A collection of miscellaneous curiosities
Some days I wander, electronically speaking, through the world wide web looking for unusual subjects for this weekly columnistic effusion.
Many interesting reports are dredged up that don’t become the topic for a whole column but are interesting.
From my collection of such items, some recent and some old but still odd, may I present the following:
• For 10 years, a government employee in Spain, according to a National Public Radio report, punched in on a time clock every work day, went home or elsewhere and stopped in to punch out again at the end of the day. Someone finally noticed.
• A man in Florida who has no arms was arrested for stabbing another man with a pair of scissors. He used his feet.
• Technicians opened an ATM at a bank in Guwahati, India, to find out why it wasn’t working. They found a dead rat who had chewed up $18,000 worth of rupees.
• An 800-year-old tradition of counting the swans owned by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth was performed last month. Teams patrolled the Thames River in south England over five days to capture, tag and release families of swans with their young. An old British law states that the queen can own any swan swimming in open waters, but she mainly exercises that right on the Thames.
• A magazine mentioned that you are 307 times more likely to be bitten by a poisonous snake than by a shark. It didn’t say whether that is related to how many more times you are on land than in water.
• The cops know what the guy looks like who broke into a store in Florida. They have dozens of pictures of him from many angles. It’s a surveillance equipment store.
• Cops in Minersville, Pa., got five bucks in the mail from an anonymous man, paying for a parking ticket issued in 1974.
• A waitress in a restaurant in Pine Bluff, Ark., took a credit card from a customer to pay for his meal. It was her own credit card, which had been in her purse that was stolen in a service station two days before. She called the cops, who found the rest of her cards on the guy. It included her driver’s license with her picture on it.
• There was a big fuss in the news media in Chicago when an official overhead electronic sign on an interstate highway lit up the message, “No Texting, No Speeding, No Ketchup.” (It has something to do with Chicagoans traditionally disliking ketchup on hot dogs.)
• And finally, found in some old files: A publicity man for the Earle Theater wanted to get some attention to the appearance of Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra. He arranged for Dorsey and a few his musicians to come to the Philadelphia Zoo on Dec. 31, 1939, along with some psychologists from the University of Pennsylvania,
The idea, supposedly, was to see the reaction of primates other than humans to the new kind of popular music, swing. The musicians’ union got wind of the experiment, and objected.
The objection got some early publicity, and on the day of the scheduled test, newspaper photographers and a newsreel cameraman were on hand. A keeper lined up three young chimpanzees, and the musicians began their jam session.
The chimps grabbed their keeper in terror and expressed their emotions by emptying their bladders. The psychologists later reported that they had come to no conclusion.
But this column of miscellany has.
Of All Things