Children Cooperate at Bedtime; Pigs Sprout Wings
Charlotte, NC (AP) – This Southern city has been abuzz in the week since the four children of Harriet and Glen Walden went to bed last Sunday night without making a fuss or offering resistance. The children, ages three through eleven, simply got into pajamas when their parents instructed them to, brushed their teeth and climbed into bed, where they remained silent until waking up the net morning for school.
The Waldens have become accustomed to a nightly routine of argument, disobedience, distraction and fighting, and this instance of comprehensive cooperation caught them, and city officials, by surprise. The last time children anywhere in the U.S. went straight to bed without fighting was when all three Whitaker children of Sarasota, FL, were stricken with fever in December 2008.
“We’re just not sure what’s going on,” said Patty Bouvier, Deputy Chief of Child Welfare in the Charlotte municipality. “There’s been nothing to indicate any controlled substance in effect, but Charlotte has never seen a case like this before.” In response to reporters’ questions, Bouvier requested that a staff member track down the last known case of unopposed bedtime routine in the state; it was in 1996, when a family of five from Raleigh-Durham had just completed a long drive home from the grandparents’ house, and the parents managed to transfer their one-year-old, three-year-old and five-year-old from the car to their beds without waking them in the process. For that achievement, Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., awarded Phyllis and Richard Rose a citation, and they were invited to a private dinner at the Executive Mansion.
In a related development, swine farmers in Vinton, Iowa, are reporting that the pigs in their care have begun to sprout wings. On Tuesday, reports began reaching Des Moines and the regional Department of Agriculture offices that large numbers of boars throughout the state suddenly had wings, though none had yet been observed using them for flying. Unconfirmed sightings of flying pigs occurred in Dubuque and Mason City, but may have been misidentified balloons or blimps.
A Des Moines newspaper was the first to explicitly make the connection between the miraculous bedtime incident in Charlotte and the winged pigs in Iowa. In an Op-Ed piece in the Des Moines Register on Thursday, Dr. Alan Blum, an epidemiologist, noted the timing of the two events and the infinitesimal chance that it was mere coincidence. His conclusion was seconded by scientists from Harvard, MIT and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as an internal Department of Health and Human Services memo on Friday.
Officials in Iowa and neighboring states expressed concern that flying pigs would pose a danger to air traffic, while the Indiana Air National Guard announced plans to research possible military applications of airborne swine units. In a press release, the Gary-based 526th Regiment of the Air National Guard noted the possible advantages flying swine might offer the U.S. military for ongoing conflicts in predominantly Muslim areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq, with an eye toward possible hostilities with Iran in the coming years. Muslims view pigs as unclean creatures, and the psychological impact of porcular weapons forms a major portion of the rationale for the project, the release said.
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