News of the Weird M534, July 2, 2017

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Chuck Shepherd

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Jul 2, 2017, 9:08:02 AM7/2/17
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WEIRDNUZ.M534 (News of the Weird, July 2, 2017)
by Chuck Shepherd

Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Lead Story                   

Weird News is forever, but this is my last "News of the Weird"
column, as I am now exhausted after almost 30 years in the racket.
In this final edition, I remember a few of my favorites.  My deep
thanks to Universal UClick and to readers, who started me up and
kept me going.  Y'all take care of yourselves. // Chuck Shepherd

* (1995) Chesapeake, Va., inmate Robert Lee Brock filed a $5
million lawsuit against Robert Lee Brock--accusing himself of
violating his religious beliefs and his civil rights by getting himself
drunk enough that he could not avoid various criminal behaviors.
He wrote, "I want to pay myself five million dollars [for this breach
of rights] but ask the state to pay it in my behalf since I can't work
and am a ward of the state."  In April, the lawsuit was dismissed.
[Austin American-Statesman-AP, 4-8-95]

* (2002) The Lane brothers of New York, Mr. Winner Lane, 44,
and Mr. Loser Lane, 41 (their actual birth names), were profiled in
a July Newsday report--made more interesting by the fact that
Loser is successful (a police detective in the South Bronx) and
Winner is not (a history of petty crimes).  A sister said she believes
her parents selected "Winner" because their late father was a big
baseball fan and "Loser" just to complete the pairing. [Newsday, 7-
22-02]

* (1996) A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Lamar, Mo., on
Joyce Lehr's lawsuit against the county for injuries suffered in a
1993 fall in the icy, unplowed parking lot of the local high school.
The Carthage Press reported that Lehr claimed damage to nearly
everything in her body.  According to her petition:  "All the bones,
organs, muscles, tendons, tissues, nerves, veins, arteries, ligaments
. . . discs, cartilages, and the joints of her body were fractured,
broken, ruptured, punctured, compressed, dislocated, separated,
bruised, contused, narrowed, abrased, lacerated, burned, cut, torn,
wrenched, swollen, strained, sprained, inflamed, and infected."
[Carthage Press, 1-9-96]

* (2002) From time to time News of the Weird reported on the
fluctuating value of the late Italian artist Piero Manzoni's personal
feces, which he canned in 1961, 30 grams at a time in 90 tins, as art
objects (though, over the years, 45 have reportedly exploded).
Their price to collectors has varied (low of about $28,000 for a tin
in 1998 to a high of $75,000 in 1993).  In June 2002, the Tate
Gallery in London excitedly announced it had purchased tin
number 004 for about $38,000.  (The price of 30 grams of gold in
2002 was a little over $300.) [Sydney Morning Herald, 7-1-02]

* (1994) The New York Daily News reported in April on a
cellblock fight between murderers Colin Ferguson and Joel Rifkin
at the Nassau County jail.  Reportedly, Ferguson (convicted of six
race-related murders on the Long Island Rail Road in 1993) was
using a telephone and told Rifkin (a serial killer serving 203 years
for nine murders) to be quiet.  According to the Daily News source,
Ferguson told Rifkin, "I wiped out six devils [white people], and
you only killed women."  Rifkin allegedly responded, "Yeah, but I
had more victims."  Ferguson then allegedly ended the brief
incident by punching Rifkin in the mouth. [Syracuse Herald-
Journal-New York Daily News-AP, 4-11-94]

* (1999) At Last!  A Job That Actually Requires Geometry!
Commissioners in Florida's Seminole County and Manatee County
passed ordinances regulating public nudity by requiring women to
cover at least 25 percent of the area of their breasts and at least 33
percent of the buttocks, with detailed instructions as to the points
from which each coverage must be measured.  (Refresher for law
enforcement:  The lateral area of a cone is pi (times) r (times) s
where r=radius and s=slant height; for the surface area of a sphere,
it's pi (times) r (squared), and, alas, for a flat surface, it's length
times width.)  [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 4-4-1999]

* (1998) On the day before Good Friday, reported the Los Angeles
Times, Dr. Ernesto A. Moshe Montgomery consecrated the Shrine
of the Weeping Shirley MacLaine in a room in the Beta Israel
Temple in Los Angeles.  Inspired by an image he said he had while
riding in the actress's private jet, Montgomery said a subsequent,
large photograph of him with MacLaine was "observed shedding
tears," which had inspired prayers and testimony of miraculous
healings. [Los Angeles Times, 4-10-98] 

* (2001) A child pornography investigation in Minneapolis turned
up 1,000 suspect images on the office computer of a 58-year-old
University of Minnesota classics professor--named Richard Pervo.
[Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2-13-01]

* (1993) In May Elk River, Minn., landlord Todd Plaisted reported
that his tenant Kenneth Lane had fled the area, abandoning his
rented farmhouse and leaving behind at least 400 tons of used
carpeting, at least 10,000 plastic windows from Northwest Airlines
planes, and rooms full of sofas, mattresses, and washing machines,
among other things.  Lane told townspeople he ran a "recycling"
company, but there was no evidence of sales.  A deputy sheriff
driving by the farmhouse the year before saw Lane burying
carpeting with a tractor and said Lane merely muttered, "I don't
know what to say.  You got me.  I can't even make up an excuse."
[Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5-17-93]

* (1990) An FBI investigation into interstate trafficking by diaper
fetishists resulted in the arrests of five men belonging to an
organization called the Diaper Pail Foundation, which has a
letterhead and publishes a newsletter and information exchange for
members.  A Madison, Wis., man, arrested in April for possession
of child pornography, was found inside a van taking pictures of a
child relieving himself.  The man had offered service to the child's
parents as a toilet trainer.  [source gone, but "Diaper Pail
Foundation" is searchable]

* (1992) The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in June on the local
"Silent Meeting Club," consisting of several people who gather at
various spots around town and make it a point not to speak to each
other.  Founder John Hudak said his inspiration was his
observation that people often feel obligated to talk when they really
have nothing to say, such as at parties, and wondered how nice it
would be "to have a group of people where you wouldn't have to
talk." [Philadelphia Inquirer, 6-2-92]

* (1991) In May, Maxcy Dean Filer, 60, of Compton, Calif., finally
passed the California Bar exam.  He graduated from law school in
1966 but had failed the exam in each of his previous 47 tries.
[International Herald Tribune, 6-1-91]

* (2004)  The New York Times reported in February on a
Washington, D.C., man whose love of music led him, in the 1960s,
to meticulously hand-make and hand-paint facsimilie record album
covers of his fantasized music, complete with imagined lyric sheets
and liner notes (with some of the "albums" even shrink-wrapped),
and, even more incredibly, to hand-make cardboard fascimilies of
actual grooved discs to put inside them.  "Mingering Mike," whom
a reporter and two hobbyists tracked down (but who declined to be
identified in print) also made real music, on tapes, using his and
friends' voices to simulate instruments.  His 38 imagined "albums"
were discovered at a flea market after Mike defaulted on storage-
locker fees, and the hobbyists who found them said they were so
exactingly done that a major museum would soon feature them.
[New York Times, 2-2-04]

* (1999) From a May police report in The Messenger
(Madisonville, Ky.), concerning two trucks being driven strangely
on a rural road:  A man would drive one truck 100 yards, stop,
walk back to a second truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the first
truck, stop, walk back to the first truck, drive it 100 yards beyond
the second truck, and so on.  According to police, the man's brother
was passed out drunk in one of the trucks so the man was driving
both trucks home (though the success of such a scheme is better
imagined if the driving brother has a high blood-alcohol reading,
too--which was the case). [The Messenger, 5-7-99]

* (1988) And, from the very first "News of the Weird" column
came good ol' Hal Warden, the Tennessee 16-year-old who was
married at 15 and granted a divorce from his wife, 13.  Hal had
previously been married at age 12 to a 14-year-old (and fathered
children with both), but the first wife divorced Hal because, as she
told the judge, "He was acting like a 10-year-old."  [The precise
citation is long gone, but various marital reports on the Wardens
are available, e.g., Associated Press, 2-21-1987]

                     ****
WeirdUniverse.net, weirdnews at earthlink dot net, and P. O.
Box 18737, Tampa FL 33629

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