News of the Weird M511, January 22, 2017

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Chuck Shepherd

Jan 22, 2017, 7:20:07 AM1/22/17
WEIRDNUZ.M511 (News of the Weird, January 22, 2017)
by Chuck Shepherd
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Lead Story                                  
* Post-Truth Society:  In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals finally
pulled the plug on Orange County, Calif., social workers who had
been arguing in court for 16 years that they were not guilty of lying
under oath because, after all, they did not understand that lying
under oath in court is wrong.  The social workers had been sued for
improperly removing children from homes and defended their
actions by inventing "witnesses" to submit made-up testimony.
Their lawyers had been arguing that the social workers' "due
process" rights were violated in the lawsuit because in no previous
case on record did a judge ever have occasion to explicitly spell out
that creating fictional witness statements is not permitted. [OC
Weekly, 1-6-2017]

The Way The World Works

* Former elementary school teacher Maria Caya, who was allowed
to resign quietly in 2013 from her Janesville, Wis., school after
arriving drunk on a student field trip, actually made money on the
incident.  In November 2016, the city agreed to pay a $75,000
settlement--because the police had revealed her blood-alcohol level
to the press in 2013 (allegedly, "private" medical information).  The
lawsuit against the police made no mention of Caya's having been
drunk or passed out but only that she had "become ill."  [Fox News,

The Redneck Chronicles
* (1) John Bubar, 50, was arrested in Parsonsfield, Maine, in
November after repeatedly lifting his son's mobile home with his
front-end loader and dropping it.  The father and son had been
quarreling over rent payments and debris in the yard, and the father
only eased up after realizing that his grandson was still inside
the home.  (2) Update:  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission reversed itself in December and allowed Mary Thorn
of Lakeland to keep her 6-foot-long pet alligator ("Rambo") at home
with her despite a regulation requiring that a gator that size needs a
more spacious roaming area.  Thorn and Rambo have been together
for over a decade.  [Associated Press via Yahoo News, 12-12-2016]
[WFTV (Orlando), 12-21-2016]

Unclear on the Concept

* "I'm [as] tired of hearing the word 'creep' as any black person or
gay person is of hearing certain words," wrote Lucas Werner, 37, on
his Facebook page in December after he was banned from a
Starbucks in Spokane, Wash., for writing a polite dating request to a
teenaged barista.  Managers thought Werner was harassing the
female, who is at least the age of consent, but Werner charged
illegal "age discrimination" and made a "science" claim that "age
gap love" makes healthier babies.  [NWCN News (Seattle), 12-30-

Police Report

* Taylor Trupiano grudgingly paid his $128 "traffic" fine in
December, issued by a Roseville, Mich., officer who caught his car
warming up unattended--in his own driveway.  Police routinely
issue such tickets (5 to 10 each winter, based on a town ordinance)
to send drivers like Trupiano a message that unattended cars are ripe
for theft, which burdens Roseville's police department.  (A police
spokesman said the driverless warmups are illegal even for locked
cars.)  [WXYZ-TV (Detroit), 1-9-2017]

* Awwwwwww!  (1) Jasper Fiorenza, 24, was arrested in St.
Petersburg, Fla., in November and charged with breaking into a
home in the middle of the night.  The female resident said she
awoke to see Fiorenza and screamed but that the man nonetheless
delayed his getaway in order to pet the woman's cat lounging on her
bed.  (2) In December, Durham, Ontario, police officer Beth
Richardson was set for disciplinary hearing ("discreditable
conduct") because, earlier in 2016, after being called intervene at a
drug user's home, she had noticed the resident's cat "cowering" in a
corner and had taken her to a veterinarian, but without asking the
owner's permission.  [Tampa Bay Times, 12-1-2016] [CTV News
(Toronto), 12-2-2016]

Questionable Judgments

* David Martinez, 25, was shot in the stomach during a brawl in
New York City in December.  He had inadvertently initiated the
chaos when, trying to park in Manhattan's East Village just after
Saturday midnight, he moved an orange traffic cone that had
obviously been placed to reserve the parking space.  He apparently
failed to realize that the parking spot was in front of the clubhouse
of Hells Angels, whose members happened to take notice.  [New
York Daily News, 12-12-2016]

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

* An unnamed pregnant woman convinced a reporter from
Jacksonville, Fla., station WFOX-TV in December that the
"positive" urine tests she was advertising on Craigslist were
accurate and that she was putting herself through school by
supplying them (making about $200 a day).  The seller claimed that
"many" pregnant women market their urine for tests--even though
the main use of the test seems to be "negotiation" with boyfriends or
husbands.  [WFOX-TV, 12-16-2016]


* "You Have The Right To [Any Ol'] Attorney":  While poor, often
uneducated murder defendants in some states receive marginal,
part-time legal representation by lawyers at the bottom of their
profession (usually unable to keep their murder clients off of death
row), "Boston Marathon" bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted of
three murders in the 2013 attack and facing a possible death
sentence, once again will be represented for free by a team at the top
of the profession--headed by the chief of the New York federal
public defender office.  Tsarnaev was previously represented by a
team topped by the chief of the Boston federal public defender
office. [Boston Herald, 1-3-2017]

Least Competent Criminals

* (1) Matthew Bergstedt, 27, was charged with breaking into a
house in Raleigh, N.C., in December, though he failed to anticipate
that the resident was inside, stacking firewood (which he used to
bloody Bergstedt's face for his mugshot).  (2) On December 5th in
New York City, a so-far-unidentified man made five separate
attempts to rob banks in midtown Manhattan over a three-hour
span, but all tellers refused his demands, and he slinked away each
time.  (Police said a man matching his description had successfully
robbed a bank four days earlier.)  [WNCN-TV (Raleigh), 12-27-
2016] [WNBC-TV (New York), 12-6-2016]

Recurring Themes

* The Return of Anger Relief:  (1) What was billed as the UK's first
"Rage Cage" opened in Nottingham, England, in December,
allowing patrons to vent with crowbars, baseball bats, and hammers
to smash crockery, electronics, and glassware--at prices ranging
from about $15 to about $40. (2) In October, a bookstore in Cairo,
Egypt, set aside a small, soundproof room where patrons could go
scream at the top of their lungs for 10 minutes about whatever
stresses them.  The store owner pointed to an academic study
demonstrating screaming's "positive effect" on the brain.  (The
prototype store is still Donna Alexander's Anger Room in
downtown Dallas, thriving since 2011, offering a variety of
bludgeoning weapons, and especially active this election season,
with target mannequins gussied up to be "Trump" and "Clinton.")
[, 12-5-2016] [CNN, 10-27-2016] [New York
Times, 11-26-2016]

The Passing Parade

* (1) Two weeks after a Pakistani International Airlines crash killed
all 47 on board, some employees of the company figured they
needed to dispel the bad karma (for their own safety) and thus
sacrificed a black goat on the tarmac at Islamabad airport next to an
ATR-42 aircraft (the same model that crashed).  (2) Badminton
player Mads Pieler Kolding, in a January match in India's Premier
Badminton League, returned a volley at a world's record for a
shuttlecock--265 mph. [NPR, 12-19-2016] [, 1-12-

A News of the Weird Classic (March 2013)
* Suspicions Confirmed:  In January [2013], the National Hockey
League labor dispute ended, and players returned to work, but as if
on cue, some owners resumed their suspect claims that high player
salaries were killing them financially.   However, the Phoenix
Business Journal reported in December 2012 that the NHL Phoenix
Coyotes' bookkeeping methodology only allowed them to turn a
profit for the season if the lockout had continued and wiped out all
the games.  In other words, based on the team's bookkeeping, the
only way for the Coyotes to make money was to never play.
[Phoenix Business Journal, 12-26-2012]

     Thanks This Week to Gerald Sacks 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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