News of the Weird / Plus
May 25, 2015 (Part 1) [weird stuff that made me excited (frightened) (ROTFL) (appalled) last week, some of which will appear in News of the Weird soon] [Part 1 on Monday, Part 2 on Tuesday]
West Virginia, with 1.85m residents, was shipped 40,000,000 oxy and hydro pain pills last yr--umm, 21.6 for every man, woman, and child in the state, way ahead of other states and inexplicable for the drug wholesalers not to have noticed. West Virginia Gazette
A Morgan Stanley wealth manager chick who had an affair with a super-rich client (and lost a boatload) may put the company on the hook for $400m (because the F State has an “abuse of elders” law that multiplies damages). [Yr Editor mentions this because Yr Editor turns the Big 7-O next month, and, as everyone knows, 70 is the new, ummmm, well, in my case, 80.]Business Insider
Belleville, Illinois,’s favorite sock fetishist James Dowdy is back acting out again. Not only does he steal them, he uses them in “an inappropriate and obscene manner,” according to the cops, and he might have a notebook chronicling all the thefts and the socks’ owners. Belleville News-Democrat
Inexplicable: A wife got 3-1/2 yrs in prison for running over her husband in a parking lot--but the reason was that she was mad that he failed to vote for Romney in 2012. (Bonus: They live in Arizona, and Romney carried the electoral college anyway so who cares if he voted or not?) Reuters
Texas still sucks, major league, even though the state’s highest criminal court just released Dan and Fran Keller, who were convicted in 1992 for the most sickening [in Yr Editor’s humble opinion] railroading job in present-day America. Their convictions for running a totally implausible, fabulist-accused child-molesting day-care were overturned, but they were not yet officially exonerated. Austin American-Statesman
The Portfolio Recovery debt-collection company got a name wrong and hassled someone it shouldn’t have, badly, and now she got a Kansas City, Mo., jury to award her, ummmm, $83 million. New York Daily News
Alvaro Ortega, 34, was arrested for swiping a police officer’s cell phone in Bayonne, N.J. No sleuthing involved. He was literally the only other person in the deli. “Did you take it?” the officer asked. “Ummm, yes,” said Ortega. “Umm, OK, you’re under arrest.” “Umm, OK.” The Jersey Journal
Disguise Confusion: The suspect fled after robbing the pharmacy, but police got a good description: woman’s wig, purple dress, white shoes, carrying a purse, full beard. (Wait, what?) Detroit News
The Amazing Kreskin's Supernatural Dating Society hopes to serve as a love connection for all those with an interest in "visitations by aliens, haunted houses, extra sensory perception, astrology, mind control, curses, spirit healing, vampires, zombies, prophecy, contacting the dead, mind reading and anything in between."
News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M424, May 24, 2015
Copyright 2015 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
Among the requirements of “Visual Arts 104A” at the University of California San Diego is that, for the final exam, students would make a presentation while nude, in a darkened room. Prof. Ricardo Dominguez (who would also be nude for the finals) told KGTV in May that a nude “gesture” was indeed required (and disclosed to students in the first class) as a “performance of self,” a “standard canvas for performance art and body art.” After an inquiry by KGTV, the department chairman announced that nakedness would not be required for course credit--even though Prof. Dominguez said in his 11 years teaching the course, no student had ever complained before. [KGTV (San Diego), 5-11-2015]
The Litigious Society
Sober Driver Pays: Sapearya Sao, then 25 and sober that night in 2013 in Portland, Ore., was rammed by a drunk hit-and-run driver (Nathan Wisbeck), who later rammed another drunk driver--but Sao finds himself defending the lawsuit by the two people injured in Wisbeck’s second collision. Sao recently settled the lawsuit brought by that second drunk driver but still faces a $9.8 million lawsuit brought by the estate of the second drunk driver’s late passenger, which argues that if Sao had not pursued Wisbeck in an attempt to identify him, the second crash would not have occurred. (Of course, that crash also might not have occurred if the second driver--0.11 blood-alcohol--had been sober.) [The Oregonian, 5-12-2015]
British forensic scientist Dr. Brooke Magnanti, 39, has written two best-selling books and inspired a TV series based on her life, but she recently filed a lawsuit accusing her ex-boyfriend of libeling her--by telling people that she was “not” formerly a prostitute. A major part of Magnanti’s biography is how she paid for university studies through prostitution--which has supposedly enhanced her marketability. [The Independent (London), 3-13-2015]
Unclear on the Concept
About three-fourths of the 1,580 IRS workers found to have deliberately attempted to evade federal income tax during the last 10 years have nonetheless retained their jobs, according to a May report by the agency’s inspector general. Some even received promotions and performance bonuses (although an internal rule, adopted last year, now forbids such bonuses to one adjudged to owe back taxes). [Associated Press via Yahoo.com, 5-6-2015]
Latest Religious Messages
The long-time swingers’ club in Nashville, Tenn. (“The Social Club”), is seeking to relocate to the trendy Madison neighborhood--but near two churches and an upscale private Christian school in a state that bars sex businesses within 1,000 feet of a church or school. The Social Club’s preferred solution: re-open as the “United Fellowship Center” and attempt to hold services on Sunday mornings, converting, for example, its “dungeon room” into the “choir room.” While courts are reluctant to examine religious doctrine, they often judge cases on “sincerity of belief.” (Any shrieks of “Oh, God!” “Oh, God!” coming from the on-premises swing club are not expected to carry weight with the judges.) [The Tennessean via USA Today, 4-24-2015]
Is This a Great Country or What?
Lightly regulated investors’ “hedge funds” (the province of wealthy people and large institutions) failed in 2014 (for the sixth straight year) to outearn ordinary stock “index” funds like the S&P 500. However, at hedge funds, underperformance seems unpunishable--as the top 25 fund managers still collectively earned $11.62 billion in fees and salary (an average of over $464 million each). The best-paid hedge fund manager earned $1.3 billion--more than 48 times what the highest-paid major league baseball player earned. [New York Times, 5-5-2015]
“Body cameras” for police officers is yesterday’s news. At the Sanmenxia canyon rapids in China’s Henan province, the issue is body cameras for lifeguards. The all-female White Swan Women’s Rafting Rescue Team has complained recently about swimmers deliberately throwing themselves into the water so they could scream for help--in order to fondle the women when they arrived to save them. Attaching cameras to the women’s helmets and legs is expected to deter perverts. [Daily Mail (China), 5-5-2015]
Pets With Issues
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: (1) A veterinarian at Brighton Pet Hospital, noticing “Garry,” age 2, a black-and-white cat, with a tumor-like bulge in his abdomen, found instead (and removed) a ball of shoelaces that might soon have cost Garry his life. (2) Benno, the Belgian Malinois, of Mountain Home, Ark., has eaten a ridiculous series of items over his four years, but his latest meal, in April, was 23 live rounds of .308-caliber bullets (all swallowed after Benno had partially gnawed them). Among Benno’s other delicacies: a bra, lawn mower air filter, TV remote, styrofoam peanuts, drywall, magnets, and an entire loaf of bread still in the wrapper. [The Argus (Hollingbury, England), 5-7-2015] [Baxter Bulletin (Mountain Home), 5-6-2015]
Least Competent Snake: Owner Aaron Rouse was feeding his python Winston a tasty rat in May, using barbecue tongs, when Winston got hold of the tongs and would not let go. Rouse, of Adelaide, Australia, decided not to engage in a tug-of-war, but when he returned (believing Winston would see no food value in the metal clamps), the tongs had been swallowed and were halfway through the snake’s comically bloated body. After taking x-rays (that of course became Internet attractions), a veterinarian at Adelaide University removed the tongs by surgery. [Australian Broadcasting Corp. News, 5-14-2015]
Crime in Florida
(1) Daniel Palmer, 26, was arrested in Miami Beach in April only after he returned to the crime-scene area to berate his victim, a New York tourist from whom he had snatched a “fake” necklace at gunpoint. Palmer initially got away but was upset and returned to confront the tourist, who pointed out Palmer’s car to an officer. (2) Ms. Joey Mudd, 34, of Largo was arrested in May, along with her husband Chad, on charges that they routinely shared marijuana and even cocaine with their daughters aged 13 and 14. Deputies said Ms. Mudd freely admitted that she used the drugs as incentives to get the girls to do their chores and do well in school. [WTVJ-TV (Miami), 4-30-2015] [Bay News 9 (St. Petersburg), 5-6-2015]
“Abstract impressionist” Mark Rothko has appeared in News of the Weird both for the extraordinary prices people pay to own his uncomplicated paintings and for their sometimes-indistinct differentiation from squiggles made by playful toddlers. Sotheby’s auction house announced in May that his “Untitled, (Blue and Yellow)” had been sold for $46.5 million. The “Untitled” canvas consists of three unevenly-edged rectangles--a yellow on top of a blue, on top of a small yellow strip. The Sotheby’s catalog described the piece (presumably, without irony) as one that shows “how truly miraculous a painting can be.” [New York Times, 5-13-2015]
A News of the Weird Classic (May 2011)
Last Words: (1) "[G]o ahead and shoot me," said Rodney Gilbert, 57, who was embroiled in a domestic tiff with his girlfriend Kimberly Gustafson in Ocala, Fla., in February . According to police, Gustafson, after cocking the gun in front of witnesses, turned to walk away without firing until Gilbert pursued her, shouting his final words several more times. (2) "You're going to shoot? Right here," said now-deceased Roberto Corona, pointing to his chest. Corona was refusing to reveal the whereabouts of his sister in January  to her husband, David Sanchez-Dominguez, who was pointing his handgun at Corona. [Orlando Sentinel, 2-18-2011] [Reno Gazette-Journal, 1-18-2011]
Thanks This Week to Mel Birge and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
Posted By: Chuck - Sun May 24, 2015 -
The title sounds unpleasant on many different levels. But this is all just science. Nothing to be afraid of. "Penis worms," or priapulids, were creatures that lived 500 million years ago. They had pretty distinctive looking teeth. And now researchers have compiled a 'dentist's handbook' to aid in identifying these creatures in the fossil record. [Science Daily]
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.