No More "Comrades"

China's bus drivers and ticket sellers have been urged to leave Communism behind, with a new training manual instructing them to call travelers "sir" or "madam" instead of "comrade." "Old Comrade" is listed as the final possible choice of address for elderly travelers, but it comes after "elder master" and "elder sir."

The manual suggests forms of address ranging from "student" to the plain "passenger" for younger travelers, for whom comrade has a different gloss, as slang term for gay.

Hippie Dictionary

Are you feeling screwed, blued and tattooed because the man slipped it to you? Like, stay loose, hit the pad and share a thumb with your pash. Huh?

If that made no sense to you, check out "The Hippie Dictionary". Using this book to translate, readers come up with a more conventional: "Are you feeling mistreated by the authorities? Relax, go home to bed and share a very large marijuana cigarette with your significant other."

However those expecting the dictionary to be a reference work, are in for a jolt. The book is full of slang and swear words culled from the vernacular of the 1960s and 1970s hippie youth, who questioned authority and created their own counterculture.

Among the book's gems are "absofuckinglutely" (without a doubt), "hey man" (the most prevalent greeting of the era) and "swacked" (high on drugs or alcohol). In fact, the book's entry for the term "hippie" said, "The true hippie believes in and works for truth, generosity, peace, love and tolerance. The messengers of sanity in a world filled with greed, intolerance and war."

Drink to Forget

The French Foreign Legion is going into the wine business to raise funds for its veterans. Called Esprit de Corps, to embody the legionnaire spirit, its red and rose vintages are produced from grapes grown on a property in southern France used to shelter its war-wounded and former fighters, who work in the vineyard.

An officer at the property in Puyloubier described the wines as 'strong when attacked, solid on the onslaught, full of grapeshot on the front line.'

Elvis Meet Lego

A Swedish couple won the right to name their baby son Lego. In the past, parents found it difficult to call their children Ikea, Veranda or Metallica. The Swedish Administrative Court of Appeals overruled a decision that prevented the boy from being named after the plastic building blocks.

Other have not been so lucky. The parents of 'Elvis' were told that her name was 'of a masculine type' and therefore 'clearly inappropriate.' Elvis' mother protested the decision. 'We thought it was a name that was pretty and gender neutral. We're not Elvis Presley fans at all.'


A man who thought he was sailing around the British coastline was surprised to learn that he had in fact been circling the Isle of Sheppey. He had set out from Gillingham for Southampton but kept on sailing around the small island, off the coast of Kent, all day and night.

The aspiring sailor didn't realize until he ran out of fuel and had to call for assistance. He was using a road map to navigate and was making his way to Southampton with no navigation equipment.

Coastguards said: 'We passed on relevant safety advice and advised him that the best way to Southampton would be by train.'

Circus Back in Town

The circus came to town in Turkmenistan for the first time since the Central Asian nation's late leader banned it. Hundreds of children lined up for their first visit to the circus, a form of entertainment that the autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov prohibited as 'alien'.

Nizayov, who ruled Turkmenistan for 21 years, also banned the cinema, opera, ballet, and even gold teeth.

DIY Power Drill Dentist

A man who worked as a dentist for years despite using a DIY power drill and a pair of normal pliers in his surgery was arrested. Alvaro Perez, 40, from Ecuador used screwdrivers and household pincers among other things when he treated his patients at his surgery in Sampierdarena, Italy.

He was arrested after one of his patients called the police saying that he had almost passed out with pain during surgery. Perez, who was charged with deception, had no dental qualifications but had hundreds of clients.