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Secret Club Goes Public On Its 2500th Birthday
Yangon, MYANMAR
Drake learns a brain-full when he meets up with a high flyer in one of history's most influential secret clubs. The soon-to-be household-name comanutremologist is a member of the executive council which recently voted 8-1 in favor of making the secret club and the history of its organization known to the world. The lone naysayer requested that his name remain anonymous.
The secret club, known as "The Secret Club," was founded in late 490 BCE by monk disciples of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, while on a beach getaway in Greece. There, they ran into Darius I of Persia, who was with his army on their way to destroy a far undermanned Athens squad.
The monks showed Darius some Buddhist hand gestures of healing and forgiveness to be offered to the Greeks once he conquered them. As a joke, a real prankster of a monk followed with another gesture that he seemed to make up on the spot and said, "And if you happen to fail, give him one of these," referring to what we know today as the finger.
Darius I of Persia, the King of Kings, lost what became known as "The Battle of Marathon" by a whopping score of 6400-192 in dead soldier count, and proceeded to give the Athenians the "Royal Finger" upon his retreat to Persia. The Greeks found the story so hilarious that they began using "the finger" in comedy theater. But the monks were afraid of getting into trouble, so they asked that their names be kept hush-hush.
Over the centuries, Buddhist monks from today's Myanmar region continued inventing gestures, with great success, and eventually got into the business of handshakes. It is estimated that The Secret Club is responsible for 74% of the world's internationally-recognized hand shakes, signs and gestures, including 9 of the top 10 most popular. Although the "V" victory-turned-peace sign was invented by The Secret Club, contracted by Winston Churchill, its widespread use today as the Facebook pose is considered a completely different gesture.
The word on the street is that since her release from house arrest two weeks ago, Aung Sun Suu Kyi has already met twice with The Secret Club. Perhaps they are concocting something special for her to give to the ruling government.
If you're interested in commissioning The Club to design your own unique gesture, or would like to apply for membership, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: The Secret Club, Hideout Headquarters, Yangon, Myanmar. The reliable postal carriers will have no problem sniffing out the location.
 
 
 
TV Weather Persons in Deserts Have Cakiest Job
Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Deserts get a bad rap. People think that they are all about blistering hot weather, no shade, no water, no end in sight, with constant sand in the eyes and the occasional scorpion in the boots. To set the record straight, what many people don't know about the desert is that the sand is also a real bitch to trudge through. It's a nightmare.
 
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Good Ol' Days of Nose-Blistering Smell of Burning Plastic
Bagan, MYANMAR
Whether it be by the resounding ring of a bell, or the on-ing of porch lights, or Dad's command to the family dog to fetch attack-style, every family has its tradition in sending out the signal to their kids that it's dinner time. Families in Myanmar are no different.
 
 
City Sisterhood Bond Strengthened in Gift Exchange
Macau
Doesn't it just warm the cockles of your heart to see people give gifts simply for the sake of kindness and generosity? Well, Drake's heart cockles were definitely on the hot side of lukewarm when he discovered why there were so many Greek tourists visiting the sites of Macau.
 
 
 
American Slaves Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Angkor Wat
Siem Reap, CAMBODIA
Drake brings up such a sore moment in American history that most Americans have most likely shoved it so far away that they don't even remember it happened. Not the soldiers who participated in the feat, however. Nearly all of the surviving American contributors gather annually to fulfill the promise they made to each other to "never forget what they went through." Some are willing to openly talk about the rough working conditions and the feelings they had on ground-breaking day about the daunting task that lay ahead. But most like to talk about the yummy cuisine and the friendly Cambodian smiles. And the old life adage that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.
 
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Main Suspects in Candy Cannon Incident Detained
Macau
Our original Candy Cannon story has Drake explaining the festive Macau-style tradition of candy-gathering. But squeals of joy turned to shrieks of terror yesterday when the cannons turned their aim to the chidren and opened fire. While local authorites are chalking it up to an unfortunate accident, Interpol is suspecting foul play. Those with clearest motive are members of the Piñata Clan, who have endured generations of unprovoked atrocities on their defenseless containers of joy.
 
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Misreading Gives Beasts of Burden Cushy Job
Bagan, MYANMAR
No doubt communication is a common cause of many problems. At the very least, people get perturbed or peaved when they become victims of miscommunication, misinterpretation, and a lack of communication. That's understandable.
What gets some people's panties all in a wad, though, is the use of the word soccer. What the hell for? They know what it means, so that eliminates the whole language barrier issue. It's a simple two-syllable word, so no real threat of a mispronunciation fiasco in front of friends. It's not a euphemism for their sister's genitalia, or anything for that matter, so the offensive card is out. So what is it? Are they afflicted by a mental condition? Are they also bothered by the use of elevator instead of lift, or apartment instead of flat ? Because that would be a problem.
The kind of problem that Drake discovered in Bagan was caused from a different kind of communication error - the interpretation of the word rides in "Pony Rides" as a verb.
 
 
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