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News of the Weird

11/20/2013

Worth the Commute

Downtown London residences are known to be staggeringly expensive, but media blogger Sam Cookney calculated in October just how much. Cookney said he can live in an upscale apartment in Barcelona, Spain, and commute almost every workday to London (700 miles away) for less money than a modest central London rental. (Sixteen commuter days over four weeks a month would run, in pound-dollar equivalents: $2,420 for a West Hampstead rental, $121 council tax and $188 transit travel card, totaling $2,730. Barcelona, in euro-dollar equivalents: $938 for a three-bedroom flat with three balconies near transit, no tax, $47 daily round-trip on Ryanair, $32 a day in airport transportation, totaling $2,202 — a savings of $528 a month.) Plus, he said, sunny Barcelona is on the Mediterranean. (On the other hand, Cookney luckily can work on the plane, for each flight is two hours long.)

 

Can’t Possibly Be True

Lawyers for Radu Dogaru, who is on trial in Romania for stealing masterpieces last year from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, said the heist was also the museum’s fault — for having such unimaginably lax security — and that if the museum did not admit that, Dogaru would sue. Museum officials said they had tracked some of the works to Dogaru’s mother, who is claiming ignorance, and the son’s lawyers hope to discount any insurance-company judgments against her by spreading the blame.

 

Unclear on the Concept

In September, San Diego Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson, perhaps sensing an autumnal whiff of romance in the courthouse, agreed to perform the wedding ceremony, in her courtroom, of Danne Desbrow and his fiancee, Destiny — and even to serve the lucky couple homemade cake afterward. However, Judge Cookson did all of this immediately after sentencing Desbrow to a 53-year-to-life term for first-degree murder and for threatening a witness. …

Many parents long for armed protection for their kids at school, but a few parents at Entz Elementary in Mesa, Ariz., have the opposite concern, demanding local cop (and parent) Scott Urkov not wear his service weapon, or uniform, when dropping his child off in the morning. The principal sided with the complaining parents (although at least one mother defended Urkov, albeit defining the issue primarily as “his right” to be in uniform as he heads off to work). …

This year, the Florida legislature passed the Timely Justice Act to cut short the legal dawdling that allows death row inmates to postpone their execution — sometimes for more than 25 years. Among the first “victims” of the act was to be Marshall Gore, set to be executed in September for two 1988 murders. However, his date was once again postponed, because Florida’s tough-on-crime attorney general had scheduled a re-election campaign fundraiser that conflicted with her presence at the execution. (Gore will instead die in January.)

 

People With Issues

Matched Pair: Prominent Los Angeles cosmetic surgeon David Matlock is himself a finely chiseled specimen of muscle and zero body fat, but he said that when patient “Veronica” came to him in 2007 for “vaginal rejuvenation” surgery, he instantly fell in love despite her somewhat-pudgy figure. He proposed marriage, she accepted, and with her consent, Dr. Matlock set out, not only on the requested procedure, but on what he called the “Wonder Woman Makeover” that invovles diet, exercise, surgeries, suctions and injections, and by August 2013, reported Huffington Post, the sculpted couple were competing in matching bodybuilding contests. (However, Veronica’s daughter Isabella, 9, is not on board, remarking, “Healthy food doesn’t taste good.”)

 

Strange Old World

In July, several foreign news sites publicized the current Guinness Book record held by Jemal Tkeshelashvili of the Republic of Georgia, who over-inflated ordinary drugstore hot water bottles to the point where they would explode, using only air from his nose. His record was three in one minute, but perhaps equally impressive, he subsequently dazzled Discovery Channel viewers by reportedly partially nose-inflating a hot water bottle being held down by a small car.)

 

Readers’ Choice

(1) Researchers from Georgia Tech, working at the Atlanta Zoo recording various mammals’ urination habits (rats, dogs, goats, cows and elephants), have concluded that, regardless of size, each takes about 21 seconds to empty a full bladder. (Technically, reported New Scientist, the evacuation time is proportional to the animal’s mass, raised to the power of one-sixth.) (2) Her family wanted U.S. Army Sgt. Kimberly Walker (who was killed in a suspected domestic violence incident in February) to have a burial reflecting her delight at SpongeBob SquarePants and installed a $13,000 four-foot-high marker on her grave in the character’s likeness. However, the Spring Grove Cemetery in the family’s hometown of Cincinnati ordered it removed in October as inappropriate, and despite family and community pressure, is unyielding. CV

Barmuda