Swiss health officials have authorized construction of an assisted-living “village” of 1950s-style homes and gardens designed to “remind” patients with Alzheimer’s and similar afflictions of surroundings that they might actually recall and with which they might be more comfortable and secure than they are with modern life. The 150-resident grounds, near the city of Bern, will be similar to a Dutch facility set up in 2009 in a suburb of Amsterdam. “To reinforce an atmosphere of normality,” reported London’s The Independent in January, the Swiss caretakers will dress as gardeners, hairdressers, shop assistants and the like.
CAN’T POSSIBLY BE TRUE
The varsity girls’ basketball teams at predominantly white Kenmore East High School near Buffalo, N.Y., have, for several years, apparently, psyched themselves up in a pre-game locker-room ritual by chanting, “One, Two, Three, [n-word]!” before running out the door and onto the court. Although the white players this year called the use of the word a “tradition” (passed down from year to year), and not a racial “label,” the team’s only black player not surprisingly had a problem with it and reported it to school officials. According to a December Buffalo News report, it was always a players-only tradition, and no adult was aware of the chant, but upon learning of it, officials immediately imposed player suspensions and team penalties.
WELL, THEY HAVE TIME
The U.S. Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax matters revealed in January that the IRS certified 331 prison inmates as registered “tax preparers” during a recent 12-month period, including 43 who were serving life sentences. None of the 43, and fewer than one-fourth of the total, disclosed that they were in prison. The agency blamed a 2009 federal law intended to encourage online filing of tax returns, noting that “tax preparer” registration can now be accomplished online by passing a 120-question test. USA Today reported in February 2011 that prisoners filing false or fraudulent tax returns scammed the IRS out of nearly $39.1 million in 2009.
CALL THE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE!
In San Francisco, there is an annual refereed “Masturbate-a-thon,” and the supposed world record, set in 2009, is held by Masanobu Sato, who remained aroused for nine hours, 58 minutes. In a series of videos released recently, Sato calmly explained how he “practices” for about two hours every morning while his live-in girlfriend goes about her business (in one video, ironing). Sato said he trains by swimming twice a week and has “gained about (11 pounds) in muscle,” which helped him with “stamina.”
NOT ONE SECOND LONGER WITH THAT WENCH
A man identified as Antonio C., 99, filed for divorce in December against his wife of 77 years, Rosa C., age 96, in Rome, Italy. According to an ANSA news agency report, Antonio became upset when he discovered 50-year-old letters from an affair Rosa once had.
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
Brogan Rafferty, 16, in jail in Cleveland, Ohio, awaiting trial for assisting in at least one murder in a robbery scheme, wrote to his father in December (in a letter shared with the Plain Dealer) that he was certain God would not allow him to suffer a long prison sentence. That would mean, he wrote, that “all my meaningful family members would be dead” when he got out. “[N]o way God would do that to me.”
Benjamin North, 26, was apprehended by deputies in Humboldt County, Calif., because they were pretty sure he was the man who used a stolen credit card at a Safeway supermarket in December. They knew this because North, for some reason, insisted that the purchase be credited to his personal “Safeway Club” card, which he presented to the cashier along with the stolen card.
FINE POINTS OF THE LAW
Gayane Zokhrabov, then 58, was knocked down by the flying corpse of Hiroyuki Joho, 18, during a rainstorm in Chicago in 2008, and in December 2011 filed a lawsuit against Joho’s estate for compensation for the various injuries she suffered that day (broken leg, broken wrist, shoulder pain). Joho’s corpse was “flying” because he had just been fatally struck by a fast-moving train as he dashed through the storm across several tracks–while Zokhrabov was waiting on a nearby station platform. A judge initially ruled that Zokhrabov’s injuries were not a “foreseeable” result of Joho’s crossing the tracks, but in December, a state appeals court reinstated the lawsuit.
NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME
Police in London stepped up their search for the man who tried to rob the Halifax bank in October but escaped empty-handed. He had demanded 700,000 pounds from a bank employee and then, intending to hand over the bag that he had brought for the money, instead absentmindedly handed over his gun. Realizing his mistake, he dashed out the door.