Intl. Notebook Dec 2 2008
SHROOMS CAPPED
Good times in Amsterdam severely curtailed by mushroom ban.

The Dutch ban on mushroom sales, passed earlier this year, went into effect yesterday. The ban follows several highly publicized incidents involving mushroom usage, including the reckless joyride of a Danish tourist who careened through a public campground in his car, narrowly missing campers, and the death of 17-year old French girl who jumped from a bridge. Amsterdam’s city council hopes the new law will help change the international perception of the ’Dam as a sex, drugs and vice metropolis, but owners of “smart shops” where the fungi are sold say hundreds of jobs may be lost.

One shop worker complained in an interview with Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that the problems were all the fault of tourists, especially Brits, who misuse alcohol at home then come to Amsterdam and do the same with hash and mushrooms. While it is true that vacationing Brits are notorious for binge consumption, the reputation of Amsterdam was established long before anyone began complaining about the behavior of tourists. Only time will tell if the mushroom ban will make people stop thinking of the city as a place to buy drugs, but in the meantime tourists can get the same trippy feeling by staring hard at a Van Gogh.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 13
1995—Mickey Mantle Dies
New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle dies of complications from cancer, after receiving a liver transplant. He was one of the greatest baseball players ever, but he was also an alcoholic and played drunk, hungover, and unprepared. He once said about himself, "Sometimes I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else's brain, who knows how good a player I might have been."
August 12
1943—Philadelphia Experiment Allegedly Takes Place
The U.S. government is believed by some to have attempted to create a cloak of invisibility around the Navy ship USS Eldridge. The top secret event is known as the Philadelphia Experiment and, according to believers, ultimately leads to the accidental teleportation of an entire vessel.
1953—Soviets Detonate Deliverable Nuke
The Soviet Union detonates a nuclear weapon codenamed Reaktivnyi Dvigatel Stalina, aka Stalin's Jet Engine. In the U.S. the bomb is codenamed Joe 4. It is a small yield fission bomb rather than a multi-stage fusion weapon, but it makes up for its relative weakness by being fully deployable, meaning it can be dropped from a bomber.
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