Blood perfume for vampire fans
MAYBE it's the popularity of vampire books, films and television series.
Let's hope there's nothing more sinister than that behind the latest range of perfumes to go on sale in Italy.
A company called Blood Concept has launched a line of unisex blood-scented fragrances that offer customers a choice of A, B, AB and O.
According to the perfume publicity, each of the fragrances is a "private celebration of the vivid and fascinating liquid that flows in our veins".
The range was unveiled this month at a niche perfumery trade show in Milan where another bizarre scent had potential customers sniffing in disbelief.
The bacon-infused perfume from Chicago was hailed as "a secret recipe blending 11 popular pure essential oils with the essence of bacon".
I'll stick to Old Spice, thanks.
Over the Alps, in Austria, a village bakery is facing prosecution by a Holocaust survivors' group for producing cakes decorated with Nazi symbols which include swastikas and a baby raising its right hand in a Nazi salute.
The provocative cakes sell for about 90 Euros (A$124) each.
"This is a particularly abhorrent example of how money is made from Nazi filth," said Jewish survivors' group chairman, Will Mernyi.
But pastry chef Manfred Klaschka is unrepentant.
"If someone orders it, I make it.
"I have to make a living," he told reporters.
Over in England Alan Beesley is facing the loss of his executive home after the local planning authority finally cottoned on to his clever deceit.
In 2001, Mr Beesley was given permission to construct a barn on land protected from urban development.
To casual observers, a barn is what he built, but although it had no windows and was surrounded by farmyard machinery, he fitted it out as a luxury house, complete with three bedrooms, two ensuites, a study, living room, garage and gym.
Now he's been told that he has to tear down the building, on which he lavished 500,000 pounds sterling (A$775,000).
One of the supreme court judges who ruled in favour of the local council said Mr Beesley's actions were the "highest degree of dishonesty, with a deliberate, elaborate and sustained plan to deceive".
And finally to America, where the unfathomable love affair with lethal weaponry continues.
How's this for an offer to entice you to subscribe to a satellite television service?
Sign up for a dish with RadioShack in Idaho and Montana and you'll get a coupon for $135 to buy either a pistol or a shotgun from a local sports goods store.
Since the offer was introduced subscriptions for the satellite service have increased threefold.
So you can douse yourself in blood and get a handgun with your television but you'd better not buy a cake or live in a barn.
Alternative Universe is a weekly humour column by Adrian Taylor.