.
7. A rare albino ostrich has escaped from a travelling circus near Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky, Russia. "The ostrich is a very stupid and aggressive bird, but it is also very dangerous and capable of maiming," snarled circus administrator Vasily Kolos.
8. Snooty the Manatee, an ill-tempered and mentally unbalanced aquatic pest currently incarcerated at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, celebrated his 65th birthday on July 20, with a widely-publicized party. "He tried to escape a few times in the old days," said one of his captors, "but he's resigned to his situation now. Poor old Snootster probably couldn't make it on the outside anyway."
"I was framed!"
9. Elsewhere in Florida, Ms. Jenna Conti, a hairdresser, has been banned from her community swimming pool because of her insistence on wearing a mermaid tail. Ms. Conti, whose mermaid name is Eden Sirene, was banished from the pool because of a policy against wearing swim fins. The decision was greeted with disapproval by the children who gather around the woman, happily pretending that she's not human at all.
10. In Rome, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, alias Pope Francis, has announced that regular followers of his Twitter account will receive special Papal indulgences, i.e., absolution from their sins and reduction of their time in "Purgatory." Such indulgences, offered in past centuries primarily for financial contributions to the Roman Catholic Church, largely financed the construction of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and have been used throughout the years to fund various projects and stuff the Vatican treasury. It was the practice of selling indulgences that caused Martin Luther to break with the Roman Catholic Church, and to fuel the Protestant Reformation. Modern Catholic leaders and spokesmen have long claimed that the issue of indulgences was exaggerated and distracting, but the current Antichrist (1 John 2:18) has placed the absurd gimmick front and center again. Genuine Christians, who know that God alone can forgive sins through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, appreciate Bergoglio's boldness in once again showing the true face of the Vatican.
SPECIAL FLASH UPDATE: Within hours of the writing of this post, the "titan arum" finally decided to bloom at the Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C. Whoever said that this monstrosity is a daisy must have been either inebriated or delusional. It is clearly some mutant form of calla lily, and is as hideous in its aspect as it is repulsive in its aroma. According to this story, the smell of rotting flesh has already begun to dissipate, and the flower is already beginning to collapse in on itself.
"You're no daisy. You're no daisy at all!"
the largest known unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom - See more at: http://www.usbg.gov/return-titan#sthash.YXnjQjr2.dpuf