News of the Weird: Rest stop was genesis for an odd protester

  • Updated: April 4, 2014 - 1:25 PM

Kevin Walters, 21, staged an emotional, though unsuccessful, one-man, chained-to-the-door protest in March to prevent the closing of a commercial rest stop along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway near Des Plaines, Ill. Ultimately, the Des Plaines Oasis, housing shops and fast-food restaurants, will be demolished as part of a highway-widening project. Walters told WBBM Radio that his poignant attachment to the oasis was because his parents had told him it was where he was conceived as they returned home from a 1992 Phil Collins concert.

Cultural diversity

In tribe-controlled areas of India, children who disrespect their families by marrying outside their castes are still, occasionally, put to death despite strong national laws. However, enlightenment is advancing, and Sidhnath Sharma recently filed a lawsuit instead against his caste-straying son for “destroying the family tradition” and “lowering his father’s prestige.” Sharma, a lawyer in Patna, India, is demanding that the son pay a monthly royalty of the equivalent of $163 for the son’s now-unauthorized use of the father’s name.

Sweden’s foul-smelling canned herring (surstromming) inexplicably raises passions among some traditionalists — which is why it was big news in February when a man found a bulging tin whose contents had been fermenting for about 25 years and reckoned he needed help to “disarm” it, lest it “explode” and damage his cabin. Ruben Madsen of Sweden’s Surstromming Academy agreed to attend the can-opening and assured the man that spewing, not explosion, was the likely outcome.

A South Korean woman, Park Seo-yeon, 34, breaks bread, on pay-per-view, with friend-challenged people desperate to avoid eating alone, however forced the circumstances. Reuters reported that Park’s “gastronomic voyeurism” earns her, some months, the equivalent of more than $9,000 for her series of two-to-three-hour meals, featuring real-time chatting.

Questionable judgments

After a Feb. 11 explosion at a natural gas well in Greene County, Pa., killed one worker, burned for four days and caused massive traffic jams and other inconveniences, the public relations response of well-owner Chevron was merely to give away vouchers for pizza and soda at local hangout Bobtown Pizza. Environmentalists were outraged at Chevron’s “let them eat cake/pizza” attitude, but CBS News found quite a few locals who supported Chevron’s response. (For one thing, Bobtown’s pizza is apparently highly regarded.)

The cutting edge

Among the filings published in November by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was Google’s 2012 application covering a throat tattoo — actually a mobile skin “microphone” with lie-detecting capability, presumably to encourage truthfulness from people as they speak. The application explains how to couple an electronic skin tattoo to a mobile device, using “flexible substrate.”

Fine points of the law

An Iowa administrative law judge ruled in February that it might be reasonable to accidentally damage a stubborn vending machine that ate your money — but not by commandeering a forklift, raising the vending machine 2 feet off the concrete floor, and slamming it to the ground to dislodge the reluctant candy bar (a Twix). Consequently, Robert McKevitt, fired recently over the incident by Polaris Industries in Milford, Iowa, was deemed not entitled to worker compensation. (McKevitt admitted picking up the machine with the forklift, but said he just shook it and then set it down gently.)

Read News of the Weird daily at www.weirduniverse.net. Send items to weirdnews@earthlink.net.

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