ALL WAR IS WEIRD
As summed up by a Vox.com writer: “The absurdity runs deep.” America uses American military equipment to bomb American military equipment that ISIS captured (from inept Iraqi soldiers, inept in part since America disbanded Iraq’s professional military in 2003). America’s Kurdish allies, fighting ISIS, use inferior Russian weapons they captured in the 1980s. ISIS has a so-far-safer haven in Syria because America declined to arm moderate Syrian rebels, largely out of fear that radicals like the future ISIS would capture weapons America provided. “So now [America is] bombing the guns that [it] didn’t mean to give ISIS because [America] didn’t give guns to their enemies because then ISIS might get guns.”
Thomas Clark, 28, of Crawley, England, beat one of society’s most foreboding charges in July when he was acquitted of voyeurism even after admitting that he had hidden that video camera in a workplace rest room, and even despite evidence that he formerly worked in the pornography industry. Clark persuaded a Horsham Magistrates Court judge that he suffered an extreme phobia of diarrhea and vomit and that, by hiding the camera, he was thinking only of ascertaining that the restroom was clean before he entered.
IN AMERICA, WE’RE ALL GREAT PARENTS
Kayla McKenzie, 22, was charged with DUI in Bismarck, North Dakota, a condition that led her to crash into five separate vehicles or structures on Aug. 12–while, according to police, three unsecured children were in her car, including a year-old infant riding in her lap. Nonetheless, said the 0.252 blood-alcohol driver, “I look like a bad mother, but I’m not. I’m actually a really good mom.”
A fire hydrant at 393 University Ave. has brought in more parking ticket revenue (since 2008) than any other hydrant in Toronto–$289,620 on 2,962 violations, according to an August Toronto Star report. While hydrants are usually located at curbside to facilitate fire-engine access, the one at 393 University Ave. was placed about 20 feet from the curb, in the middle of a sidewalk, and obscured by a tree in a planter about eight feet long. Nonetheless, the law’s wording treats the hydrant, for illegal-parking and revenue-earning purposes, as if it were curbside.
WHEN IN DOUBT, SING OPERA
A woman hiking in Down Valley Park near Placerville, Colorado, told Denver’s KUSA-TV in August of her narrow escape from a mountain lion that had stalked her for a half-hour (crouching menacingly each time she attempted to retreat). At the closest point, recalled Kyra Kopestonsky, it was about eight feet away. At that point, she told the reporter, “I don’t know why,” but “I just started singing opera really loud.” The mountain lion “sort of put its ears down and … backed away.” Only then was she able to call a friend, who alerted rescuers.
ARREST HIM AT YOUR PERIL
In July, a jury in Brooklyn, New York, awarded Kevin Jarman, 50, $510,000 from the city for the broken ankle he suffered during his arrest for shoplifting in May 2011 (a charge to which he eventually pleaded guilty). Among his other New York City income: a $20,000 settlement for false arrest on a drug charge in 2013 and another, for $15,000, in 2005.
THE BOY WHO WASN’T BULLIED ENOUGH IN SCHOOL
Walker Harnden, 19, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, was recognized in April for a Guinness Book record for the highest note ever whistled (B7). Harnden, who told the Raleigh News & Observer that he has “irritated his parents and friends for years,” admits that he whistles “all the time”–up to four or five hours a day.
THE NEW NORMAL
In 2010, the village of West Lafayette, Ohio, barred residents from keeping fowl and farm animals, but Iraq war veteran Darin Welker, 36, believes his post-war depression and trauma are unusually well-assisted now that he has befriended 14 pet ducks that he keeps at home. The Department of Veterans Affairs, which paid for Welker’s back surgery, stopped short of providing physical therapy and counseling, causing him more than ever to rely on the ducks, which he says motivate him to get out of the house and provide them with caretaking services. Village officials, however, cited him in June for misdemeanor fowl-housing.
“Streamers,” according to workers at the state-of-the-art solar plant in California’s Mojave Desert, are birds that cross the path of the 300,000 garage-door-sized mirrors that magnify the sun’s rays on their way to producing steam to power 140,000 homes. Those birds, instantly fried, vanish in plumes of smoke at the rate of perhaps one every two minutes, according to an August Associated Press dispatch from Ivanpah Dry Lake near the Nevada border. According to federal wildlife officials, the plant’s bright light attracts insects, which then attract even more birds. The operator, BrightSource Energy, said there is no feasible way to protect the birds.