Sideswipe: September 16: The Merkel diamond

No, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hasn’t got herself some bling. The Merkel-Raute (German for “Merkel rhombus”) is what has been termed Merkel diamond or Triangle of Power by English-speaking media: a hand gesture made by resting one’s hands in front of the stomach so that the fingertips meet, with the thumbs and index fingers forming a rough quadrangular shape. Merkel explains: “There was always the question, what to do with your arms, and that’s how it came about.” She chose the gesture without having been assisted because “it contains a certain symmetry”.

Overheard conversations

1. Older couple having a picnic: “Can you stop coughing? Everyone’s looking.” … “Your chicken is dry, Eileen!”
2. Kid: “Why is that boy dressed like a lady?” Dad: “Because he’s too fabulous for one gender, buddy.”
3. Mother to daughter: “Every day you are one day closer to no one caring about your beauty, so you’d better figure out what else you have going for you.”
4. “Can you tag me in that email?” … “Don’t you mean CC you? Life isn’t a meme, honey.”

Somebody forgot to turn out the lights

Lights on would suggest it is business as usual at Auckland Transport’s Victoria St carpark.

Did you hear the one about her cousin's mate?

Nicki Minaj said she wouldn’t be attending the celebrity-studded Met Gala because attendees were required to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and she is not. Minaj told her Twitter followers she hadn’t “done enough research” to make a decision … But Minaj didn’t stop there, following up with an eyebrow-raising story about her cousin’s friend who received the Covid-19 vaccine and then called off his wedding because “his testicles became swollen”. She responded to the online backlash by telling her followers: “I say what I want when I want how I want.” Other people, however, wondered how this unidentified person might be reeling after he and his testicles were suddenly tossed into a worldwide conversation about Covid vaccines. (Via Buzzfeed)

Tax nightmare

Having a popular name does have some advantages. It’s easy to remember and people never look at you funny when you say it. However, there are downsides. Francis Lopez, an 83-year-old man from Montpellier, shares the same name, the same birth date, the same city and even most of the digits in his social security number with another man. Lopez has been paying someone else’s taxes for 15 years, but because of a new tax withholding law, he is afraid that it will really start to cost him. French tax services have so far failed to resolve the bizarre situation, despite Francis’ numerous requests over the years. Luckily, Francis Lopez’s story has generated a lot of attention in French mainstream media and social media, and tax authorities have announced that his situation will be resolved in a matter of days.

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