Funerals and burials, in the United States and elsewhere, are no longer always so staid. Most famously, one man was, per his instructions, lowered to the ground inside his beloved Cadillac; dressing corpses in fanciful outfits (such as the Green Lantern) is not unheard of. In October, after Mr. Jomar Aguayo Collazo, 23, was killed in a shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the family outfitted his body in his favorite blue tracksuit and propped him up at a table in his mother's tavern ("playing" dominoes and holding a drink and a condom) -- as friends and relatives passed by to pay their respects.
The list of all-time extreme body modifiers would start with the late Dennis "Stalking Cat" Avner (who incrementally cut, chipped, tattooed, pierced and implanted his body to make himself a human feline) and the similarly obsessive Erik "Lizardman" Sprague, who at one time toured with the Jim Rose Circus. Newer to the scene is Britain's Ted Richards, 57, working to become a human parrot. With 110 colorful tattoos, 50 piercings and a split tongue, he currently seeks a surgeon to turn his nose into a beak. Even without the beak, though, Richard says becoming parrotlike "is the best thing that has happened to me."
College "Inclusiveness" to the Next Level: "Service" animals (mostly guide dogs) are ones that have been specially trained to provide help for people with disabilities, but untrained "comfort" animals are also privileged for those diagnosed with panic attacks or depression. In an October report on college students hoping to keep their pets in no-animal dorms, The New York Times noted that school officials have entertained student requests for the "comfort" of (besides dogs and cats) lizards, potbellied pigs, tarantulas, ferrets, guinea pigs and "sugar gliders" (nocturnal, flying, six-ounce Australian marsupials). Informal Justice Department guidelines rule out only animals that are aggressive or destructive or that trigger other students' allergies.
Live Long and Prosper...