Greetings, and thanks for joining me for another week. First, were Liquid Stupid Pills involved? A sign of the Times – Part I. I am thinking this man is lucky to be alive – very lucky, indeed! Fort Bragg, North Carolina, declared an emergency back on Oct. 30th when one of its soldiers had the brilliant idea to show up at a Halloween party on base dressed as a suicide bomber, with realistic-looking canisters in a wired vest. Entry gates to the post (headquarters of Army Special Forces and Airborne troops) immediately went into extended lockdown, and a bomb-disposal team was called. The soldier’s name was not released. [Army Times]

Next, sounds like fun to me (or living the life). Earlier this year, WNBC-TV’s investigative unit in New York City reported on a series of fetish parties in Manhattan reportedly organized by a licensed M.D., in which the consensual activities consisted of saline scrotal inflation, controlled near-asphyxiation and controlled arterial blood-letting (in which splatters are captured on a canvas as if made by a painter). An event organizer said the “Cirque de Plaisir” was more of a “performance art” display by a few body-modification aficionados than it was a fetish “party.” Local governments were alarmed especially by the blood splatters’ endangering onlookers and promised an investigation. [WNBC-TV] And here I am sitting home, absolutely uncool, watching TV, reading, and writing.

Finally, you had one job! Two men from Manitoba, Canada, are investigating the circumstances surrounding them being given to the wrong families after being born at a federal hospital. Born on June 19, 1975, Luke Monias and Norman Barkman grew up as close friends and always had suspicions that they belonged in each other’s family. Forty years later, DNA tests confirmed these suspicions and now the men are investigating how such a critical error was made. “Mr. Barkman and Mr. Monias are calling on the federal government to initiate an immediate investigation into the events surrounding this grievous error, and I support them in that endeavor,” Provincial Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson said at a press conference. The men said that while they often questioned whether they were in the right family, neither suspected it of being anything more than a rumor until recently. The news dealt a devastating blow to both men as Monias has still not been able to tell his children. “I want the federal government to do an investigation why and how this happened to us,” Monias said. “I would like some answers for me and my family.” The situation is further complicated by the fact that Barkman’s biological mother and Monias’s biological father are deceased. In the end, both men simply want someone in the government to give them a clear explanation. “I just want to know what happened 40 years ago,” Barkman said. “It’s hard. I just want to know what happened.” [UPI]

I am wondering if any taxpayer money was used for this vastly important study! If you don’t think American bathroom habits are gross or disgusting, you’re in for a shock. A whopping 61 percent admit they pee in the shower, and 41 percent admit pissing in swimming pools. That’s just one of the bodily function bits of info wiped up in a survey conducted on behalf of, makers of a wireless waterproof Bluetooth-enabled shower speaker. Abco Tech founder Yossi Fisch figures there’s a good reason why people are so willing to be gross in private. “The bathroom is one of the few sanctuaries in your home where you can let your hair down, release the tensions of the day and just be yourself,” Fisch said in a press release. “People cling to certain habits, whether while using the toilet or bathing, and music is often part of that routine.” Other crucial findings: 50 percent of respondents said they fold their toilet paper before wiping themselves while 30 percent just wad it up.60 percent wipe front to back while 20 percent go against the grain and do it back to front. 60 percent believe a toilet paper roll should go over the top and in the front, but 13 percent prefer it rolling under and in the back. 43 percent admit to checking the contents of the bowl before flushing. 37 percent look at their toilet paper after wiping. Uh… good to know.

Maybe people are the same everywhere…. A ban on alcohol in Saudi Arabia recently drove a smuggler to try to cross into the Arab state from the UAE with 48,000 cans of Heineken beer—all disguised as Pepsi cans, Al Arabiya reports. “A truck carrying what first seemed to be normal cans of the soft drink Pepsi was stopped, and after the standard process of searching the products, it became clear that the alcoholic beers were covered with Pepsi’s sticker logos,” a border official said. [Newser]

Tori McIntyre ran away to school. Yes, to school: The 17-year-old left home and escaped to an El Paso, Texas, public school. She and her siblings were registered as being home-schooled, but her uncle Tracy said he had never seen them studying, only singing and playing instruments. One of them, he claimed, even said there was no need to study because the Rapture was coming. When the school district investigated McIntyre’s parents sued, alleging that investigating their home-schooling choices violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Education Code. Texas “already has some of country’s laxest laws” on home schooling, the Washington Post says, but the state requires a “bona fide” education (a novel concept) — without defining what that is. Truancy charges were filed and dropped, but the parents’ lawsuit is now before the Texas Supreme Court; it may affect the independence of home-schooling parents across the state. (Washington Post, Austin American-Statesman]

A Sign of the Times – Part II. More on Halloween. When a student arrived at Pueblo County High School in Pueblo, Colo., wearing a trench coat and gas mask, other students freaked out and notified teachers. “That teacher reported it to administration right away,” says District 70 Superintendent Ed Smith. “Administration went to the scene, and escorted the individual to the office.” The girl involved had no weapons, and explained the outfit was her Halloween costume. Yet the school called the police, who brought in their SWAT team to sweep the school; they found no weapons or other cause of concern. Naturally, the school realized it overreacted and gave the girl a one-day in-school suspension, and that’s the end of the story, right? Not in a zero-tolerance environment: the school has started expulsion proceedings against the girl. “Because of the world we live in now,” Smith says, “we take all those kinds of things very seriously.” [KKTV]

Finally, A Sign of the Times – Part III. Two elementary schools in Edina, Minn., spent about $30,000 to hire consultants from a company called Playworks to help make recess better. “Every school is looking for a way to increase student activity and engagement and decrease conflict,” said Chris Holden, principal at one of the schools. With the advice of the consultants, children are allowed to select from a list of “games of the week” that are overseen by adults. Phrases like “you’re out” are …uh… out in favor of more inclusive terms like “good job” or “nice try.” Some of the kids — and parents — don’t like the new structure (that’s a surprise), and the kids are finding recess confusing. “The philosophy of Playworks does not fit Concord,” said parent Kathy Sandven. “It is a structured philosophy — an intervention philosophy — not allowing kids for free play.” Researchers say the changes resulted in less bullying and more learning focus in schools, but some experts say the reduction in free play reduces learning. “He feels like that’s not playing anymore,” said a parent about her fourth-grade son. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune] I am amazed that philosophy hasn’t spread to professional sports. I mean, in baseball, the umpires cold yell, “You’re not safe!” Players could feel better about themselves that way! Sigh.