Language of love
People advertising for love interests via online dating sites have apparently become picky about how they describe their sexuality. To the usuals (male, female, gay, heterosexual) have been added recently (as reported by NPR in December after surveying OkCupid.com) “asexual,” “androgynous,” “genderqueer” (evidently not the same as “gay”), “queer” (not quite “gay,” either), “questioning,” “trans man,” “transsexual,” “transmasculine,” “heteroflexible” and “sapiosexual” (turned on by “intelligence”). Still, some users of the site found the choices inadequate. One young woman described her sexual orientation as “squiggly,” and the reporter cited others who thought highly of that term.
Britain’s Home Office revealed in November (by releasing archived documents from 1982) that among the contingency suggestions for worst-case nuclear attack on the country was commissioning “psychopaths” to help keep order. They are “very good in crises,” an advocate wrote, because “they have no feelings for others, nor moral code, and tend to be very intelligent and logical,” and thus could do quite well at containing the vigilante survivalist enclaves that might develop in the event parts of the kingdom became lawless. (After an apparently thoughtful debate, the suggestion was not agreed to.)
Zak Hardy, 18, and Terrill Stoltz, 41, were arrested recently in separate incidents and charged with photographing women in bathrooms without their permission. Hardy, caught in a public restroom in June in Exeter, England, pointing his phone from one stall to another, explained that he was just trying to see whether his phone was waterproof. Stoltz professed his innocence, as well, claiming the camera he set up in his ex-girlfriend’s bathroom in Billings, Montana, was solely to have a photographic record of him when he cleaned his chickens in the bathtub.
The new normal
An Oceanside, California, couple was surprised in November to discover that buying a purebred bichon frise on credit meant they were only leasing the dog for 27 months and would have to make a 28th payment to actually “own” Tresor. Furthermore, the lease, under a “repo” threat, required “daily exercise,” “regular bathing and grooming” and “immediate” disposal of Tresor’s “waste.”
NBC’s “Today” show reported in December the “heartbreak” parents are feeling when they learn that the supposedly unique name (“wonderful, distinctive, rarely heard”) they had given their infant in the last year or two (e.g., “Mason,” “Liam,” “Lily”) actually appeared on BabyCenter’s annual list of most popular names of 2014 (6th, 3rd and 8th, respectively). (2) After hearing tenants’ complaints, the New York City Council is now considering a regulation requiring landlords to post notices if a common area or amenity is unusable for 24 hours or more — which applies of course to elevators and laundry rooms, but would also extend to any air hockey or foosball facilities in the building.
Although elephants, rhesus monkeys, cobras, cows and water buffalos are regarded as sacred by many of India’s Hindus, the animals most certainly do not live idyllic lives, according to a November BBC News dispatch. As “growing populations are swallowing up habitat,” the divine symbols are forced to the cities, where they must dodge traffic, forage garbage for food, and endanger themselves encountering people less certain of their holiness (such as in the November report of the cobra harassing customers at an ATM in Delhi). As representatives of Lord Ganesha, elephants live well only during religious festivals, but otherwise must navigate asphalt and potholes that tear up their hooves. In another November incident, some Hindu leaders protested a drive to kill rats that had infested the Maharaja Yeshwantrao hospital in Indore — because Ganesha was depicted riding a mouse.
A News of the Weird classic (February 2011)
The ear has a “G-spot,” explained Santa Clara, California, ear, nose and throat surgeon Todd Dray, and thus the moans of ecstasy that Vietnamese “ear pickers” reportedly elicit from their clients might well be justified. A San Jose Mercury News reporter, dispatched to Ho Chi Minh City in January (2011) to check it out, learned that barbershop technicians could sometimes coax “eargasms” (as they removed wax) by tickling a certain spot next to the eardrum served by multiple nerve endings and tissue paper-thin skin. Said one female client, “Everybody is afraid the first time, but after, it’s, ‘Oh my God!'” Said one Vietnamese man, returning home after a trip abroad, and who went immediately from the airport to a “hot toc” parlor for a picking, “(This) brings a lot of happiness.”
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