A 55-yr-old woman did a successful suicidal cannonball over a railing at a New York City shopping mall, landing on a guy "relaxing" on a coin-operated vibrating chair. New York Daily News
Once again, a loving mother protectively sends her child to heaven in order to pre-empt Satan, who was surely about to take him the other way. Orlando Sentinel
Sweden's National Library archives copies of everything published in the country, including from the years 1971-1980, when child pornography was legal, and ya can check it out over the counter, apparently. The Local (Stockholm)
Last week, it was a funeral home mistakenly cremating a female when the order was for a male; and now another home incinerates a black man when the order was for a white woman. Houston Chronicle
Suddenly, sperm-harvesting is a hot topic again: A Texas mother yearns to be a grandmother even though her son had just been killed (and so she obtained an emergency body-preservation order to keep the sperm viable). And a divorced Michigan couple who earlier divided up their six pedigreed bullmastiffs are back in court fighting over bullmastiff jizm. Austin American-Statesman///Detroit News
Small-town politics (Duncanville, Tex.) at its best, with the mayor ordering the arrest of a mouthy city councilman, who promptly falls to the floor in pain. (Bonus: It's on video!) Dallas Morning News
People who should've left well-enough alone: (1) A registered sex offender is charged only with failure to submit a change-of-address, but he's got his laptop with him at the station and offers to show the guys an "amazing" flight simulator game he's been playing, and they said, cool, but up should pop what on the screen? (Of course.). (2) This guy was let off with a warning to stop harassing diners at a restaurant and to get home in a taxi because he was drunk, and he did that, but then started stewing about being accused of intoxication, and so drove down to the station and offered to take a breathalyzer to prove he was sober. (You know it.) Anchorage Daily News///Akron Beacon-Journal
[Jury Duty] Tammy Webb, 43, Milford Center, Ohio, got three DUIs in a six-day period . . disoriented, yes, but with nary a drop of alcohol in her system. WCMH-TV (Columbus)
Today's Newsrangers: Rob Snyder, Gil Nelson, Shannon Thompson, Joe Weckbacher, Harry Farkas, Ken Vermette, Sandy Pearlman, Stephen Taylor
I came across a description of this experiment in an old newspaper (Reno Evening Gazette, Sep 8, 1941) and have never found any other references to it. The experiment was conducted by British psychologists who wanted to find out if "civilian populations can be made immune, through familiarity, to fear caused by air raid noises." The methodological problems with the design of the experiment are obvious, but it's interesting that it was conducted nevertheless. The details follow:
The London experiment consisted of herding workers, children and bomb-shocked neurotics into underground vaults and there subjecting them to an 'artificial blitz bombing.'
Sound effects used in the test were recordings made during one of London's worst air raids last year, amplified to simulate the real thing. An Associated Press writer who witnessed the experiment reported:
"The sounds swelled in the dark vault. The guns kept banging. Then big bombs burst. The guns kept up. More bombs. Then the crackle of flames. Next clanging fire engines added their noise, the other sounds continuing."
According to the reporter, the subjects stood the test very well: 'No one was crying out. A flashlight swung around the room, revealing drawn faces and frightened eyes. But no one was swooning. The experimenters stepped up the amplification.'
The British psychologists responsible for the experiment were reported delighted with the results. They said it proved their theory that whole populations could be exposed to 'artificial blitzkriegs' and thus rendered immune to fear during air raids.
You pay $9 for the privilege of spending an hour in a cafe begging some cats to pay attention to you. Apparently the concept has become very popular in Japan due to a combination of factors that make pet ownership difficult: people spend too much time at work, and many apartments have no-pets policies.
As someone who owns a 15-year-old cat that insists on spending a large portion of her time every day sleeping in my lap -- and instead of trying to move her I've just learned to work around this -- I'm not really in a position to make fun of anyone else's weird cat-related behavior. If I didn't own a cat, and I lived in Japan, I'd probably be one of the people hanging out at the local cat cafe. (Thanks to Cassie Sperry for the link!)
As we all know, Chuck has a recurring theme about how the Brits coddle their prisoners. Apparently, this motif goes back at least as far as 1960, the year that the Peter Sellers film TWO-WAY STRETCH premiered. In this film, Sellers and gang receive deliveries from the milkman and newsboy, keep a cat, steal the warden's ciggies, and generally make their stay quite enjoyable. Until the tough-guy guard known as "Sourkraut" shows up. See some moments below.
Little Rock's new River Church will hold its Good Friday and Easter services at downtown bars. KLRT-TV
A Cause Greater Than One's Self: At least Abdullah, 11, is a jihadi suicide bomber; all you can say about that Dillon, S.C., 11-yr-old is that he shot his little sister in the face with a shotgun because she took his potato chips. Daily Mail (London) ///WBTW-TV (Myrtle Beach)
A real-life tick-tock in Toronto: Infant Lillian, needing heart transplant, is sh_t-outta-luck because the arranged donor (terminally-ill Kaylee) is defying everyone by . . living. Globe & Mail
Best and the Brightest: Texas state Rep. Betty Brown, noting how difficult it is to verify voter registration of Asian-Americans with Anglicized names, suggested that they change 'em to names "easier for Americans to deal with." Houston Chronicle
An ex-NYPD officer, fighting to get his job back, said the only reason he could think of for testing positive for cocaine was that he used to go down on his cokehead girlfriend. New York Daily News
Peter Dennis sued the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. because its voluntary self-exclusion (from casino) program didn't work for him, letting him lose around $600k more (and he's suing on behalf of all the other gamblers it didn't work for) ($3.5B). Toronto Star
Brett Picciotti, 26, said even if he has been charged with throwing his girlfriend off of a second-floor balcony, that's no reason to kick him out of medical school. (Bonus statement by his lawyer: "He's an exemplary young man. This is an aberrational charge. I think there's an explanation. I'm just not prepared to give it to you right now.") Philadelphia Daily News
[Jury Duty] After a high-speed chase, police accused Sterling Devine, 25, of a home break-in, but he doesn't see it that way. KCTV (Kansas City)
Today's Newsrangers: Jessica McRorie, Stephen Taylor, Joe Pat Clayton, Jim Dukes, Sandy Pearlman
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.