A few still-primitive cultures inexplicably celebrate such female adornments as the stacking of metal neck rings and the inserting of saucer-size disks into pierced earlobes. For “civilized” society, there is the annual Paris Fashion Week in September, when renowned designers outfit brave, otherwise-gorgeous models in grotesque clothing. Among the ensembles witnessed by a New York Times critic this year: a hat resembling steroid-enhanced stalks of peas; a shoe appearing to sprout twig-studs; “a flexible cage covered in doughnuts of black satin;” and a pillow clutch with its own porthole.
THIS WEEK IN STOOL IMPLANTS
News of the Weird first reported successful “stool implants” among family members in 2007 (to cure infections such as C. difficile by introducing the donor’s “good” microbes to overcome an imbalance of “bad” bacteria in a relative’s intestine). But in 2012, two University of California, Davis, neurosurgeons boldly extended the cutting-edge treatment for three patients with a highly malignant brain tumor unresponsive to treatment. The doctors tried infusing bowel bacteria directly into the tumor, but the patients died, nonetheless. Although the patients had given fully informed consent, the school in August 2013 pressured Drs. J. Paul Muizelaar and Rudolph Schrot to resign for having violated internal and FDA procedures.
HEALTH CARE COSTS GONE AWRY
It’s well known that hospitals charge for medical supplies far in excess of what the products would cost at drugstores, but an August New York Times investigation of “saline drips” vividly demonstrated the disconnect. Though Medicare reimburses $1.07 for a one-liter plastic bag of saltwater (supplied by a subsidiary of Morton Salt), White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital charged patients’ insurance companies like Aetna $91 per bag. Other hospitals decline to charge per-bag, listing only “IV therapy” of, for example, $787 for hooking up the drip.
THE JOKER LIVES
From the world’s cosmetic-surgery capital (South Korea, where one woman in five has had at least one procedure) comes the “Smile Lipt” offered by Aone Plastic Surgery in the city of Yongin, designed to produce a permanent smile (associated with success). The Smile Lipt turns downward-drooping lip corners upward, to allow a persistent smile resembling that of Batman’s nemesis, The Joker.
THE ART OF TOILET-PEEPING
Among the more repugnant paraphilias covered in News of the Weird is toilet-peeping–men who set up beneath the seats in public outhouses (sometimes wearing a raincoat) and wait for a user to answer nature’s call. In August, Kenneth Enlow, 52, pleaded guilty after a woman found him the month before in a privy in White Water Park in Tulsa County, Okla., “standing with his head and shoulders out of the hole… covered in feces,” according to a deputy. Enlow’s initial explanation was that his girlfriend had knocked him unconscious with a tire iron and dumped him there.
JIM THORPE STILL CAUSING CONTROVERSY
The family of the great Native American Olympic athlete and Oklahoma native Jim Thorpe (1888-1953) was so disappointed that the then-governor of Oklahoma would not properly honor Thorpe on his death that one faction of his family moved the body to Pennsylvania, where he had no discernible ties but where municipal officials eagerly offered to name a town after him. Since then, Jim Thorpe, Pa. (current population, 4,800), has withstood legal challenges seeking to return the body to Oklahoma, including a recent federal court decision upholding the entire town as a Native American “museum.” One grandson said that Thorpe spoke to him at a sweat lodge in Texas in 2010, telling him to leave the body in Jim Thorpe, with “no more pain created in my name.”
GIVES TREKKIES A BAD NAME
Anthony Alleyne appeared in News of the Weird in 2003 for turning his Hinckley, England, home into a replica of the command center of Star Trek’s starship Enterprise (including transporter control, warp drive, etc.). When he later tried to sell it, he learned that, somehow, potential buyers failed to value the house as much as Alleyne imagined. In September 2013, Alleyne was back in the news as Leicester Crown Court sentenced him to 34 months in prison for viewing child pornography–a diversion that he blamed on years of depression following marital difficulties and of course the brutal real estate market.
FOR SERIOUS COFFEE DRINKERS ONLY
The story of Kopi Luwak coffee is by now a News of the Weird staple, begun in 1993 with the first reports that a super-premium market existed for coffee beans digested by certain Asian civet cats, collected, washed and brewed. In August the American Chemical Society reported that a “gas chromatography and mass spectrometry” test had finally been developed to assure buyers that their $227-a-pound Kopi Luwak beans had, indeed, been excreted by genuine Asian civets. (Thus, Kopi Luwak drinkers, at up to $80 a cup in California, can sip their brews without fear of being ripped off.) ■