NEWS OF THE WEIRD
On Jan. 31, doctors at Stanley Medical College and Hospital in Chennai, India, removed a live, full-grown cockroach from the nasal cavity of a 42-year-old woman whose nose had been “itchy” earlier in the day. Two hospitals were unable to help her, but at Stanley, Dr. M N Shankar, chief of ear-nose-throat, used an endoscope, forceps, and, for 45 minutes, a suction device — because, he said, the roach “didn’t seem to want to come out.” Another doctor on the team noted that they’ve removed beads and similar items from the nasal cavity (demonstrating the splayed-out trespasser in full wingspan), “but not a cockroach, especially not one this large.”
Can’t possibly be true
Zachary Bennett and Karen Nourse have found Manhattan quite affordable, reported the New York Post in January — by simply not paying, for six years now, the $4,750 monthly rent on their loft-style apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood, citing New York state’s “loft law,” which they say technically forbids the landlord from collecting. Since the other eight units of their building are “commercial,” the landlord believes it doesn’t need a “residential certificate of occupancy,” but Bennett and Nourse believe the law only exempts buildings with at least two residences, and for some reason, the landlord has obstinately declined to initiate eviction or, until recently, to sue (for back rent, fees, and electricity).
Update from “big porn”
The colossus PornHub dot com, in its annual January rundown, reported its several sites had 23 billion “visits” in 2016 (about one-fourth from females), during which time its videos were viewed 91 billion times. In all, earthlings spent 4.6 billion hours watching PornHub’s inventory (that is 5.2 centuries’ time doing whatever people do when viewing porn). USA took home the gold for the most “page views” per capita, just nipping Iceland. Online visitors from the Philippines, for the third straight year, remained (per capita) on the sites the longest per visit. The top search term on PornHub from U.S. computers was “step mom.”
Unclear on the concept
¦ Late last year, Oxford University professor Joshua Silver accused Britain’s Home Secretary of a “hate” crime merely because the Secretary had made a speech urging that unemployed Britons be given preference for jobs over people recruited from overseas. Silver denounced this “discrimination” against “foreigners” and made a formal complaint to West Midlands police, which, after evaluation, absolved Secretary Amber Rudd but acknowledged that, under the law, the police were required to record the Secretary’s unemployment speech as a “non-crime hate incident.”
¦ The British Medical Association issued a formal caution to its staff in January not to use the term “expectant mothers” when referring to pregnancy — because it might offend transgender people. Instead, the Association’s memo (reported by the Daily Telegraph) suggested using “pregnant people.” The BMA acknowledged that a “large majority” of such people are, in fact, “mothers,” but wrote that there may be “intersex” and “trans men” who also could get pregnant.
Leading economic indicators
¦ In 2001, Questcor Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to make Acthar Gel, a hormone injection to treat a rare form of infantile epilepsy, and gradually raised the price from $40 a vial to $28,000 a vial. The British company Mallinckrodt bought Questcor in 2014 and apparently figured the vials were still too cheap, raising the price to $34,000. However, the Federal Trade Commission noticed that Mallinckrodt also during the latter period bought out — and closed down — the only company manufacturing a similar, cheaper version of the product, thus ensuring that Mallinckrodt had totally cornered the market. In January, the FTC announced that Mallinckrodt agreed to a $100 million settlement of the agency’s charge of illegal anti-competitive practices. (“$100 million” is only slightly more than the price of giving one vial to each infant expected to need it in the next year.)
¦ Precocious: Girl Scout Charlotte McCourt, 11, of South Orange, N.J., saw her sales zoom recently when she posted “brutally honest” reviews of the Scouts’ cookies she was selling — giving none of them a “10” and labeling some with dour descriptions. She was hoping to sell 300 boxes, but as of the end of January, had registered 16,430. For the record, the best cookie was — of course — the Samoa, rated 9, but longtime favorites like the Trefoil (“boring”) rated 6 and the Do-Si-Do (“bland”) 5. The new Toffee-tastic was simply a “bleak, flavorless, gluten-free wasteland.”
Applicants for passports in Switzerland are evaluated in part by neighbors of the applicant, and animal-rights campaigner Nancy Holten, 42, was rejected in January because townspeople view her as obnoxious, with, said a Swiss People’s Party spokesperson, a “big mouth.” Among Holten’s “sins” was her constant criticism of the country’s hallowed fascination with cowbells — that make, according to Holten, “hundred decibel,” “pneumatic drill”- type sounds (though a hit song, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” by the group Blue Oyster Cult, skillfully employed the cowbell — before it was satirized in an epic “Saturday Night Live” sketch starring Christopher Walken). ¦