News of the Weird (August 31, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M386, August 31, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

All War Is Weird, But This ISIS War--: As summed up by a writer: “The absurdity runs deep.” America uses American military equipment to bomb American military equipment that ISIS captured (captured from inept Iraqi soldiers, inept in part since America disbanded Iraq’s professional military in 2003). America’s Kurdish allies, fighting ISIS, uses inferior Russian weapons they captured in the 1980s. ISIS has a so-far-safer haven in Syria because America declined to arm moderate Syrian rebels, largely out of fear that radicals like the future ISIS would capture weapons America provided. “So now [America is] bombing the guns that [it] didn’t mean to give ISIS because [America] didn’t give guns to their enemies because then ISIS might get guns.” [, 8-8-2014]

Compelling Explanations

Thomas Clark, 28, of Crawley, England, beat one of society’s most foreboding charges in July when he was acquitted of voyeurism even after admitting that he had installed that video camera in a workplace rest room, and even despite evidence that he formerly worked in the pornography industry. Clark persuaded a Horsham Magistrates Court judge that he suffered an extreme phobia of diarrhea and vomit and that, by installing the camera, he was thinking only of ascertaining that the rest room was clean before he entered. [Crawley News, 7-25-2014]

In America, We're All Great Parents: (1) Kayla McKenzie, 22, was charged with DUI in Bismarck, N.D., a condition that led her to crash into six separate vehicles or structures on August 12th--while, according to police, three unsecured children were in her car, including a month-old infant riding in her lap. Nonetheless, said the 0.252 blood-alcohol driver, "I look like a bad mother, but I'm not. I'm actually a really good mom." (2) Rayvon Campos, 22, pleaded guilty in San Antonio, Tex., in August to first-degree felony assault of his 1-month-old daughter that resulted in brain hemorrhaging. Nonetheless, he reassured the judge, "This is the first time I've ever been in trouble. I'm a real good dude." [Bismarck Tribune, 8-13-2014] [San Antonio Express-News, 8-14-2014]

Suspicions Confirmed

A fire hydrant at 393 University Avenue has brought in more parking-ticket revenue (since 2008) than any other hydrant in Toronto--$289,620 on 2,962 violations, according to an August Toronto Star report. While hydrants are usually located at curbside to facilitate fire-engine access, the one at 393 University Avenue was placed about 20 feet from the curb, in the middle of a sidewalk, and obscured by a tree in a planter about eight feet long. (Nonetheless, the law's wording treats the hydrant, for illegal-parking and revenue-earning purposes, as if it were curbside.) [Toronto Star, 8-11-2014]

A woman hiking in Down Valley Park near Placerville, Colo., told Denver’s KUSA-TV in August of her narrow escape from a mountain lion that had stalked her for a half-hour (crouching menacingly each time she attempted to retreat). At the closest point, recalled Kyra Kopestonsky, it was about eight feet away. At that point, she told the reporter, “I don’t know why,” but “I just started singing opera really loud.” The mountain lion “sort of put its ears down and . . . backed away.” (Only then was she was able to call a friend, who alerted rescuers.) [KUSA-TV, 8-5-2014]

Police Report

Arrest Him at Your Peril: In July, a jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., awarded Kevin Jarman, 50, $510,000 from the city for the broken ankle he suffered during his arrest for shoplifting in May 2011 (a charge to which he eventually pleaded guilty). Among his other New York City income: a $20,000 settlement for false arrest on a drug charge in 2013 and another, for $15,000, in 2005. [New York Post, 7-17-2014]

I Know the Feeling, But--: (1) Gloria Baca-Lucero, 48, was arrested in Albuquerque in July after allegedly holding a Comcast cable installer at gunpoint in her home. She said she believed that her service call was free, but the installer told her otherwise, and she apparently decided to detain him while negotiating on the telephone with Comcast. (2) German truck driver Michael Harry K, 58, went to trial in August in Wurzburg, Bavaria, charged with firing his gun in the direction of drivers more than 700 times in five years out of displeasure with their poor road habits. He never actually hit anyone (but police said he caused at least one serious injury by frightening a driver into a collision). [Albuquerque Journal, 7-30-2014] [Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News, (London), 8-11-2014]

Immature: (1) Princeton University professor John Mulvey, 67 (who teaches financial engineering applications), was charged in July with stealing 21 yard signs around the town of Princeton--signs for a computer repair business with which he was feuding. (2) Nathan McCoy, 21, sought by police near Boise, Idaho, in July on a probation violation, took off running, forcing officers to chase him onto the Eagle Hills Golf Course. McCoy sought “refuge" in a pond, standing waist-deep as deputies tried to coax him out, but even with the pond surrounded, it still took McCoy a half-hour of standing there to conclude that he did not have a Plan B. [Daily Princetonian, 7-14-2014] [Idaho Statesman, 7-23-2014]

The Boy Who Wasn’t Bullied Enough in School

Walker Harnden, 19, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, was recognized in April for a Guinness Book record for the highest note ever whistled (B7). Harnden, who told the Raleigh News & Observer that he has “irritated his parents and friends for years,” admits that he whistles “all the time”--up to “four or five” hours a day. [News & Observer, 4-18-2014]

The New Normal

In 2010, the village of West Lafayette, Ohio, barred residents from keeping fowl and farm animals, but Iraq war veteran Darin Welker, 36, believes his post-war depression and trauma seem unusually-well-assisted now that he has befriended 14 pet ducks that he keeps at home. The Department of Veterans Affairs, which paid for Welker’s back surgery, stopped short of providing physical therapy and counseling, causing him more than ever to rely on the ducks, which he says motivate him to get out of the house and provide them caretaking services. Village officials, however, cited him in June for misdemeanor fowl-housing. [Associated Press via KOMO-TV (Seattle), 7-20-2014]


“Streamers,” according to workers at the state-of-the-art solar plant in California’s Mojave Desert, are birds that cross the path of the 300,000 garage-door-sized mirrors that magnify the sun’s rays on their way to producing steam to power 140,000 homes. Those birds, instantly fried, vanish in plumes of smoke at the rate of perhaps one every two minutes, according to an August Associated Press dispatch from Ivanpah Dry Lake near the Nevada border. According to federal wildlife officials, the plant’s bright light attracts insects, which then attract even more birds. The operator, BrightSource Energy, said there is no feasible way to protect the birds. [Associated Press, 8-18-2014]

Least Competent Criminals

Questionable Decisions: (1) Ryan Mullins, 22, was arrested in Swansboro, N.C., in August when he came to an officer’s attention at 5:30 a.m. Police said he had broken into a pharmacy, had stolen the 100-lb. safe, and was dragging it behind his car when the officer routinely pulled in front of him. Nonetheless, Mullins decided to try and pass the officer. (2) Robert Haight Jr., 42, was captured after a high-speed chase through Burlington, Mass., in August, with police recovering “stacks” of stolen credit cards and suspected-stolen high-end electronics from the car. Haight had attracted police attention by parking his car (with a mismatched license plate), unattended, with engine running, in a handicaped parking spot. [WCTI-TV (New Bern, N.C.), 8-12-2014] [WCVB-TV (Boston), 8-12-2014]

A News of the Weird Classic (May 2010)

Briton Robert Dee, feeling humiliated at being called the "world's worst tennis pro" by London's Daily Telegraph (and other news organizations) sued the newspaper for libel in 2009. After taking testimony in February 2010, the judge dismissed the lawsuit, convinced by Dee's having lost 54 consecutive international tour matches (each in straight sets). Fearful of an opposite result, thirty other news organizations had prematurely apologized to Dee for disparaging him, but the Telegraph had stood its ground (and was, of course, humble in victory, titling its story on the outcome, "'World's Worst' Tennis Player Loses Again.") [The Guardian (London), 4-28-10]

Thanks This Week to Craig Cryer, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
     Posted By: Chuck - Sun Aug 31, 2014

ISIS & War This ain't the 1st time.

Voyeurism This story isn't about Thomas Clark but the judge that is either an idiot or on the take.

Good Mom but a really, really, bad drunk.

Rayvon Campos See 'Voyeurism' above.

CDN Fines There is red paint on the curb but.... Obviously this is entrapment.

Kyra & the Lion See oprah really is annoying.

Brooklyn Payouts So, just add another 0.5% sales tax and call it even.

Comcast Hold-up Or would this be a reverse hold-up?

German Trucker He missed 700 times??? Really??? Seriously, who was following him around to keep count?

John Mulvey Financial Engineering??? Now try to tell me the housing crash wasn't an orchestrated land grab.

Nathan McCoy Wouldn't a single bullet been cheaper that all that police overtime?

The Whistler There's a solution for this too, parents.

West Lafayette, Ohio They should have charged the VA for neglect and breach of contract then brought impeachment proceedings against the CINC.

Crispy Critters There's a video at the link if you want to see who's pushing 'green energy'.

Questionable Decisions As we so often say..... ONE CRIME AT A TIME!

Tennis Pro Pro??? Really??? Who's paying this dude? Who's supporting this dude?

Yea! Chuck!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 09/01/14 at 01:40 AM
There is a fire hydrant in my front yard that is right on the property line between mine and the neighbors. So technically anyone parking within 15 feet of it on our cul-de-sac is ticketable for $150 by city code. Hmmmm ... As a reserve LEO maybe I can make some money off this ?
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 09/01/14 at 10:18 AM
BR cam- I'm with Expat on this one.

abuse- Terrible as it is, where suffering is considered, abortion is not the worst thing that can happen.

hydrant- Someone should sneak in and have a midnight tree cutting party.

opera saves the day- I have heard that sudden loud noises can scare off bears and lions ect.

yard signs- Usually that stuff is reserved for small time political campaigns.

golf course- Well they couldn't taze him, he'd have been electrocuted.

whistling- Hubby has a tendency to whistle till I gently remind him that it ANNOYS ME!

Lafayette, OH- Shame on that anti-veteran community. The ducks should be considered service animals due to his condition which makes his right to have them federally protected.

vaporised birds- In this corner we have Green Energy Crazies aaaand in this corner we have PETA Nuts! DING!!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/01/14 at 02:10 PM
The book, "Catch 22" by Heller covers all this. Later I found it was all true. U.S. gave Vietnamese Army military stuff, they sold it to Viet Cong who used it on us, We seized it from the VC and gave it to local "friendly" defense forces who used it on South Vietnamese forces or the S. Vietnamese forces sold it back to VC again. It was all very confusing.
Posted by Gator Guy on 09/01/14 at 07:25 PM
@Gator Guy: And the winner was John$on and his ¢ronie$.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 09/02/14 at 01:22 AM
Expat: and now it's Cheney and his Haliburton. Plus ça change...
Posted by Richard Bos on 09/02/14 at 05:00 AM
Re: Hydrants

Curb is painted red. Dont blame the placement of the hydrant, blame the morons that park in a red zone.
Posted by John S on 09/02/14 at 09:32 AM
Comcast - can't blame the lady. Once you've finally got the cable guy there, you got to make use of him, otherwise who knows how long it will take to get your cable fixed.

Ducks - wonder if he gets to take them on airplanes? If so, can he let them waddle around the cabin?

Voyeurism - it worked once, now I am sure we'll see a string of similar defenses.

Solar furnace - how about giant robotic owls to scare away the birds?

Patty- instead of the children, perhaps they should abort the parents and let some other family adopt the babies.

Richard - Cheney has been out of office for almost 6 years. He's no longer a boogie man to most of us.
Posted by RobK on 09/02/14 at 11:40 AM
Cheney's been out of office, but is Halliburton out of the oil contracts yet? The term may end, but the corruption goes on and on and on. That VP campaign has paid for itself several times over, our of your pockets.
Posted by Richard Bos on 09/02/14 at 12:00 PM
ISIS: Yeah whodda thunk that whole imperialism thing would backfire (except, ya know, any student of human history).

Hiker: Opera tends to have that effect on me too.

German trucker: what always gets me on these stories is the 700 times part. How'd they establish that? Did they decide that 699 was insufficient evidence ("Alright, Hans, just 1 more and we got him dead to rights!")?

John Mulvey: so financial engineering = illicit sabotage of rival's business? Any bets on how many Goldman-Sachs execs took this guy's course?

Expat47 response to Nathan McCoy story: so human life < half hour of cop time (DUMB human life, granted, but still...) Don't worry though, that 'ultimate solution' to presumed criminal activity is being implemented across the country. Think of the tax $ saved in avoiding that whole 'due process' bother.

Ducks: "This scourge of urban fowl ownership must be eradicated!" Jesus, West Lafayette city council, get a life.

Comments on solar furnace: interesting how some are just so eager to trash any attempt at alternate energy. After all, fossil fuels have never done any environmental damage and will TOTALLY LAST FOREVER!
Posted by Dallas on 09/02/14 at 05:30 PM
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