Alibi V.27 No.9 • March 1-7, 2018 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Russia

A couple who were told their baby died 7 years ago received a £3,000 bill from an orphanage for the child's care. According to The Metro, the couple were told by doctors in 2011 that their newborn would not live more than a week, and were encouraged to sign a waiver leaving the baby in the hospital's care. They later changed their minds and returned to collect the child, but were told that it had died. The administrative error which led to the issue was only discovered after bailiffs were unable to recover funds due to the orphanage and seized the mother's bank account. The next day, when she was confronted with the orphanage papers at the Volgograd Administration of the Federal Bailiff Service, she reportedly fainted. The parents immediately appealed for the restoration of parental rights and the child was returned to them earlier this year. It is unclear if they plan to pursue legal action against the hospital.

Dateline: Pennsylvania

A church is encouraging couples to bring semiautomatic rifles to a blessing ceremony this week. World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pa., said couples who can’t purchase an AR-15 rifle semiautomatic rifle or one of its “equivalents” before a Feb. 28 “Cosmic True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humanity Cheon Il Guk Book of Life Registration Blessing” service should buy a $700 gift certificate from a gun store “as evidence of their intent to purchase a 'rod of iron' in the future.” According to an email sent to The Times Tribune, Sanctuary Church president Richard A. Panzer claims that local and state police will be on premises during the ceremony, and all weapons will be checked to make sure they are unloaded. The email said that zip ties will then be applied to the guns to prevent their loading during the service. Panzer also said that the ceremony is not related to the recent spate of mass shootings, but noted that he believed arming teachers would help prevent loss of life. The church is affiliated with Rod of Iron Ministries, a religious group that promotes gun ownership.

Dateline: New Mexico

An Albuquerque man is suing Microsoft for forcing him to upgrade to Windows 10. According to The Register, a lawsuit was filed early in February by Frank K. Dickman Jr., seeking $600 million in damages from software giant Microsoft and its CEO Satya Nadella or a copy of Windows 7 and its product activation code. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff's Asus laptop became “non-functional” immediately after purchase when a forced upgrade to Windows 10 failed and “deleted the cached, or backup, version of Windows 7.” While there haven't been many legal ramifications for the company's update policies, user complaints against the practice have become common in recent years. Complaints about a Windows 10 “feature” which forced updates to occur without the user's control were ignored by the company until a CNET investigation led the company to include a “snooze” button. Windows 7 is set to retire in 2020.

Dateline: Washington

A Norwegian flag flown in Seattle sparked controversy when neighbors mistook it for the flag of the Confederate army. Last week, The Seattle Times received a news tip from The New York Times best-selling author, Rebecca Morris, that a homeowner in her neighborhood was flying the Confederate flag below the US flag. “Maybe others in the area are flying the flag?,” she wrote. “Maybe it’s a story?” However, after a closer investigation was conducted by reporters, it was discovered that the “Confederate” flag Morris had found was actually the state flag of Norway, which features an off-center blue and white cross on a red field. The flag was put there by the home's occupant—a Norwegian-American—at the beginning of the Olympics as a show of support for the Norwegian team competing at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. When told by the Times that she had mistaken the flag, Morris responded, saying, “Maybe that’s the story … we’re so stressed by all things political that we see things that aren’t there.”

Dateline: USA

Representatives from Domino's Pizza are distancing the chain from a sex toy whose makers claim it “orders food following an orgasm.” Last week, adult entertainment and novelty manufacturer CamSoda released their newest vibrator, the “RubGrub.” According to a press release, the device is fitted with an internet programmable Bluetooth button that can be pre-loaded with a user's payment, order and delivery information which, when pressed, will automatically send the order to Domino’s through its pizza-ordering API. CamSoda's press release compares the technology to the Amazon Dash Button and quotes the company's VP Daryn Parker, who notes that masturbation “can be a strenuous physical activity” that will often leave users “lethargic and hungry.” While the device can only order from Domino's at the moment, the company plans to implement the ability to order from other restaurants in the future.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.