UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

March 16, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Recession-speak takes a 'staycation'

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 16 (UPI) -- The recession has produced a new set of words to describe U.S. life, including "furcation," "staycation" and "frugalista," pundits say.

The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times described "furcation" as "going someplace while on furlough or combining paid vacation days with unpaid days," while it said "staycation" means "staying at home because you can't afford to travel during your days off."

Other words making the Times' list of "recession-speak" language were "frugalista," which is someone who makes the necessities of being frugal into a fashion statement, and "Obamanomics," which the newspaper said usually refers to U.S. President Barack Obama's belief in replacing "trickle-down" economics with bottom-up prosperity but which in the pejorative sense can also mean "redistribution of wealth."

Economy anxiety a boon for psychics

PHILADELPHIA, March 16 (UPI) -- U.S. psychics say that while business is booming, their once love-lorn client base has forsaken romance questions for inquiries about economic woes.

Philadelphia psychic Valerie Morrison said the majority of her customers used to bring questions about romantic prospects but she has recently been receiving more questions about layoffs, the real estate market and other topics related to the struggling economy, USA Today reported Monday.

"They ask me if this (recession) is going to turn around or become even worse," Morrison said. "I say, 'Chicken pox gets worse before it gets better. Do not panic.'"

Maryanne Fiedler, marketing director for Psychic Source, a sooth-by-phone service that includes 165 psychics, told USA Today the foundering economy has led to a spike in business.

"Men and women are calling psychics who never thought they would call a psychic," she said.

Fielder said that while many cash-strapped callers are seeking investment advice, the best her psychics can give is "reassurance."

"We're trying to ease their anxieties," she said to USA Today.

Woman cop mans Rome traffic pedestal

ROME, March 16 (UPI) -- Score another first for Italian women -- two female cops Monday became the first women to direct traffic from the prominent pedestal in Rome's busiest square.

The traffic officers, identified only as Alessia and Alessandra, took turns directing vehicles traveling through Piazza Venezia, ANSA reported.

From 1898 until Monday, the white-gloved cops whose animated performances have become a tourist attraction in their own right have always been men, the Italian news agency said.

It took both drivers and the officers some getting used to, apparently.

''Your head spins a bit at the start,'' Alessia said.

''It was hard to get through to the drivers, although I suppose they were a little taken aback to see a woman in front of them,'' said Alessandra.

They called their new duty ''a big thrill."

''It's the most visible position in Rome,'' Angelo Giuliani, head of Rome's traffic police, told ANSA. ''And I can say with the greatest satisfaction that it has been admirably filled by women, an important step forward."

Bra maker has an eye for breasts

CHENGDU, China, March 16 (UPI) -- A 90-year-old tailor coming out of retirement in China says he can make a hand-made bra that fits perfectly just by looking at a woman's breasts.

Ran Yusheng, 90, who retired from bra making last year, said in the run-up to the opening of his new online store that he learned the art of bra making when he was 20 years old and soon discovered that he had a knack for it, China Daily reported Friday.

"I just looked at her breasts and then I could make a bra suitable for her," Ran said.

He told China Daily his skills at bra making helped him to win the affections of customer Wang Huiying, who later became his wife and seamstress. Ran retired after Wang's death last year.

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