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The biggest mistakes of 2007

Meredith Carroll

With 2008 just a few days away, New Year’s resolutions are figuring as prominently as Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears’ children inevitably will in future police line-ups. However, some folks haven’t started thinking about fresh starts for next year yet because they’re still scratching their heads trying to pinpoint how 2007 went so wrong.Take Kevin Rudd, for example. This year will go down in the Rudd family as the one in which their little bespectacled dairy farm-raised boy was elected the 26th prime minister of Australia. The rest of the world will remember that, too, of course. But more as an afterthought. More significant in most people’s minds will forever be the viral video that exploded this fall of Rudd absentmindedly probing his ear for wax and then orally consuming the results. While sitting in Parliament. In front of Parliament’s official TV camera. Rudd is said to be mulling over enrolling next year in the Howard Dean School of How Not to Become a Universal Media Laughingstock.The Vienna Chamber of Commerce recently issued a bulletin to travel agencies alerting them to a large block of vacant hotel rooms next fall. Austria’s largest city showcased a new convention this past October – the world’s first divorce fair – but the response was disappointing. Only a few dozen people showed up, and most of their time was occupied being interviewed by dozens of members of the media. The convention offered seemingly standard fare like legal services, mediation and conflict management as well as more uncommon exhibitors, such as DNA analysts, private investigators and a company offering hair extensions, volume treatments and highlights (“A new look to accompany a new start”). The Roman Catholic Church also had a booth at the convention. Event organizers are hoping turnout at next year’s convention – ex-girlfriends and illegitimate children of James Brown, P. Diddy and Jack Nicholson – will prove more successful.This holiday season a father in Montreal sold his son’s $90 Christmas present – the coveted “Guitar Hero III” Nintendo Wii video game – for $9,100 on eBay after catching him smoking pot in the backyard with some friends. In turn, the son has offered money on eBay to anyone who will take his father and not return him home until he leaves for college so that he and his friends can enjoy their drugs and video games in peace.In August, a small Lexington, S.C.-based parts supplier was caught having collected more than $20 million from the Pentagon for fraudulent shipping costs. C&D Distributors discovered a flaw in an automated purchasing system used by the Defense Department that allowed them to charge $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing a total of $3.93 to Iraq and $998,798 to ship two 19-cent washers to Texas. Owners of the company expressed regret for their actions, saying they might consider using a North Pole return address instead the next time they figure out a way to rip off the government.Speaking of Santa, law enforcement officials in Ottawa have been searching for a “rogue elf” who sent obscene letters to nearly a dozen children on behalf of Mr. Claus. The postal service in Canada operates a “Write to Santa” program in which 11,000 volunteers respond to letters from kids, although postal officials believe there is only one errant sprite in the bunch. In the meantime, the program has been shut down until which time Michael Jackson can be found and brought in for questioning.A new beauty queen was crowned earlier this month at the Miss Belgium pageant in Brussels, but not without some controversy. Winner Alizee Poulicek, a 20-year-old language student from the Wallonia region, admitted she cannot speak Dutch even through language is the focus of her studies and Dutch is the language spoken by the majority of the people in the country she will represent in the Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss International pageants. In her defense, Poulicek says at least she can locate her country on a map, just as soon as someone helps her figure out which of her fingers is the pointer one.At least one big mistake in 2007 resulted in a happy ending. An oil field worker in Western Canada received a bill for $85,000 after hooking his cell phone to his computer and using it as a modem for downloads. Twenty-two year old Piotr Staniaszek said he thought the $150 monthly fee that covered him for unlimited mobile Web browsing extended the service to his PC. However, Staniaszek isn’t worried about finding the money to pay his bill, as he recently received the news that he is the rightful heir to the multi-million dollar fortune of a distant relative in Nigeria who recently passed away. He sent his information to the bank and is expecting payment any day now.E-mail questions or comments to meredithccarroll@hotmail.com.


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