-Almost-extinct vultures may be making a comeback within the Parsi community of Mumbai, India, after a pain reliever (diclofenac) nearly wiped it out. Parsis' Zoroastrian religion requires “natural” body disposals (no cremation or burial) of humans and cattle, and bodies have always been ritually laid out for the hungry birds, but the community has also come to rely on diclopfenac in hospitals and for cattle. When News of the Weird last mentioned the problems (in 2001), vultures were dying out from kidney damage caused by the drug, and bodies were piling up. (Parsis were exploring using solar panels to burn the corpses.) However, according to a November New York Times dispatch, clerics are reporting modest success in weaning Parsis off of diclofenac, and the vultures appear more plentiful.
-“Washington State, Known for...”: When a man died of a perforated colon in 2005 in Enumclaw, Wash., while having sex with a horse (at what news reports suggested was a “bestiality farm”), the legislature passed the state's first anti-bestiality law, which was used in 2010 in another “farm” case, in Bellingham, 110 miles from Enumclaw. A British man had sex with several dogs on the property of Douglas Spink, who had allegedly arranged the trysts, and the man was convicted and deported, but Spink was not charged (though instead was re-imprisoned for an earlier crime). In November 2012, with Spink nearing release, prosecutors filed bestiality charges using evidence from 2010, involving “four stallions, seven large-breed male dogs” and “13 mice, each coated with a lubricant.” According to the Bellingham Herald, Spink (acting as his own lawyer) denounced state officials and “the bigotry behind the (law).”
-Least Competent Criminals: Peter Welsh, 32, and Dwayne Doolan, 31, weren't the first burglars to try breaking into a building by smashing through the adjoining basement wall, but they might be the clumsiest. Their target, on New Year's Eve, was Wrights Jewellers in Beaudesert, Australia, but trying to smash the front window failed, as did smashing the rear doors, which were actually those of another store. They finally settled on the basement option, but absentmindedly broke through the opposite-side wall and wound up in a KFC restaurant. (Undaunted, according to police, they robbed the KFC of about $2,600.)
-Once again, a public library has been sued for gently asking a patron to leave because his body odor was provoking complaints. George Stillman, 80, filed a $5.5 million lawsuit in October against the New York Public Library for feeling “humiliat(ed)” by the staff of the St. Agnes branch in Manhattan. Stillman said he views body odor (his and others') as mere “challenge(s) to the senses” and “a fact of life in the city.” Actually, he had also denied that he had any body odor at all, but a New York Post reporter, interviewing him about the lawsuit, said she noted “a strong odor.”
-Drunk drivers often try to avoid hit-and-run charges by claiming that they did not realize they hit anything, but their odds drop if there is a dead pedestrian lodged in the windshield, as with Sherri Wilkins, 51, who was arrested in Torrance, Calif., in November, 2.3 miles from the crash scene, after other drivers finally persuaded her to stop. (Wilkins, it turned out, is a “rehabilitated” drug user who worked as a counselor at a Torrance drug treatment center and who claimed to have been sober for 11 years.)
-Women's love-hate affairs with their shoes is the stuff of legends, but a Memphis, Tenn., podiatrist told Fox News in November of a recent increase in women deciding on what might be called the nuclear option -- “stiletto surgery” -- for horribly uncomfortable, yet irresistible, shoes. Either the shoe must go or the foot, and more are choosing the latter (or at least the pinky), to be removed or reduced by surgery. The Memphis doctor said he sees as many as 30 patients a month interested in the procedure.
-Once again, a familiar, vexing legal question was tackled in New York City in December when Dr. Diana Williamson was sentenced to three years in prison after a conviction for defrauding Medicaid of $300,000 by writing bogus prescriptions. She had vigorously asserted “her” innocence, in that, she said, only one of her multiple personalities (uncontrollable by the others) had committed the crime. (The most memorable News of the Weird “dissociative identity disorder” case happened in 2002, when a Montana judge favored a woman by ruling that her spontaneous murder confession as one identity was inadmissible because one of her other identities had already “lawyered up” after a “Miranda” warning.)
-Eileen Likness, 61, testified in November that she (like two other women reported in News of the Weird) believes that when she was shot point-blank by an ex-boyfriend in 2006 in Calgary, Alberta, her life was saved only because the 9mm bullet was slowed as it traveled through her breast implants. “(They) took the brunt of the force,” she said at the trial of ex-boyfriend Frank Chora, who was eventually acquitted.
-Wisconsin Circuit Court judge Tim Boyle is the most recent, in December, to attempt a solution to the intractable problem of deadbeat dads who continue to procreate even though unable to even modestly support the children they have had (usually with multiple mothers). Corey Curtis, 44, of Racine, was ordered not to father another child until he proves he can support the nine he has had (with six women). (Incarcerating Curtis, with only males, would likely prevent No. 10, but do nothing to help the first nine.)
-In the most recent instance of a store's locks improperly working to give the appearance that a closed store was doing business, a Kroger supermarket in Goshen, Ind., was unintentionally wide-open on Thanksgiving evening -- with no employees (but with 24-hour lighting, as usual). Police on patrol noted that about a dozen customers were inside trying to use the self-checkout, but left quietly when informed that the store was closed. According to a police spokesperson, “(N)o one (attempted) to steal from the business.”
-In December, the car-parts retailer AutoZone became the most recent employer to fire a worker for taking action widely admired -- but prohibited in the workplace because of the company's fear of liability. Devin McLean and his store manager in York County, Va., were herded into a back room by a gun-wielding holdup man and, being the only witnesses, understandably feared for their lives. However, McLean broke free, ran to his truck, and retrieved his gun. (He could have fled altogether but insisted that, morally, he could not abandon his colleague.) When McLean re-entered pointing his Glock 40, two things happened: (1) The robber fled, and (2) McLean became in violation of AutoZone's “zero tolerance” policy against employees bringing firearms into the store. Two days later, he was fired.
-Whose Best Friend? In Westfield, Mass., in August, and near Eureka, Calif., in November, families of dog owners drowned trying to save their pooches, who had fallen into a lake and the ocean, respectively. The Massachusetts couple jumped out of their boat in Hampton Ponds State Park to retrieve their terrier, and the California couple and their son were swept out to sea after their dog wandered too deep into the surf to fetch a stick. Both dogs survived.