There's stupid, there's epic stupid, and then there's this. Firefighters in Wolverhampton, England, say they were actually quite irritated after five of them had to spend an hour freeing a 22-year-old man described as a "YouTube prankster" who cemented his head inside a microwave oven. The guy's buddies poured several bags of a fast-hardening cement product into an unplugged microwave oven they were using as a mold around the man's head, which was protected by a plastic bag. Firefighters say that by the time they were called, the man's friends had been trying to free him for 90 minutes and had given him an air tube to help him breathe. A technical rescue team for help freeing the man, which involved taking apart the microwave and very carefully removing the cement, using a screwdriver. Watch Commander Shaun Dakin said, "As funny as this sounds, this young man could quite easily have suffocated or have been seriously injured. All of the group involved were very apologetic, but this was clearly a call-out which might have prevented us from helping someone else in genuine, accidental need." (BBC)
Sadly, This is America
It's very sad but there's so much in this story that is uniquely American. An American bald eagle-our national bird-died from lead poisoning while at a wildlife rescue center. Experts say they knew something was wrong as soon as the eagle was brought to City Wildlife, a rehabilitation center in northwest Washington, D.C. The bird wasn't flying and wasn't using its legs properly. All signs pointed to lead poisoning, and a blood test confirmed that the eagle had high levels of lead. Here's why: Eagles eat other animals, like deer, that may have survived being shot with lead ammunition. The lead stays in the deer's body and then is digested when an eagle eats the deer. In this case, the eagle had lead levels measuring 24.5 micrograms per deciliter in its blood. An animal would show signs of being symptomatic at anything above 20. Nice going America. (PennLive.com)
Amethyst Realm is a 27-year-old "spiritual guidance counselor" who's making headlines by claiming she's had sex with at least 20 ghosts. Oh-and she says she prefers them to men. Realm appeared on the British TV show "ITV This Morning" to discuss what being "ghosted" is really like. The first experience was 12 years ago after she and her then-fiance moved into a new house and she felt the presence of a strange entity. She said, "It started as an energy, then became physical. There was pressure on my thighs and breath on my neck. I just always felt safe. I had sex with the ghost. You can feel it." Realm said she had an affair with the ghost for three years but that it ended when her human husband came home from work early and saw the shadowy shape of a man through the window. Since then, Realm claims she hasn't strayed from the paranormal pond and says she's had sexual encounters with at least 20 ghosts. Oh it gets worse. Now Realm wants to get pregnant by one of the ghosts and says, "I've done a bit of research into phantom pregnancies. There's a possibility that it is a ghost in you, but people don't know how to carry it to full term." Hey she's not alone. Singers Bobby Brown and Kesha also say they've had supernatural sex sessions. Psychotherapist Tina Radziszewicz has another take saying it's very possible that ghostly sexual encounters are actually a type of hallucination that occurs during the transition between wakefulness and sleep. (Huffington Post)
Literal Highway Robbery?
A new "dynamic pricing" model which adjusts prices in response to demand (think Uber's surge pricing), on the new express lanes on Interstate 66 has drivers outraged. The result last week was a $40 toll to travel a 10-mile stretch into downtown Washington, DC. The price changes every six minutes, and officials say the eye-watering $40 toll was only charged during one of those periods. For perspective, a return bus ticket from DC to New York City would have been cheaper than taking the toll road from Virginia. However, authorities say the toll is doing its job by encouraging people to take other routes and keeping traffic flowing smoothly. Motorists have been denouncing the toll under the hashtag # highwayrobbery and pointing out that state officials initially suggested the toll would be around $7. Wait a minute-you mean a government official told you something that turned out to not be true? What? But that never happens? WHY?????!!!! (New York Times)
Don't Write a Check with Your Mouth That Your Butt Can't Cash
Maybe you remember hearing the dramatic pledge from Nick and Sarah Jensen of Australia. Back in June 2015, Nick wrote an editorial explaining he and his wife of 10 years would get divorced as a "matter of conscience" if Australia legalized same-sex marriage. Well the country did - and now Nick and Sarah are backtracking; basically using semantics to get out of their threat. Continuing to argue that "a redefinition of marriage changes the agreement under which we were originally married," Jensen now says his "previous public comments regarding civil divorce never envisaged me separating from my wife, but rather our marriage from the state." But he says "the legislation currently makes it untenable for us to do this under the law." Jensen did not elaborate, and said he would make no other comment. Meanwhile, Australian lawyer Michael Tiyce says he offered to help the couple achieve their divorce goal and noted: "My firm does quite a bit of pro bono work in family law each year in the gay, lesbian and trans community. I thought offering assistance to Nick and Sarah would be an excellent way of reaching out across communities." Unfortunately, Nick and Sarah have rejected the offer. (Advocate)
Now Officially Recognized as an Art Form: Pizza!
Guess what's now officially considered an art form? Pizza! Yep-in the city of Naples UNESCO added the art of the Neapolitan pizza maker, or "pizzaiuolo," to its list of "intangible cultural heritage of humanity." Pizza making was one of dozens of traditional practices from around the world that got on the UN cultural organization's list of "forms of expression" that are of importance to humanity. Other winners this year were the ritual Kumbh Mela baths taken in India, Bosnian woodcarving, and the "Sega tambour" dance and song performances of Mauritius' Rodrigues Island. In Naples, pizza makers celebrated the victory and planned to give away free pizza next week at a massive street party. (Newser)
Can I Get Your Number?
In Kansas City, Missouri, a 22-year-old woman told police a man took out a gun and shot at her after she refused to give him her telephone number as she walked to church! The victim was walking through her neighborhood when two men in a car pulled up next to her. She said, "I was just crossing the street. I heard someone yell at me from the car ... so I just kind of ignored it and kept walking." The woman, who isn't being identified for her safety, got suspicious, so she pulled out her cellphone and called her mom so she'd have someone to talk with while she walked. The woman said that's when the driver pulled back around, next to her and said, "Can I have your number?" She said no and kept walking. She says the driver then pulled in front of her and shot a gun at the ground next to her. After the shots, she says he yelled at her in a nasty tone, warning her that she "better watch how she talks to people." Her mother was at the church where the victim was headed and came running toward her daughter. No one got hurt, but the woman said the gunshot will ring in her mind for a long time. The woman told police she believes the car was a black Nissan or similar sedan model, with Chiefs flags flying from windows on either side of the car. Police haven't made any arrests as of yet. (FOX 13 Salt Lake)
What the What?
The Texas Department of Public Safety has released a new list of 248,281 approved books and 10,073 banned books for Texas prisons. And frankly it has a lot of people scratching their heads. Prisoners in Texas can no longer read the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Color Purple or the best-selling Freakonomics. Also banned are some of the works of Hunter S. Thompson, a collection of Shakespearean sonnets, the Where's Waldo series, The Simpsons, and Monty Python. However, they can read Hitler's Mein Kampf, along with On National Socialism and World Relations - two books written by former KKK grand wizard David Duke-and something called The Holy Book of Adolf Hitler, which is often described as "the Bible of neo-Nazism." State guidelines say books can be banned for having instructions on making weapons or drugs, information on rioting or striking in prison, "graphic presentations" of illegal sex acts, sexually explicit images, instructions for committing crimes, or the capacity for hiding contraband. So it's kind of weird that The Count of Monte Cristo and Escape From Alcatraz are approved despite depicting prison escapes - both fictional and real - but Freakonomics is out for discussing crack dealing. (Dallas Morning News)