In September, the headmistress of the Dvergsnes primary school in Kristiansand, Norway proposed that boys be taught to urinate while seated. This would reduce splashing and mis-targeting, which burden the cleaning staff, but many parents and politicians reacted bitterly. “It’s a human right [for a boy] not to have to sit down like a girl,” Vidar Kleppe of the Justice and Order party said, adding that the school was “fiddling with God’s work.” Parent Nancy Bakke was proud of her seven-year-old’s ability to aim: “This rule goes against everything I’ve tried to teach my son.”
BEST CHEERLEADER EVER
In September the Frederick (Md.) Youth Sports Association Youth dismissed cheerleading coach Christine Smith for a sideline gesture she said was to re-energize her seven- and eight-year-old girls when their football team fell behind. Smith drew a smiley face on her stomach, which she said they found “hilarious,” but allegedly three people complained of the unseemliness of Smith’s lifting her shirt slightly, to draw the face. “[P]ulling your shirt up,” association president Kathy Carey said, “is not what our organization is about.”
PI READING CONTEST
On Oct. 4, Akira Haraguchi, 60, spent 16 straight hours reciting the value of pi from memory to 100,000 decimal places, breaking his old record of 83,431. Haraguchi, whose day job is psychiatric counselor, performed in front of officials at a public hall in Kisarazu, Japan, and rattled off the numbers continuously except for a five-minute break every hour. In 2002, two University of Tokyo mathematicians, using a supercomputer, calculated pi to 1.24 trillion decimal places.
THIS WEEK IN SAUCE
In August, about a dozen masked men lugged six 40-gallon trash bags full of sauce packets into the Taco Bell on South Western Avenue in Marion, Ind., leaving a note explaining that they had been accumulating them for a while and decided to give them back. They suspected they had 25,000 packets. Taco Bell said it hands out about 6 billion packets a year.
Two unnamed Egyptian men in their 20’s, in Russia on tourist visas, illegally crossed the border to Belarus and then headed to Poland. According to an August report from BBC News’ Moscow bureau, the pair dug a hole under the border using shoehorns, and once in Poland, intended to enter Germany the same way, but they had gotten turned around during the dig and instead of Germany, they mistakenly tunneled back into Belarus, where they were captured. They were sent back to Moscow but later were trying to leave the country again when Russian guards at the Ukraine border took them into custody.
Adult video star Mary Carey, who was until recently a candidate for California Governor, had insisted she was a new person from the woman who lost in 2003: “I’ve got brown in my hair [now] because brunettes are taken more seriously.” She also said she lost weight, replaced her teeth, got breast implants, and gave up smoking, contraceptives and alcohol. “I’ve actually been sober for five days now,” she said on Aug. 9. MTW