Enric Girona recently donated his prototype of a pet commode to the town of El Vendrell, Spain. Owners would train their dogs to use the station — a hole in the ground with a flush handle. The system is connected to the sewer system, as is the drain grid next to it, which is for urination. The station’s platform, which occupies 20 square feet of surface, is self-cleaning. Spain is tough on lazy owners who fail to scoop up after their pets, with fines in El Vendrell as high as $1,000, and those in Madrid and Barcelona reaching $2,000.
Taking It Too Far
— The New York customer service company United Health Programs of America provoked a federal lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over its policy of requiring workers to pray to God on the job and to say “I love you” to their managers. According to the EEOC, the feel-good, work-harder campaign was suggested by an aunt of United’s owner and named for an obscure “truth and compassion” movement called “Onionhead.”
— After two third-graders wet their pants on May 15 at Mill Plain Elementary School in Vancouver, Wash., they blamed teachers for enforcing the classroom’s reward system, in which good behavior earns students points redeemable for restroom breaks. A teachers union investigation concluded that the girls were never denied toilet access. But the girls’ mothers pointed out that using restroom breaks as a reward might be confusing to 8-year-olds.
— The Japanese snack company Calbee recently staged a promotion around popular singer Nana Mizuki, giving away 10 backstage passes to her Aug. 3 concert in Yokohama to the people who bought 10 specially marked bags of potato chips. Kazuki Fukumoto, 25, was so determined to win a pass that by the time he was arrested for littering in May, he had bought and dumped 89 cartons of potato chip packages. The chips, which weighed more than 400 pounds, were found at six locations around the cities of Kobe and Akashi. Police estimate he had spent the equivalent of about $3,000.
— Britain’s news website Metro.co.uk, located an array of photos from prominent 23-year-old German body art enthusiast Joel Miggler, who has portholes in his cheeks that expose the inside of his mouth. With customized plugs, he seals the portholes when he eats. The holes are 36mm wide. But Miggler is said to be aiming for 40mm. Miggler assures fans his mother likes most of his modifications and that the worst aspect is that he is forced to take small bites when he eats.
Can’t Possibly Be True
— Until the New York governor and legislature addressed the problem recently, it was legal in the state for animal owners to force their dogs and cats to get tattoos and piercings. At press time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was poised to sign legislation abolishing the practice.
— Kayla Oxenham, 23, was arrested in Port Charlotte, Fla., and charged with using a stick to burn brands into the skin of her two children, ages 5 and 7. She told police she branded the children so she could identify them and because she “forgot how much she loved fire.”
— A Davenport, Iowa, jury convicted terminal-cancer patient Benton Mackenzie, 48, on four marijuana-growing felonies. He says his purpose was to harvest cannabis oil to treat his bloody lesions and a grapefruit-sized tumor on his buttocks. The judge had barred Mackenzie and his lawyer from mentioning the illness in court. The Iowa legislature has allowed medical marijuana to treat seizures. Mackenzie’s wife, his 73-year-old parents, his son and a friend were also charged with assisting Mackenzie in his operation. Mackenzie, who was sworn in to tell “the whole truth” said he was “flabbergasted” to learn that “the whole truth” excluded anything about his illness.
— Municipal engineers in the town of Melton Mowbray, England, were called out to fix a lingering sewer overrun caused by hundreds of tennis balls that had apparently been flushed down toilets. Said the project manager, “We expect blockages from fats and baby wipes, but not this.”
Weird News Classic
The October 2009 Miss Asia beauty pageant in Hong Kong mostly followed a traditional script. But special bonus competitions were added. Contestants appeared behind boards with only certain body parts exposed so that judges could comment publicly without knowing which woman they were evaluating. Breast- and waist-judging turned out well for each of the three finalists. But the winner emerged only after the judges had harsh words for the hair of the other two. Wang Zhi Fei and Wang Chen learned the hard way about, respectively, their “dandruff and oily scalp” and “significant signs of hair loss.”
Unclear On The Concept
— A 60-year-old man with a blood clot has recovered, but no thanks to the driver for the South Western Ambulance Service who was ferrying him on a long trip to the emergency room of Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, England, on April 6. The patient’s family reported that the driver had stopped en route to pick up two hitchhikers — one a young woman in a “skimpy skirt” — and take them to a town that was on the way. The patient, in pain with his toes starting to blacken, eventually had his blood flow restored and did not lose the leg. He reported that the two riders were friendly and wanted to chat about his condition. He was in no mood to talk about it.
— The American Red Cross boasts of being “transparent and accountable” for the way it spends donations from compassionate people moved to help those in need. However, when the public policy watchdog ProPublica asked for details about how the Red Cross used funds donated for 2012 Hurricane Sandy victims in New York, the organization begged off, claiming that details were “trade secrets” that it was entitled to protect. The Red Cross did release more detailed accounts to the attorney general of New York, but only under an agreement of confidentiality.
When last we encountered Briton David Truscott (2011), he was being jailed again as a serial trespasser with an unquenchable desire to sneak onto farms and roll around, nude, in manure pits — especially those on the farm of Clive Roth near Redruth, England. Truscott apparently emerged from prison unrepentant and was back in trouble in May with another manure pit incident. This time Truscott threatened to harm Roth and his family and burn down his farm buildings. During the most recent incarceration, Truscott received mental health treatment that allowed him to act out in a manure pit. Officials believe he took a turn for the worse when that treatment was curtailed.
Least Competent Criminals
Police in Delray Beach, Fla., barely broke a sweat in July while they were arresting Perry Martin, 55, two days after he burglarized cars. The crime was caught on the resident’s security camera, and the perp was wearing his company work shirt. An officer showed the video to the I Got Wood flooring company’