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Friday October 19th 2018

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News of the Weird 2/8/18

By the Editors at Andrews McMeel

Something to Sing About The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland has a new course of study for scholars to pursue: a bachelor’s or master’s in yodeling. Beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, students will be able to major in the traditional form of singing, which was used by Swiss herdsmen to communicate with each other in the mountains. The BBC reported that prize-winning yodeler Nadja Rass will lead the courses, which will also include musical theory and history. “We have long dreamed of offering yodeling at the university,” gushed Michael Kaufmann, head of the school’s music department.

Names in the News Police in Logansport, Indiana, finally caught up with the thief who had been targeting churches in the area since Jan. 16: Christian J. Alter, 22, of Kewanna, was charged with breaking into five houses of worship and stealing cash, according to the Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Alter was apprehended Jan. 23 just moments before the fifth burglary, at Rehoboth Christian Church, was discovered by police. He was being held in the Cass County Jail.

The Continuing Crisis Birds nesting near natural gas compressors have been found to suffer symptoms similar to PTSD in humans, according to researchers at the Florida Museum of Natural History, and noise pollution has been named the culprit. The Washington Post reported the team studied birds in the Rattlesnake Canyon Habitat Management Area in New Mexico, which is uninhabited by humans but does contain natural gas wells and compression stations that constantly emit a low-frequency hum. The steady noise was linked to abnormal levels of stress hormones, and the usually hardy western bluebirds in the area were found to be smaller and displayed bedraggled feathers. “The body is just starting to break down,” explained stress physiologist Christopher Lowry.

Armed and Naked In Texas, game wardens came across an arresting sight in Gregg County last November: an unnamed Upshur County man hunting in the nude along a state highway. The Houston Chronicle reported that the hunter, who is a well-known nudist and activist in the area, contested his arrest on charges including hunting without a license, but one look in court at the warden’s body cam footage undermined his case. The man then dropped his appeals and settled the citations.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent Vincente Rodrigues-Ortiz, 22, was arrested on Jan. 24 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the assault and murder of Andre Hawkins, 17, the day before. But when Rodrigues-Ortiz appeared in court on Jan. 25 for arraignment, he questioned the judge about his “other murder case.” WWMT TV reported that his query led prosecutors to interview and then swiftly charge him with the March 2017 homicide of Laurie Kay Lundeburg, and Rodrigues-Ortiz now awaits arraignment in that case as well.

Brutally Honest Kane Blake of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, has great things to say about his Springvalley home: “It’s a gorgeous neighborhood,” and his family loves most things about it. Nevertheless, the Blakes have listed their home for sale, with a sign out front reading: “Home for Sale by owner because neighbor is an —-hole.” Blake said a neighbor has been harassing his family for five years, including sending police and bylaws officers to the house for frivolous reasons and taking photos of Blake’s house. “My kids won’t even walk to school, they’re terrified,” he told the Kelowna Capital News, adding that he’s received several offers on his house.

Toilet Ghost Homeowners in Noosa, Queensland, Australia, were perplexed about why their toilet kept randomly flushing, so on Jan. 28, they looked into the flush mechanism embedded in the wall behind the toilet. Then they summoned Luke Huntley, a local snake catcher. Huntley found a 13-foot brown tree snake in the niche, according to the Daily Mail, resting on the flush mechanism. “Hopefully, he’s going to be able to come straight out,” Huntley said on a video of the capture, “but he’s a little grumpy.”

Bright Idea A landlord in Cardiff, Wales, was caught in a compromising position when he offered a special rent deal to an ITV Wales reporter with a hidden camera. The unnamed man posted an ad on Craigslist offering a 650-pound-per-month home with the option of a “reduced deposit/rent arrangement” for “alternative payments.” When he met reporter Sian Thomas at a restaurant to discuss the property, he said, “I don’t know if you have heard of a sort of ‘friends with benefits’ sort of arrangement,” reported Metro News on Jan. 30. He went on to say that if a once-a-week sex arrangement could be struck, “then I wouldn’t be interested in any rent from you at all.” The ITV Wales report was part of an investigation into “sex for rent” arrangements, which apparently are not uncommon in Wales, judging from other advertisements.