News Quirks 07.27.05
Curses, Foiled Again
Police in Shreveport, La., reported that a man wearing a handkerchief over his face and pointing a gun walked into Blalock's Beauty College and announced a robbery. After collecting money from the 18 students and employees, mostly women, he started to leave, but instructor Dianne Mitchell tripped him, whereupon most of the students attacked him with curling irons, chairs, a wooden table leg, sticks and their clenched fists. "The suspect was trying to get out of the business, and, as he was trying to get out, they kept pulling him back in and beating him," police official Kacee Hargrave said after Jared Gipson, 24, was arrested.
Five months after being crowned Miss World, Peruvian beauty queen Maria Julia Mantilla, 20, announced that she was considering suing a plastic surgeon who told the press that he had given her buttock implants and trimmed her ears. "The doctor is presenting photographs that have been altered and, you can see, I've never had my ears operated on, I don't have scars, any doctor can come and look at my ears," an indignant Mantilla told RPP radio. "He said he had built me, that he gave me buttock implants and fixed my ears, and this is false. I'm not the creation of a surgeon; he just did my bust and my nose."
Thanks for the Mammaries
While Nebraska lawmakers were considering a bill acknowledging the right of women to breast-feed in public, a woman testified that police once ordered her to pull her shirt down while nursing at a concert, even though women around her were flashing their breasts at the stage. "People are actively trying to see naked breasts all the time," said Judy Hopkinson, a lactation physiologist at Baylor College of Medicine. "It isn't so much that people don't want to see the breast. They just don't want to see it used that way."
No Really Means No
A South African woman announced that she has invented a device that she claims will reduce the number of rapes in her country. Sonette Ehlers of Kleinmond explained that the tampon-like sheath folds around the penis with microscopic hooks; once engaged, it requires medical intervention to remove. Critics call the device, which sells for about 15 cents, impractical because it must be worn constantly to be effective.
Five Buddhist monks at a temple in Thailand's Nong Khai state were defrocked and fined after brawling with monks from a nearby temple. The Manager newspaper reported that the street fight was the culmination of years of antagonism between monks from the two temples, who often exchange curses, insults and obscene gestures while collecting alms on different sides of the road. "When an ordinary person is given a middle-finger sign, he will be mad. So am I," said one of the defrocked monks, Boonlert Boonpan, adding that he usually carries brass knuckles to use in case the rival monks confront him.
Nearly one in three mountain climbers winds up with diarrhea, according to a study by Alaska epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin. The primary cause, he suspects, is climbers leaving their waste in snow that's later used for drinking water and not purified. Another factor is close contact with other climbers who already have the condition. "It's also becoming a problem on rivers where you have guided river trips," said McLaughlin, who reported his findings in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.
A Little Squirt'll Do You
A study of smells shows that the scent of grapefruit on women makes them seem about six years younger to men. A grapefruit fragrance on men does nothing for them, however. The study by the Smell and Taste Institute in Chicago was conducted to determine what makes a woman smell young but not too young, such as pink bubble gum.
Institute director Alan Hirsch said he smeared several middle-aged women with broccoli, banana, spearmint leaves and lavender, but none of those scents made a difference to the men. The scent of grapefruit changed men's perceptions, however. Hirsch said that when male volunteers were asked to write down how old the woman with grapefruit odor was, the age was considerably less than reality.
Officials in Summit, N.J., responded to a $5 million lawsuit brought by a homeless man, who accused the city of unlawfully forcing him from the train station, by saying the ouster was justified by a section of the Patriot Act regarding "attacks and other violence against mass-transportation systems." Justice Department official Kevin Madden called the city's action against Richard Kreimer, 55, "an overreaching application of the law," whose purpose is "to identify and track terrorists."
Wait for the Shake
India's government is considering introducing "vibratory condoms" to make condom use more appealing to protect against infection and unwanted pregnancies. The condoms are intended for both men and women. "Vibratory condoms will have a battery-operated small chip in them which will enhance pleasure and thus increase acceptability," official sources said, noting that condoms are the contraceptive choice of only 4 to 5 percent of people having sex.
The government also hopes to make the vibrating condoms acceptable among commercial sex workers and the Chinese. Government planners are holding deliberations on vibrating condoms with family planning officials in China, an expert in vibrator technology.
Authorities in Albany, N.H., arrested Gary Moody, 45, after a 14-year-old girl reported that she heard a noise coming from a pit toilet at a swimming hole bathhouse, looked down, and saw a face staring up at her. Police pulled Moody, who was wearing waders, from the waste tank underneath a log cabin outhouse. "We had to decontaminate him," said Capt. Jon Hebert of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office. "We treated him as if he were hazardous material."