Odd Files

Signs of the Times

“Selfie fever” has begun to sully the sacred Islamic pilgrimages to Mecca, according to scholars who complained to Arab News in September. What for centuries has been a hallowed journey intended to renew the spirit of Islam (that all Muslims are called upon to experience at least once) has come, for some in the so-called “Facebook era,” to resemble a trip to Disneyland, with visitors to the Sacred Mosque texting friends the “evidence” of their piety. (Another scholar complained in a New York Times opinion piece in October that Mecca is often experienced more as a tour packaged by marketers and centered around Mecca’s upscale shopping malls rather than religious structures.)

The New Normal

Just in time for California’s new law requiring explicit consent for students’ sexual activities is the free iPhone/Google app Good2Go, which developer Lee Ann Allman promises will simplify the consent process (and even document it). As described in a September Slate.com report, Good2Go requires the initiator to send the prospective partner to at least four smartphone screens, wait for a text message, provide phone numbers (unless he/she is a multiple-user with an “account”) and choose accurately one’s sobriety level — all before “the mood” evaporates (ending the app’s usefulness). It took the tech-savvy Slate writer four minutes to navigate the process — and she was still unclear which sexual activities had been consented to, since those specifics aren’t referenced. (The app has since been pulled from the market.)

New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell manages his own fantasy league team by “drafting” NFL players for virtual competitions based on their real-life statistics of the previous weekend. Donnell lamented to New Jersey’s The Record in October that he had benched virtual “Larry Donnell” on his fantasy team the week before because he thought his other tight end (“Vernon Davis”) would do better. In reality, real Donnell had a career-high game, with his three touchdowns leading the real Giants to a 45-14 victory. However, Donnell’s fantasy team lost badly because virtual Larry Donnell (and his weekend statistical bonanza) was on Donnell’s bench.

neighbor (Doug Wilkey) trying to close him down as an unlicensed entrepreneur, despite T.J.’s business plan for assisting his favorite animal shelter. Of course, T.J. was quickly inundated with donations, media praise and more lemonade sales. Wilkey, however, is under investigation by the city after a tipster revealed that Wilkey himself might operate a home-based financial services business not properly licensed.

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