First-time mother Amy Webb proudly notates dozens of data points about her child each day and obsessively tracks their detailed progression by computer on spreadsheets, according to the provocative first-person account she wrote for Slate.com in July. In categories ranging from ordinary vital signs, to the kid’s progress in sound-making, to dietary reactions, to quantity and quality of each poop, stats are kept 24/7 (even with a bedside laptop to facilitate nighttime entries). She began tracking her own health during pregnancy, but then decided, “Why stop now?” when her daughter was born. Webb’s pediatrician rated the kid’s health as “A-minus,” but the parents’ as “C,” adding: “You guys need to relax. Leave the spreadsheets [out].” Webb and her husband remain confident that their extreme tracking optimizes their chances of raising a healthy daughter.
Dr. Timothy Sweo said later that he was only trying to make his diagnosis of lumbar lordosis “less technical” for patient Terry Ragland when he described her condition as “ghetto booty.” The shape of her spine makes her buttocks stick out more, he said, and he prescribed pain medication as there is no cure, per se. Nonetheless, Ragland felt insulted and filed a complaint against Sweo with the Tennessee Department of Health in July. “I couldn’t believe he said that,” she said.
An Anglican parishioner complained in August about the “blasphemous” bumper sticker she saw on the car of Rev. Alice Goodman of Cambridge, England, but Rev. Goodman immediately defended it as not irreligious (although, she conceded, perhaps “vulgar”). The sticker read “WTFWJD?” which is a play on the popular evangelical Christian slogan “WWJD?”–”What Would Jesus Do?” (“WTF” is a vulgar but omnipresent acronym on the Internet.) Rev. Goodman pointed out that even Dr. Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, seemed not to be shocked by her sticker when he saw it.
The wife of Valentino Ianetti was found dead in Stanhope, N.J., in 2010 with 47 stab wounds, leading police to immediately suspect her husband, who was at home with her. But after three years’ incarceration, Ianetti, 63, won release in August by finally convincing prosecutors that his wife actually committed suicide. Although the case is still officially “under investigation,” the medical examiner concluded that 46 of the wounds were superficial–”hesitation” cuts perhaps self-inflicted as the wife built up the courage to administer a final thrust. Also, the wife was found with a heavy dose of oxycodone in her system and likely felt little pain from any of the 47 wounds.
Germany’s center-left Social Democrats posted about 8,000 campaign placards in July that it proudly hailed as “eco-friendly” and biodegradable to attract the support of environment-concerned voters. But 48 hours later, at the first rainfall, the posters became waterlogged and, indeed, biodegraded. Reported Hamburg’s Spiegel Online, “None of the campaign workers could have guessed… how quickly the environmentally friendly process… would begin.”
WE BET SHE IS
In August, a federal judge in Seattle sentenced Alicia Cruz, 31, to four years in prison for violating court-ordered drug treatment stemming from a 2011 conviction for stealing the identities of more than 300 people. Cruz had won a second chance (drug treatment, instead of prison) by convincing the judge that she was no longer a crook–that this time, she would abandon her identity-theft life and go straight. Added Cruz, “I’m a different person now.”
THE LITIGIOUS SOCIETY
A lawyer and former spokesman for the judiciary of Kenya filed a petition in July with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, seeking a retrial of Jesus Christ and naming as defendants the state of Israel, King Herod, various Jewish elders, the former emperor of Rome (Tiberius), and of course Pontius Pilate. Dola Indidis claims that the proceedings before Roman courts did not conform to the rule of law at the time. (Indidis’ claim had been dismissed by the High Court in Nairobi, and a spokesperson for the ICJ said the court has no jurisdiction in such a case, for it is not one between governments.)
STRANGE OLD WORLD
In May, a Brazilian cancer-fighting foundation, AAPEC, published a series of photos of its new mascot that it hopes will call attention to the dread of testicular cancer, and the initial worldwide reviews demonstrate that, indeed, people may never, ever forget their first glance at “Mr. Balls.” AAPEC described its character as a “friendly snowman in the shape of testicles”–friendly in the sense of a buck-toothed humanoid with a puffy-cheeked smile and the body of a huge scrotal sac dotted with small curly hairs and rough skin. As photos of the genial “Senhor Testiculo” circulated in June, he was variously described as “disturbing,” “horrifying,” “terrifying” and “a nightmare.”