News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M474, May 8, 2016
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
The eye-catching Vietnamese model and Playboy (Venezuela edition) Playmate Angie Vu complained to the New York Daily News in April that her five-plus months in jail in Brooklyn have been “torture” and “cruel” because of her lack of access to beauty care. Vu is fighting extradition to France for taking her 9-year-old daughter in violation of the father’s custody claim and is locked up until a federal judge rules. Among her complaints: “[h]arsh light”; “turn[ing] pale” from lack of “Guerlain’s moisturizer”; inability to look at herself for months [because glass mirrors are prohibited]”; and “worrying” about being hit on by “lesbians” (thus causing “wrinkles”). At least, she told the reporter, she has found God in jail and passes time reading the Bible. [New York Daily News, 4-26-2016]
Chef Mahbub Chowdhury pleaded guilty in April to food and hygiene violations in Swindon (England) Magistrates Court after inspectors found “brown fingerprints” in the kitchen at his Yeahya Flavour of Asia carry-out restaurant. Chowdhury was candid about his “cultural” habit of bypassing toilet paper and using his hand to clean himself. The plastic bottle with the fingerprints, Chowdbury said, contained water that he normally used instead of the toilet paper, and his lawyer argued that since the bottle was never actually lab-tested, the brown spots could have been “spices.” [Metro News (London), 4-13-2016]
England’s Brighton and Hove City Council, striving to be progressive, issued a directive to parents of new school students (kids as young as age 4) calling on them to mark the gender identity they prefer--and notes that any child who identifies as other than male or female should leave the space blank and consult with officials individually. (Critics, according to The Sun, expressed that “school” should be for “developing” such identities without the necessity of declaring them so early in life.) [The Sun, 4-19-2016]
Unclear on the Concept
“Zero tolerance” claimed another victim, in Charlotte, N.C., in April, when Jaden Malone, 12, came to his bullied friend’s aid, was knocked down himself and repeatedly punched in the head by the bully, and pushed the boy off of him to avoid further damage--but was himself suspended for three days by his charter school Invest Collegiate. A school official pointed out that the bully got five days, and besides, the policy (against “all” physical violence) is very clear. (After having Jaden treated for a concussion, his mother promptly withdrew him from the school.) [WJZY-TV (Charlotte), 4-20-2016]
Ms. Madi Barney, 20, courageously publicly reported her own rape accusation recently in Provo, Utah, and as a result has been disciplined as a student at Brigham Young University for allegedly violating the school’s “honor code.” (She is barred from withdrawing from courses or re-registering.) Whether the sex was consensual must be investigated by Provo police, but BYU officials said they had heard enough to charge Barney with the no-no of premarital sex. (Critics decried the advantage BYU thus gives rapists of BYU females--since the women face the additional fear of university reprisals irrespective of the criminal case.) [Washington Post, 4-20-2016]
Latest Religious Messages
Idaho’s law adding protection for religious freedom regained prominence recently in the case of Mariah Walton, 20, who was born with a routinely-repairable heart defect but who received only prayer and herbs because of her parents’ religious rejection of doctors. Walton’s now-irreversible damage leaves her frail and dependent on portable oxygen, and she will likely need lung and heart transplants to survive. Idaho (which is home to the Followers of Christ cult) and five other states immunize parents from criminal prosecution if they reject medical care on the ground of religious teachings, and Followers’ higher child-mortality rate is sometimes attributed to the dead child’s lack of faith. [The Guardian (London), 4-13-2016]
Latest from Evangelicals: (1) Christian political activist David Barton told his “Wallbuilders” radio audience recently that Disney’s anthropomorphic characters (e.g., Bambi) are simply gateways to kids’ learning Babylonian pagan worship. (2) Brooklyn, N.Y., “prophet” Yakim Manasseh Jordan told followers recently that he has arranged with God to bring people back from the dead if they-- cheerfully--offer a “miracle favor cloud” of gifts as low as $1,000. (3) James David Manning, chief pastor of the Atlah Worldwide Missionary Church in Harlem, in a recent online sermon, stepped up his usual anti-gay rhetoric, warning “sodomites” that God would soon send flames “coming out of your butthole.” (A gay and transgender support group is fundraising to buy Atlah’s building and set up a shelter.) [Salon.com, 4-12-2016] [The Daily Beast, 3-20-2016] [NBC News, 4-14-2016]
The Tap Inn bar in Billings, Mont., released April 11th surveillance video of the armed robbery staged by two men and a woman (still on the lam), showing two liplocked customers at the bar, lost in affectionate embrace during the entire crime, seemingly oblivious of danger. The robbers, perhaps impressed by the couple’s passion, ignored them--even while emptying the cash register just a few feet away. [Associated Press via Washington Post, 4-14-2016]
Andru Jolstad, 26, was arrested on April 16th and charged with using a pry bar to break into the cash boxes of four machines at Zap’s Arcade in Mesa, Ariz. Following citizen tips, a cop arrived to find Jolstad on his knees alongside one machine with his arm still inside. His total take from the spree was $18, and he’ll likely be sent back to prison from an earlier charge. [KNXV-TV (Phoenix), 4-21-2016]
(1) Transportation Security Administration announced on April 27th that its screeners had confiscated 73 guns from passengers’ carry-ons--in just the previous seven days! (Sixty-eight were loaded, and 27 had a round in the chamber.) (2) Federal regulators were deliberating in April whether to stop Minnesota’s Ideal Conceal from the rollout of its 2-shot, .380 caliber handgun disguised as a smartphone. Several police chiefs, and two U.S. senators, have expressed alarm. (3) Jeffrey Grubbs, 45, was charged with two felonies in March following a school’s 4-H Club carpentry project at which he (lacking a hammer) pounded a thumbtack into wood with the butt of his loaded handgun. (He subsequently realized the danger and removed the bullets.) [United Press International, 4-27-2016] [PublicSource via New Pittsburgh Courier, 4-24-2016] [Southeast Missourian (Cape Girardeau), 3-24-2016]
California’s forests host major marijuana-grow operations (legal and illegal), and though the product has its virtues, cannabis farming creates massive problems--guzzling water (23 liters per day per plant--state drought or not) and needing the protection of a dangerous rodenticide. A state wildlife official told NBC News in April that the cannabis sites “use mass[ive] amounts of fertilizers, divert natural run-off waters, create toxic run-off waste and byproducts, remove large amounts of vegetation and trees,” “create unstable soils and kill or displace wildlife.” [NBC News, 4-22-2016]
Drugs!--Is There Anything They Can’t Do?
(1) Police in the Augusta, Ga., suburb of Hephzibah arrested a meth-addled Ray Roye for battery and family violence against his wife in March. Roye was yelling about custody of their child, but his wife informed police they don’t have a child. (2) Johnnie Hurt, 38, was arrested in a wildly trashed a motel room in London, Ky., in April while missing a court-ordered drug test. When police arrived, Hurt was eating mulch from the motel’s landscaping. [WJBF-TV (Augusta), 4-6-2016] [Herald-Leader (Lexington), 4-14-2016]
A News of the Weird Classic (March 2012)
Each year, the town of Chumbivilcas, Peru, celebrates the new year with what to Americans might seem "Festivus"-based (from the Seinfeld TV show) but is actually drawn from Incan tradition. For "Takanakuy," during background singing and dancing, all townspeople with grudges from the previous 12 months (men, women, children) settle them with often-bloody fistfights so that they start the new year clean. Said one villager to a Reuters reporter in December , "Everything is solved here, and after[ward] we are all friends." [Reuters via CBS News, 12-14-2011]
Thanks This Week to Eddie Earles and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
Posted By: Chuck - Sun May 08, 2016 -
Down in Lutz, Florida, Renee Christian and Tom Thielges operate Under The Sun, which is a clothing store for nudists. Of course, any clothing store could sell to nudists, but Under The Sun might be the only clothing store that caters specifically to that target audience.
They are hip to the funny things about their livelihood. Thielges likes to say Under the Sun customers are “the best dressed nudists in the world.” He came up with his own punchy slogan: “People say it’s like selling ice to Eskimos. But even Eskimos don’t want yellow ice.”
Back in 2006, Jill Starishevsky started a business selling license plates for strollers. The idea was that when your nanny was out with the baby in the stroller, people could anonymously report on her behavior (whether good or bad) via the website, HowsMyNanny.com, listed on the plate. So kinda like those "How's my driving?" signs on the back of trucks.
I see two problems with her business plan. First, her customer base was limited to people with nannies. And second, I don't think the purpose of the license plate would have been evident to your average member of the public.
Frances Baskerville (1944-2009) of Dallas, Texas was involved in an accident in which an 18-wheel lumber truck backed into her car, while she was waiting outside a beauty parlor. The lumber crashed through the roof of the car, almost killing her. But it also caused her to have an out-of-body experience, and after that experience, she said, she had psychic abilities.
Being a country-and-western fan, she chose to sing her predictions. For instance, in 1997 she appeared on the Howard Stern show where she sang her premonition that Patrick McNeill, who had disappeared outside a Manhattan bar, would be found 100 yards from his home in Port Chester, NY. (His body was eventually found floating near in pier in Brooklyn.)
Frances Baskerville, the "World's Only Singing Psychic," who heads the Baskerville Foundation for Psychical Research in Dallas, Texas, claims to be a licensed private detective specializing in finding lost children. In a recent letter to the authors, she credits herself with having found over "five hundred persons," although she regretfully states that she "only has the right" to name three, due to the fact that she neglected to get "release forms" from the other four hundred and ninety-seven. She also claims to work with attorneys in several states helping to select juries.
Baskerville released an album, Songs From the Beyond. You can listen to the full album at the WFMU blog. One song from that album is below. And elsewhere on the web, you can listen to an interview with Baskerville from when she appeared on the Judy Joy Jones Show.
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
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.