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NEWS OF THE WEIRD

by Chuck Shepherd

NEWS OF THE WEIRD

• Their health care is just finewithout “reform”: (1) In September,the Rocky Mountain CancerCenters, along with four physiciansand three surgical nurses, donatedtheir services for delicate brainsurgery on a 25-year-old silverbacklowland gorilla at the CheyenneMountain Zoo in ColoradoSprings. (2) Among the healthinsuranceupgrades demanded byPhiladelphia-area transit workersand agreed to by the SoutheasternPennsylvania Transportation Authorityin November was removalof the 10-tablet-per-month rationing ofViagra and similar medications, to allowas many as 30 per month (according toa Philadelphia Daily News report). (Thefinal contract, reportedly even more beneficialto the union, was being voted onby union members at press time.)Inexplicable• For its Halloween gala, the KingsIsland amusement park near Cincinnatihad set up an exhibit featuring skeletonsdressed to resemble, among otherdeceased celebrities, Michael Jackson,Farrah Fawcett, Ted Kennedy, Ed Mc-Mahon, TV salesman Billy Mays, SonnyBono (his skeleton in front of a tree) andTed Williams (his skeleton in front of afreezer). Alongside was a marker boardlabeled “agenda,” with those namescrossed off but others still listed, includingBernard Madoff and the comedian CarrotTop. (Following a WLWT-TV preview ofthe exhibit in September, the park quicklycanceled it, with a spokesman declaring,“We were not intending to be distasteful.”)• Robert and Roberta Masters of PriorLake, Minn. were arrested in Octoberand charged in connection with a seriesof mailbox explosions over the summer,which police say were carried out byseven teenagers who had been suppliedby the couple. Police said Robert Mastersbought black powder for the kids and hadsaid it “would be a good educational toolfor the kids to build pipe bombs.” RobertaMasters allegedly encouraged the teensto learn on the internet how to make pipebombs because it would be “constructive”(but she said she had told them to becareful).Can’t possibly be true• In April, Richard Huether, themanager of the HoneyBaked Ham outletin Cary, was shot in the stomach duringa robbery of the store and hospitalized,with medical bills paid through workercompensation and his employee healthbenefits. In September,when his workercompensation expired(and though still atleast three monthsaway from returningto work), Honey-Baked fired him(forcing him to beginpaying 100 percentof his insurance premiumsand makingsubsequent insuranceprohibitively expensivebecause of hisnew “pre-existing condition”). However,HoneyBaked human resources executiveMaggie DeCan told WRAL-TV that thefiring was for Huether’s own good, in thatit would clear the way for him to receiveSocial Security disability payments. SaidDeCan, “We couldn’t feel any worse forRich, and we would do anything we couldfor him [except keep him on the payroll].”• Those overhead costs! (1) The priceof gasoline for US troops in Afghanistanis about $400 per gallon, according toa US House subcommittee in October,citing Pentagon officials (factoring in thesecurity necessary to bring fuel throughPakistan). (2) Patient Jim Bujalski complainedto St. Anthony’s Central Hospitalin Littleton, Colo. in September about thecost of his prescription Plavix and Crestortablets, which he was forced to “buy”from the hospital because it administersonly drugs under its control. The Plavixwas $248 each (he pays $8 at home), andhis Crestor ($3 at home) was $65. Themedications were part of his $58,000,one-day hospital stay.Unclear on the concept• Nurses might best treat patients whohave self-cutting disorders by helpingthem in their endeavor, according to anOctober advisory from Britain’s RoyalCollege of Nursing. “Assisted self-harming”should be considered as part of nursingcare plans, according to the advisory,benefiting patients by having skilledprofessionals at their side, for examplesupplying sterile blades and providing thequick stanching of blood and dressing ofwounds.• On July 13, William Thomson,55, feeling bad recently about havingviolently resisted arrest by the Salisbury,Mass. police in a drunk-driving incidentin 1997, brought hot coffee to a Salisburystation house and sought symbolicforgiveness from the officers on duty. Thevery next day, however, Thomson wasarrested again in a drunk-driving incident,and again he forcefully resisted, punchinga Breathalyzer machine, threatening anofficer and attempting to flood a lock-upcell in the station house.Chutzpah!• In Ogden, Utah in October, AdamManning, 30, accompanied his pregnantgirlfriend to the McKay-Dee Hospitalemergency room as she was going intolabor. According to witnesses, as a nurseattended to the woman, Manning beganflirting with her, complimenting thenurse’s looks and giving her neck rubs.When Manning then allegedly gropedthe nurse’s breast, she called for security,and Manning was eventually arrested andtaken to jail, thus missing the birth of hischild.• After James Cedar admitted to policethat he was the one spotted peeping intohis Toronto neighbor’s window at night,the victim, Patricia Marshall, installed avideo camera at that window to discouragehim from re-offending. In September,when all parties reported to court fora final resolution of the peeping case,Cedar’s lawyer served legal papers onMarshall, threatening to sue her over thecamera. Since Cedar’s house sits withinthe view outside Marshall’s window, hecomplained that the camera could captureimages through his windows and thusinvades his privacy.The weirdo-American community• When police in Brimfield, Ohiostopped Jaime Aguirre, 42, for a traffic violationin October, they found some conventionalphotos of nude and near-nudewomen, but were especially surprised at astash of X-rays and mammograms, whichthey supposed came from Aguirre’s job astechnician at an imaging center in Tiffin,Ohio. The Brimfield police chief said hebelieved the stash was used by Aguirre forsexual gratification, and since some of theX-rays and mammograms were of girlsunder the age of 18, Aguirre was chargedwith possession of child pornography.Least competent criminals• Oops! (1) Three men and a womanfrom Atlantic City, NJ were arrested inAugust and charged with robbing theArtisans Bank in Bear, Del. Their escapeafter the robbery had been delayed whenthey accidentally left the keys to thegetaway car in the bank. (2) Andrew Burwitz,20, was arrested in Appleton, Wis.in November and charged with drive-byshootings into two residences. No onewas hit, and the major damage was doneto Burwitz’s car, in that Burwitz fired thefirst shot before he remembered to rolldown the window.Recurring themes• Thousands of airline passengerscontinue to attempt to bring prohibitedcarry-on items on board. The New YorkPost reported in September that theTransportation Security Administrationhad confiscated 123,000 items so far thisyear from just the three main airportsserving New York City. Included were 43explosives, 1,600 knives, a 10-point deerantler, several fire extinguishers, a treebranch, nunchucks, a grill, a baby alligator,“unwashed adult toys,” a gassed-upchain saw and a kitchen sink.A News of the Weird classic(April 1997)• In Milwaukee, the family of RobertSenz demanded shortly after his buriallast July (1996) that Borgwardt FuneralHome dig up the body because Senz’swallet was missing. Sure enough, the walletcontaining $64 and credit cards wasstill in Senz’s pocket. In February (1997),Borgwardt sent the now-$64-richer familya re-burial bill for $2,149, but after thefamily protested, decided the whole thingwas the county medical examiner’s faultand sent the bill there.Copyright 2009 Chuck ShepherdDistributed by Universal PressSyndicate !

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