News of the Weird
- Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
- May 18, 2012 - 12:49 PM
Sophisticated automobile technology makes high-performance engines purr in relative silence, but automakers fear that their most demanding drivers are emotionally attached to the engines' roar. Consequently, as Car and Driver reported in April, the 2012 BMW M5, with 560 horsepower tempered with sound deadeners, has installed pre-recorded engine noise, channeled into the car's cabin via the stereo system. A computer program matches the amplitude of the engine's growl to the driver's accelerator-revving.Oops!
At the 10th Arab Shooting Championships in Kuwait in March, officials were apparently ill-prepared for medalist Maria Dmitrienko of Kazakhstan. The national anthem played during her medal ceremony was, inadvertently, the humorous ditty from the movie "Borat." (Instead of such lyrics as "sky of golden sun" and "legend of courage," the audience heard "Greatest country in the world / All other countries are run by little girls.") Dmitrienko reportedly kept a mostly straight face throughout, although Kazakhstan later demanded, and received, an official apology.Brawling in style?
(1) At a March Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance, the music continued uninterrupted as two patrons engaged in a fistfight over box seating. Conductor Riccardo Muti "never stopped conducting," said a patron. "He very gracefully, without missing a beat -- literally -- brought [the second movement] to a very quiet and subdued close." (2) It costs $8,500, plus $3,000 in annual dues, to join the prestigious New York Athletic Club, which counts Olympic champions among its upper-crust members. However, according to witnesses, "wolf packs'' of members were brawling in a backroom "lion's pit'' in April. Two people were sent to the hospital and three were arrested in the melee, which reportedly started over a woman.Heating by balloon
Some villagers in China's Shandong Province who are too poor or isolated to hook up to home heating fuel service have an alternative, according to a March report by China News Center. They take giant, heavy-duty balloons and walk to filling stations to inflate them with natural gas every four or five days. The danger of explosion is high, but the balloons remain many villagers' best option.Photo mishaps
(1) In March, Germany's celebrity rabbit -- the genetically "earless" bunny Tiny Til -- was crushed to death in a zoo in Limbach-Oberfrohna when a cameraman accidentally stepped on it while setting up for a news conference. (2) In 2011, a photographer snapping pictures for an art magazine moved a 2,630-year-old African sculpture to get a better shot and accidentally smashed it "to smithereens," according to the owner, Corice Arman. Arman filed a $300,000 lawsuit in April against the photographer and his magazine.Ornament overload
Lawrence Cobbold, 38, has a house in Plympton, England, but has to make living arrangements at his parents' home or elsewhere because his place is totally taken over by his 21,000-item collection of bird ornaments and doodads. Before heading off to sleep elsewhere, he spends an average of four hours a day tidying up the collection. His dad said, "I just hope I die before [Lawrence]. I don't want to [have to] clear all this out."Robber short on smarts?
Robert Strank, 39, was arrested in Beavercreek, Ohio, in April and charged with trying to rob the Huntington Bank. According to police, he had approached the bank's counter but become ill and asked a teller to call 911 to summon medics. There were conflicting news reports about when medics arrived to treat Strank, but there was agreement that Strank recovered from his illness and presented the same teller with his holdup note demanding cash. He was arrested in short order.
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