Inexplicable | News of the Weird | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Inexplicable 

Why you shouldn't discourage your kids from picking their noses, and other updates.

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The New Power Nap
If high schoolers seem stressed by active lifestyles and competitive pressures, and consequently fail to sleep the recommended 9-10 hours a day, it must be a good idea for the federal government to give grants (including to Las Cruces High School in New Mexico) to purchase comfy, $14,000 "nap pods" that drive out the racket with soft music, for 20 minutes a shot during those frenzied classroom days. A May NPR report based on Las Cruces' experience quoted favorable reviews by students, backed by a doctor and a nurse practitioner who pointed to research showing that adequate sleep can boost memory and attention and thus can improve school performance—and therefore must be a great use of federal education dollars.

Unclear on the Concept
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam argues that his "hands are tied" by "federal food laws" and that fresh, "all-natural" milk with the cream skimmed off the top cannot be sold in Florida as "milk" (or "skim milk") but must be labeled "imitation milk"—unless the "all-natural" milk adds (artificial) vitamin A to the product. A family farm in the state's panhandle (Ocheesee Creamery) decided to challenge the law, and Putnam, who recently announced his candidacy for governor, said he would try to resolve the issue soon.

News You Can Use
Briton Fred Whitelaw, 64, who has bowel cancer, recently began working "therapeutic" breast milk into his diet, but only that supplied by his daughter, Jill Turner, who recently gave birth and said she is happy to double-pump to assure both Fred and baby Llewyn adequate supplies. Husband Kyle is trying it out for his eczema, as well.

• Scientists writing in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology recently recommended that parents not discourage children from picking their noses because snot contains a "rich reservoir of good bacteria" beneficial to teeth and overall health—fighting, for example, respiratory infections and even HIV.

Inexplicable
It recently became necessary for Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski to acquire a bigger home in the Los Angeles area because their 33,000 bunny-related items—stuffed bunnies, antique bunnies, bunny paintings, bunny dinnerware, etc.—needed more space.

• The world's only museum devoted to the "house cat" allows self-guided tours in Sylva, N.C., where curator Harold Sims displays 10,000 artifacts including a genuine petrified cat (with whiskers!) pulled from a 16th-century English chimney.

• Brantford, Ontario, real estate agent Kyle Jansink, speaking for unidentified sellers, said he accepted the challenge of selling the meticulously maintained home "as is"—still packed with the sellers' clown-related items (dolls, miniatures, porcelain statues, paintings).

Compelling Explanations
They're "therapists," not "strippers," argued New York City's Penthouse Executive Club, creatively characterizing its dancers to avoid $3 million in back taxes, but the state's appeals board ruled against it in April. Penthouse had insisted that its performers were more akin to counselors for lonely men, and that the club's door charge was an untaxable fee for therapeutic health services.

• James Pelletier, 46, was arrested in Hollis, Maine, in May after he fired a BB gun point-blank at his two sons, ages 9 and 11—but only, he said, as a "rite of passage" into maturity, perhaps thinking the experience would help them become as mature as their father. He said if the kids knew how it felt to get shot, perhaps they would not be so quick to fire their own guns.

The Continuing Crisis
You Mean Jethro and Abby, Too? In contrast to the exciting work of the TV series (near the top of broadcast ratings for the last decade), real agents in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have labored over computer screens 8-10 hours a day for two months now employing their facial-recognition software—just to scour websites to identify victims of nude-photo postings of military personnel that came to light earlier this year. "[Y]ou get pretty burned out," said the NCIS director. A simple word search of "uniformed military nude" got nearly 80 million hits, according to a May Associated Press dispatch from the Quantico Marine base, where the 20 investigators labor side-by-side.

Military Allies in Odd Places
In April, three days after ISIS fighters reportedly executed 25 villagers about 50 miles south of Kirkuk, Iraq, the three murderers were themselves killed (and eight more wounded) when a pack of wild boars overran their position and gnawed them into martyrdom.

• In April, a Russian naval reconnaissance ship sank in the Black Sea off of Turkey (likely op: Syria-related) when it collided with a livestock barge flying the flag of Togo. All aboard the Russian ship were rescued; the much-heavier Togolese vessel suffered barely a scratch.

Rights in Conflict
An elderly German man, unnamed in news reports, was fined the equivalent of $110 in May for "terrorizing" neighbors in the town of Hennef by violating a 2015 agreement to lower the sound of his pornographic videos. He demanded sympathy because of his hearing disability, arguing that if he wore headphones, he could not hear the doorbell or burglars, and therefore would feel unsafe. At his May hearing, he objected to the characterization that the "sex sounds" were from videos; on the day in question, he said, he had a prostitute in the room. "It was not porn," he insisted, confusingly. "It was live!"

Oops!
In May, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley apparently mindlessly signed the proclamation designating a special day for the late Tre Hummons—submitted by his grieving father, to honor the son's "sacrifice." Tre Hummons was killed in 2015 by a police officer—but only after Tre had just shot and killed another Cincinnati police officer.

• Winneshiek County, Iowa, engineer Lee Bjerke said he had no idea how the driver of the loaded 18-wheeler had missed the "Load Limit 3 Tons" sign at the entrance of the small, rickety bridge near Cresco in May, but in seconds, the span was wiped out, and the tractor-trailer had become part of the Turkey River. The loaded grain truck weighed more than 30 tons.

Armed and Clumsy (all-new!)
Still more incidents in which people (make that, "men") accidentally shoot themselves: a National Rifle Association staff member, 46, training on a firing range (Fairfax County, Va., April); a fleeing robber, run over by his victim, with the collision causing the robber's gun to fire into his own mouth (Hawthorne, Calif., March); two boys, 17 and 19, practicing loading and unloading a handgun, managing to hit each other (Houston, March); a homeless man, 45, in a now-classic waistband-holster-crotch malfunction (Lake Panasoffee, Fla., Oct.); U.S. Park Police officer, shot his foot in a confrontation with a raccoon (Wash., D.C., Nov.); man, 48, shot himself, then, apparently angry at how it happened, shot his bed (Oceana County, Mich., July).

Thanks this week to Laurel Bender, Michael Isquidsrus, Kathryn Vinson, William Carter, Michael Brozyna, Steve Passen, Bruce Leiserowitz and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

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