Police in Japan’s Kyoto Prefecture raided a shoe manufacturer in July and commandeered a list of about 1,500 purchasers of the company’s signature “tosatsu shoes”–shoes with built-in cameras. Investigators have begun visiting the purchasers at home to ask that they hand in the shoes (but, out of fairness, said they would not cause trouble for customers who could produce a legitimate reason for needing to take photographs and video by pointing their shoe at something). The seller was charged with “aiding voyeurism” and fined the equivalent of about $4,500 under a nuisance-prevention law.
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
Doris Carvalho of Tampa, Florida, is raising venture capital to expand her hobby of crafting high-end handbags from groomed, recycled dog hair (two pounds’ worth for each bag). With investors, she could lower her costs and the $1,000 price tag, since it now takes 50 hours’ labor to make the yarn for her haute couture accessory.
HONORING DEAD PETS
Among the suggestions of the Brisbane, Australia, company Pets Eternal for honoring a deceased pet (made to a reporter in September): keeping a whisker or tooth or lock of hair, or having the remains made into jewelry or mixed with ink to make a tattoo. Overlooked was a new project by the Houston space-flight company Celestis, known for blasting human ashes into orbit (most famously those of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry). Celestis, working with a California company, will soon offer to shoot pets’ remains into orbit ($995) or perhaps even to the moon ($12,000).
THE CONTINUING CRISIS
Ontario’s top court rejected Bryan Teskey’s complaint in August over how Roman Catholics continue to be discriminated against by the laws of British royal succession. Even though Ontario (along with many Commonwealth countries) recently removed some aspects of bias (ending the ban on the royal family’s marrying Catholics), Teskey pointed out that Canadian Catholics still do not have a fair shot at becoming king or queen (although Teskey did not claim that he, personally, had been a candidate).
TOP WORLD CRISIS
Venezuela, already in a recession, suffered a particularly cruel blow (according to a September Associated Press dispatch from Caracas) with the recent shortage in availability of breast implants for its beauty-obsessed senoritas. Restrictive currency controls are limiting enhancement surgeries from the 85,000 performed last year and, according to a local joke, will force Venezuelan women to start developing their personalities. (But according to leading surgeon Dr. Daniel Slobodianik, when potential patients are told their preferred size implant is back-ordered, many merely choose the next-largest available size.)
BIG, BIG MONEY
On the same day in September, Washington, D.C., and New York City made traffic-camera announcements, with Washington declaring a revenue crisis and New York revealing that just one speed camera in Brooklyn had earned the city $77,550 in a single day. The District of Columbia had projected $93 million in annual camera income, but estimated it would collect only $26 million, while New York City, which has many fewer cameras, was marveling at the 1,551 tickets the Brooklyn camera zapped on July 7.
Staci Anne Spence, 42, was hauled to jail for assault in Sandpoint, Idaho, in September, but when the squad car arrived at the station, officers learned that during the ride, she had completely gnawed through the back seat–foam padding and seat cover. And a 38-year-old man was taken, unconscious, to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, in August. After allegedly choking his mother-in-law and refusing to cooperate with police, who used a stun gun and chemical spray on him to no effect, he dramatically KO’d himself with an empty beer bottle.
DOCTORS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN
An August West Virginia Board of Medicine report accused Martinsburg doctor Tressie Montene Duffy, age 44 and owner of a “weight and wellness” clinic, of over-prescribing drugs and repeatedly exposing herself to co-workers–including forcing one employee to “motor boat” Duffy’s surgically enhanced breasts.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
In Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in August, Kevin Clarence, 20, was arrested for an inept attempt to rob a supermarket. He entered the store, and only then, according to witnesses, put a plastic garbage bag over his head and decided to wait in line for his opportunity to address a cashier. He quickly got tired of waiting and said, “I’ll be back,” but was caught by police minutes after leaving the store. n