Almost-extinct vultures may be making a comeback within the Parsi community of Mumbai, India, after a pain reliever (diclofenac) nearly wiped it out. Parsis’ Zoroastrian religion requires “natural” body disposals (no cremation or burial) of humans and cattle, and bodies have always been ritually laid out for the hungry birds, but the community has also come to rely on diclopfenac in hospitals and for cattle. When News of the Weird last mentioned the problems (in 2001), vultures were dying out from kidney damage caused by the drug, and bodies were piling up. (Parsis were exploring using solar panels to burn the corpses.) However, according to a November New York Times dispatch, clerics are reporting modest success in weaning Parsis off of diclofenac, and the vultures appear more plentiful.
n Once again, a public library has been sued for gently asking a patron to leave because his body odor was provoking complaints. George Stillman, 80, filed a $5.5 million lawsuit in October against the New York Public Library for feeling “humiliat(ed)” by the staff of the St. Agnes branch in Manhattan. Stillman said he views body odor (his and others’) as mere “challenge(s) to the senses” and “a fact of life in the city.” Actually, he had also denied that he had any body odor at all, but a New York Post reporter, interviewing him about the lawsuit, said she noted “a strong odor.”
n Drunk drivers often try to avoid hit-and-run charges by claiming that they did not realize they hit anything, but their odds drop if there is a dead pedestrian lodged in the windshield, as with Sherri Wilkins, 51, who was arrested in Torrance, Calif., in November, 2.3 miles from the crash scene, after other drivers finally persuaded her to stop. (Wilkins, it turned out, is a “rehabilitated” drug user who worked as a counselor at a Torrance drug treatment center and who claimed to have been sober for 11 years.)
n Women’s love-hate affairs with their shoes is the stuff of legends, but a Memphis, Tenn., podiatrist told Fox News in November of a recent increase in women deciding on what might be called the nuclear option — “stiletto surgery” — for horribly uncomfortable, yet irresistible, shoes. Either the shoe must go or the foot, and more are choosing the latter (or at least the pinky), to be removed or reduced by surgery. The Memphis doctor said he sees as many as 30 patients a month interested in the procedure.
n In the most recent instance of a store’s locks improperly working to give the appearance that a closed store was doing business, a Kroger supermarket in Goshen, Ind., was unintentionally wide-open on Thanksgiving evening — with no employees (but with 24-hour lighting, as usual). Police on patrol noted that about a dozen customers were inside trying to use the self-checkout, but left quietly when informed that the store was closed. According to a police spokesperson,
“(N)o one (attempted) to steal from the business.”
n In December, the car-parts retailer AutoZone became the most recent employer to fire a worker for taking action widely admired — but prohibited in the workplace because of the company’s fear of liability. Devin McLean and his store manager in York County, Va., were herded into a back room by a gun-wielding holdup man and, being the only witnesses, understandably feared for their lives. However, McLean broke free, ran to his truck, and retrieved his gun. (He could have fled altogether but insisted that, morally, he could not abandon his colleague.) When McLean re-entered pointing his Glock 40, two things happened: (1) The robber fled, and (2) McLean became in violation of AutoZone’s “zero tolerance” policy against employees bringing firearms into the store. Two days later, he was fired.
Whose best friend?
In Westfield, Mass., in August, and near Eureka, Calif., in November, families of dog owners drowned trying to save their pooches, who had fallen into a lake and the ocean, respectively. The Massachusetts couple jumped out of their boat in Hampton Ponds State Park to retrieve their terrier, and the California couple and their son were swept out to sea after their dog wandered too deep into the surf to fetch a stick. Both dogs survived.