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News of the Weird

Prom Draft

A week before the National Football League held its 2014 Draft Day in May, a large contingent of junior and senior boys staged their own draft day at Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, Calif., “dividing up” the available girls to ask to the upcoming prom. As in the NFL, the drafters “scout” the draftees, and a “rule book” notes the draft’s boundaries (e.g., this year, sophomore girls are eligible). The girls, of course, can decline the invitation, but the draft, as in the NFL, is designed to discourage a selected girl from being “poached” by “competing” boys. Obviously, many in the community expressed horror at the draft, with the principal denouncing it and urging parents to rein in their sons, but one of the drafted girls wrote that the whole thing was just “fun” and “is not, was never, and will never ever be used to objectify the girls.”

Can’t Possibly Be True

• The downfall of Russia-sympathizing Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in February (which eventually provoked Vladimir Putin’s retaliation against Ukraine) accelerated when his countrymen learned of his startlingly opulent lifestyle (e.g., gold toilets, a private zoo)—including catching a video glimpse of a nude portrait Yanukovych had commissioned of himself by artist Olga Oleynik. Yanukovych, a not-particularly-buff 63-year-old man, was portrayed reclining and with an undersized male endowment. (Oleynik told Agence France-Presse news service that she had done a similar portrait of Putin—more generously endowed—but was “afraid” to show it in public or to disclose whether it was actually commissioned by Putin.)

• Skylar King, 28, filed a lawsuit in Clayton, Mo., in April against dentist Mark Meyers (and his Same Day Dentures clinic) for a 2009 session in which Meyers somehow obtained King’s consent to extract all 32 of his teeth and provide dentures, promptly after obtaining $5,235 on King’s mother’s credit card. King, who was seeking treatment for an abscessed tooth, said Dr. Meyers warned that he was at risk of “fatal blood poisoning” unless all teeth were yanked. Dr. Meyers insisted that King actually requested the procedure, even though X-rays revealed that at least 28 of the teeth were treatable.

• As of late March, the Sainsbury’s supermarket in Basford, England, still had an operational ATM on an outside wall even though its screen and controls were only 15 inches off the ground, forcing customers to bend over or kneel down to get cash. A Sainsbury’s spokesman, shown a photo by a reporter of a user squatting “incredibly uncomfortabl(y),” said no one had complained, but that the store would look into moving the machine. The only explanation offered for the placement was that the store is located on a hill.

Unclear on the Concept

• Wellma “Tootie” Shafer, 46, was fired as a cashier at the Last Chance Market in Russell, Iowa, after a customer reported her engaging in “sexual” banter at the register. Her boss, Rick Braaksma, explained, “We cannot ... talk about adult situations in front of other customers,” and when Shafer sought unemployment compensation, Braaksma challenged her application. However, among the items Last Chance sells are Wake the F--- Up Coffee, The Hottest F---ing Sauce (noted, the label states, for its “ass-burning quality”), and The Hottest F---ing Nuts (all product names using the explicit “F word”), and a state administrative judge granted Shafer benefits, showing (according to an April Des Moines Register report) little sympathy for the store’s contradictory policy.

• Refresher Course on Buddhism Needed: An unnamed 40-year-old man was charged in Briec, France, in May for a February incident in which his cat knocked over his statue of Buddha, demolishing it. The man apparently so reveres Buddha that, enraged, he tortured the cat by tossing it into his washing machine and setting it for a cycle at the equivalent of 104 degrees F.

The Continuing Crisis

• Brazilian authorities told reporters in April that villagers in remote Ayopaya, needing to recover three motorbikes stolen by two men, tied them to a tree of woe for several days until relatives came up with compensation. The tree was a permanent host for ants that produce a venom with anti-inflammatory properties used to treat arthritis, and though relatives paid up three days later, both men required hospitalization, one with kidney failure.

• Underreported among the 24-hour news saturation in April on the sinking of the South Korean ferry en route from Incheon to the recreational island of Jeju is that a primary attraction on Jeju is “LoveLand,” a theme park with bold, uninhibited sexual structures, and a traditional honeymoon destination. Visitors enter through giant spread female legs, and most park mascots are anthropomorphic figures representing the male and female sex organs. The park contains 140 sculptures of humans in sexual positions and of phallus statues and stone labia—and, reportedly, something called a “hands-on masturbation cycle.”

Bright Ideas

• For this year’s annual April 25 fundraising project, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) sold a 60-second “message,” digitally downloadable for a donation of the equivalent of $2.11—but consisting only of silence (“prerecorded” silence). A veterans’ official told Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, “I was a bit dubious (but)…I’ve seen the enthusiasm at which this is being picked up nationally.”

• On-the-lam parolee Mark Royal, 51, spotted in his car by sheriff’s deputies in Sacramento, California, in March, led officers on a 35-mile chase before coming to a stop in front of the Placer County Jail in Auburn and surrendering. He told the puzzled deputies only that “the food is better here” than in Sacramento’s lock-up (but the deputies returned him to Sacramento, anyway).

• John Novak, 48, was taken to a hospital and then arrested after a rough night in May in Buhl, Idaho, in which he threatened his sister with a rifle-bayonet and then tried a home remedy to relieve a snoring problem. With what was later measured as a 0.50 blood-alcohol level (more than six times the state’s presumed-impaired limit), he stuck two straws into his nostrils and slammed a door rapidly into his face, attempting to break the nose (and apparently succeeding, although his exact condition was not reported). He said he had been drinking “for a week straight,” to dull the anticipated pain he had planned to create.

Perspective

• Kidney Disease Patients Not Part of “Diversity”: Among the entities rushing to condemn Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in April was the UCLA Medical School, where researchers returned a $425,000 check from the Sterling Foundation to study “structural properties of key proteins in the kidney” to aid development of drugs to treat kidney disease—and rejected the rest of Sterling’s $3 million pledge. A UCLA spokesman said the school must emphasize its “core values” of “diversity, inclusion and respect.”

Recurring Themes

• News of the Weird has previously noticed the extraordinary discomfort some women embrace just to be able to wear a certain pair of designer shoes. However, the number and ingenuity of foot doctors serving such women has grown substantially in recent years. An April New York Times report noted that Beverly Hills podiatrist Ali Sadrieh offers a Perfect 10! procedure (aesthetic toe-shortening), a Model T (toe-lengthening) and Foot Tuck (a foot-padding for high-heel pain). New York’s Dr. Oliver Zong treats High Heel Foot (when the foot conforms to the shape of a stiletto) and Hitchhiker’s Toe (an abnormally large big toe sticking out like a thumb). Some patients get to the point right away, Dr. Sadrieh said, by bringing in specific cherished shoes and asking which foot-retrofitting procedure would do the job (although Dr. Zong said he turned down one woman who said she would be OK with nine toes if that’s what it took).

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