The conflicted double life of Israeli Orthodox Jew Shadar Hadar, 34, might be as formidable to manage as that of an international spy. Though deeply and defiantly religious, around midnight he “trades his knitted white yarmulke” for a “wavy blond wig and pink velvet dress” and takes the stage as a nascent drag queen, according to an August Associated Press dispatch from Jerusalem. His gayness has alienated his ex-wife (who bars him from seeing their daughter, now 11) and is only grudgingly accepted by his parents. As a bridge of sorts in his life, he has rejected the usual raunchy drag queen personas and adopted instead that of a female rabbinic adviser, musing from the stage on optimistic teachings of Breslov Hasidic ultra-Orthodox Judaism.
Stadium retired, but debt rolls on
Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium, whose construction was financed in 1964 by borrowing $25 million (and untold more as part of a subway expansion to service the stadium), was demolished in 2004. But nine years later, the city is still paying for it (though next year will retire the $25 million bond and nine years from now, the city hopes, will retire the stadium/subway bond). The city’s deputy controller told PhillyMag.com in June, profoundly, “When issuing a bond to build a facility, the debt payment on that bond should not outlast the facility.”
Go online to get in line to …
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety’s solution to its legendary long lines at driver’s license stations was to institute “In Line Online” registration. Online registrants were beside themselves, however, when they arrived on time across the state, only to learn that In Line Online merely entitled them to a reserved place in the line for making future appointments to take their driver’s test. A spokesman acknowledged that In Line Online might have some kinks and thus would be closed temporarily.
That’s the ticket (one of these years)
Toronto is facing such a crippling backlog of challenges to parking tickets, reported the Toronto Star in August, that more than 73,000 citations from last year were still unresolved and that many cases were proceeding even less hurriedly. Mahmood-Reza Arab, a computer programmer who was ticketed for parking too close to a hydrant in 2005 and who has dutifully met all deadlines for making a proper challenge, was recently scheduled (again) for trial before a judge — this month. A spokesman said the “normal” wait time for a court date is “only” 18 months.
A fly-by-night artist
Artist John Knuth creates “broad swaths of color that appear to be meticulous impressionistic abstractions,” reported a Gizmodo.com writer in July, but in a video made for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Knuth revealed that he makes colors with paint harvested from the vomit of about 200,000 houseflies. Knuth raises the flies from maggots, then feeds them sugar mixed with watercolor pigments, then coaxes the flies to regurgitate — and then captures and uses the result. Of Knuth’s accompanying high-minded explanations of his purpose, Gizmodo wrote, “Once you decide to make paintings from fly barf, you pretty much forfeit any other subtext you’d like your audience to appreciate.”
A police report with TMI
Notwithstanding the city of Detroit’s various problems, residents still expect its police force to behave sensibly. But in July, a police commander’s office blundered, releasing to all officers a document concerning an order of form-fitting bulletproof vests. Each individual officer’s height and weight were on the e-mail, but so were female officers’ bra cup sizes (which were needed to assure body-armor fit so as not to restrict mobility).
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