News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M318, May 12, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd
* Caribou Baby, a Brooklyn, N.Y., "eco-friendly maternity, baby, and lifestyle store," has recently been hosting gatherings at which parents exchange tips on "elimination communication"--the weaning of infants without benefit of diapers (as reported in April by the New York Times). Parents watch for cues, such as a certain "cry or grimace" that supposedly signals that the tot urgently needs to be hoisted onto a potty. (Eventually, they say, the potty serves to cue the baby.) Dealing with diapers is so unpleasant, they say, that cleaning an occasional mess becomes tolerable. The little darlings’ public appearances sometimes call for diapers but can also be dealt with by taking the baby behind the nearest tree. One parent even admitted, "I have absolutely been at parties and witnessed people putting their baby over the sink." [New York Times, 4-19-2013]
Can't Possibly Be True
* Washington, D.C.'s WRC-TV reported in March that a woman from the Maryland suburbs showed a reporter a traffic citation she had just received, ticketing her for driving in the left lane on Interstate 95 in Laurel while going only 63 mph--compared to the posted ("maximum") speed of 65. The citation read, "Failure of driver . . . to keep right." The station's meteorologist noted that winds that day were gusting to 40 mph and that the woman might simply have been trying to control her car. [WRC-TV, 3-12-2013]
* The principal and head teacher at a Godalming, England, special-needs school were reported by employees in March for allowing a student with self-harm issues to cut herself, under staff supervision. (Unsted Park School enrolls kids aged 7-19 who have high-functioning autism.) Teachers were to hand the girl a sterilized blade, wait outside a bathroom while she acted out, checking up on her at two-minute intervals, and then dressing the girl's wounds once she had finished. The school reportedly abandoned the policy six days after implementing it. [GetSurrey.co.uk (Guildford, England), 3-25-2013]
* Last year, according to Chicago's WBBM-TV, Palmen Motors in Kenosha, Wis., sold a brand-new GMC Terrain SUV to an elderly couple, 90 and 89, in which the husband was legally blind and in hospice care, on morphine, and the wife had dementia and could barely walk. According to the couple's daughter, it was her brother, David McMurray, who wanted the SUV but could not qualify financially and so drove his mother from Illinois to Kenosha to sign the documents while a Palmen employee traveled to Chicago to get the father's signature (three weeks before he passed away, it turns out). An attorney for Palmen Motors told the TV station that the company regretted its role and would buy the vehicle back. [WBBM-TV, 3-13-2013]
* The city council of Oita, Japan, refused to seat a recently-elected member because he refused to remove the mask he always wears in public. Professional wrestler "Skull Reaper A-ji" said his fans would not accept him as authentic if he strayed from his character. Some masked U.S. wrestlers, and especially the popular Mexican "lucha libre" wrestlers," share the sentiment. (At press time, the issue was apparently still unresolved in Oita.) [Daily Telegraph (London), 3-13-2013]
* At the January 8th public meeting, Cooper City, Fla., Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi, annoyed with local activist (and former commissioner) Gladys Wilson, told her (according to video and audio of the meeting), "low me." Wilson, 81, said later she did not understand what the phrase meant; Mallozzi said later that she meant only that she needed to blow her nose. [WPLG-TV (Miami), 1-14-2013]
Oddee gives us a list of diets that are most likely not nutritionist approved. The All Man-Juice Diet sounds interesting. It seems like it should be followed more strictly than described at the link though.
Montana Public Radio reports about artist Tim Holmes, who's dying money blue and giving it away. He also stamps it with the phrase, "Based on the value of a clean world!" He hopes this will prompt a widespread discussion about environmentalism. Why? Because the money is blue. He elaborates at his website bluebills.us:
Regular green bills express no value. The money we use every day is backed by NOTHING! Its only value is what others think it has. But when two people exchange a Blue Bill, both agree on the value of a clean environment and a healthy community. Every exchange thus is a vote for a clean world!
So green = "no value" but blue = "clean environment and a healthy community". Got it?
Over in China, researchers decided to test the theory that dogs can predict earthquakes. So they housed four dogs at the Nanchang quake center and waited for them to show signs of "abnormal" activity, such as barking a lot.
They soon discovered that dogs (and apparently these dogs in particular) often bark a lot. According to local residents "every night at 11pm they start barking over and over." After fielding multiple complaints from angry neighbors, the researchers "offered to muzzle the dogs, but accepted later that this might impede their skills as quake-prognosticators." Finally, the experiment was shut down.
So maybe dogs can predict earthquakes, or maybe they can't. But until we learn to speak dog language better, it doesn't look like our canine friends will be much use to us as official quake predictors. [London Times]
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
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.
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