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News Of The Weird

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By Chuck Shepherd

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

▲ In July, the world’s largest four-day rodeo, the Pendleton Round-Up, released a signature-brand men’s cologne called Let’er Buck to mark the company’s 100th anniversary. A spokesman claimed that the $69-a-bottle product has the fragrance of “sensuous musk and warm sandalwood.
▲ The Washington Post reported in May that high school and college-age adults had complained that condoms given away by the District of Columbia’s HIV-prevention program were of too-low quality and that the city should spring for deluxe Trojan Magnums (in gold-colored packaging, giving them, said a city official, “a little bit of the bling quality”).
▲ In July, the prominent BrewDog brewery in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, began producing the world’s strongest (and most expensive) beer, called The End of History, which is 55 percent alcohol and sells for $780 a bottle. As if to enrage both anti-alcohol and animal-welfare activists, BrewDog released the first 12 bottles taxidermally inserted inside the carcasses of roadkill (seven ermines, four squirrels and a rabbit). Said company founder James Watt, BrewDog aims to “elevate the status of beer in our culture.”

Weird Science

▲ On an August ABC-TV edition of “Nightline,” professor Matt Frerking of Oregon Health and Science University allowed cameras to record his narcolepsy-like “cataplexy,” which causes temporary muscle paralysis each time he contemplates romantic love. He noted that he can often fend off an impending attack by concentrating on his own lab work in neuroscience.
▲ When Ron Sveden’s left lung collapsed in May, doctors initially diagnosed a tumor, but on closer inspection learned that Sveden, of Brewster, Mass., had ingested a plant seed that had somehow migrated to his lung and sprouted open.

Leading Economic Indicators

▲ To thoughtful people, the toilet can be an instrument upon which creativity blossoms. Thus, the price tags were high this summer when commodes belonging to two literary giants of the 20th century went on sale. In August, a gaudily designed toilet from John Lennon’s 1969-71 residence in Berkshire, England, fetched 9,500 pounds (about $14,740) at a Liverpool auction, and a North Carolina collectibles dealer opened bids on the toilet that long served reclusive author J.D. Salinger at his home in Cornish, N.H. The dealer’s initial price was $1 million because, “Who knows how many of Salinger’s stories were thought up and written while (he) sat on this throne!”

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