The enormous compensation CEOs of large corporations receive is justified in part by their bringing prosperity to their shareholders, but last year (an excellent one for most investors), two of the nation's best-paid chief executives "earned" handsome raises despite presiding over losses: Philippe Dauman of Viacom Inc. (paid $44.3 million, stock lost 6.6 percent) and Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric (an 88 percent raise to $37.3 million, stock lost 6.7 percent). CEO Steven Newman of Transocean earned only $14.2 million, according to a June Wall Street Journal report, but that was a 2.2 percent boost — for stewardship that resulted in one of 2014's biggest flops — Transocean's 59.9 percent loss for its shareholders.
The entrepreneurial spirit
The Japanese, especially, report a decline of intimacy (for instance, a recent estimate found that about a quarter of 30-year-olds had never had sex with another person) — convenient for a Kyoto research institute's announcement in June that it had developed a huggable, human-sized, featureless pillow (resembling Casper the Friendly Ghost), with skin-like texture, to serve as an embraceable intimacy substitute. For people with actual lovers, the "Hugvie" (retailing for the equivalent of $80) has a slot for a cellphone to enable sweet talk with a remote "companion."
Scotty and Beverly Franklin of Springfield, Mo., are trying to tempt cowboys to actually wear leather boots retrofitted to be open-toed sandals. KHOU-TV (Houston) reported that the Franklins would sandal-up your favorite pair for $75.
One of the more reviled consumer products of 2015 is a gun-shaped iPhone case, which so alarms police that it suddenly in early July became hard to find, even at the online Japan Trend Shop, which previously offered models from $5 to $49. Asked one officer, "Why would you want to make yourself look like a threat [to cops]?"
In a recent BBC documentary, the son of renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking (Tim, now 36) revealed that his dad is "hugely competitive" and showed him "no compassion at all" when he was growing up. Tim said two of his few avenues of coping with such a famous, oblivious father were when he used to race around in his dad's specialized (and expensive) wheelchair (pretending it was a go-kart) and, for those deliciously awkward moments, adding cuss words to his father's synthesized speech software.
News of the Weird tracks the "armed and clumsy," who can't avoid shooting themselves accidentally, but then there is Adam Hirtle, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colo., who checked into a hospital on June 10 after intentionally shooting himself in the foot with a .22-caliber handgun. He did it twice because he was "curious" to see how it felt (with and without his boot to compare pain levels).
(1) A 79-year-old woman in Markgroeningen, Germany, hit a ditch coming down a hill and flipped through a wall into the second floor of a storage depot, resulting in only minor injuries (June). (2) A woman driving 100 miles per hour on a freeway near Leicester, England, lost control of her car, which somehow wound up in a tree about 20 feet above the roadway. She and a passenger climbed down and walked away (May). (3) A car speeding over a ramp sailed off a road in Durban, South Africa, crashing back-end-first through the roof of a one-story home, resting with the front end pointing straight up. Neither driver nor resident was hurt (July).
Also, recently ...
In May, at the very moment police in Akron, Ohio, had begun (with a warrant) searching the home of Andrew Palmer, 46, for evidence of drug-dealing, a UPS driver appeared at the door to make a routine delivery — of 4 pounds of marijuana.
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