Here’s all the weird news that’s really not fit to print, but we do so anyway as a service to our readers, because journalism, etc…
DOWN ON THE DEER FARM
The billion-dollar deer-farming industry in America produces generations of bucks growing progressively larger racks of antlers mainly for eventual bragging rights by the so-called “hunters” who will pay large fees to kill them in fenced-in fields just so they can hang the grotesque antlers in their dens. Even before the farm-raised deer are stalked (reported The Indianapolis Star in March in its multipart investigation), bucks’ necks habitually slump from the weight of the freakish antlers. Most states allow such “hunting,” and in some, the activity is lightly regulated, lacking the safety rules and more-humane conditions required by open-forest hunting laws and agriculture protocols. The Indianapolis Star also highlighted several captive-deer diseases that doctors still worry might jump species to humans (as “mad cow” disease did).
News of the Weird has several times chronicled the sad saga of India’s holy but severely polluted Ganges River, on which millions of Hindus are dependent–through hands-on worship–for worldly success and for salvation. Now, recent reports reveal that the second-holiest river, the Yamuna, is suffering the same fate even though the government has invested nearly $1 billion in programs to clean it up. Currently, for example, more than 400 million gallons of untreated sewage, plus various industrial chemicals, enter the river from Delhi, but still, motivated worshippers come to “bathe” for glory.
STORIES THAT NEVER GET OLD
Dayton, Ohio, bus driver Rickey Wagoner, 49, survived a three-bullet shooting in February that, police said, was probably a gang initiation that randomly targeted him as he worked on his bus’s engine. A police sergeant told the Dayton Daily News that Wagoner “should probably not be here” and survived the attack only because two of the bullets were blocked by a copy of The Message (a contemporary version of the Bible) in Wagoner’s shirt pocket.
NO CHICKEN MONUMENT FOR PETA
The most recent “monument” offered by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would be its proposed 10-foot tombstone along U.S. 129 in Gainesville, Ga., to honor the “several” chickens that were killed when a truck overturned in January. No humans were hurt in the collision, and had the chickens survived, they would have shortly been slaughtered. The Georgia Department of Transportation rejected the proposal.
THIS WEEK IN DOG WITNESSES
Allowing dogs as “witnesses” in court cases in France has become “something of a recent trend,” reported the Paris edition of the European news site The Local in April. A nine-year-old Labrador retriever (Tango) took the witness stand in the city of Tours so the judge could observe how he reacted to the defendant, on trial for killing the dog’s owner. For due process of law, a second dog, Norman, took the stand later, as a “control group.” Ultimately, the judge said he learned nothing from the dogs and dismissed them.
ZERO TOLERANCE FOLLIES
Yet another questionable school suspension was handed down in March, in Virginia Beach, Va., when the sixth-grader who had prevented a classmate from intentionally harming himself was punished for her altruism. Adrionna Harris had convinced a boy to hand over the razor blade he was threatening himself with, and she immediately discarded it. According to the principal, that transaction meant Harris “possessed” a “dangerous weapon,” albeit for a brief time, and she was suspended for 10 days, according to school policy. After WAVY-TV’s “On Your Side” reporters got involved, the school relented, and Harris returned to class.
NOT AN URBAN LEGEND
A county official in Portland, Ore., said his office gets “20 to 30 calls” about rats in toilets every year, like the one Daniel Powers reported in March when he spotted the “little guy with beady eyes” looking up at him. The problem is more severe in India, where an emergency crew rushed to the Mumbai-area home of Vipul Desai in February to remove a six-foot-long cobra from the toilet (but not before it “repeatedly” popped its head out of the commode, terrorizing Desai’s wife and daughter). A team from a wildlife rescue association flooded the toilet, grabbed the snake and released it in the forest.
In December, at a Home Depot in Banks County, Ga., yet another prankster put glue on a restroom toilet seat, trapping an unwary shopper seeking to relieve herself. Twelve days after the incident, the victim told WSB-TV that she was still in pain. Paramedics had unstuck her with a liberal application of WD-40, but she believes an emergency room would have been more appropriate.
Among the $43 million worth of “renovations” that the former German “Bishop of Bling,” Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, ordered spent on his home and office before he was forcibly retired by Pope Francis in March: a six-foot-deep fish tank filled with Koi carp, costing $300,000; a $917,000 garden (the “Garden of Silence”); solid-bronze window frames all around ($2.38 million); and LED lights built into floors, walls, steps, window frames and handrails ($894,000). One expense did prove too extravagant for the bishop, according to The Washington Post: employees. He had reduced his staff during his tenure.