While Iran’s leaders saber-rattle and quote the Quran, the country’s multitudes of young adults are embracing New Age self-help, as exemplified by the best-selling books and sold-out seminars of motivational guru Alireza Azmandian, according to a June Wall Street Journal dispatch from Tehran. Though young adults in Turkey and Egypt have stepped up their religious fervor, that is not so in Iran. Said a 25-year-old aerospace engineer: “Religion doesn’t offer me answers anymore,” but “(Azmandian’s) seminar changed my life.” The Oprah Winfrey-touted book, The Secret, is in its 10th printing in Farsi; yoga and meditation are big; and advertising abounds on the virtues of feng shui and financial management.

The Continuing Crisis
    Randall Popkes, 41, and his son Joshua Williams, 22, were arrested in West Des Moines, Iowa, in May and charged with an attempted safecracking at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club. A security officer had noted their license plate as they sped away after a frustrating session in which they had cut into the safe but could not open it.
    At press time, a court in Athens, Greece, was considering a challenge brought by three residents of the island of Lesbos in the Aegian Sea to prevent a Greek gay and lesbian organization from referring to homosexual women as lesbians, arguing that such usage insults their heritage, since Lesbos residents have traditionally been called “Lesbians.” On the other hand, Lesbos was also the birthplace of the poet Sappho, a heroic woman among gays and lesbians for her early references to her love of other women.

Yikes!
    The Panda Chinese Restaurant in York, Penn., was already in trouble in an early June city sanitation inspection, with demerits piling up because of accumulated grease, insects in the seating area and rotting lettuce, according to a York Daily Record report. Then, in the middle of an inspector’s visit, he came upon a live snapping turtle in the restaurant’s main sink. Said the inspector, “I had to sit down and gather myself before I could speak.” The manager said he had seen the turtle outside and had brought it in for safety: “It was wrong that we put it in the sink.”

Family Values
    Spare the Gun (Hammer), Spoil the Child: Darrell Walker, 30, was arrested in Bartlesville, Okla., in May after his 8-year-old son told police that his dad routinely shoots him (and his younger sister) in the leg with a BB gun if they misbehave.
    Robert Cisero, 46, was arrested in Medford, Ore., in June after (according to police) he hit his teenage daughter in the ankle with a hammer to feign a “skating” injury, for which she could get a prescription for pain medication, which he then commandeered.

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