In his third try of the year in January, Li Longlong of China surpassed his own Guinness Book record by climbing 36 stairs while walking on his hands (beating his previous 34). Among the Guinness regulations: no touching of walls and no pausing of more than five seconds on a step.
Location, Location, Location
A highlight of the recent up-market surge in Brooklyn, N.Y., was the asking price for an ordinary parking space in the garage at 845 Union St. in the Park Slope neighborhood: $300,000. The space also carries a $240-a-month condominium fee and $50 of monthly taxes. That’s similar to the price of one-bedroom apartments in less ritzy Brooklyn neighborhoods like Gravesend, which is a few miles away from the parking space.
— Saginaw, Mich., defense lawyer Ed Czuprynski had beaten a felony DUI arrest in December, but was sentenced to probation on a lesser charge. Among his restrictions was a prohibition on drinking alcohol — which Czuprynski acknowledged in March that he has since violated at least twice. However, at the March hearing, Czuprynski used the opportunity to beg the judge to remove the restriction altogether, arguing that he can’t be “effective” as a lawyer unless he is able to have a drink now and then. At press time, the judge was still undecided.
— Jason Sexton told KFSM-TV in Fort Smith, Ark., that he was the only one who had been digging the massive hole his neighbors noticed. It was 34 feet deep, and with separate tunnels extending off of the main hole. Police had come to check it out, since it was on another person’s private property (and not the city’s, which Sexton had assumed). He said he had been digging off and on for three years to get an answer to whether “the Spanish” had been in Fort Smith centuries ago, mining iron. He felt that if he could prove they had been, the site would be a lucrative tourist destination. Sexton said, “Nobody in their right mind would dig a hole this big for no reason.”
A 78-year-old man in Easton, Penn., died from injuries caused when he lit his cigarette, setting his hooded sweatshirt on fire.
A Mexico City man fell to his death recently in the city’s San Antonio neighborhood when he climbed up to turn off a highway video sign on the Periferico Sur highway that was showing a pornographic clip that had been placed by a hacker.
Can’t Possibly Be True
— News of the Weird has written several times about Matt McMullen’s “RealDoll” franchise — the San Marcos, Calif., engineer’s richly detailed, flexible silicone mannequins that sell for $5,500 and up. McMullen revealed that his first AI doll, “Harmony,” will soon be available with a choice of 12 “personalities,” including “intellectualism” and “wit,” to mimic an emotional bond to add to the sexual component. A recent University of London conference previewed a near future when fake women routinely provide uncomplicated relationships for lonely or disturbed men.
— Scientists at Columbia University and the New York Genome Center announced that they have digitally stored a movie, a computer operating system and a $50 gift card on a single drop of DNA. In theory, wrote the researchers in the journal Science, they might store, on one gram of DNA, 215 “petabytes” (that is, 215 million gigabytes — enough to run 10 million HD movies) and could reduce all the data housed in the Library of Congress to a small cube of crystals.
— An office in the New York City government was suspicious about a $5,000 payment made to two men in the 2008 City Council election of Staten Island’s Debi Rose. The office opened an investigation, which, at $300 an hour for the special prosecutor, has now cost the city $520,000, with the final bill still to come. Despite scant evidence and multiple opportunities to back off, the prosecutor relentlessly conducted months-long grand jury proceedings, fought several court appeals, had one 23-count indictment almost immediately crushed by judges and enticed state and federal investigators to fruitlessly take on the Staten Island case. In March, the city’s Office of Court Administration finally shrugged and closed the case.
A chain reaction of fireworks in Tultepec, Mexico, made the San Pablito pyro marketplace a scorched ruin, with more than three dozen dead and scores injured, leaving the town to grieve and solemnly honor the victims — with fireworks. Tultepec is the center of Mexico’s fireworks industry, with 30,000 people dependent on explosives for a living.
Miscellaneous Economic Indicators
— British snack food manufacturer Walkers advertised in February for a part-time professional chip taster at $10.55 an hour.
— An Australian state administrative tribunal awarded a $90,000 settlement after a cold-calling telemarketer sold a farm couple 2,000 ink cartridges for their printer by means of repeated sales pitches.
American chef Dan Barber staged a temporary “pop-up” restaurant in London, at which he and other renowned chefs prepared the fanciest meals they could imagine using only food scraps donated from local eateries. A primary purpose was to chastise First World eaters (especially Americans) for wasting food — not only in the kitchen and on the plate, but also to satisfy our craving for meat. For example, First World eaters require diversion of 80 percent of the world’s corn and soy to feed edible animals. Among Barber’s “WastED” dishes were a char-grilled meatless beetburger and pork braised in leftover fruit solids.
Least Competent Criminals
An officer in Harrington, Dela., approached an illegally parked driver at Liberty Plaza Shopping Center. He had suspicions when she gave him a name other than the “Keyonna Waters” that was the name on the employee name tag she was wearing. Once she was properly ID’ed, she was arrested for driving with a suspended license.
The Passing Parade
The online live-stream of the pregnant giraffe April at New York’s Animal Adventure Park created such a frenzy that, as of March 3, viewers had spent a cumulative total of 1,036 years watching it. Erin Dietrich of Myrtle Beach, S.C., who was 39 weeks pregnant herself, mocked the lunacy by livestreaming her own belly while she was wearing a giraffe mask.
A News Of The Weird Classic
Maryland state troopers stopped when they caught sight of a drummer working out all alone on the side of traffic-packed Interstate 695 near Windsor Mill Road in Baltimore on May 21, 2013, at 10:30 am. The troopers reported the man had run out of gas and, rather than just sit around in his car, had set up his full drum kit on the shoulder and practiced while he waited for assistance. After a utility truck arrived with gasoline, the drummer packed up and went on his way.
High Tech TP
China’s public-park restrooms have for years suffered toilet-paper theft by local residents who raid dispensers for their own homes. This, wrote Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, is a cultural habit expressing taxpayer feelings of “owning” public facilities. But the government recently fought back with technology. At Beijing’s popular Temple of Heaven park, dispensers now have facial-recognition scanners beside the six toilets, with pre-cut paper (24 inches long) that is issued only to users who pose for a picture. Just one slug of paper can be dispensed to the same face in a 9-minute period.
A June, 2016, police raid on David Jessen’s Fresno County, Calif., farmhouse caused a $150,000 mess. Sheriff’s deputies and Clovis Police Dept. officers said they had “rescued” the home from a trespassing homeless man. The man, who was unarmed, helped himself to an ice cream bar, some milk and half a tomato, but did not damage the house in any way. However, by the time the police stand-off with the homeless man ended, the crime scene included more than 50 cop cars, a SWAT team and backups, two helicopters, standby ambulances, a police robot, and a crisis negotiation team. Windows, walls and wrought-iron doors were destroyed; tear gas and a “flash bomb” were employed. Jessen suspects that the farmhouse’s isolation enticed police to decide that it presented an excellent training opportunity. He has filed suit against the department.