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WHO YOU CALLIN’ SHRIMP? Wednesday, October 1
Buddhists believe in the wholesale “mercy release” of living creatures, with smaller and less consequential animals making even stronger statements of reverence, according to a July New York Times story from Yushu, China, describing the freeing of river shrimp the size of a fingernail clipping.
PLAY IT AGAIN, DOC Wednesday, October 1
For patients who are musicians, deep brain stimulation (open-brain) surgery can provide entertainment for operating-room doctors as they correct neurological conditions such as hand tremors. In September, concert violinist Naomi Elishuv, who’s performed with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, played for surgeons at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center so they could locate the exact spot in the brain for inserting the pacemaker to control the hand-trembling that had wrecked her career.
DRIVERS WHO RAN OVER THEMSELVES Wednesday, October 1
In June, Robert Pullar, 30, Minot, North Dakota, subsequently charged with DUI, fell out of his car and was run over by it. In July, Joseph Karl, 48, jumped out of his truck to confront another driver in a road rage incident in Gainesville. As he pounded on that driver’s window, his own truck (negligently left in gear) crept up and ran him over. In July, a 54-year-old St. Petersburg man was hurt badly when, trying to climb on the street sweeper he operates for the city, he fell off, and the machine ran over him.
DEFINITIONS Wednesday, October 1
Commentators have had fun with a new system of medical diagnostic codes (denominated in from 4-10 digits each) scheduled to take effect next October, and the “Healthcare Dive” blog had its laughs in a July post. The codes for “problems in relationship with in-laws” and “bizarre personal appearance” are quixotic enough, but the most “absurd” codes are “subsequent encounters” (i.e., at least the second time the same thing happened to a patient) for events like walking into a lamppost, getting sucked into a jet engine, receiving burns from on-fire water skis, or having contact with a cow beyond being bitten or kicked — those have separate codes. Also notable was S10.87XA, “Other superficial bite of other specified part of neck, initial encounter,” which seems to describe a “hickey.”
SQUAAAAWWK Wednesday, October 1
Regulatory filings revealed in August that AOL still has 2.3 million dial-up subscribers (down from 21 million 15 years ago) paying, on average, about $20 monthly. Industry analysts, far from rolling on the floor laughing at the company’s continued success with 20th-century technology, estimate AOL’s dial-up business constitutes a hefty portion of its quarterly “operating profit” of about $122 million.
HOW TO CONFUSE AN ARIZONAN Wednesday, October 1
In August, a state appeals court overruled a lower court and decided Thomas and Nancy Beatie could divorce, after all. The first judge determined their out-of-state marriage wasn’t valid in Arizona because they were both women, but Thomas has had extensive surgery and hormone therapy and become a man — though he’s also the spouse who bore the couple’s three children, since he retained his reproductive organs.
FRONTIERS OF FLIGHT Wednesday, October 1
Dutch inventors Bart Jansen and Arjen Beltman struck again recently when Pepeijn Bruins, 13, asked them to help him grieve over his pet rat, Ratjetoe, who had cancer and had to be put down. Having heard of the inventors’ work, Pepeijn asked if they could have Ratjetoe stuffed and turned into a radio-controlled drone.
OF COURSE! Wednesday, September 24
Jonathan Thomas, 50, was charged with DUI and disorderly conduct in Washington Township, Indiana, in August after driving through two backyards one Friday evening and getting his vehicle stuck in the second. Police reported that Thomas “show[ed] his teeth to officers” and later “growled” at hospital security staff. Thomas’ day job is director of the Porter County Animal Shelter.
SECONDS! Wednesday, September 24
Daniel Warn, 28, was arrested in July in Costa Mesa, California, and charged with the burglary of an El Pollo Loco restaurant — a caper captured on surveillance video. Police were notified later that day when Warn — wearing the same distinctive hat and bright green shirt worn by the burglar — came to the restaurant to order a meal.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS Wednesday, September 24
Clearwater police pulled over a “suspicious” car on July 24 and ultimately arrested the driver and his passenger. The back seat was loaded with potted plants — in fact, potted pot plants, so crowded that the leaves and branches of some plants were sticking out of the car’s windows.
 
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