Odds & Ends
Dateline: New Zealand
In early 2009, bird-watchers on New Zealand’s North Island went crazy when what appeared to be a brand-new species of pinkish-red hawk was discovered. In November, however, dairy farmer Grant Michael Teahan was charged with two counts of ill-treating an animal for spray-painting birds as part of an elaborate “prank.” Last week, Teahan was found guilty. Bird-watchers in the area sent several pictures to the local media, believing they had discovered a new species of hawk. Unfortunately, one of the hawks was hit and killed by a car and the spray paint was revealed. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals began investigating after Teahan asked his nephew to send a YouTube clip to the media featuring an oddly colored magpie in a trap. Computers seized at Teahan’s property in the rural town of Dannevirke had files, photographs and films relating to the red birds deleted. Palmerston North SPCA manager Danny Auger told the Manawatu Standard this was the most bizarre case he has worked on. “Various people got involved, like experts who thought maybe it was a new strain or a new type of bird or whatever. But then feathers were getting found, and it was obvious somebody was actually painting these hawks.” Teahan, who will be sentenced later this month, is considering appealing his conviction.
Lawyers for a Gold Coast-based snack food company successfully argued that the words “fuck” and “fucking” are not offensive and are part of the “universal discourse of the ordinary Australian.” As a result, the Trade Marks Examiner overturned a ruling from last year that rejected the would-be snack food “Nucking Futs” as an “obvious spoonerism” that was shameful and offensive to ordinary people. Solicitor Jamie White drew up a five-page legal document cataloging the history of controversial product names in defense of his client’s naughty, nut-based snack. Australia has a more relaxed view toward use of the f-word. In reporting on the ruling, the Melbourne Herald Sun noted that the word is commonly heard in live sports broadcasts and was recently (if accidentally) dropped during a live speech by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who overseas the country’s broadcasting standards. The trademark regulator’s decision clears the way for “Nucking Futs” to be sold Down Under—so long as the snack isn’t marketed toward children. White says his client’s product will only be sold in bars, nightclubs and other adult entertainment venues.
Organizers of the Fifa U-20 World Cup are being investigated after they paid a “shaman” more than $2,000 to prevent rain from falling on the festivities. According to the BBC, an investigation was launched after the cost of staging the event in Colombia ran over budget. During the financial probe, it was revealed that Jorge Elias Gonzalez, 64, was contracted to prevent the spectacular closing ceremonies in Bogota’s El Campin stadium from being rained out. Organizers of the event defended the hiring of the self-described shaman, noting that the ceremony was, in fact, rain free. “It didn’t rain on the ceremony,” Ana Marta de Pizarro, the anthropologist and theater director who was in charge of the event, told reporters, “It was successful, and I would use him again if I needed to.” Doubters in Colombia, however, have questioned why Gonzalez wasn’t hired to minimize the impact of the country’s last rainy season, which killed 477 people.
Caddo Parish District 3 Commissioner and amateur fashion critic Michael Williams is fed up with people who wear pajamas in public. After spotting a group of young men at a local Wal-Mart wearing pajama pants, Williams drafted an ordinance that would prevent the wearing of PJs in public. “Pajamas are designed to be worn in the bedroom at night,” Williams was quoted as saying in the Shreveport Times. “If you can’t wear them at the Boardwalk or courthouse, why are you going to do it in a restaurant or in public? Today it’s pajamas. Tomorrow it’s underwear. Where does it stop?” Caddo says violators would not be jailed but would be required to perform public service. Some local officials have expressed concern over the proposal based on the difficulty of determining what exactly constitutes pajamas. “It’s going to be very difficult to enforce the way it’s described, although I've not seen anything in writing,” said Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator. The city of Shreveport, which serves as the county seat of Caddo, already has a no-baggy-pants law. According to the Shreveport Times, local police reported 31 misdemeanor incidents involving “wearing of pants below the waist in public” in 2011.
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to firstname.lastname@example.org.