Being stuck inside(Where it’s marginally warmer) for extended periods can send a person(at least this one)over the edge, or at least out on the slippery part.  While out there, one can run across some quirkily weird items in the news, To wit :

Bet you missed the ‘no pants’ stunt (not something you’d want to try in this weather anyway) that  first turned up in New York in 2002.  Termed  “an international celebration of silliness” by organizers (People organize stuff like this?) It began as the No Pants Subway Ride. It was slated for dozens of cities all over the world last Sunday.  Participants were expected to show up at a downtown subway station in Bucharest, Romania wearing coats, hats, gloves and scarves–no pants.  Predictably, the   transportation officials have  ”got their knickers in a twist” (You should pardon the expression) over this and have declared that those “who disturb public order or are indecent will be fined” and reported to the police, according to the item from Associated Press.  Sub-zero temperatures may have temporarily frozen these plans(along with some vital anatomical features).  You could freeze your fern out there!  Stay tuned.  

And then there was the Florida man who called the police to observe his actions when he planned to spank his daughter.  He said that, after hearing of numerous concerns about instances of child abuse, he did not want to be breaking the law, only to discipline his 12-yr-old.  A patrolman was dispatched to the residence, observed the action and reported that no laws had been broken.

So much for what’s going on outside, now about  inside news.

A man in the United Kingdom  just paid about $500 for surgery on his constipated goldfish(Carassius auratus auratus—glam relatives of the Asian carp).  Question #1 : How did he know of the little piscine pal’s affliction?  Question # 2 : How does one look for a specialist in this sort of thing?  Question  # 3 : Are there specialists in this sort of thing? 

 Well, apparently there are, because he found one at a veterinary clinic in Norfolk, England.  The doc who performed the operation, assisted by two veterinary nurses, said that the operation itself was not as difficult as the administration of anesthetic, which required specially-treated water flushed through the fish’s mouth and gills, as well as a teeny-tiny heart monitor.  Three stitches were required for each of the growths removed from the fish and after the nearly hour-long procedure the scales were fastened with a special waterproof glue.  The fish—no name was given—has apparently recovered and is swimming about in fine fettle.  He was lucky to have escaped the Royal Flush Burial at Sea which comes to the vast majority of ailing inhabitants of aquariums.  Apparently the owner had originally abandoned his finny friend when he heard how much the treatment was going to cost, then returned after 10 minutes to give the go ahead.  Goldfish can live as long a ten years and this particular specimen was two years and ten months old.  Hope that somebody got their money’s worth.  (You wouldn’t believe the entries on the page that this information came from on the internet)

On the same anatomical front—or rear, if you like–Consumer Reports mentions that 1941 was the first year that the organization (Consumer Union) tested toilet paper and found no splinters—a problem with earlier versions.  Problem! ???  Well, I should think!  Even Sears & Roebuck didn’t have that difficulty; no wood in the pages of the ladies’ garment section of the catalog, that’s for sure. ( Ever notice the colors listed?  Cornflower, buttercup, primrose, lilac…no plain old blue or yellow or pink or purple for them, no sirree! )  Yikes!  Splinters!  Currently, the group reports that White Cloud Ultra 3 Ply is “TOPS for bottoms” (sic), scoring 17-24 points above the competition.  Splinters long gone, apparently.  We can only hope!

Actually, folks have been studying this problem and this product since the Chinese (It would be, wouldn’t it?) developed the first examples somewhere around the 6th century C.E. (A.D.).  In 589, the scholar Yan Zhitui (Would Wikipedia lie?) wrote about it.  In 1393 the Ming Dynasty produced an annual supply of 720,000 sheets (2’x3’) was produced for the imperial court at Nanjing.  And you thought they only made vases!  In the U.S., Gayetti’s medicated paper for the water closet was introduced; this was considered a medicinal product.  A patent was issued in 1883 for a perforated toilet paper roll and dispenser( There are seven identified variations now).  Toilet paper has been used in physics (NOT physic) education to demonstrate the concepts involved in torque, moment of inertia, angular momentum, conservation of momentum and energy.  Betcha you never thought of  THAT when using the product.

The Scott Paper Company was the first to go “above and beyond” (instead of behind and below) in the paper products field and come up with the paper towel, supposedly when a boxcarful of paper turned out to be too thick for toilet tissue.  Arthur Scott, recalling a news story about a Philadelphia school teacher giving her snuffly little charges pieces of paper to wipe their noses on, thus saving them from the contamination of the then-in-use cloth roller towels and slowing the spread of the contagion, had the paper perforated and sold as Sani-Towels in 1907.  Kitchen paper towels were later on the scene, appearing in 1931.

Are you getting a theme in all of this?  “All’s well that ends well,” maybe?