News of the Weird/Pro Edition
November 30, 2009
(mystifying and/or derisory news from November 21-28)
A news leak from the Vatican's file nominating Pope John Paul II for sainthood had a high-ranking nun saying she had heard him in the next room a few times self-flagellating [No snickering!], i.e., lashing himself in remorse as bodily penance. She said he mainly did it just before ordaining bishops and priests. Daily Telegraph (London) /// BBC News[background on Catholic self-flagellation]
Pregnant Sara Foss, 39, keeps a spotless house because she doesn't want people to think she's a mooching slob, since she takes £50,000 per year ($82,000) in assistance from the government for raising her 13 kids. Nonetheless, she's adamant. If her current pregnancy does not yield twins, she'll try, try again, and again. (Bonus: Her story caused quite a stir in the British press, for the names of the first 13, which are mostly tributes to her favorite film and literary characters, such as Frodo, Morpheus, Echo, Malachai, Rogue, and Voorhes.) Daily Mail
The high-end fashion store Valentina announced that it had reached a settlement on an out-of-control tab run up by Oprah Winfrey . . 's mother (Vernita Lee of Milwaukee), who owed $155,000 as of July 2008. Their dispute came because Valentina had taken Lee to court in 2002 over a separate, $174,000 tab, but then once again extended her credit. Lee refused to pay, accusing Valentina of exploiting her absence-of-willpower disability. Journal Sentinel
People With Worse Sex Lives Than You
Kevin Derks, 53, Kenosha, Wis., looks like a regular guy but is actually highly irregular. He swears up and down that he has never touched, or even approached, an underage girl. It's just that his apartment is arranged as, according to one detective, a "shrine" to little girls: pictures and posters of famous girls, snapshots of clothed little girls, a bed full of stuffed toys, adolescent-sized mannequins in provocative positions, and traditional child pornography. "This was my own world," he told detectives. "I knew what I was doing. I took a gamble. It's like going to Vegas, except I lost everything. [N]ow my ass is gonna fry." Associated Press via Post Crescent (Appleton, Wis.)
A 68-year-old Swedish man, Ingemar Westlund, was cleared of murder charges when elk hair and saliva were found on his wife's clothing. It all happened back in September of 2008, when his wife took their dog for a walk in the woods and never returned. When she didn't come back, Mr. Westlund went looking for her and found her body next to a lake near Loftahammer. Even though elk normally steer clear of humans, apparently "the animals can become aggressive after eating fermented fallen apples in gardens." BBC
I'm reading a Mark Twain book currently, Following the Equator. In it, he mentions a notoriously bad poet, Julia Moore, a name I had not thought of in ages. Moore's fabled lack of talent produced scads of bad poetry. You can read about her career here.
Google has digitized at least one of her books, which you can read here. Be prepared to encounter such excruciating verse as this sample to the right.
Moore is included in The Stuffed Owl, a volume of the world's worst poetry. Wouldn't that make a swell Xmas gift for the literary type in your life?
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.