Fun_People Archive
20 Jan
Weirdness #361

Date: Fri, 20 Jan 95 14:09:13 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: Weirdness #361

[This is an acculturation test.  If everything described here strikes you as
weird, then you're definitely a white, middle-class American (or wannabee). 
Each item deals with overstepping some cultural limit on accepted behavior that
might be considered perfectly reasonable in another culture or even in some
narrow slice of American culture... -psl]

From: WEIRDNUZ.361 (News of the Weird, January 6, 1995)
by Chuck Shepherd

* A December Associated Press story on body branding revealed that the idea
of having one's skin artistically seared as a "personal statement" is
growing in popularity, especially in San Francisco.  The branding customer
endures from one to hundreds of one-second "strikes" with a blowtorch-heated,
white-hot galvanized sheet metal design selected or created by the customer.
Each branding scar takes six weeks or longer to heal.  One customer
interviewed by the San Francisco Examiner said she got a large, elaborate
African sunburst on her lower back because she thought it would help "keep
me more centered" because "I couldn't get in balance myself." [Columbia
Tribune-AP, 12-10-94]

* According to an October report from U. S. Rep. John Dingell, defense
contractors recently billed the federal government for such inappropriate
employee perks as $263,000 for a Smokey Robinson concert; $20,194 for
"professional quality" golf balls; $63,000 for crystal decanters for
employee awards; and $17,000 to hire referees and umpires for office sports
leagues. [St.  Petersburg Times-AP, 10-18-94]

* In August, postal clerk Joannie McCaughey and three others were issued
formal reprimands by their supervisor in Cambridge, Mass., because they had
punched in for work at 8:59 a.m. for a 9 a.m.  shift.  "Future deficiencies
. . . will result in more severe disciplinary action," read the reprimand,
"including suspension or removal from the Postal Service."  Said the
supervisor, Michael Hannon, "It would become an abusive situation" if every
employee wanted to punch in one minute early every day. [Wall Street
Journal, 10-4-94]

* In October, the federal government reopened its large office building in
Binghamton, N. Y.--more than 13 years after it had been closed because of
a brief electrical fire in the basement.  The 1981 fire spread the chemicals
dioxin and PCBs throughout the building, and the government went on to spend
$53 million in cleaning, then gutting and restoring the inside, then
cleaning it again, to pass environmental inspection.  The building cost $17
million to build in the first place. [N. Y. Times, 10-11-94]

* In July, the government of Switzerland announced that its Value-Added Tax
would apply to sales by prostitutes and that beginning in 1995, customers
should be supplied itemized receipts showing the 6.5 percent tax. [San
Francisco Examiner, 8-1-94]

* In March, Hollywood, Fla., police charged Brenda Persing, 34, with two
counts of child abuse when they found the stay-at-home mother's house
filled with "years' worth" of rotting garbage, as well as dog feces and used
tampons, and her refrigerator full of roaches.  According to police, Persing
admitted she was just too lazy to clean.  [Miami Herald, 3-24-94, 3-27-94]

* Frederick Treesh, 30, one of three men accused of being the gang of "spree
killers" that terrorized the Great Lakes states this summer (as allegedly
told to a police officer):  "Other than the two we killed, the two we
wounded, the woman we pistol-whipped, and the light bulbs we stuck in
people's mouths, we didn't really hurt anybody." [Newsweek, 9-19-94]

Copyright 1995, Universal Press Syndicate.  All rights reserved.
Released for the entertainment of readers.  No commercial use may
be made of the material, or of the name "News of the Weird."

[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []