News of the Weird


On the side, please
“You eat meat, so why not blood?” asked The Globe and Mail, which sampled several Toronto restaurants’ sanguinary haute cuisines, including the Italian eatery Buca’s spaghetti with blood-blackened noodles and torta di sanguinaccio (figs, almonds, buffalo-milk creme, on a base custard of dark chocolate and slow-cooked pig’s blood). Patrons “thought we were crazy,” said chef Rob Gentile, but now “can’t seem to get enough.” The Black Hoof restaurant uses 10 liters of fresh blood a week for dishes like its own blood custard, seasoned with rosemary and pickled pears. Montreal’s DNA kitchen sometimes highlights blood soup and blood pasta. (The Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark — which some believe to be the best restaurant in the world — marinates cauliflower in pig’s blood.)
The Continuing Crisis
“I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. And you’re not going to get me to get it,” warned Marine squadron commander Lt. Col. Jerry Turner (to a Wall Street Journal Afghanistan reporter writing in October), when learning that a few of his troops were sporting artistically shaped eyebrows sculpted by a barber in the town of Shinwar. “Stylist” Gulam Farooq can’t practice on Muslims (forbidden) but said “one or two” Marines come by every day (in between calling in artillery barrages) for tapering. The Military Times news service, reporting from Afghanistan in August, disclosed a U.S. Marines command directive ordering troops to restrain their audible flatus because, apparently, Afghan soldiers and civilians complained of being offended. The reporter doubted the directive could be effective, in that passing gas by front-line troops is “practically a sport.”
A vendor at a street market in Leipzig, Germany, was revealed in September to be shamelessly selling personally tailored coats and vests made with fur from house cats. A first report, in the sensationalist tabloid Bild, was doubted, but a follow-up by Germany’s premier news source, Spiegel, confirmed the story. The vendor said he needed eight cats to make a vest (priced at the equivalent of $685) and 18 for a coat. However, such sales are illegal under German and European Union laws, and the vendor subsequently denied that he sold such things.
Family Values
Too Soon? An 11-year-old California boy and a 7-year-old Georgia girl have recently decided — with parental support — to come out as the other gender. The boy, Tommy, wants more time to think about it, said his lesbian parents, and has begun taking hormone blockers to make his transition easier should he follow through with plans (first disclosed at age 3) to become “Tammy.” The McIntosh County, Ga., girl has been living as a boy for a year, said father Tommy Theollyn, a transgendered man who is actually the one who gave birth. Theollyn petitioned the school board in September (unsuccessfully) to allow the child to use the boys’ bathroom. Theollyn said the girl first noticed she was a boy at age 18 months.
Recurring Theme: Italian men are notorious “bamboccionis” (“big babies”) who exploit doting mothers by remaining in their family homes well into adulthood, sometimes into their 30s or later, expecting meals and laundry service. Many mothers are tolerant, but in September an elderly couple in the town of Mestre announced (through a consumer association) that if their 41-year-old, gainfully employed son did not meet a deadline for leaving, the association would file a lawsuit to evict him. (A news update has not been found, perhaps indicating that the son moved out.)
Cutting-Edge Tactics
Crime-Fighting: (1) In October, about 120 professional mimes began voluntarily patrolling the traffic-congested Sucre district of Caracas, Venezuela, at the request of Mayor Carlos Ocariz. The white-gloved mimes’ specialty was wagging their fingers at scofflaw motorists and pedestrians, and mimes interviewed by the Associated Press reported improvements. (2) At least 300 professional clowns from Mexico and Central America, in Mexico City in October for a convention, demonstrated against the country’s drug-cartel violence by laughing, in unison, nonstop, for 15 minutes. (They were likely less successful than the mimes).
Parenting: Freemon Seay, 38, was arrested in Thurston County, Wash., in October on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after disciplining his 16-year-old daughter for leaving home without his approval. Seay allegedly forced the girl to suit up in armor and helmet, with a wooden sword, and to fight him (also in armor, with a wooden sword) for over two hours until she could no longer stand up. Seay’s wife (the girl’s stepmother) was booked as an accessory and was said by deputies to have been supportive of her husband’s “Renaissance fair” enthusiasm (which Freemon Seay called a “lifestyle”).
Bright Ideas
In Malone, N.Y., in September, Clyde Gardner, 57, was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison for trying to murder his ex-girlfriend twice. Initially, he was going to dress in a recently skinned bear’s hide — walk on its paws, so as not to leave shoe prints, and “maul” her with the claws. After abandoning that plan, he promised a friend $15,000 to kill the woman in a car crash, and since Gardner was a demolition derby driver, he offered expert instructions (though the friend turned Gardner in).
Awesome! The ingenuity of drug smugglers is never to be underestimated, as one ABC News report from Nogales, Ariz., in October demonstrated. Smugglers had dug tunnels from Nogales, Mexico, underneath the border to Nogales, Ariz., engineered perfectly to end along International Street’s metered parking spaces. Vans with false bottoms were parked in certain spaces (and meters were fed); smugglers in the vans broke though the pavement to meet the tunnelers, and the drugs were loaded. Still parked, the vans’ crews repaired the pavement, and the vans departed. “(U)nbelievable,” said the Arizona city’s mayor.

Basically, “Toto” is to sophisticated toilets in Japan as “Apple” is to consumer electronics in America. In September, Toto unveiled a prototype motorcycle with a toilet bowl to convert a driver’s waste into fuel, not only making it self-gassed-up but contributing to the company’s goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent within six years. The company was launching a monthlong, cross-country publicity tour (presumably featuring a gastro-intestinally robust driver).
Armed and Clumsy (All-New!)
People Who Shot Themselves Recently: Two men — a 23-year-old in Fayetteville, N.C. (June), and a 22-year-old in Seminole, Fla. (October), accidentally shot themselves in the head while trying to assure friends that their guns posed no danger. A firearms instructor shot himself in the thigh during his recertification class at the Smith & Wesson facility in Springfield, Mass. (September). A man on a first date at Ruth’s Chris Steak house in Charlotte, N.C., accidentally shot himself in the leg as he was escorting his date to their car (September). And as usual, at least one man (a 27-year-old in Chandler, Ariz.) paid the price for inartfully using his waistband as a holster, causing a “groin” injury (August).