News of the Weird (September 18, 2016)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M493, September 18, 2016
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

What Goes Around, Comes Around: One of the Islamic State's first reforms in captured territory has been to require adult women to dress devoutly--including the face-covering burka robe, which, in Western democracies famously presents security dilemmas because it hinders identification. Now, after two years of Islamic State occupation in Mosul, Iraq, the security problem has come full circle on ISIS itself. Dispatches from the town reported in September that ISIS has likely banned the burka because it hinders identification of anti-ISIS insurgents who (female and male) wear burkas to sneak up on Islamic State officers. [Jerusalem Post, 9-6-2016]

Recurring Themes

Barbara Murphy, 64, of Roy, Utah, is the most recent "dead" person battling the federal government to prove she is still alive (but seemingly getting nowhere). She said Social Security Administration bureaucrats, citing protocols, have been tight-lipped about her problem and remedies even though her bank account was frozen; Social Security was dunning her for two years worth of Medicare premiums (since her 2014 "death"); and warning letters had been sent to banks and credit agencies. Nonetheless, Murphy told the Deseret News in August that, all in all, she feels pretty good despite being dead. [Deseret News, 8-25-2016]

Political connections in some Latin American countries have allowed convicted drug dealers and crime bosses to serve their sentences comfortably, and the most recent instance to make the news, from Agence France-Presse, was the presidential-suite-type "cell" occupied by Brazilian drug lord Jarvic Chimenes Pavao in Paraguay. When police (apparently not "politically connected") raided the cell in July, they found a well-appointed apartment with semi-luxurious furniture settings (including a conference table for Pavao to conduct "business"), embellished wallpaper designs with built-in bookcases, a huge TV among the latest electronics--and even a handsome shoe rack holding Pavao's footwear selection. Pavao also rented out part of the suite to other inmates for the equivalent of $5,000 plus $600 weekly rent. [Agence France-Presse via BBC News, 7-30-2016]

Sounds Familiar: (1) Chris Atkins in Denver, Colo., is among the most recent judicially-ruled "fathers" to owe child support even though DNA tests have proven that another man's semen produced the child. Atkins is in the middle of a contentious divorce/child custody battle in which his estranged wife wants both custody and support payments, and since Atkins did not contest his fatherhood until the child reached age 11, he has lost legal standing. (2) A high school girl and her parents told the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat in July that they were on the verge of filing a lawsuit demanding that the school district order the Leon High School cheerleader squad to select her (even though she had fallen twice during tryouts). [KDVR-TV (Denver), 7-27-2016] [Tallahassee Democrat, 7-18-2016]

Least Competent Criminals: Boyd Wiley, 47, was arrested in August when he walked in to the Putnam County (Fla.) Sheriff's office and, apparently in all seriousness, demanded that deputies return the 91 marijuana plants they had unearthed from a vacant lot in the town of Interlachen several days earlier. (Until that moment, deputies did not know whose plants they were.) Wiley was told that growing marijuana is illegal in Florida and was arrested. [, 8-14-2016]

Not a Techie: The most recent perp to realize that cops use Facebook is Mack Yearwood, 42, who ignored a relative's advice and uploaded his Citrus County, Fla., wanted poster for his Facebook profile picture, thus energizing deputies who, until then, had no leads on his whereabouts. He was caught a day later and faces a battery complaint and several open arrest warrants. [WFLX-TV (West Palm Beach, Fla.) via Fox News, 9-2-2016]

Texan Monica Riley, age 27 and weighing 700 lbs., is the most recent "super-sized" woman to claim happiness in exhibiting herself semi-nude for "fans" (she claims 20,000) who watch online as morbidly obese people eat. She told the celebrity news site Barcroft Media in September that her 8,000 calories a day puts her on track to weigh 1,000 lbs. soon, and that her loving boyfriend, Sid, 25 and a "feeder," is turned on by helping her. Sid, for instance, feeds Monica her special 3,500-calorie "shake"--through a funnel--and supposedly will eagerly become her caretaker when she eats herself into total immobility. ("Safe For Work" website: SSBBW Magazine) [Barcroft Media via Daily Mail (London), 9-6-2016]

No Longer Weird

Another DIY Overkill: Police in Centralia, Wash., arrested a man (not identified in news reports) for reckless burning in August when, trying to rid his apartment of roaches, he declined ordinary aerosol bug spray in favor of making a homemade flamethrower (the aerosol spray fired up by a lighter). He fled the apartment when he realized he might have taken things too far. (Firefighters were called, but the damage was minimal.) [The Oregonian, 8-8-2016]

Population grows; goods must be hauled; traffic congestion is worse; and thus trucks keep spilling their loads on the highways. The really weird ones have set the bar perhaps unattainably high for this genre of news (e.g., the truck spilling pornographic magazines; the truck hauling ham colliding with the truck hauling eggs). In September, a tractor-trailer overturned on Interstate 295 in New Castle, Del., spilling a particularly low-value load. The truck, headed for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, was filled with 22 tons worth of increasingly-shunned U.S. pennies, but these were even less useful (though perhaps, by metal content, more valuable!) because they were not-yet-engraved "blanks." [WPVI-TV (Philadelphia), 9-8-2016]


Roy Pearson, a former District of Columbia administrative law judge, may be the only person in America who believes that his 2005 $54 million unsuccessful lawsuit against his dry cleaners was not frivolous--and he has still not come to the end of his legal odyssey. In June 2016, a D.C. Bar disciplinary committee recommended that Pearson be placed on probation for two years because of ethics violations, including having made statements "unsupported" by facts when defending his contention that the cleaners' "satisfaction guaranteed" warranty made it liable for various negative occurrences in Pearson's life following the loss of a pair of pants at the store. Not surprisingly, Pearson, now age 65, announced that he would challenge the committee recommendation. [Washington Post, 6-8-2016]

Russian performance artist Petr Pavlensky's most infamous moment was in 2013 when, to protest government oppression, he nailed his scrotum to the ground at Moscow's Red Square. (He had also once sewn his lips shut and, at another time, set fire to a door at Russia's FSB security headquarters.) In August, the Burger King company announced a series of four limited-edition sandwiches inspired by Pavlensky for the artist's hometown of St. Petersburg. The scrotum performance, for example, will marked by an egg "nailed" to a burger by plastic spear. A company spokesperson said Pavlensky was chosen as the inspiration because he is popular with "the masses." [Moscow Times via The Guardian (London), 8-31-2016]

Once again, Iceland's "little people" have, when disrespected, roiled the country's public policy. In August, a road crew had inadvertently buried a supposedly-enchanted elfin rock along a highway being cleared of debris from a landslide, and immediately, all misfortunes in the area were attributed to the elves' displeasure. According to an Agence France-Presse dispatch, crews were quickly ordered to re-set the rock. (The incident was one more in a long series in which public and private funds in Iceland are routinely diverted toward projects thought to appease the elves.) [Agence France-Presse via Daily Telegraph (London), 8-30-2016]

A News of the Weird Classic (November 2012)

Former Arkansas state legislator Charlie Fuqua is running again [in 2012] after a 14-year absence from elective office. In the interim, reported the Arkansas Times, he wrote a book, "God’s Law: The Only Political Solution,” reminding Christians that they could put their rebellious children to death as long as proper procedure (from Deuteronomy 21:18-21) was followed. “Even though this [procedure] would rarely be used,” Fuqua wrote, “if it were the law of the land . . . it would be a tremendous incentive for children to give proper respect to their parents.” (Fuqua failed to gain his party's nomination.) [Arkansas Times, 10-8-2012]

Thanks This Week to Rob Zimmer, Larry Neer, Jens Lund, and Jim Weber and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
     Posted By: Chuck - Sun Sep 18, 2016

Chuck, you may have been conned regarding the lead story:
Posted by ges on 09/18/16 at 09:09 PM
Living dead: So, if the Feds are certain you're dead, I suppose that means you can commit any crime you want. OTOH, since you're already legally dead, getting into a shoot-out with the law might be ill-advised. Decisions, decisions...

Cheerleader: Anyone willing to bet that none of her family are lawyers?

DC judge: The fact that anyone was prepared to put a member of the Judiciary on probation is a pretty big indication that the Honorable Roy needs to retire.
Posted by TheCannyScot on 09/19/16 at 10:37 AM
living dead- There really needs to be more accountability of government employees as well as the government itself in these situations. Showing up breathing and with a birth certificate should be sufficient to fix this kind of thing.

to be a dad- This has become a SCOTUS issue. No one should be forced to provide for a child they are not biologically related to unless there was an adoption. The children in these situations are not well served by further alienating the person they consider a parent who has already turned their back.

cheerleader- Give me an I! Give me a D! Give me an I! Give me an O! Give me a ! What's it spell?

Hey that's MY pot!, Dude's been smoking a little too much product.

roach inferno- Really, the biggest question here is- How did this guy survive this long in the first place.

Pennies from Heaven- The blanks aren't worth shit, they aren't made from copper anymore.

Judge of the traveling pants- Seriously, I think this guy has Alzheimer's or senile dementia.

BK- So BK wants their sandwich to be associated with testicles nailed to the ground, that's a bold marketing technique to say the least.

Icelandic mythology- Either the country is just doing well enough to enjoy this tongue in cheek joke, or there is not enough genetic variety in that country.

I brought you into this world and I'll take you out!- Regardless of what I may have yelled a time or two at my son (hey, you try living with him!) infanticide is really not a good government policy.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/19/16 at 11:17 AM
The government needs to establish a separate agency to make people undead for those unfortunate enough to have been mistakenly officially declared dead. They could staff it with our current crop of brain-dead politicians.

So mom died a few years ago. My brother who was in charge of the estate sent in all the paperwork to assorted agencies including the signed, sealed, stamped death certificate in a timely manner. Being dead officially is no easy matter, you need multiple of copies of the death certificate sent to every agency there is to tell them you are dead. Even the death certificate had her cause of death wrong. But the SS deposits kept coming for a couple of years. We considered just being quiet and let the grand kids deal with in in 30 years. In time he was able to convince them she was in-fact dead and send a picture of the box of ashes with her name on it. Next time we will invite them to the internment.
Posted by Gator Guy on 09/19/16 at 05:52 PM
Charlie Fuqua: Who said Islamists and Christians can't find some common ground?
Posted by Billy on 09/20/16 at 02:13 AM
Gator Guy, I think you meant the interment?

Mr. Atkins, in my unsolicited opinion, should owe nothing; that a child is not actually one's own might not become even a suspicion for a number of years.
Posted by John Ayer on 09/21/16 at 06:51 PM
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