Rocking Messiahs, Cranking Candidates and Cartwheel-Free Zones

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ROCKING “MESSIAH” Prominent theoretical chemist David Glowacki was ejected from a classical music concert at England's Bristol Old Vic in June for disrupting a performance of Handel's "Messiah" by attempting to crowd-surf in front of the stage. Dr. Glowacki, an expert in non-equilibrium molecular reaction dynamics and who is presently a visiting scientist at Stanford University, was attending a special "informal" performance at which audience … [Read more...]

Criminal Studies, Milking Robots and Mold Races

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LEARNING IS NOT A CRIME California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo has a huge, 350-student "viticulture and enology" program, preparing its majors for an industry critical to the state's economy (and with a venerable international cachet)–but puritanical state law continues to hobble it. Many in Cal Poly's four-year winemaking program must arrange for a fifth year–after they turn 21–because, otherwise, faculty and … [Read more...]

Fake Famous Hispanic Democrats, Judges Who Like Cleavage and Failed Stripper Romance

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MAN OF THE PEOPLE? Scott Fistler, twice a loser for electoral office in Phoenix, Arizona, as a Republican, decided in November 2013 that his luck might improve as a Democrat with a name change, and legally became "Cesar Chavez," expecting to poll better in a heavily Hispanic, Democratic congressional district. ("Cesar Chavez" is of course the name of the legendary labor organizer.) Furthermore, according to a June report in the Arizona Capitol … [Read more...]

Hamster Butt Photos, Frozen Gurus and Armed Postal Employees

TOO CUTE! Marking Japan's latest unfathomable social trend, two paperback photo books–both consisting only of portraits of the rear ends of hamsters–have experienced surprising and still-growing printing runs. Japanese society has long seemed easily captured by anything considered "kawaii" (or "cute"), according to a May Wall Street Journal dispatch, and a representative of one book's publisher called his volume "delightfully cute." "I can't … [Read more...]

Spider Conventions, Death Art and a Peeping Pastor

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EYES OF THE BEHOLDER Thirty thousand spiders, led by members of the British Tarantula Society, gathered in Coventry on May 18 for the annual BTS exhibition, with a Socotra Island blue baboon spider taking Best in Show for first-time entrant Mike Dawkins. According to news reports, judges ignore spiders' personalities and make their selections by objectifying the body–seeking "shiny coats, correct proportions, an active demeanor and proper … [Read more...]

Accidental Capital Punishment, Sled Dog Sex & Fighting Over ‘Married With Children’

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US! To celebrate today's 25th anniversary of the weekly distribution of News of the Weird by Universal Uclick, Chuck Shepherd recalls a few of his favorite stories (among the more than 25,000 covered):   1989 In the mid-1980s, convicted South Carolina murderer Michael Godwin won his appeal to avoid the electric chair and serve only life imprisonment. In March, while sitting naked on a metal prison toilet, … [Read more...]

Big Lawsuit Demands, Alligator Collisions and Bad Mattress Ads

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GIGADOLLARS AND CENTS In April, Anton Purisima filed a claim in Federal District Court in New York City that the Lowering The Bar blog calculated was for the largest monetary demand ever made in a lawsuit–"$2,000 decillion" (or the number two followed by 36 zeroes, which of course is many times more money than exists on Earth). Purisima's lawsuit names Au Bon Pain, Carepoint Health, Kmart, the New York City Transit Authority and LaGuardia … [Read more...]

High School Football Draft, Stupid ATMs and Prerecorded Silence

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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, California, "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 … [Read more...]

Larry Ellison’s Ballboy, Imprisoned Jedis and Stupid Lingerie Thieves

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TOO MUCH MONEY Lanai owner Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp. (and the world's fifth-richest person, according to Forbes magazine) is a big basketball fan and was reported in April to have an interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team. An Ellison associate told the Wall Street Journal, for example, that Ellison has basketball courts on at least two of his yachts and shoots hoops for relaxation on the open water. To retrieve … [Read more...]

Buying Friends, Awful Ice Cream and Breast Deodorant

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As usual, here's the round-up on the weirdest events from around the world... THE PRICE OF FRIENDSHIP "Whoever said, 'Money can't buy you friends' clearly hasn't been on the Internet recently," wrote The New York Times in April, pointing to various social media support services that create online superstars by augmenting one's Facebook "friends," Twitter "followers" and Instagram "likes." The reporter described how, by paying a company $5, … [Read more...]