Salt Lake City fashion designer Jared Gold recently began offering jeweled brooches featuring brightly colored Swarovski crystals affixed to a live, three-inch-long Madagascar hissing cockroach that a woman can allow to roam a short distance around her dress or jacket via a silver chain affixed to the roach’s back. The brooch sells for $80 at Gold’s Web site. An April New York Post story quoted an animal-rights spokesman as calling the bauble “just the gift” for the “person who doesn’t mind a small animal excreting on them throughout the day.”
JUST PLAIN STUPID
Teachers at several nursery schools in Oxfordshire, England, have been encouraging kids to learn the verse “Baa, baa, black sheep/Have you any wool?” without the word “black,” but in its place a variety of emotions (e.g., “Baa, baa, sad sheep”) or colors (including “Baa, baa, rainbow sheep”) because they believe that kids with black skin might feel disrespected. According to a March Cox News Service dispatch from London, the campaign seems of a piece with a UK media flurry in 2003 suggesting changing the ending to Humpty Dumpty so that he receives merely a mild bump instead of shattering.
DEFINITELY NOT CRIPPLED
In March, on state Highway 2 near Papamoa, New Zealand, police stopped a 32-year-old man driving 121 km/hr (75 mph), with no license and also no arms, having kept relatively good control with one foot on the gas and the other on the steering wheel. He told officers he had been driving that way for years without incident, a fact that amazed police and an amputee interviewed by the New Zealand Herald. The man still got a NZ$170 (US$106) ticket.
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
The Nigerian Football Association advised its referees in March that they could accept money from teams (since “bribery” is considered part of the way of life in Nigeria), but that they should only pretend to agree to treat the briber favorably because they have a duty to call a game fairly. (2) Joshua Abeyta was charged with arson in Thornton, Colo., in February after he allegedly set fire to the Grand Auto Pontiac dealership, doing $300,000 damage; according to police, Abeyta had no connection to the company except that he was angry with his mother, who drives a Pontiac.
ADVANCES IN TEXTILES
An Arizona company told the technology Web site CNet.com in April that it has created a polyester fabric that neutralizes shots from a Taser gun, basically forming an electric loop on the cloth and sending the charge back into the gun. G2 Consulting Co.’s Thor Shield is now marketed only to law enforcement and military agencies, for their own personnel to wear.
DO NO HARM?
Children’s Hospital of Orange County, California announced new rules to guard against wrong-site surgery after a January incident in which doctors opened up the wrong side of a child’s skull to remove a brain tumor, only to realize after finding no such tumor that it was on the other side. According to the surgeons, they merely sewed up the first site and proceeded to the correct side, without complication. MTW