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Name Games | Cultural Diversity

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published March 3, 2015

Name Games | Cultural Diversity

Fourteen employees of a Framingham, Massachusetts, pharmacy were indicted in December for defrauding the federal government by filling bogus prescriptions (despite an owner's explicit instructions to staff that the fake customers' names "must resemble real names," with "no obviously false names" that might tip off law enforcement).

Among the names later found on the customer list of the New England Compounding Center were: Baby Jesus, Hugh Jass, L.L. Bean, Filet O'Fish, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Harry Potter, Coco Puff, Mary Lamb, all of the Baldwin brother actors, and a grouping of Bud Weiser, Richard Coors, Raymond Rollingrock and, of course, Samuel Adams. The indictments were part of an investigation of a 2012 meningitis outbreak in which 64 people died. [WBZ-TV (Boston), 12-17-2014]

Two recent innovations to the generations-old Middle East sport of camel racing boosted its profile. First, to cleanse the sport of a sour period in which children from Bangladesh were trafficked to use as jockeys, owners have begun using "robot" jockeys -- electronic dummies that respond to trainers tracking the races with walkie-talkies (growling encouragement directly into camels' ears) and joysticks (that trigger a whip at an appropriate time). Second, the firm Al Shibla Middle East of United Arab Emirates has introduced lycra-style, whole-body camel coverings that are believed to enhance blood circulation and, perhaps, racing speed (although the fashions are now used only in training and transportation, to lessen camels' "stress"). Ultimately, of course, the coverings may carry advertising. [New York Times, 12-26-2014] [7 Days in Dubai, 12-31-2014]

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