Chuck Shepherd

The Space World theme park in Kitakyushu, Japan, opened a popular (with visitors) ice-skating rink in November, but was forced to close it two weeks later for being hugely unpopular (with social media critics). The park had placed 5,000 fish and other sea animals in the ice deck of its "Freezing Port" rink so that skaters could look down as they glided along, gazing at marvels of nature (all dead in advance, of course, purchased from a fish market). Nonetheless, the park manager apologized for grossing out so many people and closed the exhibit — melting the ice and conducting an "appropriate religious service" for the fishes' souls.

Holes against humanity

The rebellion against the absurdities of Black Friday this year by the organization Cards Against Humanity came in the form of raising money to dig a pointless hole in the ground. During the last week of November, people "contributed" $100,573, with Cards digging initially for 5.5 seconds per donated dollar. In 2015, according to an NPR report, Cards raised $71,145 by promising to do "absolutely nothing" with it, and the year before, $180,000 by selling bits of bull feces. Asked why Cards doesn't just give the money to charity, a spokesperson asked why donors themselves don't give it to charity. "It's [their] money."

Government in action

New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation has completed its two-year project of assigning ID numbers (with arboreal characteristics) to every one of the 685,781 trees in the city's five boroughs. More than 2,300 volunteers walked the streets, then posted each tree's location, measurements, Google Street View image, and ecological benefits for the surrounding neighborhoods.

Getting through the pain

Though the presidential election of 2016 was certainly more volatile than usual, one reaction to the outcome was the apparent ease with which some in America's next generation of college-trained leaders were sidelined by self-described emotional pain. The Wall Street Journal reported that special attention was given by administrators at Tufts University, the University of Kansas and Ivy League Cornell, among other places, where their young adults could "grieve" over the election and seek emotional support, such as use of "therapy dogs" in Kansas and, at the University of Michigan, the availability of Play-Doh and coloring books for distraction.

A bloody mess

In November, after a companion asked Victoria Vanatter, 19, what bloodsucking was like, she let him slice her arm with a razor to have a taste, but the two then argued, and Vanatter allegedly grabbed a knife and slashed him for real. Police in Springfield, Mo., arrested her after both people were stitched up at a hospital.

Gunslingin' grannies

An arranged custody swap of a child from one grandmother to another in a Wal-Mart parking lot near Dallas recently ended when both women pulled guns and started firing. One granny was hit in the neck and the other arrested after she also fired at an off-duty officer trying to calm things down.

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