Things sure have changed since I was a kid and fast food worker (about ten years ago). Back then the fast food workers would've been high and hoping the customers didn't notice, but last Friday it was an Arby's employee calling to report a drive-thru customer indulging with his girlfriend and one-year-old in the car. The boyfriend is free on bond after charges of neglect of a dependent and possession of marijuana were filed against him. The Indy Star
And from Rensselaer, Indiana comes a report of a 17 and 14-year-old who finally slaughtered a 150 pound, 6 foot long, alligator with a shotgun after their frog spears failed to do the trick. And no, they will not face criminal charges since alligators are not considered a game species in Indiana. The Indy Channel
Not @%#&?! likely! But this post is on a subject close to my heart, pain (must see a doctor about that).
Cartoon expletives aside, a bit of invective can do you the world of good, or so said scientists recently. A research team from from Keele University asked volunteers to hold their hand in freezing water for as long as they could manage while repeating either an innocuous word or the swear-word of their choice. The swearers held out for an average of two minutes, while non-swearers managed only 1 minute 15 seconds. But while Rohan Byrt of the Casual Swearing Appreciation Society claimed the study demonstrated the benefits of swearing, team leader Richard Stephens warned that everyday swearing would lessen its painkilling effects. "Swearing is emotional language" he explained, "but if you overuse it, it loses its emotional attachment" (BBC News).
From this week, pregnant women throughout Britain considering "letting it out" to help with the pain might also want to direct their curses towards Dr Denis Walsh, associate professor of midwifery at Nottingham University in England. In an article in the journal Evidence Based Midwifery, Dr Walsh claimed last week that the pain of childbirth was useful and a "timeless rite of passage", and women should not be trying to avoid it with epidural anaesthesia. Walsh based his statement on the fact that the use of epidurals has almost doubled in the past two decades, claiming that in 20% of cases, the procedure was unnecessary. While some, like Dr. Justin Clarke of the Birmingham Women's Hospital, rejected Walsh's data, saying it was wrong to characterise modern women as "less stoical", others supported him, such as Mary Newburn of the National Childbirth Trust who spoke of there being an "epidural culture" (Telegraph).
But perhaps women might be convinced to trade in the needle for a fancy rubber suit? Baltimore company Under Armour has developed a hi-tech, full length bodysuit that is said to allow athletes recover more quickly after strenuous activity. Under Armour's "Recharge" range gently squeezes the athlete's body forcing excess fluid out of the muscles and back into the bloodstream over a period of hours after a workout, reversing the "pumped" effect of the exercise. Research by the University of Connecticut showed that doing so resulted in subjects feeling less soreness and swelling of the muscles and recuperating faster (Journal Gazette).
There's always people trying to find alternative energy sources. We have wind power, solar power and now citrus power. Anna Gram made a clock powered by lemons. She says it was made to remind us that nature is still our direct energy source. There isn't anywhere you can buy one but you can read more about it here:
Most days I'd pay someone not to look under my sofa. That said, at http://www.opulentitems.com/unique-gift-idea.html
or Opulent Items, for only $200 you can have an led light that changes colors for under your sofa. This site, touted as 'home of unusual luxury', has many such essential items. For $40 an i-pod docking station/toilet paper dispenser so you can take care of business without missing a minute of your playlist. Guys, how about a voice controlled tv remote? If you misplace it just yell and the channel will still change. Perfect because when you lose the remote you yell anyway, so now it will be productive! On the less expensive end of the scale, we have a color changing led light that comes on when you run the faucet for just $15. For that unrepentant, well to do smoker there is the lovely (at least before it is used) diamond ashtray. This falls at the upper end of the price range at $7,250. Wow, what a steal!
Peruse at your leisure and see how a fool and his money are parted.
News of the Weird / Pro Edition
July 13, 2009 (news from July 4-11)
Retiring a News of the Weird Evergreen
Our old friend H. Beatty Chadwick, never convicted of doing anything wrong, has nonetheless been incarcerated near Philadelphia since the middle of President Clinton's first term, to encourage him to hand over money to his ex-wife in their divorce proceeding. At the time, he swore there was no money, that he had lost it all in investments. The judge didn't believe him, then or on any of the ensuing 5,200 days, but on Friday, the law finally said, 14 yrs, WTF? Some murderers in Pennsylvania are out way sooner than that. Philadelphia Inquirer
Economic Stimulus Is Working
Why, there's even a £50k ($80k) job opening for a witch, living the life, looking hag-like, cackling. It's for a tourist park that features a replica Dark Ages cave, which must have a witch on duty. BBC News
Nothing Is My Fault
(1) A well-to-do British doctor retired in 1991 and donated everything he owned to the Self Realization Meditation Healing Centre because he felt at one with its lady guru. It took 18 yrs for this highly educated man to work himself free of the fraud by that manipulative, 78-yr-old woman . . which means . . lawsuit! (2) A 15-yr-old girl in New York City fell into an open manhole, got a little skinned up and bruised, went to the hospital briefly, and maybe got an MRI to see if there was worse damage. That's a lawsuit, too! (Bonus: She fell in because she was distracted by texting.) Daily Telegraph /// New York Daily News
Barney and Gomer on Duty for Your Safety
When Yr Editor had business in federal buildings in Washington way before 9-11, it was jolly fun to try and game the "security" guards by flashing a true ID but then signing in under a completely different name, to see if they would notice. To my knowledge, no guard ever did. Obviously, security has improved since 9-11, in tha— . . . wait, it says here in this GAO report that things are worse. Secure buildings may have X-ray machines now, but if the Federal Protective Service officers ignore the monitors— . . which investigators found a high incidence of, they could sneak in bomb-making components at 10 sites, unbothered. . Washington Post
As if "swine flu" wasn't bad enough, Scientific American is reporting that the Ebola virus has been detected in domestic pigs in the Philippines. The particular strain of the virus, Reston ebolavirus, is not known to cause fatal haemorrhagic fever in humans, but is still rated a class 4 pathogen by the US Center for Disease Control (it's highest rating) because of the extreme fatality rate and absence of effective treatment of the disease caused by other Ebola viruses. One farmhand who worked with the pigs has also tested positive for R.ebolavirus, but is asymptomatic.
In this case it seems like most likely that the pigs caught the disease from the human rather than the other way round. However that pigs can catch and potentially pass on the organism to humans is an unexpected, and worrying, development. Michael McIntosh of the Department of Agriculture expressed concern not only that the Reston strain might mutate into something more deadly in its new host, but that the other disease-causing strains might also be using pigs as a reservoir. "What is the level of risk?" said McIntosh, "We really don't know" (Scientific American Article) (Paper in Science).
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.