Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
No Good Deed...
Trying to bring a little Christmas cheer to animal lovers in Japan has earned one aquarium the wrath of animal rights lovers.
The Hakkeijima Sea Paradise Aquarium on Yokohama island features two beluga whales with Santa hats. London's Daily Mail reports you can even get a very wet kiss under the mistletoe from one of the whales.
But wildlife officials say the display is both sad and ironic because Japanese whalers are about to start their annual hunt in the Antarctic. Says one campaigner with the International Fund for Wildlife, "Sadly, the aquarium owners seem to be showing as little respect for the whales as their government."
Going on Offense
A lawyer in Turkey has filed a complaint with the organization that oversees soccer in Europe, over the jersey worn by a team from Milan, Italy.
The uniform features a cross on the front. The Muslim lawyer says he finds it offensive to Islam, because the cross is tied closely to the Crusades in the Middle Ages. Baris Kaska says, "The cross reminded me of the bloody days of the past."
The Milan team decided not to wear the jerseys when they played the Turkish team in Turkey, but didn't think it was necessary to do that for their home game with the team.
Image Is Everything
Scottish officials decided they needed a new marketing slogan for their country. They wanted to replace the signs around the Glasgow Airport that read "the best small country in the world." So of course they got their experts together — worked on concepts for six months — and spent around $300,000 dollars on the project.
So what did they come up with? "Welcome to Scotland." Yep, that's it — just "Welcome to Scotland."
As you might imagine not everyone is happy with this. Says one media expert, "They all seem to appear to take an unbelievably boring pill before they decide to implement plans like this. I think it's incredibly uninventive."
What Goes Around
How is this for the concept of making amends? A man in southern India married a female dog in a traditional Hindu ceremony — as an atonement for stoning to death two other dogs.
An Indian newspaper reports the man says he has been cursed with paralysis and a loss of hearing since he killed the two dogs and hung their bodies from a tree 15 years ago. So after an astrologer told him the wedding was the only way to break the curse, he married a former stray specially chosen, bathed, and clothed for the ceremony.
The paper said the groom and his family celebrated with a feast, while the dog bride got to chew on a bun.
— FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.