Let's skim through the news!
The city of Birmingham (England) has decided to drop apostrophes from all its street signs.
Sigh. Just another assault on correct grammar, this time sanctioned by the government. Look, I'm a grammar and spelling enthusiast. I hate listening to people on the television and radio using poor grammar, because as much as I try not to judge, I always think they sound stupid. I'm also aware that grammar and spelling are largely fluid things, changing throughout the centuries. I get it. The reason this sucks, however, is that people are just giving up trying to learn things. Grammar and spelling aren't that difficult to learn, yet people just want to give up, and now it's gone up to the city council. It's part of the entire "dumbing-down" of life in general. Some choice quotes from the article:
Councilor Martin Mullaney, who heads the city's transport scrutiny committee, said he decided to act after yet another interminable debate into whether "Kings Heath," a Birmingham suburb, should be rewritten with an apostrophe.
"I had to make a final decision on this," he said Friday. "We keep debating apostrophes in meetings and we have other things to do."
It's not a debate. It's a rule. Yes, there needs to be an apostrophe. End of debate.
Mullaney hopes to stop public campaigns to restore the apostrophe that would tell passers-by that "Kings Heath" was once owned by the monarchy.
"Apostrophes denote possessions that are no longer accurate, and are not needed," he said. "More importantly, they confuse people. If I want to go to a restaurant, I don't want to have an A-level (high school diploma) in English to find it."
See? Idiots rule. "Waaah, waaah, I don't know how to find things because I'm so stupid!"
Mullaney claimed apostrophes confuse GPS units, including those used by emergency services. But Jenny Hodge, a spokeswoman for satellite navigation equipment manufacturer TomTom, said most users of their systems navigate through Britain's sometime confusing streets by entering a postal code rather than a street address.
She said that if someone preferred to use a street name - with or without an apostrophe - punctuation wouldn't be an issue. By the time the first few letters of the street were entered, a list of matching choices would pop up and the user would choose the destination.
A test by The Associated Press backed this up. In a search for London street St. Mary's Road, the name popped up before the apostrophe had to be entered.
British grammarians have railed for decades against storekeepers' signs advertising the sale of "apple's and pear's," or pubs offering "chip's and pea's."
I always like how people who want to get rid of apostrophes use them incorrectly all the time. If you never use them, fine. But to use them incorrectly and then bitch when people want to use them correctly? Shut up.
Okay, let's move on, staying on that side of the pond!
Britain's Royal Opera plans a show based on the life of Anna Nicole Smith.
Oh dear. Of course, there's been an opera about Jerry Springer, so why not Anna Nicole Smith? She started as a stripper, posed for Playboy, was the Playmate of the Year, married an octogenarian oil tycoon for his money, got embroiled in a law suit when he died and his family contested her portion, had a screwed-up later life, endured her son's death, and then died of a drug overdose. It's classic opera stuff! And no, I'm not being sarcastic. Come on, just because some operas are 100-200 years old doesn't mean they're not pretty lurid. Good on you, Royal Opera!
Anna Nicole Smith: Too buxom to live!
More news from England: He's 13. He scarcely looks 10. And according to a British tabloid, he's a father. Baby-faced and only 4 feet tall, the boy, Alfie, was just 12 when he impregnated Chantelle, now 15, The Sun reported Friday.
Oh dear. Oh my dear Lord.
Asked what he would do to support the child financially, Alfie asks in a small, high-pitched voice, "What's financially?"
The Sun did not say whether any tests were conducted to prove the boy's paternity. The paper did not offer any immediate comment when asked whether it had paid the family for the story.
Police and child services in Eastbourne, in southeast England, said in a statement that they were "aware of a 14-year-old girl that had become pregnant as the result of a relationship with a 12-year-old boy," adding that they were offering support to both young people.
"Support." With our tax dollars! Or, I guess, pounds.
Alfie's front page picture has sparked renewed debate about teen pregnancy in Britain. The country has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe, and government figures show that about 39,000 girls under age 18 became pregnant in 2006. More than 7,000 of those girls were younger than 16.
That's sad. Not as bad as the U.S., though!
Britain had 27 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 between 2000 and 2005, according to a report published by Population Action International. Comparable figures are 10 per 1,000 for Spain, 8 in 1,000 for France, and 5 in 1,000 for The Netherlands.
Britain's teen pregnancy rate, however, is still far below that of the United States, which registers 44 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 and are more line with English-speaking countries such as Australia and New Zealand, which respectively have 17 and 27 births per 1,000 women between 15 and 19, according to the report.
U! S! A!
In a move last year to tackle the high teen pregnancy rate, British education officials announced they would start introducing sex education earlier in English schools. Beginning next year, children as in grades as low as kindergarten will be given basic sex education.
Tony Kerridge, of the sexual health group Marie Stopes International, praised the move, but local lawmaker Nigel Waterson said the pregnancy raised "huge questions" about whether British children were being educated about sex - at the expense of learning about healthy relationships.
Like the one between a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old? Yeah, those kind.
Chantelle and Alfie have reportedly pledged to raise the child as best they can.
"We know we made a mistake but I wouldn't change it now," Chantelle was quoted by The Sun as saying.
Alfie's father, Dennis - who reportedly has nine children - said his son told him it was the first time he had sex. He was reportedly allowed to sleep over at the girl's house.
At least we can't blame the parents!
"I will talk to him again and it will be the birds and bees talk," he said. "Some may say it's too late but he needs to understand so there is not another baby."
Yeah, good luck with that, Pops.
All right, let's move on to the United States! Things do happen here, you know!
Churches are beginning to accept evolution.
After a lifetime in the church, the Rev. William L. Rhines Jr. lately has started to question one of the Bible's fundamental teachings, that God created man. It's an especially touchy topic in his Wilmington, Del., congregation, where generations of black worshippers have leaned on faith to endure the indignities of racism.
But as the world marks the 200th birthday of evolution theorist Charles Darwin on Thursday, Rhines figures its time for even the most conservative congregations to come to terms with science.
Welcome to the 21st century, everyone!
"We're becoming more middle class, upper middle class, so we have more free time ... to ponder these eternal issues," said Rhines, who will encourage a discussion at Ezion-Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church.
I like that the implication is that low-class people are too dim to concern themselves with philosophical problems!
Participants say they're not abandoning the Bible's story of Adam and Eve. Rather, they want to blend theories in a way that helps today's faithful reconcile their modern world with Biblical teachings.
"We have to give God a lot more credit than we give him now - we need to give him the benefit of the doubt that his word includes evolution," said Mike Ghouse, president of the World Muslim Congress, a Dallas-based union of 3,000 Muslims that hosted its first ever Evolution Weekend discussion Friday.
God sure does deserve some credit, right?
Zimmerman argues the faithful can accept parts of creationism - the notion that a higher being created man whole - and evolution.
"Faith is related to one's belief system ... science, on the other hand, is in a different domain," said the Rev. Gerald Kersey, who planned a Sunday school lesson and discussion of Darwin's theories at Avondale Estates First Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta.
He blamed religious intolerance for causing many faithful to feel they must choose between science and the Bible.
"I'm presenting the idea that science or evolution is compatible with faith," he said.
The religious are never intolerant, are they?
Still, many Americans believe that God created man. A 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life found 63 percent of Americans believed humans and other animals have either always existed in their present form or have evolved over time under the guidance of a supreme being.
That percentage is especially high among the nation's black churchgoers, who have been taught for generations to cope with everything from slavery to Jim Crow by using the Bible's teachings, Rhines said.
"We don't want to tamper with what grandma taught us - we've come this far by faith," Rhines said.
At one of the nation's oldest black churches, the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga., the Rev. Thurmond Tillman doesn't oppose evolution.
But he argued black Americans have other social issues to address, and the faithful should focus on uniting mankind - not dividing his origins.
Well, that's a relief!
So, what else in the news? Nothing too important, I'm sure.