News of the Weird (July 10, 2016)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M483, July 10, 2016
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

More and more churches ("hundreds," according to a June Christianity Today report) offer hesitant parishioners a "money-back guarantee" if they tithe 10 percent (or more) of their income for 90 days--but then feel that God blesses them insufficiently in return. The South Carolina megachurch NewSpring instituted such a program in the 1990s and claims that, of 7,000 recent pledgers, "fewer than 20" expressed dissatisfaction with the Lord. Advocates cite the Bible's Book of Malachi, quoting God himself (according to Christianity Today): "Test me in this." "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse" and "see if I will not pour out so much blessing" that "there will not be room enough to store it." [Christianity Today, 6-28-2016]

New World Order

A leading Chinese orthopedic surgeon continues to believe that "full-body" transplants are the next big thing in medicine, despite worldwide skepticism about both the science and the ethics. The plan for Dr. Ren Xiaoping of Harbin Medical University calls for removing both heads (the deceased donor's and the live recipient's), connecting the blood vessels, stabilizing the new neck, and "bath[ing]" spinal-cord nerve endings chemically so they will connect. (Critics say it is impossible to "connect" spinal-cord nerves.) According to a June New York Times dispatch, doctors regularly denounce China's ethical laxities (though Chinese officials term such denunciations "envy" at China's achievements). [New York Times, 6-11-2016]

Suspicions Confirmed

(1) In June, District Attorney Jerry Jones in Monroe, La., dropped drug and gun charges against college football players Cam Robinson and Hootie Jones (who play for University of Alabama but are from Monroe)--declaring that the "main reason" for his decision is that "I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years working and sweating, while we were all in the air conditioning." (2) A Philadelphia "casting" agency solicited "extras" to show up at polling stations on the April 26th Pennsylvania primary day for candidate Kevin Boyle, who was running against state Sen. John Sabatina--offering $120 each (plus lunch and an open bar). Since most polling-site "electioneering" is illegal, the probable job was merely to give voters the impression that Boyle was very popular. (Sabatina narrowly won.) [Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 6-22-2016] [, 4-27-2016]

In January, a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed that it was only 124 of the roughly 12,000 Chicago cops that caused misconduct complaints that resulted in settlements (since 2009)--with one officer, for example, identified in seven. (A June Chicago Reporter study claimed the city paid out $263 million in total on misconduct litigation during 2012-2015.) [Chicago Tribune, 1-29-2016] [Chicago Reporter, 6-22-2016]

Litigious Societies

(1) Insurance agent John Wright filed a lawsuit in Will County, Ill., in June over teenagers playing "Ding Dong Ditch," in which kids ring a doorbell but run away before the resident answers. The lawsuit claims that bellringer Brennan Papp, 14, caused Wright "severe emotional distress, anxiety, and weight loss," resulting in at least $30,000 of lost income. (2) The ex-boyfriend of Nina Zgurskaya filed a lawsuit in Siberia after she broke up with him for his reluctance to "pop the question" after a two-year courtship. The man, not named in a dispatch from Moscow, demanded compensation for his dating expenses. The trial court ruled against him, but he is appealing. [ (Joliet, Ill.), 6-24-2016] [Daily Telegraph (London), 6-3-2016]

The Job of the Researcher

A team of researchers is following about 30 tabbies, calicos, and others, recording their moves and sounds, to somehow learn whether housecats have dialects in their meows and alter other patterns of stress and intonation when they "speak" to other cats or to humans. In explaining the project, linguist Robert Eklund (of Sweden's Linkoping University) personally sounded out "a pretty wide range of meows to illustrate his points," wrote a New York magazine interviewer in April. Eklund is already an expert on feline purring (at from a distance, as he admits being allergic to cats. [New York, 4-27-2016]

The Passing Parade

Quixotic Malaysian designer Moto Guo made a splash at Milan's fashion week in June when he sent model after model to the runway with facial blotches suggesting they had zits or skin conditions. One reporter was apparently convinced, concluding, "Each man and woman on the runway looked miserable." [Daily Mail (London), 6-20-2016]

Out of Control: (1) Nelson Hidalgo, 47, was arrested in New York City in June and charged with criminal negligence and other crimes for parking his van near Citi Field during a Mets game and drawing players' complaints when he ramped up the van's 80-speaker sound system. "I know it's illegal, but it's the weekend," said Hidalgo. "I usually [just] get a ticket." (2) Trina Hibberd of Mission Beach, Australia, finally showed concern about the python living inside her walls that she has known about for 15 years but (perhaps "Australian-ly") had chosen to ignore. In June, it wandered out--a 15-foot-long, 90-pound Scrub Python she calls "Monty." "All hell broke loose," a neighbor said later, as snake-handlers took Monty to a more appropriate habitat. [AM New York, 6-20-2016] [Australian Broadcasting Corp. News, 6-21-2016]

Wait, What?

Brigham Young University professor Jason Hansen apologized in May after coaxing a student (for extra credit) to drink a small vial of his urine in class. The physiology session was on kidney function, and Hansen thought the stunt would call attention to urine's unique properties. He confessed later that the "urine" was just food coloring with vinegar added; that he had used the stunt in previous classes; and that he usually admits the ruse at the next class session. Nonetheless, Hansen's department chair suggested he retire the concept. [KSTU-TV (Provo), 5-31-2016]

Police Report

A Woman at the Top of Her Game: In Nashville, Tenn., in June, sex worker Jonisia Morris, 25, was charged with robbing her client by (according to the police report) removing the man's wallet from his trousers while he received oral sex seated in his car, extracting his debit card, and returning the wallet to his pocket--without his noticing. [WZTV (Nashville), 6-16-2016]

Fetishes on Parade

Recidivist Jesse Johnson, 20, was charged again in June (suspicion of disturbing the peace) after he had crawled underneath a woman's car at an Aldi store's parking lot in Lincoln, Neb., waited for her to return, and then, as she was stepping into the car, reaching out to fondle her ankle. It was Johnson's third such charge this year, and he initially tried to deny the actual touch, instead claiming that he was underneath the car "simply for the visual." Johnson acknowledged to the judge that he needs help and that he had been in counseling but had run out of money. (At press time, the status of the latest incident was still pending.) [Journal Star (Lincoln), 6-23-2016]

Undignified Deaths

(1) Australian lawyer William Ray was killed on May 22nd when he was thrown from his all-terrain "quad bike" in rural Victoria state and pinned underneath. Ray had come to prominence by representing Honda as the company balked at mandatory installation of anti-roll bars on quad bikes. (2) A 48-year-old employee at North Central Bronx Hospital in New York City died of a heart attack at work on June 7th, under circumstances (according to police) indicating that he was viewing a pornographic video at the moment of his death. [The Age (Melbourne), 5-23-2016] [New York Daily News, 6-8-2016]

A News of the Weird Classic (August 2012)

When the assistant manager arrived early on June 26th [2012] to open up the Rent-A-Center in Brockton, Mass., he encountered a man on the ground with his head stuck underneath the heavy metal loading-bay door (obviously as the result of a failed burglary attempt during the night). "Hang tight!" the manager consoled the trapped man. "The police are on their way." Manuel Fernandes, 53, was arrested. [The Enterprise (Brockton), 6-26-2012]

Thanks This Time to Perry Levin and Jim Weiss, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
     Posted By: Chuck - Sun Jul 10, 2016

Body transplants- Every medical procedure was once considered impossible. Who's to say what will go from impossible to common place over time.

124 of 12000- Weed out the trouble makers, why is that such a difficult concept?!?

Cat talk- Why not, they've been studying dolphin and whale language for years. We live with cats, it would be nice to understand them.

BJ robbery- That's about the best distraction for a robbery I've ever heard of!

Ankle fetish- Poor woman probably thought it was the cut-your-Achilles-tendon-and-murder-you urban legend coming true.

Quad bike- Darwinism at work.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/10/16 at 10:34 PM
Similar to the bungled Rent-A-Center burglary: About a month ago, a local would-be burglar got himself trapped in a similar way for about seven hours while trying to steal truck parts at a local auto dealer, when the jack he was using was unable to support the weight of the truck and it fell and pinned his head to the asphalt parking surface. Details are here:
Posted by Fritz G on 07/11/16 at 08:08 AM
Electioneering: wouldn't that be counter-productive? Give an impression that your candidate is popular, and voters who might not have bothered to come in to vote for the other guy now believe they might have to.

Misconduct: What happened to the three-strike rule? Or does it not apply to their own?

Python: Well, if it's never caused any bother up to now, why bother it?

Ankle: And that, ladies, is why your country needs to join the civilised world and introduce "evil commie socialised" medicine - because usually the people who need it most can least afford to pay for it themselves.
Posted by Richard Bos on 07/13/16 at 08:20 AM
Re 14 year old defendant: Rats run in packs, and in this area they feature lawyer and psychologist cousins for better traction in yanking wallets and forcible withdrawals of accounts. A serious study of Wrights would yield as much evidence of white-collar crime as Waynes have blue-collar. This includes the gaming of a past Presidential election.
Someone should forward the ratbag's home phone number to every robocaller on the Internet.
Posted by Angie unduplicated on 07/17/16 at 10:53 AM
Lol! I like that idea Angie!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/17/16 at 01:03 PM
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