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News of the Weird

Tuesday April 26, 2011 05:32 pm EDT

  • Tara-Lynne Pixley


An internal city audit has confirmed what we already knew: Atlanta's roadways are in shit shape. This is thanks, in no small part, to the Department of Public Works, the city agency that's supposed to permit and then keep track of those awful metal plates that utility companies slap over the cuts they make in the pavement. They're also supposed to make sure said companies...

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News of the Weird

Thursday March 10, 2011 04:00 am EST
Tombstone, Ariz., which was the site of the legendary 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (made into a 1957 movie), is about 70 miles from the Tucson shopping center where a U.S. congresswoman, a federal judge and others were shot in January. A Los Angeles Times dispatch later that month noted that the "Wild West" of 1881 Tombstone had far stricter gun control than present-day Arizona. The... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday March 3, 2011 04:00 am EST
Getting Old, Young: 1) Jack Smeltzer broke a record in the tractor pull championships in Columbus, Ohio, in January — doing a "full track-length pull" of 692 pounds. Jack is 7 years old. The National Kiddie Tractor Pullers Association (holding 80 events a year for ages 3 through 8) uses bicycles instead of motors. Ms. Brooke Wilker, 5, was the youngest champ, lugging 300 pounds 28 feet. 2)... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday February 24, 2011 04:00 am EST
The ear has a "G-spot," explained the Santa Clara, Calif., ear-nose-and-throat surgeon, and thus the moans of ecstasy that Vietnamese "ear pickers" reportedly elicit from their clients might well be justified. A San Jose Mercury News reporter, dispatched to Ho Chi Minh City in January to check it out, learned that barber shop technicians could sometimes coax "eargasms" (as they removed wax) by... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday February 17, 2011 04:00 am EST
"Tall, slim, facial symmetry," "good teeth," along with classic makeup and dress and graceful movement, might comprise the inventory list for any beauty contest winner, and they are also the criteria for victors in Niger's traditional "Gerewol" festival — except that the contestants are all males and the judges all females. Cosmetics are especially crucial, with symbolic black, yellow and white... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday February 10, 2011 04:00 am EST
Damn, dirty spies, vaginal steam baths and more | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday February 3, 2011 04:00 am EST
Do Ask, Must Tell (and Show): The Turkish military's legendary homophobia (rare among NATO countries) comprises both zero-tolerance for homosexuality by service personnel and the requirement of rigorous proof by anyone applying for exemption from service by claiming to be gay. (Homosexuality is the only disqualifier from compulsory service for able-bodied men.) In personal experiences recounted... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday January 27, 2011 04:00 am EST
LEAD STORY: Two hundred boredom "activists" gathered in London in December at James Ward's annual banal-apalooza conference, "Boring 2010," to listen to ennui-stricken speakers glorify all things dreary, including a demonstration of milk-tasting (in wine glasses, describing flavor and smoothness), charts breaking down the characteristics of a man's sneezes for three years, and a PowerPoint... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday January 20, 2011 04:00 am EST
LEAD STORY: A now-10-year-old church in Denver ministers to (as contemplated by 1 Corinthians 4:11-13) the homeless, the reviled, and the persecuted and formally named itself after the actual words in verse 13, the "Scum of the Earth" Church. The congregation touts nonjudgmental Christianity; owns an elegant, aging building (but holds services elsewhere because of fire code violations); and is... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday January 13, 2011 04:00 am EST
Catch-22 Catches Disabled Veteran: David Henderson, a Korean War veteran long suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, applied 15 days past the deadline for enhanced care under a 2001 veterans-benefits law and thus was, as required by the statute, disqualified from the additional benefits. Henderson's doctor pointed out that major disorders such as Henderson's often leave victims unable to... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday January 6, 2011 04:00 am EST
Biologists Studying Rare Species Have to Be Quick: Researchers learned from reports in early 2010 of a new monkey species in Myanmar, with a nose so recessed that it habitually collects rainfall and constantly sneezes. However, according to an October National Geographic dispatch, by the time scientists arrived to investigate, natives had eaten the monkey. (The sneezing makes them easy for... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday December 30, 2010 04:00 am EST
The Cabral Chrysler dealership in Manteca, Calif., was so desperate for a sale in October that one of its employees picked up potential customer Donald Davis, 67, at his nursing home, brought the pajamas-and-slippers-clad, dementia-suffering resident in to sign papers, handed him the keys to his new pickup truck (with the requested chrome wheels!), and sent him on his way (even tossing Davis'... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday December 23, 2010 04:00 am EST
Among the oppressive patriarchal customs that remain in force in Saudi Arabia is a requirement that females obtain their father's (or guardian's) permission before marrying — even women who are profoundly independent, such as the 42-year-old surgeon (licensed to practice in the U.K. and Canada as well as Saudi Arabia) who was the subject of an Associated Press report in November. One activist,... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday December 16, 2010 04:00 am EST
Britain's National Health Service acknowledged in November that, because of a shortage of healthy lungs and other organs available for transplant, it was offering those on waiting lists the option of receiving them from former smokers, drug addicts, cancer patients and the elderly. "You have to say," said an official with the NHS's Blood and Transplant unit, "do you get a lung with more risk,... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday December 9, 2010 04:00 am EST
The collapse of the economy in 2008 might have reached the far corners of Earth, but evidently not to Planet Calypso, the make-believe asteroid containing make-believe real estate in the multiplayer online game Entropia Universe, where resort entrepreneur Jon Jacobs recently cashed out his properties for $635,000 — in real (not make-believe) U.S. dollars. Since Jacobs' original 2005 investment... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday December 2, 2010 04:00 am EST

CORRECTION: Two weeks ago, News of the Weird reported that four teenagers had been killed by lightning at a Bible camp. In fact, they are recovering from serious injuries. I am happy to report their survival, but I apologize for the error. — Chuck Shepherd

Librarian Graham Barker, 45, of Perth, Australia, casually revealed to a reporter in October that his hobby of 26 years — harvesting his...

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News of the Weird

Wednesday November 24, 2010 04:00 am EST
Surreal Estate: Sixty-two percent of the 12 million people of Mumbai, India, live in slums, but the city is also home to Mukesh Ambani's 27-story private residence (37,000 square feet, 600 employees serving a family of five), reported to cost about $1 billion. According to an October New York Times dispatch, there are "terraces upon terraces," "four-story hanging gardens," "airborne swimming... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday November 18, 2010 04:00 am EST
About 20 percent of Japan's adult-video market is now "elder porn" with each production featuring one or more studly seniors and Shigeo Tokuda, 76, among the most popular. He told Toronto's Globe and Mail in October that he still "performs" physically "without Viagra," in at least one role a month opposite much younger women. His wife and adult daughter learned only two years ago, by accident,... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday November 11, 2010 04:00 am EST
Belt-Tightening Greeks: In October, Greece's largest health insurance provider announced, in a letter to a diabetes foundation, that it would no longer pay for the special footwear that diabetics need for reducing pain but suggested it would pay instead for amputation, which is less expensive. The decision, which the foundation said is not supported by international scientific literature, was... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday November 4, 2010 04:00 am EDT
Modern Mummies: New York City artist Sally Davies offered in October the latest evidence of how unattractive today's fast foods are to bacteria and maggots. Davies bought a McDonald's Happy Meal in April, has photographed it daily, and has noted periodically the lack even of the slightest sign of decomposition. Her dog, who circled restlessly nearby for the first two days the vittles were out,... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday October 28, 2010 04:00 am EDT
David Winkelman, 48, was arrested in Davenport, Iowa, in September on a misdemeanor warrant, still sporting "The Tattoo." In late 2000, Winkelman, reacting to a radio "contest," had his forehead inked with the logo of radio station KORB, "93 Rock," because he had heard on-air personalities "offer" $100,000 to anyone who would do it. Winkelman had the tattoo done before checking, however, and... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday October 21, 2010 04:00 am EDT
More Creative Alternate-Site Surgery: Doctors from the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Washington announced in September that they could just as well handle certain brain surgeries by access not in the traditional way through the top of the skull but by drilling holes in the nose and, more recently, the eye socket. (Since classic brain surgery requires that the top of... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday October 14, 2010 04:00 am EDT
Edible "dirt" has recently appeared on the menus of several of the world's most renowned restaurants (e.g., the top-rated Noma in Copenhagen, Shakuf in Tel Aviv, Gilt in New York City). "People are really wowed to see dirt on their plates," said Gilt's head chef. Actually, the "dirt" only looks and feels like dirt. Each chef creates signature tastes from dried or charred powders with the... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday October 7, 2010 04:00 am EDT
Ingrid Paulicivic filed a lawsuit in September against Laguna Beach, Calif., gynecologist Red Alinsod over leg burns she bafflingly acquired during her 2009 hysterectomy — a procedure that was topped off by the doctor's nearly gratuitous name-"branding" of her uterus with his electrocautery tool. Dr. Alinsod explained that he carved "Ingrid" in inch-high letters on the organ only after he had... | more...

News of the Weird

Thursday September 30, 2010 04:00 am EDT
Civilization in Decline: "Tom Tom," a 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier, was laid to rest at the Oakland Cemetery in Monticello, Ark., in March, even though he was in good health. His owner, Donald Ellis, had just passed away but had left explicit instructions that he wanted Tom Tom buried along with him, and not later on, because he felt that no one could love Tom Tom as much as he did. Ellis'... | more...