this is weird
August 7, 2017

Eighty-three-year-old Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) learned Monday that to "shoot one's wad" no longer means to most people what it did in the good ol' days.

Last Wednesday, the Utah senator complained that "we're not going back to health care. We're in tax now. As far as I'm concerned, they shot their wad on health care and that's the way it is. I'm sick of it." The comment naturally earned a few chuckles, although Hatch did nothing to discourage amused smiles when he protested Monday:

It's true that "wad" used to commonly refer to "a plug of tow, cloth, etc." that was used to "retain the powder and shot in position in charging a gun or cartridge" and that "to shoot one's wad" meant, colloquially, "to do all that one can do." Hatch is also correct that few of us were alive during the Civil War to actually learn this.

He fails to add though, that despite his age potentially precluding him from searching the phrase on Urban Dictionary first, he was not alive during the Civil War either. Jeva Lange

April 24, 2016

Conservative billionaire political donor Charles Koch said "it's possible" Hillary Clinton could make a better president than any of the remaining Republican contenders in a This Week interview airing Sunday.

"We would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric," Koch said, not letting onto whether he might end up supporting her.

He also suggested Bill Clinton, by some measures, was a better leader than his successor, George W. Bush, particularly in terms of government spending. Julie Kliegman

December 14, 2015

In late 2014, Mark Oberholtzer was bombarded with phone calls. People were wondering why he's sympathizing with terrorists. That's because the Texas plumber's company truck, which he had traded into a dealer, apprently ended up in Syria, logo in tact, being used by purported extremists:

Oberholtzer is now suing AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway, the Houston dealership, The Washington Post reports. He claims AutoNation was supposed to remove the decal, which has apparently remained on the truck even as the rest of it was repurposed. The truck had reportedly been imported to Turkey from a used car dealer in December 2013, a full year before the image of the vehicle started garnering attention online.

If there was any hope of reprieve from unwanted internet attention for Oberholtzer, it was probably dashed when 2.5 million viewers saw a photo of his truck on The Colbert Report's final episode. Julie Kliegman

August 8, 2014

Oh, the irony: The tick named after a state known for its barbecue can make its victims become allergic to red meat.

The Lone Star tick was first linked to meat allergies in 2011. The co-author of that paper, Dr. Scott Commins of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, now tells The Associated Press he sees two to three cases every week. Commins thinks the allergy "does not seem to be lifelong, but the caveat is, additional tick bites bring it back."

Patients often don't understand what is happening after discovering the allergy, since they've been eating meat their entire life without incident. Louise Danzig, 63, ate a hamburger and then several hours later woke up with swollen hands that "were on fire with itching." By the time she knew she needed to call for help, her lips and tongue were swollen and she could barely speak. Georgette Simmons, 71, became ill after eating a steak. "I was itching all over, and I broke out into hives," she said. "Nothing like that had ever happened to me before."

Lone Star ticks are making their way across the United States, the AP reports, and researchers believe other types of ticks could also create meat allergies. The problem isn't just in the U.S; cases have popped up in Germany, Sweden, France, Japan, Korea, and Australia. Catherine Garcia

June 27, 2014

The drama took place offstage Thursday night when actor Shia LaBeouf was arrested and charged with harassment, disorderly conduct, and criminal trespass following an incident at New York's Studio 54 theater.

LaBeouf allegedly went around the theater during a performance of Cabaret and hit people in the back of the head while smoking, Page Six reports. Once police officers came up to him, he became "very agitated," and tried to walk away but fell on his face. He was handcuffed and taken to the Midtown-North station, where he allegedly demanded the cuffs come off. According to sources, he told officers, "I'll f—k you up!" and "I have millions and millions of dollars and attorneys, I'm going to ruin your career." He also allegedly called one officer a "f—g."

LaBeouf has a long history of odd run-ins with the law. He was filmed head butting a man at a London bar earlier this year, punched a man in a Los Angeles bar in 2011, and was arrested for allegedly refusing to leave a Walgreens in Chicago in 2007. The photo below by Instagram user Mrknowlesitall shows a man he says is LaBeouf getting arrested outside the theatre. --Catherine Garcia

June 25, 2014

At the EPA, s--t happens. Literally.

Government Executive obtained an email sent by management at a Denver EPA branch, in which Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor begged employees to stop performing inappropriate behavior that included "placing feces in the hallway."

Cantor mentioned "several incidents" that had occurred in the government building. After the incidents, EPA management brought in workplace violence expert John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces were a health and safety risk, in addition to being "very dangerous."

"Management is taking this situation very seriously and will take whatever actions are necessary to identify and prosecute these individuals," Cantor wrote in the email. Meghan DeMaria

June 11, 2014

It was Mayor Kneier, in the driveway, with a bag of poop.

San Marino, California, resident Philip Lao says that the town's mayor, Dennis Kneier, threw a bag of dog feces at his home in retaliation for his stance against opening a dog park nearby. Lao's yard is filled with signs that declare it a "no poop zone."

Lao has surveillance cameras on his property, NBC Los Angeles reports, and says that they clearly show Kneier and his wife walking by his home on Saturday, and Kneier throwing the bag onto the walkway. Lao suggests that the gesture was the mayor's way of getting back at him for his opposition to the dog park, but that Kneier also dislikes the "no poop zone" signs; Lao has told the City Council he will not remove them until other residents take down their USC and UCLA signs. Neither Lao nor the mayor owns a dog.

The San Marino Police got involved, and after hours of crack detective work, came to the conclusion that yes, the bag had been placed there on purpose. Kneier told NBC4 on Tuesday that he wasn't 100 percent sure where he picked up the bag before placing it in the walkway, but if he could go back in time, he would have left it where it was or thrown it away in the trash. "I take responsibility for what happened," he said. "I'm sorry it happened.... This was a mistake." --Catherine Garcia

June 4, 2014

Using genetic material from a living relative, a copy of Vincent Van Gogh's ear (let's pretend it's the one he cut off) is currently on display in a German museum.

Artist Diemut Strebe used living cells from Van Gogh's brother's great-great-great-grandson to create the replica, The Associated Press reports. Strebe then used a 3D printer and shaped the cells to resemble the ear. "I use science basically like a type of brush, like Vincent used paint," she said. The ear was grown at a hospital in Boston, and is currently being kept alive in a case that contains a special liquid. Work is underway to use mitochondrial DNA from one of Van Gogh's female relatives to create a future installation.

In addition to looking at the ear and asking, "Why?" visitors to the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe can speak into it through a microphone. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads