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World keeps humour in 2008

business Updated: Dec 26, 2008 12:38 IST
Erik Kirschbaum
Highlight Story

Whether smashing plates in San Diego to relieve frustration or drinking "Bailout Bitter" beer in Canada sold as a "bitter ale for bitter times", people the world over kept a sense of humour in 2008 despite financial woes.

Some of the year's top off beat tales included a Canada brewery that created a special tough times bitter and "Sarah's Smash Shack" in California, which charges patrons $10 for 15 minutes of pleasure pulverising dinnerware against a wall.

"It was the best $50 we've spent in the last two years," said insurance broker Adam DeWitt, who smashed plates in San Diego with his wife after his home mortgage loan was rejected.

A glance back at 2008 shows a world full of wonderful, weird and whacky stories both before and after the financial upheaval.

In May, a Wall Street restaurant boasted it was selling the costliest burger in New York, with the $175 patty made of Kobe beef, black truffles, seared foie gras and flecks of gold leaf.

"Wall Street has good days and bad days," said Heather Tierney at her Wall Street Burger Shoppe. "We wanted to have something special if you really have a good day on Wall Street."

One bank in Kazakhstan offered a diamond encrusted credit card for well heeled clients with incomes over $300,000. A jeweller in Tokyo kept busy selling 13 piece tableware sets made of gold for $1 million aimed at newly rich Chinese customers.

Yet there was no need for any plates at all in Bihar, one of India's poorest states where authorities encouraged people to eat rats to fight rising food prices and save grain stocks. They praised rat meat as a healthy alternative to rice.

In Germany, the crisis sparked an unlikely revival of interest in Karl Marx, the founding father of communism whose heavy analysis of capitalism "Das Kapital" became a top seller.

"Bailout" was crowned as the US word of the year, and the financial crisis also had implications in Russia where vodka consumption fell sharply and the National Alcohol Association lobby group in Moscow said vodka stockpiles were six times higher than usual.

A Polish man got the shock of his life when he visited a brothel and spotted his wife among the establishment's employees, making some extra money on the side. After 14 years, the couple are divorcing.

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