“Tom Tom,” a 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier, was laid to rest at the Oakland Cemetery in Monticello, Arkansas, in March, even though he was in good health. His owner, Donald Ellis, had just passed away but had left explicit instructions that he wanted Tom Tom buried along with him, and not later on, because he felt that no one could love Tom Tom as much as he did. Ellis’s reluctant family finally took Tom Tom to a veterinarian, who tried to change their minds but ultimately acquiesced and euthanized the dog out of fear that they would put him down anyway, less humanely.
(1) The Swiss government announced in March that it would help bring to market extra-small condoms for boys as young as 12. (The decrease in circumference from a standard condom would be about 5/16th of an inch.) (2) The Washington Post reported in May that high school and college-age adults had complained that condoms given away by the District of Columbia’s HIV-prevention program were of too-low quality and that the city should spring for deluxe Trojan Magnums (in gold-colored packaging, giving them, said a city official, “a little bit of the bling quality”).
THE END IS BEER
In July, the prominent BrewDog brewery in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, began producing the world’s strongest (and most expensive) beer, called The End of History, which is 55 percent alcohol and sells for 500 pounds ($780) a bottle. As if to enrage both anti-alcohol and animal-welfare activists, BrewDog released the first 12 bottles taxidermally inserted inside the carcasses of roadkill (seven ermines, four squirrels and a rabbit). Said company founder James Watt, BrewDog aims to “elevate the status of beer in our culture.”
At least two employees at the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar, California, were accused in May of carrying on a makeshift “beauty salon” inside the facility’s Neonatal Intensive Care unit. Allegedly, eyebrow waxes and manicures were given near sensitive equipment used to combat infant infections and respiratory disorders. An investigation is continuing, but a hospital official said the notion of a “salon” was overblown and that perhaps a few nail treatments were involved. (Simultaneously, the facility is being investigated for taking kickbacks from nursing homes for placing discharged Medicare or Medicaid patients into those homes.)
On an August ABC-TV Nightline, professor Matt Frerking of Oregon Health and Science University allowed cameras to record his narcolepsy-like “cataplexy,” which causes temporary muscle paralysis each time he contemplates romantic love (hugging or holding hands, viewing wedding pictures, witnessing affectionate couples). He noted that he can often fend off an impending attack by concentrating on his lab work.
To most, the toilet is a functional appliance, but to thoughtful people, it can be an instrument upon which creativity blossoms. Thus, the price tags were high this summer when commodes belonging to two literary giants of the 20th century went on sale. In August, a gaudily designed toilet from John Lennon’s 1969-’71 residence in Berkshire, England, fetched 9,500 pounds (about $14,740) at a Liverpool auction, and a North Carolina collectibles dealer opened bids on the toilet that long served reclusive author J.D. Salinger at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. The dealer’s initial price was $1 million because, “Who knows how many of Salinger’s stories were thought up and written while [he] sat on this throne!”
I SEE AN AUDIT IN YOUR FUTURE…
In September, the Romanian Senate rejected a proposal by two legislators to regulate and tax fortune-tellers and “witches,” even though the government is desperately seeking new sources of revenue. A prominent witch had complained about potential record-keeping burdens on the “profession,” but one of the bill’s sponsors told the Associated Press he thinks opposition came from lawmakers who were frightened of having spells and curses placed on them.