Odd Stew – Weird and Bizarre News – Issue 7

October 1, 2015

640px RMS Titanic 3

Another issue of the Odd Stew: oddities plus other bizarre, strange, and fascinating things that have happened in the news over the past week that you may have missed.

A Final Lunch Menu

The lunch menu on the final day of the Titanic was sold at auction for $88,000 on September 30, 2015.  The menu was saved by a first-class passenger who took it aboard a lifeboat when the ship sank in 1912.

The passenger who had the menu was Abraham Lincoln Salomon, and he boarded Lifeboat 1, which was also known as the “Millionaire’s Boat” or “Money Boat”, since it was filled with first-class passengers.  That lifeboat was said to have been rowed away instead of rescuing more people after the crew was rumored to have been bribed to do so by Lucy Duff-Gordon and Lord Cosmo Duff-Gordon.  They were later cleared from wrongdoing in an inquiry by the British Wreck Commission.  There were only six people in Lifeboat 1 when it pulled away from the Titanic.

The lunch menu had such things as Grilled Mutton Chops, Fillets of Brill, and Chicken a la Maryland.  It also listed a buffet that consisted of Potted Shrimp, Norwegian Anchovies, and Salmon Mayonnaise, along with many other things.  In addition to the menu, Salomon took with him a ticket from the Titanic’s Turkish baths.  It had the names of three other people that were in the lifeboat with him.

Why is the Ocean Pink?

Researchers with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Jacobs School of Engineering from University of California at San Diego, along with scientists from Mexico, began to dye the ocean pink to study what happens when heavy rains wash chemicals into the ocean.  The non-toxic pink dye was released in the waters from Southern California to Tijuana, Mexico.

Scientists will track the movement of the dye as it resembles stuff that washes into the ocean.  They monitor the dye from boat, Jet Ski, and from the air by using a fluorometer.  The fluorometer measures the fluorescence of the dye.  They initially found that the dye washed offshore and then moved toward Mexico.  It’s thought that the research will benefit beaches around the world so they can make better decisions on when, and for how long, to close beaches after a heavy rain.  The dye lasts for about 24 hours.

How to Use a Toilet in Japan

Japanese officials in the city of Kyoto had to install instructions for using the toilet because of the mess caused by tourists attempting to understand how to use the facilities, and the officials have said the signs seem to be working.

The signs instruct a user how to use the Japanese-style squat toilets in the right way, as well as Western style toilets, if they were unsure of that particular toilet also.  The signs are in multiple languages and even give guidance on the proper stance and disposal of toilet paper.  The city of Kyoto has said the mess inside the bathrooms decreased significantly after the signs were installed.

I swear, It’s Not a Deer

A letter that was a hoax caused a moment of panic for residents of Wisconsin who love their deer lawn ornaments.  The letter, which was later refuted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, told some residents that they had to remove their concrete deer lawn ornaments from their yards so that the state wouldn’t include them in the deer count again this year.

The letter showed up on the department’s letterhead and was signed by the deputy secretary.  No one knows who wrote the letter.  Unfortunately, garden gnomes still have to be removed so they aren’t included in the gnome count.  Just kidding.

Entrapment at its Finest, Maybe

Somersworth Police in New Hampshire devised a new way to ticket people who were not adhering to the state’s ban on cellphones and other electronic devices while driving.  They had an officer in plain clothes wearing a sign that said, “Repent! The end is near!”.  One motorist in particular was ticketed for taking a photo of the man while she sat with her daughter at a red light, who was the one who wanted her to take the picture.

New Hampshire police departments aren’t the only ones thinking up new ways to get people violating the cell phone ban law.  San Bernadino police in California acted as panhandlers with signs that read, “I am NOT homeless”, while they searched for violators of the law, and New York State Police have 32 unmarked SUVs to enforce the it there.  40 states ban texting while driving, and 12 states prohibit the use of hand-held devices.

Orange Money

A man in Florida was accused of stealing 4 million pounds of oranges and grapefruits, yes, 4 million, that had a value of $540,000.  It’s alleged that Bradly Reiter, of Winter Haven, Florida, agreed to harvest citrus from groves in March 2014 after he accepted three contracts to do so, but Reiter is not a licensed citrus dealer, and he also never paid the owners of the groves where he harvested the fruit.  It was reported that he gathered nearly 50,000 boxes of citrus from five different growers.

The Sky is not Falling.  Facebook Will Be Back Up Soon

The Houston Police Department had to remind residents via Twitter there that they are unable to assist with getting a person’s Facebook page back online when the social network was down.  People there had been calling 911 to get assistance from the police after Facebook had outages on two separate occasions.  And the problem hasn’t been limited to just Houston.  The Kingston Police in England also had to remind their residents via Twitter not to call emergency services when Facebook was down. Their tweet read, “Yes we can confirm Facebook is down, please don’t call us!  What a great opportunity to spend some time with your family…#FacebookDown.”

Thanks for reading another issue of the Odd Stew.  Check back again next week for more bizarre and weird things that you may have missed in your news feed.

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About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of great trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium. I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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