NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Apr 18 • FEATURE BOTTOM, News, NEWS & VIEWSNo Comments on NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Try, Try Again

Samuel West announced in April that his Museum of Failure will open in Helsingborg, Sweden, in June, to commemorate innovation missteps that might serve as inspiration for future successes. Among the initial exhibits: coffee-infused Coca-Cola; the Bic “For Her” pen (because women’s handwriting needs are surely unique); the Twitter Peek (a 2009 device that does nothing except send and receive tweets — and with a screen only 25 characters wide); and Harley-Davidson’s 1990s line of colognes (in retrospect as appealing, said West, as “oil and gas fumes”). (West’s is only the latest attempt to immortalize failure with a “museum.” Previous attempts, such as those in 2007 and 2014, apparently failed.)

Government in Action

Toronto, Ontario, Superior Court Justice Alex Pazaratz finally ridded his docket of the maddening, freeloading couple that had quibbled incessantly about each other’s “harassments.” Neither Noora Abdulaali, 32, nor her now-ex-husband, Kadhim Salih, 43, had worked a day in the five years since they immigrated from Iraq, having almost immediately gone on disability benefits and begun exploiting Legal Aid Toronto in their many attempts to one-up each other with restraining orders. Approving the couple’s settlement in March, Judge Pazaratz added, “The next time anyone at Legal Aid Ontario tells you they’re short of money, don’t believe it. … Not if they’re funding cases like this.”

In May, a new restaurant-disclosure regulation mandated by the Affordable Care Act is scheduled to kick in, requiring eateries (except small chains and independents) to post calorie counts for all menu items including “variations” — which a Domino’s Pizza executive said meant, for his company, “34 million” calorie listings. The executive called the regulation, for the pizza industry, “a 20th-century approach to a 21st-century question,” since for many establishments, orders increasingly arrive online or by phone.

Redneck Chronicles

(1) Dennis Smith, 65, was arrested in Senoia, Georgia, and charged with stealing dirt from the elderly widow of the man Smith said had given him permission to take it. Smith, a “dirt broker,” had taken more than 180 dump-truck loads. (2) New for Valentine’s Day from the SayItWithBeef.com company: a bouquet of beef jerky slices, formed to resemble a dozen full-petaled roses ($59). Also available: daisies. Chief selling point: Flowers die quickly, but jerky is forever.

New World Order

In March, Harvard Medical School technicians announced a smartphone app to give fertility-conscious men an accurate semen analysis, including sperm concentration, motility and total count — costing probably less than $10. Included is a magnification attachment and a “microfluidic” chip. The insertable app magnifies and photographs the “loaded” chip, instantly reporting the results. (To answer the most frequent question: No, semen never touches your phone. The device still needs Food and Drug Administration approval.)

Pretentions

Hipsters on the Rise: (1) The Columbia Room bar in Washington, D.C., recently introduced the “In Search of Time Past” cocktail — splashed with a tincture of old, musty books. Management vacuum-sealed pages with grapeseed oil, then “fat-washed” them with a “neutral high-proof” spirit, and added a vintage sherry, mushroom cordial and eucalyptus. (2) The California reggae rock band Slightly Stoopid recently produced a vinyl record that was “smokable,” according to Billboard magazine — using a “super resinous variety of hashish” mastered at the Los Angeles studio Capsule Labs. The first two versions’ sound quality disappointed and were apparently quickly smoked, but a third is in production.

The telephone “area” code in the tony English city of Bath (01225) is different than that of adjacent Radstock (01761) and probably better explained by landline telephone infrastructure than a legal boundary. However, a Bath councilwoman said in April that she is dealing with complaints by 10 new residents who paid high-end prices for their homes only to find that they came with the 01761 code. Admitted one Bath resident, “I do consider my phone number to be part of my identity.”

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