The first "pheromone party" is said to have been staged in New York City in 2010, but the concept was revived recently in London, with men and women bringing three-each used, unwashed, un-fragranced T-shirts in plastic bags as the price of admission (along with the equivalent of $25). Guests sniff the coded bags one after another until genes kick in and signal the sniffer that a certain shirt belongs to Mr. or Ms. Right. At that point, the sniffer projects a cellphone selfie on the wall, and whoever brought that shirt sees the sniffer, at which time things return to normal, i.e., deciding if the sniffer is sufficiently good-looking.
The May 28 US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia had to be diverted to Kansas City after a passenger's service dog did what dogs do, in the aisle, twice (an hour apart). One passenger used the terms "lingering smell," "dry heaving" and "throwing up" in describing the situation.
On a recent Delta flight from Beijing to Detroit, a Chinese couple apparently nonchalantly laid down paper on their toddler's seat and encouraged him to address his bowels' needs despite numerous pleas from nearby passengers to take him to the restroom. According to Chinese news reports, social media sites erupted in criticism of the family for its embarrassing behavior.
Democracy in action
Steve Grossman, Massachusetts' state treasurer, who is running for governor, performed heroically at a candidate forum in March. The Boston Globe reported that Grossman "fervently answered questions on everything from transgender rights [to] sex education [and] issues facing [the] aging members of the [gay/transgender] community" while simultaneously passing a kidney stone (which most victims rate as "level 10" pain — the highest on the medical scale, described by some as comparable to childbirth).
The Alaskan government is scrambling to fulfill its obligation to welcome native communities' votes on a state tax resolution in August. That means paying translators (at up to $50 an hour) to set out the measure for communities using the languages Yup'ik, Inupiak, Siberian Yupik, Koyukon Athabaskan and Gwich'in Athabaskan. (The tax measure must also be available on audio — for those communities that rely on the "oral tradition.") For example, the yes-or-no tax question in Yup'ik is "Una-qaa alerquun ciuniurumanrilli?"
The new world order
Among the foods "you wouldn't even eat if trapped on a desert island" in a May London Daily Mirror feature: canned cheeseburger (Germany), canned whole chicken (Sweet Sue brand of USA), canned peanut butter and jelly sandwich (Mark One Foods of USA), canned bacon (Hungary), whole peeled lamb tongues (New Zealand) and Elephant Dung Beer (from excreted coffee beans by Japan's Sankt Gallen). Also mentioned: Casu Marzu (cheese containing live maggots that the food's few fans swear make its taste irresistible — and which News of the Weird reported in 2000).
The Italian news agency ANSA reported in July that Italy's San Vittore prison in Milan is scheduling regular "happy hour" socials for its female inmates — catered, with alcohol, and with "external" guests welcomed, to the displeasure of the prison guards' union. The deputy director of the prison service was quoted by ANSA as approving the events, leading union representatives to complain to the Ministry of Justice.
A News of the Weird classic
In November 2009, a Chicago judge ruled that former firefighter Jeffrey Boyle is entitled to his $50,000 annual pension even though he had pleaded guilty to eight counts of arson (and allegedly confessed to 12 more). Boyle is known locally as "Matches" Boyle to distinguish him from his brother, James "Quarters" Boyle, who served time for the theft of millions of dollars in state toll gate coins. Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. concluded that Matches' arsons were unrelated to his firefighting.
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