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News of the Weird:

  • July 18, 2014 - 11:50 AM

Prominent theoretical chemist David Glowacki was ejected from a classical music concert at England’s Bristol Old Vic in June for disrupting a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” by attempting to crowd-surf in front of the stage. Glowacki, an expert in non-equilibrium molecular reaction dynamics and who is presently a visiting scientist at Stanford University, was attending a special “informal” performance at which audience members were encouraged to stand and cheer loudly instead of showing the usual demure appreciation. He said afterward that he could not control himself when the performance moved to the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Cultural diversity

A formal-dress rental store in Fukui, Japan, with a side business making keepsake portraits of client brides, was surprised at the number of men who began requesting a similar service — to be outfitted just like the women, in wedding gowns and other frills. In fact, just as women expect full makeup and hairstyling for their portraits, so do the men. The store, Marry Mariee, charges the equivalent of about $400 ($600 on weekends). Said the manager, “We want to provide opportunities for people to enjoy showing their real selves, whether they are men or women.”

San Francisco’s activist Board of Supervisors, among the boldest in the country to rid their cities of obnoxious goods and services, added disposable plastic water bottles to the list in March (to join circumcision, plastic shopping bags and nutrition-challenged “Happy Meals” that contain toys). The water bottle vote was unanimous (covering distribution on city-controlled property), compared with the cliff-hanging 2012 vote (6-5), in which the board finally decided to ban unclothed people from the streets (mostly men, of course).

Democracy in action

Congressional candidate Tim Murray handily lost June’s primary election (82 percent to 5 percent) in Oklahoma’s 3rd District to incumbent U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, but he did not give up. In a rambling letter to KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, Murray accused “Lucas” of being a body-double for Lucas, since it is “widely known” that the “real” Frank Lucas was executed by order of the World Court in southern Ukraine in January 2011. Lucas, asked for a comment, told the station, “It does come as kind of a shock to read that I’m not me.”

The county Association of Governments in Phoenix notified Diane “DD” Barker recently that she could continue to address association meetings as a community activist, but was to cease introducing her remarks by performing cartwheels, as she apparently has done several times in the past. Barker, a 65-year-old former Ohio State University cheerleader, said she seeks to demonstrate the value of exercise and public transportation, but agreed to hold off on the cartwheels.

Latest religious messages

The leader of Romania’s Orthodox church was shown in June on the church’s website performing a traditional blessing of a newly inaugurated facility, in this case the church-owned Trinitas Radio and Television studios. The rooms are big and the walls are tall, and Patriarch Daniel is pictured applying holy oil to the facilities with a long-armed commercial paint roller.

Recurring themes

(1) In yet another bizarre animal beauty contest, in June, the tiny serama chicken pageant was celebrated on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Seramas (which are thought by natives to have aphrodisiac powers) have richly colored plumage and a bearing — protruding, heart-shaped chest, wings hanging to the ground — more resembling a goose-stepping soldier than a bird, reported Agence France-Presse. (2) The most recent public toilet explosion (caused by pressure buildup) leveled a commode in the courthouse in Stillwater County, Mont., in June. Deputy County Treasurer Norma Brewer, who had just finished her business, was not injured, but now has another page for her memoirs.

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