The Weird Week in Review
Art "Restorer" Wants Royalties
Remember Ecce Homo, the Spanish fresco of Christ that was made into a cartoon after an amateur restoration effort? The new look of the art has made its home, the chapel at Santuario de Misericordia, such an attraction that the church has started charging an entrance fee of 4 euros. Now Cecilia Gimenez, the octogenarian who painted over the fresco, wants a cut of that. Her lawyers say she is entitled to royalties, which would go to charity. Meanwhile, the family of the original artist is considering suing Gimenez for destroying the art, and the church has retained lawyers in defense from all sides.
Man Flattened by Falling Mattress
Jesse Scott Owen had only moved to New York City from Florida three weeks ago, but the college freshman got a big city experience Tuesday when a mattress fell off the roof of a building and landed on him. Owen was walking along Broad Street when the falling futon knocked him out cold. Passers-by tended to him until emergency workers arrived. Owen was taken to a hospital with a sprained neck and a possible herniated disc. But he managed to Tweet about the experience. The mattress had fallen from the rooftop spa of the Setai Wall Street, about 30 stories up.
Bob-bob Goes to Disney World
Ethel Maze of Circleville, Ohio, took a group of 18 disabled veterans and volunteers to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. She hadn't planned to take her cat Bob-bob, but there he was, stowed away in her suitcase when she arrived at her Disney Resort hotel.
Mike Groleau, the group's designated "baggage handler," said he thought he saw the bag move — but after a long night of packing, he slapped some tags on the front and back of the green suitcase and loaded it with the rest.
"This was the last bag I grabbed," Groleau said. "... [S]omehow it got zipped up."
Ten hours later, as the group settled into its Disney-area hotel, Maze unzipped the bag, and there was Bob-bob, a little shaken but still purring.
Despite a TSA security check (which did not set off any alarms) and several hours in the cargo hold, Bob-bob appeared to be just fine after his trip.
Ig Nobel Prizes Awarded
The Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded last night in a ceremony at Harvard's Sanders Theater. One of the awards was a wedding gift for the researchers! The Psychology Prize went to Dutch researchers Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan, along with their colleague Tulio Guadalupe, for their study "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller." Eerland and Zwaan's wedding is tomorrow. Other prizes were awarded for research into how a ponytail swings, how an MRI can detect brain activity in a dead fish, why we spill coffee, and how to keep colonoscopy patients from exploding.
Restroom Users Watched from Street
The public facilities at the Standard Hotel in New York City offer a breathtaking view. But don't assume that those floor-to-ceiling windows on the 18th floor can't be looked into as well! The Boom Boom Room club has restrooms that are completely visible from the street below. The view from inside is glorious, but in most such restrooms, the glass is reflected as a mirror surface on the outside. But the patrons of this toilet are being photographed by people on the streets! The hotel offers no warning and no explanation for the restroom design. Is it meant to be a free peep show? Is it a design mistake? Or is it a subtle way to encourage guests to use the restroom somewhere else?
British Soldier Gives Birth in Afghanistan
An unnamed British military gunner might not have known she was pregnant when she was deployed to Afghanistan. She gave birth to a boy Tuesday in a field hospital at Camp Bastion, in Helmand province, one of the more dangerous parts of the country. Mother and baby are reportedly doing fine, but a team from John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, is prepared to go to the base to care for mother and child. The baby was born only four days after a raid on the base by insurgents disguised as U.S. military.