Good week for:
Miracles, after residents of Marino, Italy, discovered white wine flowing from their water faucets. “Miracolo!” they cried. The vino, it turns out, was supposed to spill from a fountain in the town square for the annual grape festival, but a plumbing mishap diverted it into homes.
Affordable mortgages, after a Chicago woman purchased an abandoned house in Saginaw, Mich., on eBay for $1.75.
Parents of teenagers, after Ford announced that many of its 2010 cars will come equipped with special keys for teenage drivers that can limit both the speed of the vehicle and the volume of the audio system.
Bad week for:
Superstition, after a Zimbabwean soccer team plunged into the crocodile-infested Zambezi River to ritually cleanse themselves of bad spirits before a match. One player never came out.
Richard Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers, who was punched in the face by an angry employee in the company gym shortly after the firm was driven into bankruptcy. Fuld was then berated in a congressional hearing for taking $480 million in stock options and salary as he drove the company into debt. Fuld said he felt “horrible” about the way things turned out.
AIG, the global insurance giant, which showed its gratitude for the $85 billion bailout provided by taxpayers by staging a weeklong retreat for sales agents and executives at a California resort, running up a tab of $440,000 for luxury rooms, banquets, massages, and other spa treatments. A spokesman said the retreat was a “standard” way of rewarding top performers.