Airport contraband featured in Lever House Art Exhibition

Go to Manhattan‘s Lever House, and you may see that lighter – or hand grenade – that was taken from you a JFK airport. Through the end of the year, the free exhibition will consist of photographs taken by Taryn Simon of items seized from passengers and mail packages coming into the United States. She spent five days clicking away at more than 1,000 items.

The exhibition, called “Contraband,” includes everything you’d expect to find at JFK: Cuban cigars, pirated DVDs, bongs and hand grenades. Also, there were animal parts and heroin. You’ll have to decide for yourself what’s strangest, but here are MSNBC’s thoughts:

So what’s the strangest thing in Simon’s new “Contraband” show? Hard to say, but the horse sausage and cow manure tooth powder have to be up at the top of the list.


[photo by 16 Miles of String via Flickr]

Russian flight crew smoking pot mid-flight

You really have to see this clip to believe it. It shows what appears to be the pilot and one flight attendant smoking pot from a home made bong bottle on their flight.

The description says it is an Aeroflot plane, but I’ve seen others claim it is “just” a freight plane, which would explain why none of the passengers walked to the galley to ask about the smell (of to see if they could join the fun).

By the end of the clip the 2 are clearly pretty buzzed. I just hope the pilot has a competent first officer up front, or it’s going to be a bumpy ride. If anyone has more information on the origin of the clip, feel free to leave us a comment!

Would a Dutch Smoking Ban Mean the End of its Famous Coffee Shops?

There’s plenty of reasons to visit Amsterdam — the people, the culture, the beautiful, walkable city — but let’s get real: the place is famous for its coffee shops, where patrons come to sit back, relax, and smoke a couple doobies. But like other European countries, the Netherlands is considering a ban on smoking tobacco in restaurants, cafes and bars — so will this signal the end for the country’s pot-smoking tourist traffic?

The answer, in short, seems to be no. Namely, because the clientele at these establishments aren’t actually smoking tobacco. Those who like to smoke their marijuana mixed with tobacco (a circumstance in which the ban probably would apply), will most likely get around the restriction simply by mixing their dope with something else. “You can bring parsley or old socks if you want, cut them here and smoke them, nobody will say anything,” one Dutch politician and coffee shop owner told Reuters News.

A ban — which could go into effect at the beginning of 2008 — might even mean good news for the makers and distributors of marijuana smoking paraphernalia, such as pipes, bongs, or other oddball contraptions potheads have dreamed up for the sake of improving their high.

So don’t worry, it looks Amsterdam’s tourists will be getting stoned wherever they like for the foreseeable future.