Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Propaganda Ploy

A Bangkok ad agency apologized this week for using the image of Adolf Hitler to pitch a new brand of potato chips -- although they wouldn't go so far as actually taking the ads off the air just yet.

The commercial for "X" Potato Chips featured a happy Hitler giving the Nazi salute while a swastika in the background morphed into the "X" product logo, The Associated Press reports. The ad agency, Leo Burnett Bangkok, said it was shocked that anyone found this delightful piece of whimsy in the least offensive.

"The commercial is designed to communicate that the world would be a better place if happiness ruled, and the agency apologizes to anyone who finds it sensitive," said a Burnett mouthpiece -- after a complaint had been lodged by Israeli diplomats, who, oddly enough, did find the ad a trifle "sensitive."

Burnett officials said they would be "consulting" with their client, Food Processing Co., about pulling the ads -- or not. (After all, what if sales are up?) However, the agency is reportedly putting its planned "Saddam Hussein Hand Cream" campaign on hold for the moment.

Love Bug

Is that a cricket in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Those chirps you hear on the streets of Tokyo these days are indeed the sound of love on the wing -- but it doesn't come from randy insects rubbing their back legs together. No, it's the latest in lusty technology: the love beeper.

More than 400,000 people are now carrying a "Lovegety" (yes, it's a compound of English words), an oval disc that fits in your hand and alerts you to the presence of any opposite-sex beeper carriers in the general vicinity, AP reports. The timid can turn down the sound and rely on more discreet flashing red and green lights.

The Lovegety even has three settings to let your intended know your intentions: "karaoke," when you're in the mood to croon; "chat," for that thing some people actually do outside the Internet; and "friends," for, well, those times when you really do want to rub your back legs together. If someone's sending "karaoke" when your beeper's set for "chat," the red light flashes; if you're both on the same wavelength, it's a green light to l'amour.

Efolg, the small modem manufacturer that came up with the $22 device for a lark, is now anticipating $15 million in sales, especially after the product hits Singapore and Hong Kong next month. What's more, they plan an upgrade later this summer. The new, improved love beeper will feature even more choices: "movie," "drink," "dinner," "a discussion of the comparative philosophical resonances and dissonances in the works of Kierkegaard and Mishima" (that last one, admittedly, is still a bit iffy). Lovegety 2.0 will also be able to pinpoint your chosen cricket within a range of 100 meters.

Losing My Religion

Paula Jones, Kenneth Starr -- now Bill Clinton has yet another courtroom opponent: British artist Michael Philip Pattinson.

In a move that is surely not at all designed to attract publicity, Pattinson has sued the U.S. president, his Cabinet, the U.S. government in toto -- and, what the heck, John Travolta as well -- as part of his far-reaching lawsuit against the Church of Scientology.

Pattinson, who left the sci-fi sect in 1997 after 25 years of faithful service, now alleges the Hubbardniks scammed $500,000 out of him with bogus promises that church counseling would "cure" him of his homosexual urges and give him special magical powers, such as the ability to "leave" his body at will, The St. Petersburg Times (in Florida) reports. He says the counseling didn't take and that sect officials exploited him professionally, forcing him to decorate the homes of well-heeled Scientologists with gratis artwork.

So where does that old Southern Baptist Bill Clinton come in? Pattinson claims the president was "seduced" by the sect's "celebrity culture" (as exemplified by Travolta) and was the driving force behind the 1993 decision by the Internal Revenue Service to grant the organization tax-exempt "religious" status.

A spokesman for the sect called Pattinson's suit "tabloid litigation." Which means, of course, that Clinton should feel right at home.

Missing Ingredient

A single burning question was haunting the minds of all Britons (all real Britons, that is) this week: who, oh, who will fill the enormous platform sneakers left behind by the departure of Geri Halliwell from the Spice Girls?

Halliwell, also known as "Ginger Spice" or "Sexy Spice" (or, in certain censorious circles, as "the really tarty one"), left the pop concoction this week under the usual cloud of recriminations and "best wishes for success," The Daily Telegraph reports. Spice Girl insiders (and wouldn't you just kill to be one?) said Halliwell's high-handed attempts to boss the other girls had led to endless rows since the Spices fired their manager last year.

Although the rump Spices vowed to carry on with a planned U.S. stadium tour, there was widespread speculation the group might fall apart. Record company execs are frantically searching for a replacement -- but where will they find another ginger-haired, dozey-eyed woman of no discernible talent and a penchant for heavy makeup and atrocious outfits who'd be willing to make herself look ridiculous in front of millions of people for money?

Did someone say, "Fergie Spice"?

Warts and All

Supermodel Cindy Crawford -- the long-limbed, mole-lipped adornment of a million plastic carry-bags on the streets of modern Moscow -- got herself hitched last weekend behind a wall of security muscle in the Bahamas.

Crawford's new husband, her second, is bar owner and former male model Rande Gerber, AP reports. Like Crawford, Gerber is openly bi-coastal: he owns swank saloons in both New York and Los Angeles. The couple took over a public beach for the nuptials and hired private security guards to keep the rubbernecking proles away.

Crawford was previously married to pro-nuke campaigner and Hindu nationalist Richard Gere. He is now married to the Dalai Lama.