News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M462, February 14, 2016
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
Intelligent Design: Wired.com’s most recent “Absurd Creature” feature shows a toad devouring a larva of a much-smaller beetle, but the “absurdity” is that the larva is in charge and that the toad will soon be beetle food. The larva’s Darwinian advantage is that, inside the toad, it paralyzes the hapless “predator” with its hooked jaws and then secretes enzymes to begin decomposing the toad’s tissue (making it edible)--and provoking it to vomit the still-alive larva. [Wired.com, 1-29-2016
Great Achievements in Laziness
An 80-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman were ticketed in separate incidents in Canada the week of January 18th when police spotted them driving cars completely caked in snow except for a small portion of the windshield. The man, from Brussels, Ontario, was driving a car resembling a “pile of snow on the road.” The Halifax, Nova Scotia, woman’s car was, a police statement said, “a snowbank on four wheels.” [Globe and Mail, 1-21-2016
] [Associated Press via WMUR-TV (Manchester, N.H.), 1-21-2016
Fed up with the “pretense” of the art world, performer (and radio personality) Lisa Levy of Brooklyn, N.Y., sat on a toilet, naked and motionless, at the Christopher Stout Gallery in January to protest artists’ “BS” by presenting herself in the “humblest” way she could imagine. Visitors were invited to sit on a facing toilet (clothed or not) and interact with her in any way except for touching. Levy told the Bushwick Daily website that too much “ego,” “like a drug,” “distorts your reality.” [Bushwick Daily, 1-20-2016
In January, the U.S. Department of Justice’s inspector general recommended closing down a program of the Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration that paid employees of other federal agencies (Amtrak and the beloved Transportation Security Administration) for tips on suspicious passengers. (The program apparently ignored that federal employees have such a duty even without a bounty.) DEA was apparently interested in passengers traveling with large amounts of cash--which DEA could potentially seize if it suspected the money came from illegal activity (and also, of course, then keep the money under federal forfeiture law). According to the inspector general, the tipping TSA agent was to be rewarded with a cut of any forfeited money. [USA Today, 1-7-2016
Chiropractor William DeAngelo of Stratford, Conn., was charged with assault in January after an employee complained that she was ordered to lie down on a table and let DeAngelo apply electrical shocks to her back--as punishment for being the office gossiper, spreading rumors about colleagues. DeAngelo said he was reacting to complaints from patients and staff but seemed to suggest in a statement to police that he was only “re-edcat[ing]” the woman on how to use the electrical stimulator in the office’s practice (though she felt the need to report to a hospital afterward). [Connecticut Post, 1-29-2016
The Continuing Crisis
Britain’s North Yorkshire Police successfully applied to a judge in January for a “sexual risk order” against a man whose name was not disclosed publicly and whose alleged behavior was not revealed. Whoever he is and whatever he did, he is forbidden to enter into any sexual situation with anyone without providing at least 24 hours’ notice to York magistrates--nor is he allowed to look at or possess any sexually oriented materials. According to the York Press, the order is temporary until May 19th, at which time the magistrates may extend it. [York Press, 1-21-2016
Christopher Lemek, Jr., was arrested in Palmer, Mass., in January and charged in a New Year’s Eve hit-and-run accident that took a pedestrian’s life. Lemek emerged as a suspect a few days after the collision when police, visiting his home, noticed freshly-disturbed earth in his backyard. Eventually Lemek confessed to literally burying the evidence--using a construction vehicle to crush his truck and an excavator to dig up his back yard and drop the truck into it. [The Republican (Springfield), 1-8-2016
No Need for a Pre-Nup: The 20-year New York marriage of Gabriel Villa, now 90, and Cristina Carta Villa, now 59, apparently had its happy moments, but as Cristina found out when things went bad recently, Gabriel had attempted to protect himself shortly after the wedding--by obtaining a Dominican Republic divorce and keeping it secret. Cristina found out only when she realized in a property accounting that her name was not on the deed to their Manhattan apartment. (She is challenging that divorce as improper even under Dominican law.) [New York Post, 1-24-2016
Several Connecticut state troopers involved in a DUI checkpoint in September were apparently caught on video deliberating whether to make up charges against a (perhaps obnoxious) checkpoint monitor. Veteran protester Michael Picard, 27, posted the videos on his YouTube page in January, showing troopers (illegally) confiscating Picard’s camera and suggesting among themselves various charges they could write up (at least some not warranted by evidence) to, as one trooper was heard imploring, “cover our asses.” (The troopers returned the camera after deliberating but seemed unaware that it had been running during the entire incident.) State police internal affairs officers are investigating. [Hartford Courant, 1-26-2016
Private Parts: (1) A middle-aged woman reported to a firehouse in Padua, Italy, in January to ask for help opening a lock for which she had misplaced the key. It turned out that the lock was to the iron chastity belt she was wearing--of her own free will, she said (because she had recently begun a romantic relationship that she wanted not to become too quickly sexual). (2) Firefighers in Osnabruck, Germany, told Berlin’s The Local that in two separate incidents in December, men had come to their stations asking for help removing iron rings they had placed on their penises to help retain erections. (The Local, as a public service, quoted a prominent European sexual-aid manufacturer’s recommendation--to instead use silicone rings, which usually do not require professional removal.) [Daily Telegraph (London), 1-17-2016
] [The Local (Berlin), 12-8-2015
Few matters in life are weirder than the Scottish love of haggis (sheep’s liver, heart, tongue, and fat, blended with oats and seasonings, boiled inside sheep’s stomach to its enticing gray color!
), and in January, in honor of the Scottish poet-icon Robert Burns, prominent Peruvian chef Mitsuhara Tsumura joined Scotland’s Paul Wedgwood to create haggis from, instead of sheep, guinea pig. Wedgwood said he was “proud” to raise haggis “to new gastronomic levels.” [Daily Telegraph (London), 1-21-2016
Least Competent Criminals
(1) Briton Jacqueline Patrick, 55, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in December for the 2013 murder of her husband, accomplished by spiking his wine with anti-freeze. To cover her crime, she handed over a note the husband had supposedly written, requesting that if tragedy struck him, he wished not to be resuscitated, preferring to die with “dignerty” [sic]. Suspicious, police asked Patrick to spell “dignity,” which, of course, came out “dignerty.” (2) Kristina Green, 19, and Gary Withers, 38, both already on probation, were arrested in Encinitas, Calif., in December after an Amazon.com driver reported them following his delivery truck and scooping up packages as soon as he dropped them off. Inside the pair’s car, officers found numerous parcels and mail addressed to others plus a “To Do” list that read, “steal mail and shoplift.” [Reuters, 11-23-2015
] [San Diego Union-Tribune, 12-15-2015
A News of the Weird Classic (December 2011)
In October , the super-enthusiastic winners of a Kingston, Ontario, radio station contest claimed their prize: the chance to don gloves and dig for free Buffalo Bills' football tickets (value $320), buried in buffalo manure in a wading pool. The show's host, Sarah Crosbie, reported the digging live (but, overcome by the smell, vomited on the air). More curious was a runner-up contestant, who continued to muck around for the second prize even though it was only tickets to a local zoo. [Yahoo Canada Sports, 10-21-2011]
Thanks This Week to Patty Lively, Phyllis Sensenig, Ann Lloyd, and Jeff Brown, and to the News of the Weird Board Editorial Advisors.
When George Albert Wyld of Australia died on January 23, 1911, his will instructed that his estate should be left to his children, but when they had all died it should then be applied to:
"the maintenance of a maternity home to be known as the Wyld Home, and to be available to the extent of its means to young women who have erred for the first time, but under no circumstances for the second occasion."
Wyld's children all passed away by 1949, at which time the executors of his estate applied the remaining money to an "institution superintended by Miss Cocks" adjoining the Methodist Home for Girls at Brighton.
Wyld had five children, but had never married any of their mothers. This probably had something to do with his unusual bequest.
Barrier Miner - Sep 15, 1911
The Adelaide Advertiser - Mar 18, 1949
Example from 1960 of the military's gift for stating the obvious.
No luck in tracking down the referenced pamphlet. Doesn't seem that the Navy saved copies of all the thousands of pamphlets it published over the years.
The Sikeston Daily Standard - June 3, 1960
Anchors Aweigh. In Washington, a U.S. Navy pamphlet titled Executive Future: Officer Candidate School in the Navy, comments: "Aircraft carriers are the backbone of a naval task force. They are slower than planes, but, of course, faster than fixed land installations."
The idea of propping up corpses in true-to-life poses at funerals is something we've seen before here at WU. For instance, in 2008 there was Angel Pantoja Medina "standing tall at his funeral,"
and in 2014 I posted about the corpse of Miriam Burbank
sitting at a table at her funeral, smoking a menthol cigarette.
The latest news story along these lines involves Puerto Rican poker fanatic Henry Rosario Martinez, whose friends posed his corpse sitting at a poker table, so they could enjoy one last game with him. More info at NY Daily News
A Holland girl sent a letter to
South Dakota addressed "To a Nice Boy" seeking someone with whom she could correspond.
You can sense in her letter the kind of suspicions about identity that have become so familiar in the Internet age — that you often don't know people's true identity online. You just know who they're claiming to be. But of course, how do we know that "Holland girl" was really a girl?
The Gastonia Gazette (Gastonia, NC) — Dec 31, 1959