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News of the Weird with Chuck Shepherd

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News Of The Weird

Man’s Best Friend

Researchers are now preparing a study seeking to confirm that dog slobber, by itself (and not just the psychological advantages of playing with and petting a dog), might provide human health benefits (such as relief from asthma, allergies and inflammation). Specialists from the University of Arizona and University of California San Diego point to existing evidence of the comparative healthiness of dog-owning families and suspect that canine saliva, like yogurt, may have unusual probiotic value.

Updates

— India Justice: Since News of the Weird last visited the judicial backlog in India (2013), the problem has worsened. The open caseload grew to 31,367,915 by the end of that year — a quantity that, if all of the country’s judges, working around the clock, each resolved 100 cases an hour, it would still take 35 years to clear. Bloomberg Business Week reported in January that lawyers needlessly fatten the backlog with multiple filings, mainly to jack up their fees (and thus encouraging “extortion threats,” in place of “law,” as the preferred method of resolving disputes).

— Elf Justice: Public policymaking in the United States is often gridlocked by recalcitrant ideologues, but at least administrators are not constrained by elves, as in Iceland. After seven years of controversy, the country’s Road Administration recently approved a new pathway near Reykjavik that had been delayed by a troublesome, 70-ton boulder in the right-of-way — which could not be dislodged because it is believed to be a “church” for the country’s legendary “hidden people.” The elves’ leading spokeswoman, Ragnhildur Jonsdottir, finally declared, to officials’ relief, that the elves had accepted the boulder’s relocation (to the side of the road), having “been preparing for this for a long time, moving their energy to the new location.”

— Four weeks ago, News of the Weird noted that a United Nations representative opposed a suggestion to open certain meetings to the public, fearing that it would only invite spectators in the gallery to throw “mayonnaise” at the delegates. However, two months earlier (and unknown to News of the Weird), the Belgian prime minister, defending his country’s austerity measures, had faced a group of protesters who had rained upon him french fries topped with mayonnaise.

— Three months ago, News of the Weird highlighted a London man’s agreement to pay the equivalent of $500 for surgery on a nondescript office-aquarium goldfish, to relieve its constipation. Subsequently, however, veterinarians in Scotland (charging the equivalent of $750) performed cancer surgery on two goldfish, and in September 2014, in Melbourne, Australia, a goldfish received “brain surgery” (for the apparent bargain of $200).

A News of the Weird Classic (February 2010)

Too-Swift Justice: It is not unheard of for someone to commit a crime and then immediately surrender, usually for safety or the comfort of a jail cell. However, Gerard Cellette Jr., 44, tried to be even more helpful. Knowing that he would soon be arrested (and probably convicted) for running a $53 million Ponzi scheme in the Minneapolis area, he walked into a county judge’s chambers in December (2009) and offered to begin serving time. The judge explained patiently that Cellette would have to wait until he was arrested and charges were filed and a plea recorded — which would all take time. (He was disappointed but 12 months later was sentenced to eight years in prison.)

Recurring Themes

— Japan may have its cat restaurants (where loaner felines lounge during meals) and even its penguin bar in Ikebukuro, and London (as reported here a month ago) an experimental owl cafe (with specially domesticated birds perched on diners’ shoulders), but not to be outdone, an entrepreneur in Seoul, South Korea, guesses that his Thanks to Nature Cafe will be a big hit — with sheep wandering through the dining room. (After all, according to the lunar calendar, 2015 is the Chinese zodiac Year of the Sheep.) Owner Lee Kwang-ho said his novel business model has attracted visitors from Macedonia, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand, among other countries.

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