Good morning, and welcome to our weekly IM Saturday Monks Brunch. All this past week, it seems like every time I looked at the news or at links on my Facebook feed, I said, “Yikes!” A whole bunch of crazy things have been happening lately. Let’s put some of them together and marvel at the wackiness of life as we enjoy our time around the table today.
We’ll start with a few photos that made me say, “Yikes!” in puzzlement, amazement, and laughter.
Here are ten of the top Yikes! stories of the week. How would you rank them?
Yikes 1! — DEADLY BAPTISM!
FROM THE BBC: Docho Eshete was conducting the ceremony for about 80 people on Sunday morning at Lake Abaya in Arba Minch town’s Merkeb Tabya district.
Residents and police told BBC Amharic a crocodile leapt from the water during the baptism and attacked him.
Pastor Docho died after being bitten on his legs, back and hands.
“He baptised the first person and he passed on to another one. All of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor,” local resident Ketema Kairo told the BBC.
Despite huge efforts, fishermen and residents could not save pastor Docho, policeman Eiwnetu Kanko said.
They used fishing nets to prevent the crocodile from taking the pastor’s body into the lake.
The crocodile escaped.
Yikes 2! — ATTACK OF THE SEVERED SNAKE HEAD!
FROM FOX NEWS: A Texas man is recovering after he claims the head of a rattlesnake bit him — moments after he had just cut it off.
Jennifer Sutcliffe’s husband was reportedly bitten by the beheaded snake on May 27 at his home near Lake Corpus Christi.
Sutcliffe told KIII-TV the two were doing yard work when she came across the four-foot rattlesnake. She said her husband used a shovel to behead the snake, but when he went to dispose of it, it bit him.
The snake, Sutcliffe said, “released all its venom into him at that point” because it no longer had a body, and her husband reportedly began immediately experiencing seizures and internal bleeding, and lost his vision.
The man was transported via helicopter to a hospital, where doctors said there was a chance he wouldn’t make it.
“A normal person who is going to get bit is going to get two to four doses of antivenom,” Sutcliffe told the news station. “He had to have 26 doses.”
Her husband is now in stable condition but is suffering from weak kidney functions, Sutcliffe said.
Yikes 3! — EXTREME ROAD RAGE IN SACRAMENTO!
Yikes 4! — WORST OBITUARY EVER!
Yikes 5! — ATTACK OF THE FERAL PEACOCKS!
FROM CTV NEWS: Car owners in Surrey, B.C., have been left counting the costs after their cars were attacked by feral peacocks.
For years, residents in the Sullivan Heights neighbourhood have complained about the noise and property damage caused by the feathered vandals during mating season.
And now the peacocks are causing mayhem again, inflicting thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to expensive cars parked in the area.
The colourful creatures use their sharp beaks and talons to lash out at their reflections – believing them to be be rival peacocks.
“With the dark-coloured cars, they can see their reflection fairly clearly, so they mistake that as another peacock and have at it,” resident Ryan Cragg told CTV Vancouver.
He explained that the standoff can sometimes go on for hours.
“They’ll get the front panel, the side panel, the rear panel and then work around to the other side.”
[Note to self: “Feral Peacocks” will definitely be the name for my next band.]
Yikes 6! — ATTACK OF THE CHICKEN FEATHERS!
FROM NPR: Sometimes, a Wednesday evening just calls for a fluff piece — and sometimes, we mean “fluff piece” literally.
Commuters in Washington state found themselves stuck in a massive traffic jam before dawn Wednesday after a semi-truck rolled over on Interstate 5, spilling some rather curious cargo onto the asphalt: feathers. Lots and lots — and lots — of feathers.
In fact, the Washington State Department of Transportation said the overturned semi lost about 40,000 pounds of chicken feathers.
A WSDOT traffic engineer did some helpful calculations for all of us, noting the load roughly equates to 18 million feathers — or, by another measure, “almost 2,300 chickens worth of feathers.”
Yikes 7! — EXPLODING ROTTING FISH ART! (It’s not just a punk band.)
FROM LIVE SCIENCE: Something was rotten in a London art gallery last week — an installation of sequin-embroidered decomposing fish sealed in clear plastic bags.
But before the exhibit even opened, the malodorous artwork unexpectedly combusted and set fire to the gallery.
The installation — a piece called “Majestic Splendor” by Lee Bul — was part of an exhibition of the Korean artist’s work, scheduled to open at the Hayward Gallery on May 30. Then, hours before the show’s first preview, the gassy art blew up, causing a fire that damaged part of the gallery, artnet News reported.
…As fish decay, they emit amines — compounds of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen — which produce odors that are intensely powerful and distinctively “fishy,” Preston MacDougall, a professor with the Department of Chemistry at Middle Tennessee State University, told Live Science in an email.
But these compounds aren’t just smelly — they’re also potentially explosive. Certain molecular bonds connecting hydrogen and carbon can release a lot of energy when vaporized — in gasoline, high-energy bonds in hydrocarbon molecules give the fuel its kick (and make it highly flammable). Similar energy reserves lurk in the molecular bonds of hydrogen and carbon compounds produced by decomposing fish, creating the possibility of an explosion under the right conditions, MacDougall explained.
For the new show and for previous installations after the MoMA debacle, potassium permanganate — also known as KMnO4 — was added to “Majestic Splendor” to reduce the smell of the rotting fish. In fact, KMnO4 is a time-honored choice for masking strong odors, Raychelle Burks, an assistant professor of chemistry at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, told Live Science in an email.
“This chemical is a good oxidizing agent, reacting with a range of stinky, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to produce far less stinky or no-stink compounds,” Burks said.
But when combined with combustible material, KMnO4 is known to trigger violent explosions under certain circumstances, she added. It’s possible that the compounds produced by the putrefying fish interacted with KMnO4 to spark combustion, but it’s also likely that the explosion was caused by pressure buildup from trapped gases that had nowhere to go, similar to the effect that causes beached and bloated dead whales to explode, Burks told Live Science.
Yikes 8! — YOU HAVE A BRAIN IN YOUR BUTT!
AGAIN, FROM LIVE SCIENCE: You’re reading these words because you have a brain in your head. But did you know you also have a brain in your butt?
OK, not a literal brain — more of an autonomous matrix of millions of neurons that can, somehow, control intestinal muscle movements without any help from your central nervous system. And these neurons don’t actually live in your butt, but they do live in your colon, or large intestine — that tube-like organ that connects the small intestine to the rectum and shepherds what remains of the food you ate through the final leg of the digestive tract.
Scientists call this site of colon intelligence your enteric nervous system, and because it can function without instructions from the brain or spine, some scientists like to call it your “second brain.”
Yikes 9! — LIQUID POO IS FALLING FROM THE SKY!
FROM THE HUFF POST: Susan Allan said that on May 9, she and her adult son were sitting in her car at a stoplight when the feces came pouring in through the sunroof.
“While we were sitting there, our car was inundated with liquid poo falling from the sky,” Allan told GlobalNews.ca. “I had it on my face, down my shirt, my entire car, and the vehicle beside us were all covered in it.”
Allan said she and her son, Travis Sweet, watched the excrement fall as a large passenger plane flew overhead.
The actual sensation of crap hitting their skin was something Travis will never forget. First, he said, he felt a cold sensation hit the side of his face and shoulder.
“Then the smell hit my nose,” he said. “I almost vomited instantly. It was terrible.”
Allan contacted Kelowna Airport for answers.
An administrator for Transport Canada told her the government department would investigate the possibility of frozen lavatory waste, called “blue ice,” falling from an aircraft, according to The Globe and Mail newspaper.
…the Kelowna International Airport told CTV News that it believes the liquid poo came from one of three planes that were passing over that area at the time.
Yikes 10! — ATTACK OF THE ANGRY BISON!
- On the morning of June 6, 59-year-old Kim Hancock of Santa Rosa, California, was gored by a bull bison at Fountain Paint Pot in the Lower Geyser Basin.
- Hancock and a crowd of people approached within ten yards of the bison while walking along a boardwalk. At one point, people were closer than 15 feet from the bison. When it crossed the boardwalk, the bison became agitated and charged the crowd, goring Hancock. The bison immediately left the area.
- Rangers responded to the incident and treated Hancock for a hip injury: she was transported by paramedic ambulance to the Big Sky Medical Center in Big Sky, Montana, in good condition.
- This incident remains under investigation.
- This is the second incident of a bison injuring a visitor in 2018 (previous release: Bison injures visitor at Old Faithful). There was one incident in 2017 and five in 2015.
- In a little over a month, four people have been injured by wildlife in Yellowstone.
In a more serious and sobering light, rest in peace, Anthony Bourdain.
Bourdain, chef, author, traveler, television personality, is one of the “religionless” that Bonhoeffer wrote about to whom I was drawn. I loved that he took his passion for food and used it to explore and expand his curiosity for the people, places, and cultures of the world.
Anthony Bourdain could be raw and uncouth, but he was always fully human, plain spoken, and interesting. Who knows what demons he battled? May God’s mercy and comfort rest upon him.