Weird Week: Running across a whole continent and other wild stories

Another week, another parade of the strange.

  • In Chechnya, losing yourself at the club is about to become a balancing act. The Russian republic’s new Goldilocks law bans musical compositions deemed too slow or too fast, which it defines as falling outside of a tempo of 80-116 beats per minute (e.g., “Hotel California” by Eagles: too fast, “Hello” by Adele: too slow). According to the Chechen Ministry of Culture, anything outside of that range doesn’t “conform to the Chechen mentality and sense of rhythm.” It essentially criminalizes most pop songs, the top 20 of which averaged 122 BPM in 2020. Their enforcement strategy is unclear, but artists reportedly have until June 1 to update their music to fit the bill.
  • “I’m a little bit tired,” says man after running 10k+ miles across Africa (also us after 3pm.) Russ Cook, who set off from South Africa last April to run the length of the continent, accomplished the feat over the weekend in Tunisia — running 10.1k miles across 16 countries in 352 days, and raising $870k+ for charity. But the 27-year-old Englishman endured more than throbbing feet along the way — in addition to health and visa complications, he was robbed at gunpoint, held up by machete-wielding men, and skirting war zones.
  • Meet Mexico’s new feline officials: Bowie, Nube, Coco, Zeus, and more. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared 19 feral cats “living fixed assets” of Mexico City’s National Palace, a title typically reserved for historic buildings. According to staff, feral cats have lived among the palace’s gardens and its grounds for decades, sometimes wandering into meetings and even making cameos in press briefings. The country’s Treasury will now provide the newly appointed bureau-cats with food and care in (please forgive us) purr-petuity.
  • “Armed man” ends up being a Star Wars fan dressed as a stormtrooper. The force was with him — the police force, that is. A Scottish man, who goes by the name “Grampian Stormtrooper” on Facebook, was traveling to a convention in Dundee, Scotland, in his $1.25k costume when he was escorted off a train by law enforcement officers who received reports of an armed man. The “arms” in question? His “blaster,” a costume prop that police asked him to conceal anyway. The man, who says he’s been doing this for 10 years without trouble, responded: “Crazy world we live in.” We’d say as much.

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