[NEWS OF THE WEIRD]
There’s an App for That
Among the health and fitness apps for computers and smartphones are sextracking programs to document the variety of acts and positions, degrees of frenzy and lengths of sessions (via an on-bed motion detector) — and menstrual trackers aimed at males (to help judge their partner’s fertility but also her predicted friskiness and likelihood of orgasm). Several have chart- and graphmaking potential for data (noise level, average thrust frequency, duration, etc.), and of course, the highlight of many of the apps is their ability to create a “score” to rank performance — even encouraging comparisons across a range of populations and geography. (Sociologist Deborah Lupton’s app research was summarized in the July Harper’s Magazine.)
We Are Not Alone
(1) Scientists from Australia’s James Cook University told reporters in June that they had spotted an aggressive fish that can walk on land making its way toward the country from Papua New Guinea. The native freshwater “climbing perch” can live out of water for days and has survived short saltwater treks from PNG toward Australia’s Queensland. (2) In July, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department posted a warning photo of a so-far-rare Texas Redhead — an 8-inch-long centipede with gangly white legs tipped with venom-delivering fangs and which eats lizards and toads.
The Continuing Crisis
— Reuters reported in early July that a big loser in the nuclear pact between Iran and six world powers was (since all negotiators have gone home to sell the deal) the brothel industry of Vienna, Austria, which hosted that final round. With so many (male, mostly) diplomats in town for two stressful months, business had been robust — especially compared to the previous round in notoriously expensive Lausanne, Switzerland.
— The Undernews From Wimbledon: The All England Club, host of tennis’s most hallowed tournament, is, formally, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, at which presumably Britain’s 11,900 croquet “regulars” aspire to play — although their British Open Championship is actually held at the nearby Surbiton Croquet Club, which this year hosted 50 competitors from four continents, according to a July New York Times dispatch. The leading U.S. player — Ben Rothman of Oakland, California, the “croquet pro” at Mission Hills Country Club near Palm Springs — is the reputed “world’s leader” in prize money ($4,500).
Profile in Leadership
Maryland state Delegate Ariana Kelly was charged with trespassing and indecent exposure in June after she arrived at her ex-husband’s home to drop off their kids and learned that his girlfriend was inside. According to police, she started banging on the door and ringing the bell repeatedly and, aware that her husband had a camera trained on the doorway, she faced it, exposed her breasts and shook them, one in each hand, toward the lens. Eventually, she dared an officer to arrest her. (The Washington Post reported that Kelly is a member of a legislative task force studying maternal mental health issues.)
— An 87-year-old man, taking his license renewal driving test in Deerfield, Illinois, in June, accidentally crashed into the driver’s license office (based on brake/accelerator confusion). Neither he nor the examiner was injured.
— An 83-year-old man, driving around Cape Coral, Florida, in May, suffered a fatal heart attack at the wheel, and the uncontrolled car came to rest in shrubbery ringing the Florida Heart Associates building.
— Wrong Place, Wrong Time: (1) A court in Lincoln, Nebraska, which had already sent Paul Boye to prison for at least 10 years for shooting his girlfriend, ordered him in June to cover her resulting medical bills. The woman had taken a .22-caliber bullet, which left a scar cutting right through her tattoo reading “Happiness Is A Warm Gun.” (2) A task force of Benton, Arkansas, police and U.S. Marshals tracked down Tieren Watson, 26, in June after he had spent several days on the lam as a suspect in a shooting. When arrested, he was wearing a T-shirt reading “You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide.”
Mine worker Joshua Clay claimed in a lawsuit that a foreman had twice taunted him for complaining about conditions — by restraining him and spray-painting his testicles white. Clay filed against Kielty Mine in Mingo County, West Virginia, in July, alleging that the company had forced him to work on the dirty side of a coal-dust conversion machine — a practice forbidden by federal regulations — and that when he complained, he was subjected to off-thebooks discipline.
A KPHO-TV news story in Phoenix featured a local doctor advising expectant mothers against “tweaking” the result of home pregnancy tests. Some women, apparently, had discovered the magic of “Photoshopping” the pink reading on the home test’s strip — to take a faint pink line (not a certified pregnancy) to make it bold (pregnant!). Although the doctor warns of the general hazard of “false positives,” the 415-word news story does not explain how Photoshopping a not-positive reading into a positive one improves the likelihood of conception.
Mangoes in the News
(1) Josefina Tometich, 64, was arrested in Fort Myers, Florida, in June, charged with shooting out the back window of Christopher Richey’s pickup. Richey had fetched a “perfect-looking” mango from the street in front of Tometich’s house, but Tometich insisted it was hers since it had earlier fallen from her tree. (An attorney consulted by WBBH-TV said wind-blown mangoes landing on public property is a legal “gray area.”) (2) In one of the most successful redresses of grievance in history, the Venezuelan government gave Marleny Olivo a new apartment in April. Only days before, as President Nicolas Maduro toured her neighborhood in Aragua state, she had hurled a mango at him with her phone number on it, hitting him just below the ear. The new president (a “man of the people”) called her, listened to her story, and ordered a housing upgrade.
Least Competent Criminals
Awkward: (1) A 26-year-old carpenter, trying to break open an ATM at an ICICI Bank in Delhi, India, at 2:30 a.m. on July 8, accidentally locked himself in the tiny space behind it (used to service the machine safely) and phoned police to come rescue him. (2) A carjacker in Omaha, Nebraska, on July 16 commandeered a car from a woman at gunpoint and climbed in. However, according to the woman, she is short and he was very tall, and after fumbling a bit trying to adjust the seat, he gave up (having driven only a few feet) and ran off.
As News of the Weird has noted, some observant Jews are magnificently creative in devising workarounds to ancient ritual restraints. For instance, the KosherSwitch theoretically allows Jews to defeat the restriction on engaging electricity during Shabbat. By employing a laser circuit that periodically malfunctions, or delays, in connecting a switch to a power flow, it permits the user technically to not be the direct cause of the electricity. (The KosherSwitch is currently the subject of a crowd- funding project sponsored by the device’s patent holder.) Less ingenious, as News of the Weird noted in 2010, is the Yom Kippur workaround for “fasting” coffee addicts: caffeine suppositories.
A News OfThe Weird Classic (August 2010)
Time magazine reported in August (2010) that among the entries in “Detroit Hair Wars” (showcasing pieces by 34 stylists) were The Hummer (stylist: “Little Willie”), in which a mass of extensions is shaped to resemble the vehicle, including four large, rolled “tires” — with metallic hubcaps and front grid added; and Beautiful Butterfly (stylist: Niecy Hayes), featuring extensions thinned, teased and stretched so that four angelic “wings” arise from the model’s head. Both stylings appear to be at least 2 feet long, dwarfing the models’ heads. !