NEWS OF THE WEIRD

 

Leading Economic Indicator

The salary the Golden State Warriors pay to basketball whiz Stephen Curry may be a bargain at $12 million a year, but the economics is weirder about the prices Curry’s fans pay on the street for one of his used mouthguards retrieved from the arena floor after a game. One used, sticky, saliva-encased teeth-protector went for $3,190 at one August auction, and SCP Auctions of California is predicting $25,000 for another, expelled during the NBA championship series last June. ESPN Magazine reported “at least” 35 Twitter accounts dedicated to Curry’s mouthguard. [ESPN Magazine, 10-31-2016]

Cultural Diversity

In parts of Panama, some men still fight for access to women with the ferocity of rutting male elks. The indigenous Ngabe people mostly keep to themselves in rural areas but have surfaced in towns like Volcan, near the Costa Rican border, where in December a reporter witnessed two men fist-fighting to bloody exhaustion on the street in a typical “Mi Lucha” (“my struggle”), with the loser’s wife following the winner home. As the custom loses its cachet, only about a third of the time does the wife now comply, according to the website Narratively. (Bonus: It’s an often-easy “divorce” for the Ngabe — for a fed-up wife to taunt her husband into a losing fight, or for a fed-up husband to pick a fight and take a dive.) [Narrative.ly, 12-30-2016]

Least Competent Criminals

A December post on the Marietta, Georgia, police department’s Facebook page chided a shoplifter still at large who had left his ID and fingerprints (and inadvertently posed for security cameras). The police, noting “how easy” the man had made their job, “begged” him to give them some sort of challenge: “Please at least try to hide.” Suspect Dale Tice was soon in custody. [Gwinnett Daily Post, 12-28-2016]

Update

In January, tireless convicted fraudster Kevin Trudeau, who pitched magical remedies for countless ailments on late-night TV for almost 20 years (dodging investigations and lawsuits until the feds caught up with him in 2014) was turned down in what some legal experts believe might be his final judicial appeal. Still, he never gives up. From his cell at a federal prison in Alabama, he continued to solicit funding for appeals via his Facebook fans, promising donors that they could “double” their money. Also, he said he would soon share “two secrets” that would allow donors to “vibrate frequencies … to create the life (they) want.” [Chicago Tribune, 1-3-2017]

The Passing Parade

Steve Crow of Point Loma, California, near San Diego International Airport, told a reporter he had given up — since no relief had come from the 20,068 complaints he made during 2016 about airport noise. (2) A six-point deer head-butted the owner of a fur company in Willmar, Minnesota, in November and then broke into the building where thousands of recently harvested deer hides were being dried (and largely wrecked the place). The owner was slightly injured, and the vengeful buck escaped. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 1-1-2017] [Forum News Service, 11-18-2016]

The Passing Parade

■ At press time, “Bugs Bunny” and “Pink Panther” were on trial in St. Catharines, Ontario, on aggravated-assault charges from a Halloween 2015 bar fight in which “Dracula’s” ear was severely slashed with a broken bottle. “There was a lot of blood,” said a witness (but coming from Dracula, not being sucked out by Dracula). (Update: The judge cleared Bugs, but was still deliberating on Panther.) [St. Catharines Standard, 11-8-2016, 11-18-2018]

A News of the Weird Classic  (3/2013)

Leaders of the ice-fishing community, aiming for official Olympics recognition as a sport, have begun the process by asking the World Anti-Doping Agency to randomly test its “athletes” for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a February (2013) New York Times report. (The chairman of the U.S. Freshwater Fishing Association said, “We do not test for beer” because “everyone would fail.”) Ice-fishing is a lonely, frigid endeavor rarely employing strength but mostly guile and strategy, as competitors who discover advantageous spots must surreptitiously upload their hauls lest competitors rush over to drill their own holes. [New York Times, 2-24-2013]