News of the Weird M514, February 12, 2017

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Chuck Shepherd

Feb 12, 2017, 9:42:05 AM2/12/17
WEIRDNUZ.M514 (News of the Weird, February 12, 2017)
by Chuck Shepherd
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Lead Story                                  
* Ewwww!  On January 31st, doctors at Stanley Medical College
and Hospital in Chennai, India, removed a live, full-grown
cockroach from the nasal cavity of a 42-year-old woman whose
nose had been "itchy" earlier in the day.  Two hospitals were unable
to help her, but at Stanley, Dr. M.N. Shankar, chief of ear-nose-
throat, used an endoscope, forceps, and, for 45 minutes, a suction
device--because, he said, the roach "didn't seem to want to come
out."  Another doctor on the team noted that they've removed beads
and similar items from the nasal cavity "but not a cockroach,
especially not one this large (demonstrating the splayed-out
trespasser in full wingspan)." [Times of India, 2-3-2017]

Can't Possibly Be True
* Zachary Bennett and Karen Nourse have found Manhattan quite
affordable, reported the New York Post in January--by simply not
paying, for six years now, the $4,750 monthly rent on their loft-style
apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood, citing New York state's
"loft law," which they say technically forbids the landlord from
collecting. Since the other eight units of their building are
"commercial," the landlord believes it doesn't need a "residential
certificate of occupancy," but Bennett and Nourse believe the law
only exempts buildings with at least two residences, and for some
reason, the landlord has obstinately declined to initiate eviction or,
until recently, to sue (for back rent, fees, and electricity).  [New
York Post, 1-8-2017]

* Update from "Big Porn":  The colossus PornHub dot com, in its
annual January rundown, reported its several sites had 23 billion
"visits" in 2016 (about one-fourth from females)--during which its
videos were viewed 91 billion times.  In all, earthlings spent 4.6
billion hours watching PornHub's inventory (that is 5.2 centuries'
time doing whatever people do when viewing porn).  U.S.A. took
home the gold for the most "page views" per capita, just nipping
Iceland.  Online visitors from the Philippines, for the third straight
year, remained (per capita) on the sites the longest per visit.  The
top search term on PornHub from U.S. computers was "step mom."
[The Daily Dot, 1-5-2017]

Unclear on the Concept

* Late last year, Oxford University professor Joshua Silver accused
Britain's Home Secretary of a "hate" crime merely because the
Secretary had made a speech urging that unemployed Britons be
given preference for jobs over people recruited from overseas.
Silver denounced this "discrimination" against "foreigners" and
made a formal complaint to West Midlands police, which, after
evaluation, absolved Secretary Amber Rudd but acknowledged that,
under the law, the police were required to record the Secretary's
unemployment speech as a "non-crime hate incident." [BBC News,

* The British Medical Association issued a formal caution to its
staff in January not to use the term "expectant mothers" when
referring to pregnancy--because it might offend transgender people.
Instead, the Association's memo (reported by the Daily Telegraph)
suggested using "pregnant people."  The BMA acknowledged that a
"large majority" of such people are, in fact, "mothers," but wrote
that there may be "intersex" and "trans men" who also may get
pregnant. [Daily Telegraph, 1-29-2017]

Leading Economic Indicators

* In 2001, Questcor Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to make
Acthar Gel, a hormone injection to treat a rare form of infantile
epilepsy and gradually raised the price from $40 a vial to $28,000 a
vial.  The British company Mallinckrodt bought Questcor in 2014
and apparently figured the vials were still too cheap, raising the
price to $34,000.  However, the Federal Trade Commission noticed
that Mallinckrodt also during the latter period bought out--and
closed down--the only company manufacturing a similar, cheaper
version of the product, thus ensuring that Mallinckrodt had totally
cornered the market. In January the FTC announced that
Mallinckrodt agreed to a $100 million settlement of the agency's
charge of illegal anti-competitive practices.  ("$100 million" is only
slightly more than the price of giving one vial to each infant
expected to need it in the next year.)  [Futurism, 1-18-2017]

* Precocious:  Girl Scout Charlotte McCourt, 11, of South Orange,
N.J., saw her sales zoom recently when she posted "brutally honest"
reviews of the Scouts' cookies she was selling--giving none of them
a "10" and labeling some with dour descriptions.  She was hoping to
sell 300 boxes, but as of the end of January, had registered 16,430.
For the record, the best cookie was--of course--the Samoa, rated 9,
but long-time favorites like the Trefoil ("boring") rated 6 and the
Do-Si-Do ("bland") 5.  The new gluten-free Toffee-tastic was
simply a "bleak," "flavorless" "wasteland.") [, 1-31-2017]

"Less Cowbell!" 

* Applicants for passports in Switzerland are evaluated in part by
neighbors of the applicant, and animal-rights campaigner Nancy
Holten, 42, was rejected in January because townspeople view her
as obnoxious, with, said a Swiss People's Party spokesperson, a "big
mouth."  Among Holten's "sins" was her constant criticism of the
country's hallowed fascination with cowbells--that make, according
to Holten, "hundred decibel" "pneumatic drill"-type sounds (though
a hit song, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," by the group Blue Oyster
Cult, skillfully employed the cowbell--before it was satirized in an
epic "Saturday Night Live" sketch starring Christopher Walken).
[The Independent (London), 1-19-2017]
The Aristocrats!

* In January, Texas district judge Patrick Garcia was charged with
misdemeanor disorderly conduct after a dispute outside the
courthouse in El Paso.  An April trial date was set for Garcia, who
was accused of giving the middle finger, in public, to another judge.
[Associated Press via KTVT-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth), 1-20-2017]

Least Competent Criminals

* Not Ready for Prime Time:  A so-far-unidentified suspect
pointing a gun attempted a robbery at a laundromat in Upper Darby,
Pa., in February.  (The official reason for not identifying him was
that, though detained, he had not yet been booked; less likely,
perhaps, police might have been trying to  spare him embarrassment
in that the laundromat's overnight clerk, a woman named Naou Mor
Khantha, had simply taken his gun away from him and shot him
three times.  He was hospitalized in serious condition.)  [,

Undignified Deaths

* What Goes Around, Comes Around:  (1) In January, Jesse
Denton, 24, driving a stolen truck, tried to flee police on Interstate
95 near Brunswick, Ga., but accidentally crashed head-on into
another vehicle.  Seconds later, Denton was then fatally hit by
another motorist as he ran across the highway to escape the crash
scene.  (2) A 37-year-old Saanich, British Columbia, man did not
die but nearly bled out before being heroically rescued following his
parking-rage blunder.  Angered that another driver had parked too
close to his own car, he grabbed a knife and stabbed a tire on the
other vehicle with such force that he wound up slashing the main
artery in his leg.  [Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville), 1-26-2017]
[Global News BC, 1-27-2017]

The Passing Parade

* (1) Thomas Pinson, 21, was arrested in St. Petersburg, Fla., in
January and charged with domestic battery for roughing up his
mother (even though, presumably lovingly, he had her full name
tattooed on his chest).  (2) Police arrested a 22-year-old knife-
wielding man in a restroom on a train in Dusseldorf, Germany, in
January.  The man, naked, appeared "quite annoyed" at being
hassled, did not have a ticket to ride, and said he was using the knife
to shave his genital area because he was not welcome at home. [The
Smoking Gun, 1-9-2017] [Associated Press via WJLA-TV
(Washington, D.C.), 1-10-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (May 2013)
* The Washington Post reported in April [2013] that the federal
government spends $890,000 a year on totally useless bank
accounts.  The amount is the total of fees for maintaining more than
13,000 short-term accounts the government owns but which have no
money in them and never will again.  However, merely closing the
accounts is difficult, according to the watchdog Citizens Against
Government Waste, because they each previously housed separate
government grants, and Congress has required that, before the
accounts are "closed," the grants must be formally audited--
something bureaucrats are rarely motivated to do, especially since,
as Citizens noted, there is no additional penalty for not auditing.
[Washington Post, 4-24-2013]

     Thanks This Week to Bruce Strickland, Mark Lillicrap, and
Andrew Hastie, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial
                     ****, weirdnews at earthlink dot net, and P. O.
Box 18737, Tampa FL 33629
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