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News of the Weird

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Lead Stories

The Swedish navy announced in May that, because of slashes in the military budget, its around-the-clock operations would be cut back to Monday through Friday, nine to five. The nation's army and air force have not yet decided whether to remain open on weekends.

Ben Lambert of Winnipeg, Manitoba, expects to sell 40,000 pairs of his new e2u men's underwear this year. The shorts feature a "three-hammock arrangement with noncrushing support" similar to a woman's brassiere, which Lambert says will allow the scrotum to relax and will eliminate a man's need to periodically adjust his shorts for comfort.

The Bush administration recently canceled an $860,000 program that would have taught public housing tenants to reduce stress and improve their self-esteem using meditation, color therapy, aromatherapy, and "applied kinesiology" (feeling a person's glands to determine his personality type). The Housing and Urban Development administrator who approved the program is a priest of the International Metaphysical Ministry.

Armed and Dangerous

On April 17, sheriff's deputies at the Daley Center decided to search not only visitors but also the people who work there and usually enter without inspection. Among the several dozen items confiscated were brass knuckles, tear gas, and a dagger. Some lawyers and judges saw what was going on and simply declined to enter until the inspection was over.

Valentino LoSauro, a hairdresser from Fort Myers, Florida, took advantage of the International Beauty Show in New York City in April to show off his "Clawz," a type of finger scissors reminiscent of the film character Edward Scissorhands. By attaching the devices to one or both hands, LoSauro can run his fingers through a client's hair and cut it with each individual finger, greatly reducing the time needed for a styling.

Dazed and Confused

According to Canada's National Post, residents of Wilkie, Saskatchewan (population 1,300), have been circulating petitions to drive out 56-year-old Louis Harewood, a former Baptist preacher who operates assisted-living homes. Husbands in town have accused him of using his charisma to send local married women into a voodoolike haze in which they wander the streets and reject their old friends. Harewood, who has lived in Wilkie for five years, blames the rumors on former employees of his who are trying to deflect attention from a union dispute.

A February issue of the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York, described a local woman's remarkable recovery from botulism paralysis at Park Ridge Hospital. After the toxin struck her in June 2000, she lay in a hospital bed, hearing everything around her but unable to communicate with anyone. Someone mentioned that the woman was an ardent fan of singer Celine Dion, and the hospital staff, hoping to speed her recovery, played the singer's music in her room around the clock for weeks. The woman later described her joy when the paralysis left her and she was able to stop the music--she had never cared for Celine Dion.

Practice Makes Perfect

In March, 80-year-old Alice Hoppe of Cheboygan, Michigan, settled out of court in a suit against her physician. The doctor, who treated Hoppe for 18 months, ordered three different examinations when his patient complained of choking but failed to detect the lower denture that had caught in her throat during a knee surgery. According to the doctor's attorney, the denture was hidden behind some folds of skin and "was very difficult to find."

Latest Brassiere Technology

Paxton Quigley, a security consultant in Beverly Hills, California, recently introduced the SuperBra, a $30 garment that doubles as a holster for a snub-nosed .38 revolver. "If a woman is attacked, the purse is the first thing taken from her," said Quigley. "A good place to conceal a weapon is in the chest area."...And in March, the British firm Gossard introduced the $40 Ultrabra Airotic, which inflates up to two cup sizes by means of an accompanying pump. A spokesperson said the bra was designed for the woman who doesn't want "huge breasts through the day but [does] want to have them in the evening."

People Different From Us

In January, 15-year-old Sierra Kirkpatrick married 48-year-old Sauren Crow in Las Vegas after Sierra's mother vouched for her (a requirement for minors in Nevada). The mother says the two are well suited for each other because they're both artsy types who dress in the goth style and actually resemble each other with their black clothes and hair.

In the Last Month

Police in the retirement town of Sun City West, Arizona, say they've been having problems lately with seniors copulating in public (on golf courses as well as in lovers' lanes)....Neighbors convinced Penn State University to close a research lab because they feared the consequences of its ongoing cockroach experiments....At least a dozen sheriff's deputies and drug officers raided a private home in Spicewood, Texas, after a helicopter patrol reported a marijuana patch in the backyard, but the pot turned out to be mulberry weed....And China's news agency announced that three million of its people attempt to strengthen their immune systems by drinking their own urine.

Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611 or to weird@compuserve.com.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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