— To commemorate its 500th “deep brain stimulation” surgery in May, UCLA Medical Center live-Tweeted its operation on musician Brad Carter, 39, during which he was required to strum his guitar and sing so that surgeons would know where in his brain to plant the electrical stimulator that would relieve his Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Carter had developed hand tremors in 2006, but the stimulator, once it is properly programed and the surgery healed, is expected to reduce his symptoms, restore some guitar-playing ability, and reduce his medication need. (And, yes, patients normally remain conscious during the surgery.)
— Fruit of any kind retails for outlandish prices in Japan, but some, such as Yubari cantaloupes, are so prestigious that they are often presented as gifts to friends or colleagues, and it was only mildly surprising that a pair of the melons sold in May for the equivalent of about $15,700 at auction at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market. The melons appeared to be perfect specimens, with their T-shaped stalk still attached. The record melon-pair price, set in 2008, is about $24,500 measured at today’s exchange rate.
— Still unclear on the concept: Briar MacLean, 13, of Calgary, Alberta, was reprimanded by school officials in May (and then also lost an appeal) after he stepped between two students because one, holding a knife, was bullying the other. The vice principal appeared to regard Briar’s action as equal to that of the bully, telling Briar’s mother later that the school does not “condone heroics,” and that it was “beside the point” that Briar might well have prevented a slashing (which could have occurred if he had left the boys behind to go find a teacher).
— Some crime-scene investigative techniques seem far-fetched, as News of the Weird has reported, but police use of “ear prints” might be approaching the mainstream. Britain convicted its first burglar based on an ear print in 1998, and in May 2013, investigators in Lyon, France, tied a 26-year-old man from the Republic of Georgia to a string of about 80 burglaries — by taking prints from doors the man had leaned against while listening for activity inside the home.
— Among the oldest classic stories in News of the Weird is the hapless burglar or bank robber who inadvertently incriminates himself at the scene of the crime. Recently, (1) Korey Harris, a defensive lineman for West Virginia University’s football team, was arrested in July for a home invasion he allegedly committed while wearing his practice sweatpants emblazoned with his jersey number (96). (2) Police in Boston are confident that Zachary Tentoni is the man who robbed a woman in the yard of Harbor Middle School in June because, as he grabbed her purse and fled, he dropped two bags he was carrying. Among the contents: Tentoni’s birth certificate and a letter from his mother.
— Zero-tolerance alive and well: Second-grader Josh Welch’s two-day suspension in March was upheld on appeal in June by Park Elementary School officials of Anne Arundel County, Md., even though his offense was that he had nibbled a pastry into the shape of a gun, which he then waved around. Said Josh’s attorney: “If this (school system) can’t educate a 7-year-old without putting him out of school, how are they going to deal with 17-year-olds?” —Chuck Shepherd