This is indeed a madcap world. Below are some of the wacky stories of 2008, which goes to show just how economic realities affect daily lives in different countries. (HT: Tim Iacono)
Some of the year's top off-beat tales included a Canada brewery that created a special tough times bitter and "Sarah's Smash Shack" in California, which charges patrons $10 for 15 minutes of pleasure pulverizing dinnerware against a wall. "It was the best $50 we've spent in the last two years," said insurance broker Adam DeWitt, who smashed plates in San Diego with his wife after his home mortgage loan was rejected.
In May, a Wall Street restaurant boasted it was selling the costliest burger in New York, with the $175 patty made of Kobe beef, black truffles, seared foie gras and flecks of gold leaf.
One bank in Kazakhstan offered a diamond-encrusted credit card for well-heeled clients with incomes over $300,000. A jeweler in Tokyo kept busy selling 13-piece tableware sets made of gold for $1 million -- aimed at newly rich Chinese customers.
Yet there was no need for any plates at all in Bihar, one of India's poorest states where authorities encouraged people to eat rats to fight rising food prices and save grain stocks. They praised rat meat a healthy alternative to rice.
In Germany, the crisis sparked an unlikely revival of interest in Karl Marx, the founding father of communism whose heavy analysis of capitalism "Das Kapital" became a top seller.
A Polish man got the shock of his life when he visited a brothel and spotted his wife among the establishment's employees, making some extra money on the side. After 14 years, the couple are divorcing.
An Indian Muslim couple made news for exchanging wedding vows by phone after the groom, who lives abroad, said he did not have money to return home. The whole village witnessed the ceremony when clerics put the mobile phone on speaker mode.
And who could forget this story from Haiti....
With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some must take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16, with a month old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.
..........or of a Zimbabwe man going to the grocery with wheelbarrow of cash who was robbed, and his wheelbarrow taken away.