A Weird Universe
March 6, 2017
Water $100 a bottle (but it's "perfect"--from a Norwegian fjord 800 mi from the North Pole) [Fox Business]
Russian proposal to deal with hooligan violence at 2018 World Cup: 20-hooligan teams, England v. Russia, fight it out in a stadium in front of ticket-buyers [The Guardian]
Toilet paper shortage in Beijing brings the paperless poor out to raid tourist restrooms [South China Morning Post]
This particular 5-yr-old McD's cheeseburger and fries continues on display in Omaha, Neb. [Omaha World-Herald]
Again: Perp avoiding parole officer caught (Provo, Utah) when his escape happened upon a SWAT training session. [Fox News]
Last week's "crushed to death by porn collection" story, in the original Chinese, had him only "fall onto" a porn stash after his heart attack. (The "crushed by" lede was a London Daily Mail
Worse Sex Life Than Yours: (1) tongue-kissed the fence, then humped it; (2) carrier at least didn't hoard the mail (but only humped the dog) [Austin America-Statesman] [St. Paul Pioneer Press]
Thanks to Jeremy Norcutt, Bob Stewart, Steven Lobejko, and Tom Barker.
News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M517, March 6, 2017
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
Suspicions Confirmed: Despite California's 2015 law aimed at improving the fairness of its red-light cameras, the city of Fremont (pop. 214,000, just north of San Jose) reported earning an additional $190,000 more each month last year by shortening the "yellow," by two-thirds of a second, at just two intersections. Tickets went up 445 percent at one and 883 percent at the other. (In November 2016, for "undisclosed reasons," the city raised the speed limit on the street slightly, "allowing" it to reinstate the old 0.7-second-longer yellow light.) [KPIX-TV (San Francisco), 2-3-2017
; TheNewspaper.com, 2-8-2017
Updates of Previous Characters--and Some Recurring Themes:
Tammy Felbaum surfaced on News of the Weird in 2001 when she, originally Mr. Tommy Wyda, consensually castrated James Felbaum (her sixth husband), but he died of complications, resulting in Tammy's manslaughter conviction. (Among the trial witnesses: a previous spouse, who had also let "expert" Tammy castrate him: “She could castrate a dog in less than five minutes.”) Felbaum, now 58, was arrested in February at the Westmoreland County (Pa.) Courthouse after mouthing off at security guards searching her purse. She quipped sarcastically, "I have guns and an Uzi [and] a rocket launcher. I am going to shoot a judge today." (She was in court on a dispute over installation of a sewer line to her trailer home.) [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2-7-2017
Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville, Fla., convicted and given a 20-year sentence in 2012 for firing a warning shot into a wall to fend off her domestic-abusing estranged husband, finally had the charges dropped in February. The persnickety trial judge had earlier determined that Florida's notorious "Stand Your Ground" law did not apply, even though the husband admitted that he was threatening to rough Alexander up and that she never aimed the gun at him. (With that defense not allowed, Alexander was doomed under Florida's similarly notorious 20-year mandatory sentence for aggravated assault using a gun.) [New York Times, 2-8-2017
In 2008, Vince Li, a passenger on a Greyhound bus in Canada, stabbed another passenger, then beheaded him and started to eat him, and in 2009 was "convicted"--but "not criminally responsible" because of schizophrenia. He has been institutionalized and under treatment since then, and in February, doctors signed off on an "absolute" release back into society for Li (now known as Will Baker)--declining a "conditional" release, which would have required continued monitoring. Manitoba province law requires absolute discharge if doctors conclude, on the "weight of the evidence," that the patient is no longer a "significant" safety threat. [Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News, 2-10-2017
Doris Payne, 86, was arrested once again for shoplifting--this time at an upscale mall in an Atlanta suburb in December--but according to a 2013 documentary, she careerwise has stolen more than $2 million in jewelry from high-end shops around the world. No regrets, she said on the film, except "I regret getting caught." Said a California lawyer, "Aside from her 'activities,' she is a wonderful person with a lot of fun stories." [WXIA-TV (Atlanta), 12-14-2016
When disaster strikes, well-meaning people are beseeched to help, but relief workers seem always bogged down with wholly inappropriate donations (which take additional time and money to sort and store and discard). (Instead, all such charities recommend "cash.") A January report by Australia's principal relief organization praised Aussies' generosity in spite of recent contributions of high heels, handbags, chain saws, sports gear, wool clothing, and canned goods--much of which will eventually go to landfill. (Workers in Rwanda reported receiving prom gowns, wigs, tiger costumes, pumpkins, and frostbite cream.) [Australian Broadcasting Corp. News, 1-15-2017
Least Competent Criminals: (1) Alvin Neal, 56, is merely the most recent bank robber to begin the robbery sequence (at a Wells Fargo branch in San Diego) after identifying himself to a teller (by swiping his ATM card through a machine at the counter). He was sentenced In January. (2) Also failing to think through their crime were the group of men who decided to snatch $1,200 from the Eastside Grillz tooth-jewelry shop in St. Paul, Minn., in February. They fled despite two of them having already provided ID and one having left a mold of his teeth. [Los Angeles Times, 1-4-2017
] [St. Paul Pioneer Press, 2-16-2017
No Longer Weird: (1) Matthew Mobley, 41, was arrested in Alexandria, La., in February (number 77 on his rap sheet)--after getting stuck in the chimney of a business he was breaking into. (2) Former postal worker Gary Collins, 53, of Forest City, N.C., pleaded guilty in February to having hoarded deliverable U.S. Mail as far back as 2000. (He is far from the worst mail hoarder, by volume, that News of the Weird has mentioned.) [KALB-TV (Alexandria, La.), 2-3-2017
] [Gaston Gazette via Burlington Times-News, 2-23-2017
Luckiest (Bewildered) Animals: (1) In December, a 400-lb. black bear at the Palm Beach, Fla., zoo ("Clark") got a root canal from dentist Jan Bellows, to fix a painful fractured tooth. (2) In January, a pet ferret ("Zelda") in Olathe, Kan., received a pacemaker from Kansas State University doctors, who said Zelda should thus be able to live the ferret's normal life span. (3) In January, an overly prolific male African tortoise ("Bert"), of Norwich, England, who had developed arthritis from excessive "mounting," was fitted with wheels on the back of his shell to ease stress on his legs. [WPTV (West Palm Beach, 12-16-2016
] [Associated Press via Kansas City Star, 1-31-2017
] [BBC News, 1-13-2017
More People Who Might Consider Relocating: (1) In January, another vehicle flew off a Parkway West exit ramp in Pittsburgh, Pa., plowing into (the eighth crash in nine years) the Snyder Brothers Automotive parking lot. (2) Leonard Miller, 88, once again (the fifth time) picked up the pieces in January from his Lanham, Md., home after a speeding car smashed into it. [KDKA-TV (Pittsburgh), 1-27-2017
] [WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.), 2-1-2017
"I grew up fishing with my dad," Alabaman Bart Lindsey told a reporter, which might thus explain why Lindsey likes to sit in a boat in a lake on a lazy afternoon. More challenging is why (and how) he became so good at the phenomenon that turned up in News of the Weird first in 2006: "fantasy fishing" (handing in a perfect card picking the top eight competitors in the Fishing League Worldwide Tour event in February on Lake Guntersville. "It can be tricky," he said. "I've done a lot of research." [Tuscaloosa News, 2-10-2017
Each December Deadspin.com reviews public records of the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission to compile a list of items that caused emergency-room visits when they somehow got stuck inside people. Highlights from 2016: In the Nose (raisin, plastic snake, magnets in each nostril). Throat (pill bottle, bottle cap, hoop earring). Penis (sandal buckle, doll shoe, marble). Vagina (USB adapter, "small painting kit," heel of a shoe). Rectum (flashlight, shot glass, egg timer, hammer, baseball, ice pick "to push hemorrhoids back in"). [Deadspin, 12-25-2016
Armed and Clumsy (All-New!)
Men ("Women" rarely appear here) Who Accidentally Shot Themselves Recently: Hunter Richardson, 19, Orange, Mass., December (testing an iced-over lake with the butt end of his muzzle-loader). Three unnamed boys (ages 15, 15, and 16), Williamson County, Ill., January (shot themselves with the same shotgun while "preparing" to go hunting). Suspected convenience store robber, Cleveland, Ohio, July (the old waistband-for-a-holster mishap, shot to the "groin"). James Short, 72, New Carlisle, Ohio, September (reached for his ringing phone in his dentist's waiting room but instead yanked out his gun). Andrew Abellanosa, 30, Anchorage, Alaska (shot himself in the leg in a bar, twice in the same sequence). A 50-year-old man, Oshawa, Ontario, February (making a Valentine's necklace out of a bullet by pulling it apart with vice grips).
Orange: [Associated Press via Worcester Telegram, 1-27-2017
Williamson: [Herrin Independent (Carterville, Ill.), 1-5-2017] (not online)
Cleveland: [WKYC-TV (Cleveland), 7-4-2016
New Carlisle: [Springfield News Sun (Springfield, Ohio), 9-2-2017
Anchorage: [Alaska Dispatch News, 11-7-206
Oshawa: [Global News (Toronto), 2-15-2017
Thanks This Week to Jonathan Lake, William Carter, Michael Brozyna, Steve Passen, Russell Bell, Mark Lillicrap, and Pete Randall, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
In January 1939, these two photos appeared in numerous newspapers, accompanied by the following caption:
Necessity being the mother of invention, a resident of Hextable, England, recently perfected this baby airing outfit with an eye to the future. The air-tight and gas-proof lid fits over the pram, has an air intake, a window and a filter to insure gas free air. A rubber bulb at the rear of the perambulator keeps the air in circulation. For mother, there's a nice gas-mask.
An example of the strange effort to try to normalize life despite the threat of war. Also evident in such things as the air-raid fashions
April 27, 1978:
Artist Jeffrey Vallance bought a frozen chicken (a Foster Farms fryer) at a supermarket and then buried it at the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery
, following a brief memorial service. He also installed a grave marker for the frozen bird, naming it "Blinky the Friendly Hen." He came to think of Blinky's grave as being like the grave of the Unknown Chicken, representing "all the millions of chickens who are slaughtered and sold as food."
According to kcet.org,
"Ten years later, he would have the body exhumed so an autopsy could be performed by UCLA's head of pathology. The tenth anniversary exhibit on the life of Blinky, at the Rosamund Felsen Gallery in Los Angeles, featured a 'shroud of Blinky,' and a recreation of the cemetery's viewing room, with a rubber chicken lying in state. Blinky was later reburied at the cemetery."
It seems that there were also an event to mark the 30th anniversary of Blinky's funeral
. The 40th anniversary is coming up next year, so perhaps there'll be another event in Blinky's honor.
Vallance also wrote a book commemmorating Blinky.
More info: Black Acrylic blog
Bridgewater Courier-News - Nov 3, 1983