Sunday

October 22nd, 2017

Diversions

Awesome!

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published August 26, 2016

Awesome!

For the last 17 months, Stan Larkin, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, has gone about his business (even playing pickup basketball) without a functional heart in his body -- carrying around in a backpack the "organ" that pumps his blood. Larkin, 25, was born with a dangerous heart arrhythmia, and was kept alive for a while with a defibrillator and then by hooking him up to a washing- machine-sized heart pump, leaving him barely mobile -- but then came the miraculous SynCardia Freedom Total Artificial Heart, weighing 13 pounds and improving Larkin's quality of life as he endured the almost-interminable wait for a heart transplant (which he finally received in May). (An average of 22 people a day die awaiting organ transplants in the U.S.) [Washington Post, 6-10-2016]

An ordinary green tree frog recently injured in a "lawn-mowing accident" in Australia's Outback was flown about 600 miles from Mount Isa to the Cairns Frog Hospital. CFH president Deborah Pergolotti spoke despairingly to Australian Broadcasting Corp. News in June about how society underregards the poor frogs when it comes to rescue and rehab -- suggesting that "there's almost a glass ceiling" between them and the cuter animals. [Australian Broadcasting Corp. News, 6-6-2016]

News You Can Use: When they were starting out, the band Guns N' Roses practiced and "lived" in a storage unit in Los Angeles, according to a book-review essay in the May 2016 Harper's magazine, and "became resourceful," wrote the essayist. Wrote bass player Duff McKagan in one of the books reviewed: "You could get dirt-cheap antibiotics -- intended for use in aquariums -- at pet stores. Turned out tetracycline wasn't just good for tail rot and gill disease. It also did great with syphilis." [Harper's, May 2016]

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles