Summer is fast coming to end, and it's the time of year when our nation's youth begin heading back to college with a packing list that most likely includes the usual items — laptops, iPods, backpacks.
Now one company wants our best and brightest to bring one more thing back to school: A portable stripper pole.
Long standard equipment at naughty nightspots across the country, stripper poles lately have become somewhat of celebrity fitness fad, with the likes of Paris Hilton and Carmen Electra installing them in their Hollywood homes.
Now a Fresno, Calif.-based company called Lil' Mynx is marketing their line of adult entertainment accessories to college students for installation in their dorm rooms and frat houses.
They claim business is booming for the poles, which sell for $299 each.
What's more, company founder Randy Blacker says that his stripper poles aren't just for kinky coeds. "We've sold [them] to quite a few guys that use it for triatholon training because it's a good core-body strength builder," he told MSNBC this week.
Those must be the same guys who read Playboy for the articles.
Incredible edible insects
A Japanese fan club for wasps has added the insects to rice crackers, saying the result adds a waspish flavor to the traditional fare.
The jibachi senbei, or digger wasp rice crackers, are made in the town of Omachi 120 miles northwest of Tokyo and have five or six black digger wasps each, clearly visible to the naked eye.
"Young people see the bugs and refuse to eat the senbei," said Torao Kayatsu, the president of the Omachi digger wasp lovers club, who has been handing out sample crackers around town. "But seniors, they love them. We even have an order from a nursing home."
Kayatsu said the crackers are slightly more oily than the soy-sauce flavored traditional ones.
"It's hard to explain," he said. "You really just have to taste it yourself."
OK, but we'll need some sake to get a good buzz on first.
See Spot swim
If behavior therapists, designer outfits and gourmet food aren't enough to keep pampered pooches happy, dog owners can now try swimming lessons.
The class for puppies is one of the latest ways New Yorkers are pleasing their pets in a city well-known for people who indulge their dogs.
"We teach them how to swim, how to get in the pool," said Stacy Alldredge, whose Manhattan dog spa features a custom-designed pool for pooches. "It's about becoming socialized."
Recently, the aptly named Salty learned to swim by wearing a life jacket and having his paw held, but now he shows off his aquatic skills by constantly leaping into a pool.
Four months after his first lesson, the miniature schnauzer is the envy of his classmates, who excitedly bark and sniff the water but don't dare jump in without the instructor's help.
At a recent class, owners paid about $15 to let a swim therapist hold their puppy and encourage it to swim solo to the pool's edge. Several owners soothingly willed their puppies into the water or shouted "good girl!" upon a successful swim.
But don't dogs instinctively know how to swim?
"That's a myth. Dogs don't naturally know how to swim, although some dogs do," said Alldredge, citing breeds such as Labradors or golden retrievers. Other breeds "feel awkward" and need help, she said.
There's no word if they can eventually achieve lifedog certification.
Reuters contributed to this report.