RAMEN HELL YA!
Computer hardware engineer Toshio Yamamoto, 49, this year celebrates 15 years tasting and cataloguing all the Japanese ramen (instant noodles) he can get his hands on (including the full ingredients list, texture, flavor, price and star rating for each), for the massive 4,300-ramen database on his Web site, expanded recently with “hundreds” of video reviews and with re-reviews of many previously appearing products (in case the taste had changed, he told journalist Lisa Katayama, writing in April on the popular blog Boing Boing). Yamamoto said he had always eaten ramen for breakfast seven days a week, but cut back recently to five. “I feared that, if I continued at [the seven-day] pace, I would get bored.”
BUZZ ALDRIN, LITTER BUG
In January the California Historical Resources Commission formally claimed, on behalf of the state, about 100 items of property on the surface of the moon having been left behind during the 1969 Apollo 11 landing (since California companies were instrumental in that mission and since only the moon surface itself is off limits to ownership claims under international law). Among the items declared are tools, a flag, bags of food and bags of human waste left by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
(1) Louis Woodcock, 23, testified at his Toronto trial in March that he was not involved in the 2005 shooting of a woman, despite being seen on surveillance video approaching the woman and holding his hand inside his jacket until gunshots rang out. He said he often kept his hand inside his jacket to keep from sucking his thumb, which is a habit he picked up in childhood and which did not go over well on the street. (The jury, apparently not seeing him as the thumb-sucking type, convicted him of manslaughter.) (2) In February, Jesse McCabe, 29, was spared jail time (probation and community service only) for his conviction in connection with a missing $18,000 in bank deposits he was to have made for his employer in New Port Richey, Florida. Police discovered 13 deposits, from a six-week period, in McCabe’s home, but all the money was recovered, and McCabe persuaded the judge that he just hadn’t been able to make it to the bank yet. (3) In March, Monica Conyers, pleading insufficient funds, was granted a court-appointed lawyer to appeal her bribery conviction stemming from her work as a city councilwoman in Detroit. Conyers is the wife of John Conyers, the Michigan congressman who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. (Mrs. Conyers arrived in court on the day of her sentencing clutching what reporters said appeared to be a Louis Vuitton handbag that sells for $1,000.)
Karen Salmansohn, 49, prominent author of self-help books for women with relationship and career problems, including Prince Harming Syndrome and How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Successful Dog Trainers, filed a lawsuit in March against cad Mitchell Leff. Salmansohn said Leff had strung her along for months with promises of marriage and a baby, but abruptly cut off support when she became pregnant. Said Salmansohn, “I’m a self-help author, not a psychic.”
THEY’RE HERE, THEY’RE HOMOSEXUAL, GET USED TO IT
A February New York Times/CBS News poll found that 79 percent of self-identified Democrats approve of gays serving openly in the military if they’re referred to in the question as “gay men and lesbians.” However, when the openly serving gays are referred to in the question as “homosexuals,” only 43 percent of self-identified Democrats approve.
Paula Oertel, on Medicare, has a brain tumor that had miraculously been in remission for nine years thanks to a type of interferon approved for multiple sclerosis but not for cancer. Medicare had been paying about $100,000 a year for the drug, but when Oertel relocated from one county in Wisconsin to another 30 miles away, it triggered an automatic, full-scale review of her records, at which point officials realized that her drug was unauthorized and stopped paying. According to a March Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report, her doctors scrambled to find a drug on the “approved” list, but discovered neither a less expensive one nor one nearly as effective, and Oertel’s tumor has returned.
In March, the government of New South Wales in Australia granted “Norrie” a certificate as the state’s (perhaps the country’s, perhaps the world’s) only official genderless person. Norrie prefers to live that way, and two doctors had certified that the former male is now “physically and psychologically androgynous.”