He Missed "Judgment" Class in Basic Training
Fort Bragg, N.C, declared an emergency on Oct. 30 when one of its soldiers had the bright idea to arrive for a Halloween party on base dressed as a suicide bomber, with realistic-looking canisters in a wired vest. Gates to the post (headquarters of Army special forces and airborne troops) immediately went into extended lockdown, and a bomb-disposal team was called. The soldier's name was not released.
The Blackhead Whisperer: Upland, Calif., dermatologist Sandra Lee is a social media cult figure with a massive audience on YouTube, where her cyst- and pimple-popping videos (charmingly, soothingly narrated) have garnered 170 million views. (The "Popping" community, on the Reddit.com site, has more than 60,000 members.) Dr. Lee admits longing for "the perfect blackhead," which to her apparently means one that is photogenic and slides out easily from its snug epidermal home. Several "Popping" fanatics told a Washington Post reporter that watching the videos is therapy for anxiety, but one fan (a "Mr. Wilson") apparently gets his "therapy" by submitting videos of his own—unsoothing—oil-laden bursts.
• While hopeful Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero seeks funding to perform the first ever head "transplant" (with a patient already lined up), Australian doctor Geoff Askin (the country's "godfather of spinal surgery") recently successfully "reattached" the head of a 16-month-old boy who was badly injured in a traffic accident. The toddler's head was described as internally "relocated" and reset onto the vertebra, using wire and rib tissue to graft the head back in place. (Nonetheless, the operation was widely regarded as a "miracle.")
"Police Squad!" Lives On: 1. Hugo Castro, 28, wanted for questioning in October in San Jose, Calif., after his girlfriend was stabbed to death, helpfully presented himself at county jail. The sheriff's deputy listened—and then suggested Castro go find a San Jose police officer. (Castro did, and the deputy was subsequently reassigned.) 2. New Hampshire state police laid down spiked "stop sticks" in November to slow down a fleeing Joshua Buzza, 37, near Greenland, N.H. Buzza was apprehended, but not before he managed to avoid the sticks while goading the drivers of three squad cars over them (flattening several tires).
Recent Architectural Triumphs: 1. A 33-year-old Frenchman erected a stone table with benches over his mother's grave marker, so that he and friends could enjoy munchies and wine as he "talked" to her. 2. For the annual German Ruhrtriennale Festival in September, Atelier Van Lieshout created a temporary hotel structure that appeared from the street (even to the non-aroused) to be a couple having "doggy style" sex (to make a statement, a reviewer said, about "the power of humanity over the natural world"). 3. A homeowners' association in Winter Haven, Fla., petitioned Steven Chayt to remove the 24-by-12-foot chair he had built in his backyard as an art project—especially because of the hole in the seat—making it, said one neighbor, "essentially a toilet."
Finer Points of the Law
Daniel Darrington was spared a murder conviction in October even after admitting intentionally shooting Rocky Matskassy at point-blank range to "relieve his suffering." The Melbourne, Australia, jury decided that Matskassy, in pain from an earlier accidental shooting, was indeed already dead when Darrington shot him. However, under the law of the state of Victoria, it is still "attempted murder" because Darrington believed that Matskassy was still alive when he pulled the trigger.
Leading Economic Indicators
Dealt a Lemon, Make Lemonade: Puerto Rico's murder/voluntary manslaughter rate is four times higher than that in the 50 states, creating a "pool of (organ) donors in the 18-to-30 age range unmatched in the mainland," according to an October Reuters report. Government officials hope creating a thriving transplant industry will bring Puerto Rico out of its economic doldrums by encouraging economy-conscious patients to spend money on hotels, transportation and food during their stay.
Unclear on the Concept
Liberty, Mo., sheriff's deputy politely declined to identify the local man who created the sound of rapid gunfire on Oct. 13 when a "controlled" garbage burn escalated. The man decided to try extinguishing the fire by driving back and forth over it in his van, but the tires caught fire, and in addition to the van's having a gas tank, it also carried an undisclosed amount of firearms ammunition. The van was a total loss, but the sheriff's department said it doubted there would be an insurance claim filed.
Thanks This Week to Steven Bird, Glenn Gordon, Jim Weber, Scott Brame, Chris & Denise Meek, Woody Thomas, and Andrew Bolstridge, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.