If a Monkey Takes a Selfie, Is It Yours?

Photo by Charles Sharp (not the monkey)

The case of who owns the copyright to a selfie taken by a monkey — the monkey or the guy who owns the camera — has been settled out of court. In 2015, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued on behalf of the macaque monkey who became a celebrity after he took a photo of himself with David Slater’s unattended camera during a 2011 trip to Indonesia. PETA was seeking financial control of the photographs for the benefit of the monkey. A U.S. District Court judge had already ruled in favor of Slater, but PETA appealed. Not all the terms of the settlement were made public, but Slater has agreed to donate 25 percent of the proceeds from the photo to charities dedicated to protecting macaques in Indonesia.

All in Favor Say Ah-Choo!

Scientists studying African wild dogs in Botswana discovered that the mutts use sneezes to vote on whether the pack should move on and hunt or stay put. University of New South Wales professor Dr. Neil Jordan studied the “highly energetic greeting ceremonies” the dogs would participate in after a period of rest. He saw 68 wild dog rallies from five African wild dog packs. “The more sneezes that occurred, the more likely it was that the pack moved off and started hunting. The sneeze acts like a type of voting system,” Jordan said in a statement. The dogs are practicing democracy, apparently, and are pretty sophisticated about it. If the top dog isn’t sneezing to show approval of a move, more sneezes were needed — about 10 — before the pack would move on. While scientists have long known about other democratic social carnivores, the big finding was learning that the alpha dog’s wishes could be undone by a collection of sneezes.

What Was He, Like 5?

Police in southwestern Ontario are looking for the jacknut who set up a child-like booby trap featuring three butter knives at his front door. The search was incited Sept. 18 when an officer went to an apartment complex to help a landlord with an evicted tenant he believed was trespassing. When the officer got on the scene, the landlord tried to open the door, but it was blocked. The officer applied some force and the door opened, which set in motion the flying-butter knife assault. To negate copycats the St. Thomas police chief didn’t provide too many details about how the trap was set, but we have to imagine it involved a toaster, a pool cue on a shoot, an egg timer, and a roller skate. Two of the knives hit the officer in the chest and hand, the third hit the floor. He was not seriously injured.

Cool Story, Bro

“We made the Hangover movie look tame,” Aaron Hughes told the Daily Post after he was arrested for swimming across the Hoover Dam. Hughes, 28, who made the trip as part of a bachelor party weekend in Vegas, is believed to be the first person to ever swim across the Colorado River at the Hoover Dam and survive. Officials told Hughes the only reason he wasn’t pulled under the water and destroyed was because nine out of the dam’s ten turbines were not on. Hughes said he did the “drink-fueled” swim on a whim: “We were all just standing there and I thought fuck it, I’m going for a swim.” Police, who were waiting at the other side of the reservoir for Hughes, arrested the British man and fined him $330.

Is That Turd Wearing a Fedora?

No you’re not tripping, there really is a giant shit in a fedora waving to you from behind the counter at Denny’s. The late-night restaurant chain has been roundly thumped by the internet after introducing its newest mascots: the grand slams (they serve something called a Grand Slam, so, yeah). The team is made up of anthropomorphized breakfast chow. There’s the hat-wearing, butter-nosed pancake that looks so tortured, I’d bet he prays nightly for death; a strip of bacon with teeth; a bland egg girl; and the aforementioned shit — I believe he is intended to look like a sausage. Oh! And they have a show that streams on Denny’s website. There are 28 episodes. I have enough nightmare fuel in my head, so you’ll have to watch them for yourself if you want to know what happens to Pancake. (Editor’s note: had to give you a taste, at least! See below.) I can tell you, however, that through Denny’s posting of show clips, there is a scene in which the sausage scrambles around the ground frantically looking for corn. Last time I was at Denny’s, I saw Pancake. Will the rest roll out? Woof.

Dealing with the 1 Percent

The Pasco County Sheriff’s office in Florida wasn’t so sure every one of the 54,000 people who said they were going to the Facebook event, “Shoot at Hurricane Irma,” on Sept. 10, were joking. Feeling threatened by the hurricane, the organizer suggested that residents “show Irma that we shoot first,” in an apparent reference to the state’s Stand Your Ground law. The police department made a high quality graphic to show people who planned to shoot at the hurricane that there’s a chance the bullets could come back at them. “Over 99 percent of the people out there have common sense and are listening, but we in law enforcement deal with the 1 percent, so we are trying to get the message to them,” explained Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco in USA Today.

Pizza and Parking Lots

Would you pay $75 to eat cold pizza and drink warm wine in a parking lot in Brooklyn? If you said yes, well you missed your chance because the New York City Pizza Festival was Sept. 9. Attendees said they were promised a celebration of pizza and the vibe was anything, but festive. Because this is New York City, and they take their pizza seriously, the state Attorney General is asking people who purchased tickets to file a complaint through the AG’s website, because an investigation was opened two days after the fest.

Keep it weird Pioneer Valley — and tell us about it. Send weird news tips to deisen@valleyadvocate.com.