It’s the weirdest world
Early April seems like a perfect time to reflect on the first quarter of 2014. News stories have come and gone, but some stick in my craw more than others. Why? Because they are just so weird. Here are my top 10 picks for the weirdest news stories of the year (so far):
The Independent reported on April 4 that Eva Braun’s hair had Jewish roots. A hairbrush owned by Eva Braun, Adolf Hitler’s wife, yielded locks of hair to test. DNA test results revealed that the Hitler-loving Jew-hater had Ashkenazi Jewish roots. A British television show called “Dead Famous DNA” paid $1,500 to purchase the locks of Braun’s hair to test. Mark Evans, the host of the TV show, said, “I never dreamt that I would find such a potentially extraordinary and profound result.” FYI, 80 percent of the world’s Jews are Ashkenazis. Now, want to see something eerie? Look at the last five letters of that word. Six million Ashkenazi Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Many Ashkenazis in central Europe converted to Catholicism. Braun was raised Catholic. Isn’t it weird to know that some of those killed may have been Braun’s ancestors? Here’s another creepy bit to this story: the man who sold the locks of hair is a Holocaust denier. Maybe we should introduce him to Mel Gibson’s dad and they can be friends.
Queen Elizabeth II told Kate Middleton to quit showing off her legs in short skirts. The queen favors more conservative attire. England’s Daily Mail reported in February that for her trip to Australia this month, Kate’s hemlines, jewelry and tiaras will be left to the judgment of trusted staff members in order to insure that the duchess will look regal enough for the queen. It will be, ahem, requested that the duchess don statement gemstones from the queen’s collection passed down by Queen Mary. Kate will be wearing four outfits per day for her three-and-a-half-week trip, but the duchess’s favored “frilled, girlish frocks” have been outlawed.
Next on our list of odd tales is Curtis Reeves, a 71-year-old retired police captain who shot and killed Florida moviegoer Chad Oulson, 43, for texting. When the man’s wife, Nichole, 33, put her hand up protectively to shield her husband she got shot, too. Of the couple, she is now the lone survivor. Guess what film they were watching — “Lone Survivor,” starring Mark Wahlberg as a Navy SEAL up against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Anyway, so a Cobb Theater rep expressed deep sadness and said, “The safety, security and comfort of our guests are always our top priorities.” I guess the moral of this story is: don’t text during movies. It really is annoying.
How many subway riders say to themselves, “I’m going to climb up on top of this subway and surf”? Apparently a few. A few days ago, on April 2, a 45-year-old man decided to ride atop the 6 train in the Bronx. He died when his head hit a piece of overhanging subway structure. According to the police, it was most likely a metal support beam responsible for his conk in the head. As if that isn’t bizarre enough, last October another 45-year-old man subway-surfed on the 6 train. He, too, smacked his head on a steel beam and died. I never thought I would have to say this: whenever you are riding a subway — no matter what you feel like doing — stay inside the train car.
On March 3, Yahoo news reported about Jeff Mizanskey, 61, a man from Missouri who has served 20 years in prison for marijuana possession. And he may never get out. Mizanskey’s harsh sentence came after his third arrest for pot possession. Missouri law labels him a prior and persistent drug offender, hence the tough sentence even though this was not a violent crime. Yahoo news pointed out that Missouri now spends $22,000 per year to keep Mizanskey behind bars, where he will probably stay until he dies. Over his 20 years in a cramped cell, Mizanskey has watched violent criminals, rapists and murderers serve their time and get out, while he remains locked up for life. Mizanskey’s son, Chris, started a petition to convince Missouri Governor Jeremiah Nixon to grant clemency. The petition calls attention to the fact that Mizanskey has never been violent and has been a model prisoner for two decades. Medical marijuana is now legal in 20 states, 14 states are reconsidering laws, and according to the Marijuana Policy Project, 12 states are debating decriminalizing the drug. Poor guy. I hope Mizanskey gets out, goes home and smokes a big doobie in his favorite chair.
While we’re on the topic of drugs, The New York Times reported on March 3 that LSD is being reconsidered for therapy treatment. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease posted online results from the first controlled trial of LSD in over 40 years. The study tested the effects of the acid as a complement to talk therapy for 12 people who were close to death. Dr. Peter Gasser, who conducted the therapy, said, “Their anxiety went down and stayed down,” and followed up with his patients a year after the trial concluded. Researchers and fundraisers are working to bring hallucinogens back into mainstream psychiatry. Wow, good reason to go back to therapy. Put on some Jimi Hendrix, pull out the old bell-bottoms, and chill. Psychiatrists are also looking into ecstasy-assisted therapy for PTSD, and more trials with hallucinogens are in the works. A foundation called the Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies paid for a lot of the studies. “We want to break these substances out of the mold of the counterculture,” said the executive director, “and bring them back to the lab as part of a psychedelic renaissance.” Yeah, cool man. I’m down with that. And, hey doc, can I bring my blue lava light for our next appointment?
According to the Daily Mail, a Catholic woman in the UK, Jane Mulcahy, tried to sue her lawyers. She said that due to her religion they should have told her that a divorce would end her marriage. Wait, so let’s get this straight — she was suing her attorneys because they didn’t tell her that by getting a divorce she would be, um, divorced. Mulcahy accused them of professional negligence. What a surprise — her case was thrown out by the court. Towards the end of the same article, another woman suing for divorce is discussed. The woman said she wanted a split over peas. One week after getting married, the woman filed for divorce because she was aghast when she discovered that her husband liked to eat peas with bread instead of a fork. Poor woman. She referred to it as a shocking sight. Clearly she could not be expected to go on living with such a beast.
This tale from The Telegraph sounds like something right out of “Hannibal.” A paralyzed Swedish stroke patient, Jimi Fritze, 43, heard doctors talking but couldn’t respond. He could not move but his hearing was fine. He heard the docs telling his girlfriend that there was no hope for his survival. Without any confirmation that he was brain dead, the wrongly assuming docs went on to suggesting the removal of his liver and kidney to be donated. Fritze could hear his girlfriend crying but couldn’t move or speak to try to reassure her. Lucky for Fritze a more competent doctor took another look at the x-ray and immediately saw that it was possible Fritze might recover. Although still wheelchair bound, Fritze can now speak and move. In March, Fritze filed an official complaint to Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Hospital. Stefan Sarajärvi, a spokesman for the hospital, said, “We take all the complaints we receive very seriously.” How reassuring.
A 3-year-old Chihuahua-Dachshund mix named Corbin dug a hole under the fence of his Killeen, Texas backyard and ran off. That was on March 25. Thankfully the little doggie turned up a few days later. Guess where? In Ohio! He was found outside a southwest Ohio animal shelter in Hamilton, about 30 miles north of Cincinnati. Corbin’s owners have no freakin’ clue how he ended up 1,000 miles away in a matter of days. Corbin’s owner, Mike Saiz, told The Cincinnati Enquirer, “They called my wife and she told me that they found our dog. I asked if he was OK and she told me he was fine. I then asked where the shelter was and she said, ‘Hamilton — not Hamilton, Texas, but Hamilton, Ohio.'” What a little whippersnapper.
On March 11, the New York Post reported a slithery surprise. Robin Sandusky, 31, had ordered a $6 salad from Guy & Gallard on West 40th Street in Manhattan. The kale salad was delivered to her office in Chelsea but, Sandusky said, “After a few bites, I look down at my fork, and think, ‘Oh, is that a piece of asparagus?’ And then I saw that it had eyes and an arm.” Resting on her salad fork was a severed lizard head. Sandusky said she has had many salads from the Hell’s Kitchen deli before and never found a reptile in one. She’d already eaten a quarter of it when she spotted the reptile. She said. “I turned it over and the gore was hanging out the back of the neck.” She orders from Guy & Gallard “all the time,” she said, “the same kind of salad at least every day for the last two weeks, and it’s been fine.” Sandusky repackaged the head with the salad and sent it back to the deli. She said no thanks to their offer to send a replacement salad, so they gave her a refund. Isn’t that special.
Let me know if I’ve overlooked any odd tales!