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Fun With Mannequins

A weekly roundup of international news oddities



Fun With Mannequins
• Some sports teams eager to return to the field have taken to placing cardboard figures of fans in stadium seats to enhance the experience for viewers, but the FC Seoul soccer club in South Korea was forced to apologize May 18 after propping up sex dolls in the seats for its match against Gwangju FC, The New York Times reported. "We had tried to add some fun in the no-spectator match," the club explained. "But we have not checked all the details, and that is clearly our fault." "Details" included the buxom physiques and obvious logos of sex toy marketers on the dolls' clothing that fans watching quickly noticed. "We had confirmed that although the mannequins were made to look just like real people, they had nothing to do with adult products," the statement said, but the club admitted it had neglected to do a background check of the supplier, which makes sex dolls.

• Dinner at the renowned three-Michelin-star Inn at Little Washington in Virginia can set diners back a pretty penny—unless they're not eating. When the Inn opens on May 29, some of its patrons will be mannequins, reported the Associated Press, attired in fancy 1940s clothing and placed strategically at tables to help with social distancing. "We're all craving to gather and see other people right now," said Patrick O'Connell, the Inn's proprietor and chef. "They don't all necessarily need to be real people."

Rebellion Served Cold
An unnamed ice cream shop in Hong Kong is offering tear gas-flavored ice cream in support of the region's pro-democracy movement, reports the Associated Press. The shop's owner explained he wanted "to make a flavor that reminds people that they still have to persist in the protest movement and don't lose their passion." "It tastes like tear gas," said customer Anita Wong. "It feels difficult to breathe at first, and it's really pungent and irritating. It makes me want to drink a lot of water immediately." The owner tried several different combinations to achieve the flavor and found that black pepper came the closest. Before coronavirus restrictions, he said the store was selling 20 to 30 scoops per day.

Just Funny
University of Arizona wildlife biology professor Michael Bogan caught Saturday morning cartoons as they came to life in a video he recorded of a coyote chasing a roadrunner May 9 in downtown Tucson. Bogan could be heard on his recording saying, "There is literally a coyote chasing a roadrunner. I can't believe it. That is a straight-up cartoon." The reenactment of the classic setup between Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner caught Bogan's attention near the Santa Cruz River, Fox News reported. And, as life often imitates art, the real roadrunner escaped unharmed from the wily coyote.

The Passing Parade
Police responding to a reported shooting in Poughkeepsie, New York, early on May 17, arrived to find a very drunk 35-year-old man from the Bronx who claimed he'd been shot in the buttocks, which caused him to fall and hit his head. The Hudson Valley Post reported the unnamed victim was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for his head injury, but doctors could find no evidence he'd been shot. There was no bullet hole in his buttocks, X-rays showed no bullet lodged inside his buttocks, and his pants had no holes in them, police said. Witnesses nearby were also intoxicated and unable to provide any clarification. When officers pressed the victim about his story, he became uncooperative and said, "I didn't pull a gun."

Homeschooling Gone Wild
Parents have lodged complaints with the Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull, England, after discovering their seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders were sent an exercise asking them to define pornography, soft pornography, hardcore pornography and other sensitive subjects, such as human trafficking and female genital mutilation. Hull Live reported on May 19 that the assignments were made as part of the school's sex education course, but one parent, identified as Mrs. Taylor, said if her daughter had searched these terms on the internet, the results would have "destroyed her mind" and "scarred her for life." The school responded saying, "Students were not directed to research these topics themselves on the internet because all the answers ... were contained in the teacher-produced materials we shared." Principal Chay Bell apologized: "I am genuinely sorry for any upset caused at this difficult time."

Why Not?
In Japan, people are enlisting the help of a long-forgotten mythical creature believed to ward off plagues in their battle against the coronavirus. Amabie, a mermaidlike being, first appeared in Japanese folklore in 1846, when she was reported to have appeared to a government official and predicted a rich harvest and a pandemic. She told the man the pandemic could be thwarted by drawing her likeness and sharing it with as many people as possible, BBC reported on April 23. Now, images of the spirit are appearing over five continents, and in Japan, face masks and hand sanitizer with her image are popular. One long-haul driver painted her on the side of his truck, saying, "I travel all over the country with my (goods) and Amabie to pray for the disease to go away." Even the country's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has joined in, tweeting an image of Amabie and encouraging people to "prevent the spread of the virus."

Going the Extra Mile
A nurse in the western Russian city of Tula has been disciplined for "noncompliance with the requirements for medical clothing" after photos appeared on social media of her wearing only a bra and panties under transparent PPE on a COVID-19 men-only ward. The unnamed nurse told her superiors at the Tula Regional Clinical Hospital that wearing clothing under the PPE was "too hot" and that she didn't realize the protective gear was see-through. The Scottish Sun reported on May 20 that patients didn't seem to mind, though one admitted there was "some embarrassment."

On May 15, staff at a Hamilton, Ontario, retirement home transferred all of its residents to a hospital because of an outbreak of COVID-19. That is, except for one. The following evening, after repeated alerts from the man's family, he was discovered in his room at the Rosslyn Retirement Residence by a security officer who had been dispatched to look for him. He was "alert" and was subsequently transferred to the hospital, the CBC reported. "This was clearly not something anybody would have intended to do," and the lack of a master list of residents contributed to the snafu, said Winnie Doyle, executive vice president of clinical operations at the hospital where most of the residents were sent. "This was ... extremely distressing."

A Facebook group called "A group where we all pretend to be ants in an ant colony" began March with around 100,000 members, reported NBC. Then the world locked down, and membership soared to more than 1.7 million. Started by Tyrese Childs, 20, of Fargo, North Dakota, the group's purpose is to serve their fictional queen and search out food for her, and it is one of roughly 70 role-playing groups on Facebook. Members of the ant colony can post photos about being ants and others join in by commenting with terms such as "MUNCH" and "LIFT." One post featuring a photo of ice cream with ants crawling on it invited members to deliver some of the sweet treat to the queen and got more than 18,000 replies. "I think people are searching for something to do right now," Childs said. "You can only scroll so much on social media."

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