The whimsical premise of the iconic movie "Groundhog Day" (that someone can wake up every day believing it is the previous day) has largely come to life for a patient of a British psychologist writing recently in the journal Neurocase. Dr. Gerald Burgess' patient, following anesthesia and root-canal treatment, was left with a memory span of only about 90 minutes and awakens each day believing it is the day he is to report for the same root canal. He has been examined by numerous specialists, including neurologists who found no ostensible damage to the usual brain areas associated with amnesia. The patient is able to manage his day only by using an electronic diary with prompts.
Can't possibly be true
Apparently, "uncooperative" child dental patients (even toddlers) can be totally restrained on a straitjacket-like "papoose board" without parental hand-holding, even during tooth-pulling, as long as the parent has signed a "consent form" (that does specifically mention the frightening practice). A recent case arose in Carrollton, Ga., but a Georgia Board of Dentistry spokesman told Atlanta's WSB-TV that such restraints are permitted (but should have been accompanied by an explicit warning of potential physical or psychological harm). The father of the "screaming" girl said he was initially barred from the exam room and was led to believe, when he signed the consent form, that he was merely authorizing anesthesia.
A shortage of teachers led Howard S. Billings high school in Chateauguay (in the French-sensitive province of Quebec) to announce that 11th-grade French classes would this year be conducted using only the Rosetta Stone computer program.
The continuing crisis
Lindsey Perkins pleaded guilty in June in Newport, Vt., for an incident in which she joy-rode on the roof of a station wagon with her 5-year-old son while a 20-year-old man drove at 50 to 55 mph on the state's scenic Route 14 near Coventry.
In February, the Office of Residential Life at Wesleyan University (Middletown, Conn.), intending to tout its dedication to inclusiveness and the creation of a "safe space" for minority students, posted a notice on its website inviting applications from the "LBTTQQFAGPBDSM" communities. The probable translation: the lesbian/gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, flexual, asexual, (vulgar word), polyamorous, bondage/discipline and sadism/masochism communities.
A court in Castrop-Rauxel, Germany, fined a 23-year-old man in July after he admitted that, one evening last year, he put "four or five drops" of a sedative into his girlfriend's tea without her knowledge — so that she would doze off for the evening and not bother him while he played video games. She had come home after a hard day at work, expecting peace and quiet, but began complaining about the boyfriend's machine-gun-fire game.
Least competent criminals
Scott Birk, 31, was arrested in New Berlin, Wis., in July, thanks to a big boost the police got from his 6-year-old daughter. A Wal-Mart security guard noticed, on video, someone breaking into a jewelry case and pocketing earrings, and approached Birk as a suspect, in time to overhear the girl tell her dad "several times" to stop breaking into jewelry cases. Officers running an ID check found no driver's license and asked how he had gotten to the store, and he said they walked. But Daddy, she said, we came in our car, and she cheerfully pointed it out to police. A search turned up more items stuffed in Birk's shorts, and he was charged with theft and violating a previous bail condition.
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