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CURIOUS TIMES DEC. 31 EDITION

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WEIRDEST NEW SURGICAL TECHNIQUE

The good news is that the future of surgery promises less cutting, less scarring, less pain and shorter recovery periods. The bad news is that they'll be performing surgery through your mouth, anus or vagina. Yes, doctors gave a whole new meaning to the words "open wide" in 2008 with the advent of "natural orifice surgery," a technique that enables surgeons to perform laparoscopic surgery through the openings that are already in your body. This type of surgery has already been perfected in animals, and human gall bladders and appendixes have been removed through the mouth. But in May, in an American surgical first, doctors at the University of California removed the appendix of a 24-year-old woman through her vagina. "I feel kind of like I did too many sit-ups," remarked the patient. (Time Magazine)

WORST NEW BABY NAME

Go search Wikipedia for the phrase "Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116" for the story of the weirdest name ever given to a child. Poor Brfxx... is the offspring of a Swedish couple who didn't really want to saddle their child with a name and ended up being fined 5,000 kronor (around $700) for failing to register their kid's name. As a protest to the fine, the parents came up with Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced "/'al?bin/"), which they claimed was "a pregnant, expressionistic development that we see as an artistic creation." After being rejected yet again, the parents offered to name their child "A," but so far the Swedish government has not accepted the compromise.

BEST NEWS FOR FOLLOWERS OF ALIEN JESUS

Great news for all you sinners. There's one less reason to go to hell after the Vatican's chief astronomer decreed that it is now OK to believe in alien life from other planets. In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano last June, the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes admitted that a belief in extraterrestrials does not contradict faith in God. "How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere? It would still be part of creation," he explained, claiming that ruling out the existence of aliens would be like putting limits on God's creative freedom. (AP)

BEST END TIMES OFFER

According to a book called The Coming Human Aliens, the Earth is going to be flushed down a massive black hole within the next four years, and we will all be given the choice to go down with the ship or be rescued by representatives of 143,999 alien races.

BEST KILLER TUNES

Following in the footsteps of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, that trendy old rocker Charlie Manson released his new album as a free download for all his fans in April. "One Mind is pure Charlie, no additions, no corrections, no added opinions, filters or editing," boasts the Manson fansite familyjams.com. "This is all new material ... consisting of songs, trance-poetry, conversations, raps, ramblings, musings and more." This album doesn't seem to include the tracks "Helter Skelter" or "Psycho Killer," but no doubt Charlie makes good use of backwards masking to urge you to kill everyone he hates. (familyjams.com)

MOST BORING FILM

If you're suffering from insomnia, I've found the perfect cure: the longest movie ever made, aptly titled The Cure for Insomnia. This is an 87-hour-long epic that features a poet reading his 5,000-page poem spliced with footage of heavy metal and some porn. But if that's too long for you, try The Longest Most Meaningful Movie in the World, which clocks in at 48 hours and consists entirely of newsreel and stock footage. Rounding out the top five list of insomnia-curing films are China's The Burning of the Red Lotus (27 hours), Sweden's The Journey (14.5 hours) and Russia's War and Peace (8 hours). (mentalfloss.com)

MOST INSTANT KARMA

Having accomplished his life's ambition, a man in Michigan who had bowled a perfect game of 300 points for the first time in his life promptly collapsed and died while high-fiving his bowling buddies in November. Don Doane, 45, was rushed to hospital but couldn't be revived. (AP)

INTERNET FACT OF THE YEAR

Only 1 percent of online dating site users feel that they have "less than average" looks.

More bizarro news at curioustimes.com.

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