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Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

Let Me Pick Your Brain

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Legendary banjo player Eddie Adcock, 70, had been suffering from hand tremors that failed to respond to medication, so he volunteered for a revolutionary neurosurgery in August. Adcock finger-picked tunes while his brain was exposed so that Vanderbilt University Medical Center surgeons could try to locate the defective area. In “deep brain stimulation,” doctors find a poorly responding site and use electrodes to arouse it properly. As Adcock, conscious but pain-free, picked out melodies, doctors probed until Adcock’s playing suddenly became disjointed. Electrodes were then assigned to that spot. By October, according to an ABC News report, Adcock, with a button-activated chest pacemaker wired to his head, was back on stage, as quick-fingered as ever.

Fat Is Good
(1) Clair Robinson, 23, told an interviewer in September that the only reason she survived a deadly flesh-eating bacterial infection was because she had too much weight for the bacteria to consume. “Being big saved my life,” she told Australia’s “Medical Emergency” TV show. (2) Mayra Rosales, 27, has been charged with capital murder in Hidalgo County, Texas, but she was not ordered to jail pending trial; instead, a judge allowed for home detention because of her obesity. Rosales, who weighs about 1,000 pounds, requires special transportation and facilities. In August, a judge ruled that she was not a “flight risk,” thus clearing the way for house arrest.

Trouble with Toys
In June, complaints were lodged against Sweden’s state-run retail pharmacy Apoteket because its stores stock sexual aids geared toward women, such as vibrators, but offer nothing that similarly pleasures men. “A woman with a dildo is seen as liberated, strong and independent, whereas a man with a blowup plastic vagina is viewed as disgusting and perverted,” said one person who was upset with the lack of selection for men. However, the government’s Equal Opportunities Ombudsman rejected the complaints.

What Goes Around, Comes Around
Some residents in Nolita, a neighborhood in New York City, have complained about the raucous, late-night music and crowds at the recently opened club Delicatessen, according to an August New York Post report. The upset neighbors say that their complaints have fallen upon deaf ears, so they’ve taken matters into their own hands. Ten apartments next door to the club have windows that look down upon its see-through ceiling, and at least one resident has taken to relieving himself out his window, directly onto the transparent roof. (But another of the residents said that when the man misfired, it ruined his air-conditioning unit.)

Ironies
In September, alleged flasher Patrick Dodenhoff, 39, fled after a report of indecent exposure. Police pursued him from Atascadero, Calif., to Pismo Beach, finally catching up to him at a well-known local nude beach.

Least Competent People
(1) In July in Kokomo, Ind., pastor Jeff Harlow attempted to illustrate a sermon on “becoming one” by riding a dirt bike onto the stage in front of his congregation at Crossroads Community Church. However, he lost control, fell off the bike and broke his wrist. (2) Also in July, a 38-year-old woman described as “very large” was using a thigh-tightening machine at the New York Sports Club in Harlem. According to a witness, the woman failed to dismount properly, and was sent in a “sling-shot” across the room. Paramedics had to use a “Stokes basket” instead of a regular stretcher to carry her out, according to the New York Post.

Recurring Themes
Food engineers in Japan are notorious for odd-flavored ice creams that challenge the palate, as News of the Weird has noted several times. In August, voters at the Taste of Britain festival selected their own regional favorites, some of which rivaled Japan’s (such as ice creams of sausage and mash, pork pie, cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, Welsh rarebit and even haggis). The Japanese weren’t to be outdone, though. Among the flavors at this year’s Yokohama Ice Cream Expo in August, celebrating the 130th anniversary of ice cream in Japan, were beef tongue, octopus, eel and beer.

Scenes of the Surreal
According to a spokesman for the Palais de Justice in Paris, a recent preliminary hearing marked the first time in France that a dog had been called as a formal witness in a murder case. “Scooby” was brought into the courtroom so that a judge could watch how he reacted when he approached the defendant, who was accused of killing Scooby’s master. According to a dispatch in London’s Daily Telegraph, the dog “barked furiously,” helping to convince the judge to set the case for trial.

2008 Chuck Shepherd

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