News of the Weird (June 8, 2014)
News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M374, June 8, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
Vanellope, Rydder, Jceion, and Burklee head the latest annual list of the most common baby names on the Social Security Administration register of first-time-appearing names. There were 63 Vanellopes (girls), but only 10 each for Rydder and Jceion, the most popular debut names for boys. Other notables were Hatch (8 times) and Psalms (7). (In other “name” news, the four finalists in April’s “Name of the Year” contest sponsored by Deadspin.com were the actual monikers Curvaceous Bass, (Dr.) Eve Gruntfest, Chillie Poon, and the winner--Shamus Beaglehole. [Nameberry via MSN.com, 5-15-2014
Editorial Privilege: To celebrate today’s 25th anniversary of the weekly distribution of News of the Weird by Universal UClick, Chuck Shepherd recalls a few of his favorite stories (among the more than 25,000 covered). (But bad news for Weird Universe readers: no links . . . although some stories undoubtedly are nicely archived.)
(1989) In the mid 1980s, convicted South Carolina murderer Michael Godwin won his appeal to avoid the electric chair and serve only life imprisonment. In March, while sitting naked on a metal prison toilet, attempting to fix a TV set, the 28-year-old Godwin bit into a wire and was electrocuted. [Orlando Sentinel, 3-8-89]
(1991) Dee Dee Jonrowe, leading the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in January in northern Minnesota, took a wrong turn and went 300 yards before recognizing her error. The mistake cost her team only a few minutes, but stopping to calculate her location allowed the dogs an unsupervised rest, and by the time she was ready to go, two of her dogs had begun to copulate. She was forced to wait on them for 25 minutes and lost the lead. [Duluth News Tribune, 1-17-91]
(1991) In March, Florence Schreiber Powers, 44, a Ewing, N. J., adminstrative judge on trial for shoplifting two watches, called her psychiatrist to testify that Powers was under stress at the time of the incidents. The doctor said Powers was unaware of her actions "from one minute to the next," for the following 19 reasons: a recent auto accident, a traffic ticket, a new-car purchase, overwork, husband's kidney stones, husband's asthma (and breathing machine that occupies their bedroom), menopausal hot flashes, an "ungodly" vaginal itch, a bad rash, fear of breast and anal cancer, fear of dental surgery, son's need for an asthma breathing machine, mother's and aunt's illnesses, need to organize her parents' 50th wedding anniversary, need to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 20 relatives, purchase of 200 gifts for Christmas and Chanukah, attempt to sell her house without a realtor, lawsuit against wallpaper cleaners, purchase of furniture that had to be returned, and a toilet in her house that was constantly running. She was convicted anyway. [Trentonian, 3-27-91]
(1991 and later) Gary Arthur Medrow, 47, was arrested in March in Milwaukee (the latest of his then-30-plus arrests over 23 years) for once again causing mischief by telephoning a woman and trying to persuade her to physically pick up another person and to carry her around a room. In the latest incident, after repeatedly calling, he told her another woman had been impersonating her, had been in an accident, and had been seen carrying someone away (and that Medrow needed evidence that she should could or could not do that). He had previously talked cheerleaders, motel workers, and business executives into lifting and carrying. [Milwaukee Sentinel, 3-18-91]
(1992) A 38-year-old man, unidentified in news reports, was hospitalized in Princeton, W. Va., in October with gunshot wounds. He had been drinking beer and cleaning his three guns--and had accidentally shot himself with each one. He said the first shot didn't hurt, the second "stung a little," and the third "really hurt," prompting him to call for help. [Associated Press via Newsday, 10-11-92]
(1994) In Toronto in March, Sajid Rhatti, 23, and his 20-year-old wife brawled over whether Katey Sagal, who plays Peg Bundy on "Married with Children," is prettier than Christina Applegate, who plays her daughter. First, the wife slashed Rhatti in the groin with a wine bottle as they scuffled, but she dressed his wounds, and the couple sat down again to watch another episode of the show. Moments later, the brawl erupted again, and Rhatti, who suffered a broken arm and shoulder, stabbed his wife in the chest, back, and legs before they begged neighbors to call an ambulance. [Canadian Press via Edmonton Journal, 3-18-94]
(1995) From the Riley County police blotter in the Kansas State University newspaper, Sept. 2: 1:33 p.m., disturbance involving Marcus Miles; 2:14 p.m. (different address), "unwanted subject" (police jargon for acquaintance who wouldn't leave) in the home, Marcus Miles told to leave; 4:08 p.m. (different address), Marcus Miles accused of harassment; 6:10 p.m., "unwanted subject" call against Marcus Miles. Nov. 14: 6:47 p.m., "unwanted subject" in the home, Marcus Miles told to leave; 7:36 p.m. (different address), "unwanted subject" call against Marcus Miles. Nov. 20: 2:05 a.m. (different address), "unwanted subject" charge against Marcus Miles; 2:55 a.m. (different address), disturbance involving Marcus Miles; 3:07 a.m. (different address), "unwanted subject" charge against Marcus Miles; 4:11 a.m. (different address), "unwanted subject" report made against Marcus Miles. [K–State Collegian, 9-7-95; 11-14-95, 11-20-95]
(1996) A pre-trial hearing was scheduled in Lamar, Mo., on Joyce Lehr's lawsuit against the county for injuries from a 1993 fall in the icy, unplowed parking lot of the local high school. The Carthage Press reported that Lehr claimed damage to nearly everything in her body. According to her petition: "All the bones, organs, muscles, tendons, tissues, nerves, veins, arteries, ligaments . . . discs, cartilages, and the joints of her body were fractured, broken, ruptured, punctured, compressed, dislocated, separated, bruised, contused, narrowed, abrased, lacerated, burned, cut, torn, wrenched, swollen, strained, sprained, inflamed, and infected." [Carthage Press, 1-9-96]
(1999) From a May police report in The Messenger (Madisonville, Ky.), concerning two trucks being driven curiously on a rural road: A man would drive a truck 100 yards, stop, walk back to a second truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the first truck, stop, walk back to the first truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the second truck, and so on, into the evening. He did it, he told police, because his brother was passed out drunk in one of the trucks, and he was trying to drive both trucks home, at more or less the same time. (Not surprisingly, a blood-alcohol test showed the driver, also, to be impaired.) [The Messenger, 5-7-99]
(2002) The Lane brothers of New York, Mr. Winner Lane, 44, and Mr. Loser Lane, 41 (their actual birth names), were profiled in a July Newsday report, made more interesting by the fact that Loser is successful (a police detective in South Bronx) and Winner is not (a history of petty crimes). A sister said she believes her parents selected “Winner” because their late father was a big baseball fan and chose “Loser” just to complete the pairing. [Newsday, 7-22-02]
(2004) The New York Times reported in February on a Washington, D.C., man whose love of music led him, in the 1960s, to meticulously hand-make and hand-paint facsimilie record album covers of his fantasized music, complete with imagined lyric sheets and liner notes (with some “albums” even shrink-wrapped), and, even more incredibly, to hand-make cardboard fascimilies of actual grooved discs to put inside them. “Mingering Mike,” whom a reporter and two hobbyists tracked down (but who declined to be identified in print) also made real music, on tapes, using his and friends’ voices to simulate instruments. His 38 imagined “albums” were discovered at a flea market after Mike defaulted on storage-locker fees, and the hobbyists who found them said they were so exactingly done that a major museum would soon feature them. [New York Times, 2-2-04]
(1988) And finally, there was ol’ Hal Warden, the Tennessee 16-year-old who was married at 15 and granted a divorce from his wife, 13. Hal had previously been married at age 12 to a 14-year-old (and fathered children with both), but the first wife divorced Hal because, she told the judge, "He was acting like a 10-year-old." [The precise citation is inaccessible, but various marital reports on the Wardens are available, e.g., Associated Press, 2-21-1987
Thanks, as usual, to the past and present members of the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
Listed in chronological order. Newest comments at the end.
Congratulations on your 25 years, Chuck!
About now, Apple is starting to sound distinctly ho-hum as a name...
Posted by TheCannyScot in Atlanta, GA on 06/08/14 at 10:40 AM
Congrats on your 25 year anniversary.
It was great reading some of your personal favorites!!!!
Posted by girlgeniusNYC in los angeles on 06/08/14 at 11:04 AM
I just went here to congratulate you on you 25th year anniversary.
Posted by ANONYMOUS on 06/08/14 at 12:22 PM
25 years, that's massive! Congrats!
That does make me curious if Gary Medrow's still at it though.
Posted by Sebastian in NZ on 06/08/14 at 04:49 PM
What about this lady local politician from New Delhi, India, Sheila Dikshit:
Posted by Joshua Zev Levin, Ph.D. in Marlton, NJ on 06/08/14 at 07:10 PM
Congrats Chuck, you are the best. Nice blast from the past too.
Posted by patty in Ohio, USA on 06/08/14 at 08:31 PM
Sadly, Curvaceous Bass has died -- unless that's a different person with the same name on legacy.com.
Posted by ges on 06/09/14 at 01:33 AM
Go shoot off a few Chuck in celebration ... just don't hit yourself three times .. hey (Please do fireworks and not guns) Happy 25th !
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 06/09/14 at 03:36 AM
Congratulations, a bit late chiming in this week but still glad you're on the job.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 06/09/14 at 10:43 AM
Well done for not going crazy in the face of so much weirdness!
Posted by Richard Bos in the Netherlands on 06/10/14 at 06:54 AM
25 years! Oh my gosh; time flies, does it not? Congrats on your silver anniversary!
Regarding the names: since I have small children, I have learned that Vanellope is one of the main characters in the movie "Wreck-It Ralph", probably explaining why that oddball new name is the most popular for the year.
Posted by Calli Arcale in http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com on 06/13/14 at 12:01 PM
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