Chuck Shepherd

Australians are about to learn how particular some people are about their genders. Queensland University of Technology and three other sponsors have created an online preference survey that asks participants to decide among 33 "genders" (since "gender" is, according to the World Health Organization, "socially constructed"). "Male" and "female" are clear enough — but only where "identity" matches plumbing. Otherwise, it's "trans" or "transsexual," or else the more complicated bigender, omnigender, polygender, pangender, intergender, genderfluid, "cisgender," trigender, demigender, "gender nonconforming," "non-binary," "none gender" and a few others.

Shrewd tourism campaign

Since Bulgaria, on Romania's southern border, lies close to Romania's iconic Transylvania region, Bulgarian tourism officials have begun marketing their own vampire tourism industry — stepped up following a 2014 archaeological find of a 4th-century "graveyard" of adolescents with iron stakes through their chests.

Paid to go away

Sports Illustrated noted in May that some universities are still paying out millions of dollars to failed coaches who had managed to secure big contracts in more optimistic times. Notre Dame's largest athletic payout in 2014 was the $2.05 million to ex-football coach Charlie Weis — five years after he had been fired. That ended Weis' Notre Dame contract (which paid him $15 million post-dismissal), but he is still drawing several million dollars from the University of Kansas despite having been let go there, too.

For good measure

Rhys Holman pleaded guilty to a firearms charge in Melbourne, Australia, in July for shooting 53 bullets into his brother's Xbox. The brother had urinated on Holman's car. ... Mauricio Morales-Caceres, 24, was sentenced to life in prison by a Montgomery County, Md., judge in July following his April conviction for fatally stabbing a "friend" — 89 times.

Celebrities in the news

Police in Southampton, N.Y., confirmed a July altercation in which model Christie Brinkley water-hosed a woman she had spotted urinating on her beachfront property. Erica Remkus, 36, said her need was urgent after watching a July 4 fireworks show, but Brinkley shouted, "How dare you!" and, "I walk on these rocks [where Remkus had relieved herself]." ... Also in July, Brooke Shields made news when she, as a curator of an art show in Southampton, managed to rescue a piece that custodians had inadvertently tossed into the garbage. The cleanup crew had made an understandable mistake, as the statue was a raccoon standing next to a trash can, ready to rummage.

Redneck chronicles

Knoxville, Tenn., firefighters were called to a home in July when a woman tried to barbecue brisket in her bathroom and, in addition to losing control of the flame, melted her fiberglass bathtub. Firefighters limited the damage by turning on the shower. ... In Union, S.C., a 33-year-old woman called police to her home, claiming that she had fallen asleep on her couch with her "upper plate" in her mouth, but that when she awoke, it was gone and that she suspects a teeth-napping intruder.

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