News of the Weird M515, February 19, 2017

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Chuck Shepherd

Feb 19, 2017, 8:48:22 AM2/19/17
WEIRDNUZ.M515 (News of the Weird, February 19, 2017)
by Chuck Shepherd
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Lead Story                                  
* San Francisco's best-paid janitor earned more than a quarter-
million dollars cleaning stations for Bay Area Rapid Transit in
2015, according to a recent investigation by Oakland's KTVU.
Liang Zhao Zhang cleared almost $58,000 in base pay and $162,000
in overtime, and other benefits ran his total income to $271,243.  He
worked at San Francisco's Powell Street station, a hangout for the
homeless, who notoriously sullied the station 24/7 (urine, feces, and
needles, especially), necessitating overtime hours that apparently
only Zhang was interested in working.  In one stretch during July
2015, he pulled 17-hour days for two and a half straight weeks. 
[KTVU, 2-7-2017]

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

* "Of All The Gin Joints In The World . . .":  An Abbotsford,
British Columbia, burglar was successful in his February 7th break-
in at a home, but his getaway was thwarted by a snowfall that
blocked him in on a roadway.  He eventually decided to ask a
passerby for help--and inadvertently picked out a man (of the city's
140,000 residents) whose house had he had just broken into (and
who recognized him from reviewing his home's security camera
footage).  The victim called police, who arrested the man (and
reported that it was the second residential break-in that night in
which the snowfall had foiled a burglar's getaway.)  [Vancouver
Sun, 2-7-2017]

Oh Dear!

* Everyday Hazards:  In Portland, Ore., in January, Ashley Glawe,
17, a committed "goth" character with tattoos, piercings, and
earlobe holes ("gauges") was, she said, "hanging out" with Bart, her
pet python, when he  climbed into one of the lobes.  She couldn't get
him out, nor could firefighters, but with lubrication, hospital
emergency workers did (thus avoiding an inevitable split lobe if
Bart had kept squeezing his way through).  [The Oregonian, 2-1-

* Iraqi forces taking over an ISIS base in Mosul in January reported
finding papers from at least 14 Islamic State "fighters" who had
tried to claim "health" problems, asking commanders to please
excuse them from real combat (and martyrdom).  One (a Belgian
man) actually brought a note from a doctor back home attesting to
his "back pain."  Five of the 14 were initiated by volunteers from
France, a country that endures a perhaps-undeserved national
reputation for battle-avoidance.  [Washington Post, 2-7-2017]

Government in Action

* Legislators in Iowa and Florida recently favorably advanced bills
giving women who receive legal abortions up to 10 years (or longer,
in Iowa) to sue the doctor if the abortion winds up causing them
"emotional distress."  (Doctors in all states are already liable, of
course, for actual "negligence" in their practice.)  In the Iowa
version (which the Des Moines Register reported would likely face
amendments), even a signed consent form by the patient would not
immunize the doctor (but might mitigate the amount of damages
awarded).  [Des Moines Register, 1-17-2017] [Miami Herald, 2-9-

Great Art!

* German art collector Rik Reinking paid the equivalent of about
$138,000 in 2008 for a resplendent, complex drawing by Belgian
artist Wim Delvoye, but it was one created in ink on the skin of (the
still-alive) tattoo parlor manager Tim Steiner--to be delivered only
upon Steiner's death, when his skin will be displayed in Reinking's
collection.  (The deal also requires that, in the meantime, Steiner
personally showcase his back at galleries three times a year, and
BBC News recently caught his latest appearance.)  [BBC News, 2-

More Things to Worry About

* Higher Math:  The first robots to have survived journeys close to
the "core" of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan (which
melted down in a 2011 earthquake) returned a reading of 530
"sieverts" per hour.  (Some scientists label just 4 Sieverts an hour
fatal to half the people exposed to it.)  Since the robots stopped
short of the actual nuclear fuel, and since they only visited one of
the three cores, the true danger of Fukushima remains unknown.
(On a more optimistic note, scientists in February said they have
developed a computer chip that would survive on the surface of
Venus for 21 days, eclipsing the old record of two hours--long
enough to send back meaningful data, including the temperature.
The current estimated temperature is 878 degrees (F).) [Washington
Post, 2-8-2017] [Ars Technica, 2-8-2017]

Priests Gone Bad

* Prominent Tallahassee, Fla., pastor O. Jermaine Simmons, a
community leader who ministers to the homeless and downtrodden,
was rescued by police on January 17th, naked and hiding behind a
fence after making a run for it when the husband of his mistress
found the two in bed.  The husband, screaming, "I'm gonna kill
him," ran for his handgun, and the mistress summoned police, but
by January 30th, all involved had declined to press charges.
Simmons, married with a son, is highly regarded for good deeds
such as running a "cold night" shelter. [Tallahassee Democrat, 1-30-

* The decidedly-uncelibate Catholic priest Don Andrea Contin, 48,
of Padua, Italy, was accused by three women in December of having
as many as 30 different lovers over the years, organizing "orgies" on
church property, visiting a "swingers'" resort in France several
times, making pornographic "home videos" of his trysts,
"encouiraging" one woman to have sex with a horse, and "always"
carrying a briefcase full of vibrators, sex toys, and bondage
equipment.  Contin has not yet been charged with a crime but, said a
Catholic official, is "finished" as a priest. (Bonus:  The boxes for his
home videos were labeled by the names of Popes.) [The
Independent (London), 2-5-2017]

Wait, What?                            

* In January, a New York City judge dismissed the original
indictment of John Kennedy O'Hara, 55, who had been convicted in
1996 of the crime of "felony voting"--the only person convicted
under that state law since Susan B. Anthony, who cast a ballot in
1872 even though females were barred from the polls. O'Hara was
indicted for voting in 1992 and 1993 after registering in Brooklyn
elections from a "bogus" address--a basement apartment that was
considered uninhabitable.  (A judge in 2017 determined that the
apartment "could" have been habitable.)  O'Hara paid $15,000 in
fines and did 1,500 hours of community service.  [New York Times,

Least Competent Criminals                   

* Recurring Themes:  Once again, in January, curiosity got the
better of a perp.  Adriana Salas, 26, allegedly stole a truck in
Jonesboro, Ark., and drove it to Fort Smith, 260 miles away, but
then could not resist stopping by the local sheriff's office to ask
whether the truck had been reported stolen.  (It had; deputies, taking
a look outside, read Salas her Miranda rights.)   [KFSM-TV (Fort

The Passing Parade

* (1) Belgium's federal parliament decided to keep supplying free
beer and wine during legislative sessions (over the objection of its
ethics committee) because, since drinkers would continue to drink
off-premises, anyway, serving the items on-premises would at least
improve attendance.  (2) On January 30th, as police, with a search
warrant, approached the front door of child-porn-possessing suspect
Brian Ayers, 57, they spotted him inside, hatchet in hand, pounding
away at his tablet computer.  Ayers, of Florence, N.J., was free at
the time, pending sentencing in another New Jersey court on earlier
counts of distributing child porn. [, 1-20-17] [
(Burlington, N.J.), 2-1-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (April 2013)
* Those Clever Toddlers of Finland:  A University of Kansas
professor and two co-authors, in forthcoming [2013] Journal of
Finance research, found that children age 10 and under substantially
outperformed their parents in earnings from certain stock trading.  A
likely explanation, researchers said, is that mom and dad were
buying and selling in their children's accounts if they had illegal
insider information--because they feared getting caught by
regulators if they used it for their personal accounts.  The kids'
accounts (including those held by babies) were almost 50 percent
more profitable than their parents'.  (The study, reported by NPR,
covered 15 years of trades in Finland, which, unlike the U.S. and
most other countries, collects traders' ages.)  [NPR, 4-9-2013]

     Thanks This Week to Anthony Yeznach, Robin Daley,
Michelle Jensen, Michelle Collier, Mark Lillicrap, and Mel Birge,
and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
                     ****, weirdnews at earthlink dot net, and P. O.
Box 18737, Tampa FL 33629
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