A.A. Milne’s beloved teddy bear character Winnie the Pooh has been rejected as a mascot for a small town playground because of what councilors call his “dubious sexuality” and the fact that he “is only dressed from the waist up.” According to the Croatian Times, the objections came to light when recordings of a town council meeting were leaked to local press. Councilors were meeting to decide which famous character should be used as the face of a children’s play area in a park in the small town of Tuszyn. The suggestion apparently upset conservative members of the council, who immediately denounced Pooh as a “hermaphrodite.” Councilor Ryszard Cichy explained, “The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe. It is half naked, which is wholly inappropriate for children.” Another unnamed councilor launched into a discussion of Pooh’s sexuality, arguing that “it doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex.” Councilor Hanna Jachimska agreed, laying blame for the bear’s anatomical insufficiencies on Milne. “This is very disturbing, but can you imagine! The author was over 60 and cut [Pooh’s] testicles off with a razor blade because he had a problem with his identity.” The council has yet to find a suitable mascot for the playground, but we can assume Donald Duck is also off the table.
A group of neo-Nazis was tricked into raising money for an anti-Nazi charity during its annual march through a small town in Germany. Every November supporters of Hitler’s Third Reich march through the town of Wunsiedel—the burial site of Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess—to mark National Heroes’ Remembrance Day. Since locals couldn’t prevent the neo-Nazis, they secretly turned the march into a charity walk-a-thon. Campaign group Right For Right convinced residents of Wunsiedel to donate 10 euros for every meter walked to EXIT-Deutschland, a charity that helps people leave extreme hate groups. Villagers erected motivational signs along the route to encourage the neo-Nazis and even showered them with confetti when they finished. “It was an absolute success,” Inge Schuster, a spokesperson for the mayor of Wunsiedel, told The Local online newspaper. The neo-Nazis’ march through town raised €10,000 for EXIT-Deutschland and resulted in what a Right Against Right spokesperson called “lots of surprised right-wing extremists.”
In what is another scary sign of the times, one of California’s largest print newspapers is now asking its reporters and other employees to help deliver papers on Sunday. The Santa Ana-based Orange County Register recently stopped contracting with rival Los Angeles Times for delivery service. As a result, the paper’s management sent out a memo offering $150 gift cards to staff members if they deliver 500 to 600 papers. “The entire company—all departments, including our newsroom—has been asked to help during what has clearly been a difficult situation,” editor Rob Curley said in an email to Reuters. “It’s strictly voluntary.” Employees have also been asked to help out with customer service. The Register’s parent company, Freedom Communications Inc., emerged from bankruptcy in 2010 and was bought out two years later by greeting card entrepreneur Aaron Kushner. Kushner pumped millions into the paper, doubling the size of its reporting staff. In recent months, however, dozens of reporters and editors have been laid off. In early November the Register reported two investment groups told a judge that Freedom Communications was insolvent and asked the court to appoint a receiver to oversee the company’s finances. The request was denied. Register publisher Rich Mirman says a few of the paper’s delivery routes are still experiencing intermittent or late delivery and that using reporters as delivery drivers would be temporary.