The Weird Workplace

A collection of unusual and quirky stories from across Canada and around the world
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/03/2017

HEATED COURTROOM

MIAMI — A Miami lawyer had to abruptly leave the courtroom recently when his pants caught on fire. Making the story even more unusual? He was the defence lawyer for an arson case. Stephen Gutierrez was in the middle of arguing that his client’s car spontaneously combusted, and was not intentionally set on fire, when smoke began billowing out of his pocket, according to the Miami Herald. The 28-year-old rushed out of the courtroom and later returned with a singed pocket, blaming a faulty battery in an e-cigarette. Despite the distraction, the accused was later convicted of second-degree arson. And a circuit judge could hold Gutierrez in contempt of court.

A NEW KIND OF CONSTRUCTION SITE

STUPINO, RUSSIA — Construction workers may want to start rethinking their careers after two Russian companies revealed they had “printed” a house. Apis Cor and PIK used a mobile 3D printer and automatic mix and supply unit to print walls, partitions and a building “envelope” in less than a day. The circular house measures 38 square metres and features a bathroom, living room and kitchen. The total cost? $10,134. “With the advent of new technology, construction 3D printing is changing the view and approach to the construction of low-rise buildings and provides new opportunities to implement custom architectural solutions,” said Apis Cor on its website, adding it’s “the first step that can convince the world that 3D technology in the construction market is a reality.”

WHERE DID I FILE THAT?

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The booze is flowing at the State House in Rhode Island, according to a state lawmaker. Providence Democratic Rep. Moira Walsh, who took office in January, said lawmakers have “file cabinets full of booze” and she said they recently took shots on the floor of the House of Representatives to celebrate Dominican Republic Independence Day, according to the Associated Press. “It is the drinking that blows my mind,” she told talk show host Matt Allen on local radio station WPRO-AM. “You cannot operate a motor vehicle when you’ve had two beers, but you can make laws that affect people’s lives forever when you’re half in the bag? That’s outrageous.” But Democratic House Majority Leader Joseph Shekarchi said he had never seen anyone intoxicated on the floor or impaired while voting.

RUGRATS RULE

BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA — Working from home when kids are around can always be a challenge – especially when you’re on live TV. That’s what an American associate professor at Pusan National University in South Korea found out recently when speaking to the BBC via Skype. Robert Kelly was discussing the impeachment of president Park Geun-hye when his four-year-old daughter came strutting into the room, followed by his nine-month-old son rolling in on a baby walker. Kelly tried to maintain his composure while his wife, Kim Jung-a, hurtled into the room, managing to extract both children. The hilarious video soon went viral — one version on a BBC Facebook page had over 86 million views, according to the BBC. Kelly later said he hoped the video would not harm him professionally. “I’m BBC Dad for a while so I hope that people will still read my work,” he said. “If we’re still talking about this in six months, then I’ll be quite uncomfortable.”

NOT SO APPETIZING

VARANASI, INDIA — There are more than a few TV shows featuring Zombies these days, with their lust for brains. But a well-known scholar and TV presenter faced criticism recently when he was shown eating human brains during a CNN documentary. Reza Aslan was filming a series on world religions, but he was denounced for focusing on the obscure and cannibalistic Hindu sect called the Aghori. In the program, Aslan meets a group of Aghori nomads who smear his face in cremated human ashes and persuade him to drink alcohol from a skull, according to the Guardian. Aslan is apparently threatened with decapitation for talking too much, and then fed a piece of brain. He later put up a promotional post on Facebook: “Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal. It was burnt to a crisp!” The segment ended with the holy man throwing his excrement at the TV crew as they and Aslan run away. 

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