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NEWS OF THE WEIRD

by Chuck Shepherd

• Natives of the Erromango sectionof the Pacific island Vanuatu recentlyheld a formal “conciliation” with thegreat-great-grandson of the Britishmissionary whom the islanders’ ancestorsate when he came ashore in 1839.Charles Milner-Williams’ forebear,Rev. John Williams, was regarded asthe most famous Christian missionaryof the era. Vanuatan legislator RalphRegenvanu told BBC News that cannibalismwas “absorbing the power ofthe enemy.” Nonetheless, he said, theisland has long felt “guilt,” and evena “complex,” from killing and eatingRev. Williams. In penitence, Vanuatusymbolically gave the Williams familya 7-year-old girl, who will not be eatenbut whose education Milner-Williamspromised to underwrite.Can’t possibly be true• In November, a Chicago judgeruled that former firefighter JeffreyBoyle is entitled to his $50,000 annualpension even though he had pleadedguilty in 2006 to eight counts of arson(and allegedly confessed to 12 more).Boyle is known locally as “Matches”Boyle to distinguish him from hisbrother, John “Quarters” Boyle, who isnow in federal prison for bribery followingthe theft of millions of dollarsin state toll-gate coins. Judge LeRoyMartin Jr. concluded that Matches’arsons were wholly separate from hisfirefighting.• Salvadorean citizen ErnestoGamboa, who worked for 13 years inthe Seattle area as a snitch for federaldrug agents and contributed to at least92 convictions for drug and weaponssmuggling, was “fired” by Immigrationand Customs Enforcement in Mayafter asking the agency for regularemployment. Gamboa originally enteredthe US as a visitor but overstayedand now aspires merely to an “S visa”granted aliens who assist law enforcement.Not only did ICE deny thatrequest but, according to a NovemberSeattle Times report, the agency informedGamboa that he should prepareto be deported.Inexplicable• “It is the Christian commandmentto love your enemies and to do good tothem. I did that,” explained Dan Ross,61, a retiree in Lehigh Acres, Fla. whoin November wired a dozen yellowroses to Maj. Nidal Hasan, the accusedFort Hood spree killer. “Whereas theministers out there in Fort Hood arepraying for [Hasan] … I went one stepfurther,” Ross told the Naples DailyNews. The card Ross ordered with theflowers read, “In God’s eye, and thosewho submit, you are a hero!” TheTexas florist who received the ordernotified the FBI.• While reporting on Britain’soldest newlyweds in November(husband 94, wife 87), the DailyTelegraph also noted that in 2008,Bertie Wood and her husband, Jessie,of Falmouth had decided to endtheir 36-year marriage, evidently ata point where they felt they neededa fresh start. Both were 97 years oldat the time. Jessie has since died, andBertie lives in a nursing home.Alcohol wasinvolved(1) In November, the Seattle PoliceDepartment, investigating a complaintabout a beating, intervieweda 25-year-old man hospitalized afterbeing found screaming in pain impaledon a metal fence. He said he hadrun away from a barroom fight andmomentarily thought he was a “ninjawarrior” capable of leaping the fence.(2) Sean McDowell, 24, was arrestedin Ashland, Ore. after attempting tosteal a 4-foot-tall stuffed giraffe fromthe front of a children’s store. A policeofficer had witnessed an inebriatedMcDowell grab the giraffe and makesimulated sexual movements, thenwalk away, and then return 90 minuteslater to snatch the animal for good.Unclear on the concept• Michael Yavorski, 52, who drewa three-month sentence in October forhaving twice fondled a 12-year-oldgirl and given her a beer, complainedthrough his lawyer that the sentencewas too long. “The collateral consequencesfor Mr. Yavorski here are tremendous,”said the lawyer, in that thenegative publicity about the case mightforce Yavorski to close his business inLower Nazareth Township, Pa., an icecream parlor.• Almost every Thursdaynight, Jack Knowler,61, and his girlfriend,Bev Rogers, enjoythemselves at Hanc’s Barin Bowmanville, Ontarioand then, knowing theirlimitations, leave theirvehicles parked and callA Ryde Home, a localservice for the intoxicated.On a recent Thursday night,according to a December report in theToronto Sun, as Knowler and Rogerswaited outside Hanc’s for their ride,they were ticketed by police (at $65each) for being drunk in public. Saida police supervisor, “It’s not a ‘mixedmessage.’ You can’t be intoxicated in apublic place.”It’s good to be a Britishcriminal (actually,“United Kingdomcriminal”) (cont.)(1) After pleading guilty in CardiffCrown Court to forging anuncle’s checks worth 41,000 pounds($65,000), Hayley Price, 42, was fined5 pounds ($8), given a suspendedsentence and ordered to do communityservice. The judge reasoned thatPrice was broke, having already spentthe 41,000 pounds. (2) Brian Wallacewas the victim of a severe beatingin Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2007,stabbed five times and hospitalizedwith lung and kidney lacerations, andto this day is battling for 7,500 pounds($12,000) compensation from a governmentfund. In December 2009, Wallacelearned that his attacker, SimonGranhof, who had been mistakenlykept in jail two weeks longer than hissentence, would receive 12,500 pounds($20,000) from the government fordeprivation of rights. (Granhof’ssentence had already been cut in halfbefore the mistake.)People with issuesKevin Derks, 53, of Kenosha, Wis.,swears that he has never touched anunderage girl, even though he admittedto an all-consuming fixation ontheir “innocence” and beauty. Derks’apartment, according to a detective,appears to be a “shrine”to little girls, with wallscovered with posters andphotos, including snapshotsof celebrity kids and localchildren, according to aKenosha News report, anda bed full of stuffed toysand two adolescent-sizedmannequins in sexualpositions with adult mannequins.Derks was arrestedin November and charged with 20counts of child pornography based onsome of his photos and videos. SaidDerks, to detectives: “This was myown world. I knew what I was doing. Itook a gamble. It’s like going to Vegas,except I lost everything. [N]ow my assis gonna fry.”We have rules!(1) Shawnee Mission Northwest outscoredthe competition at the KansasGirls State Gymnastics Championshipin November, but finished in third placebecause of a one-point penalty for arule violation. The school’s coach hadinquired about a balance-beam scoreoutside the five-minute “window” forinquiries. The two schools that weretied for second place were declaredco-champions. (2) Environmentallyconscious David and Katie France live400 yards from their recycling centerin Blandford, England and decided inOctober to hand-carry their garbageinstead of driving their car the shortdistance. However, they were refusedentry, based on a “safety” rule requiringthat trash be brought in vehicles.A News of the Weirdclassic (July 1991)In May 1991, Maxcy Dean Filerof Compton, Calif. finally passed theCalifornia Bar exam. He had graduatedfrom law school in 1966 but hadfailed the exam 47 straight tries. (Afteropening a practice in Compton, hewas suspended in 2007 for failing topass the California Bar’s ProfessionalResponsibility exam. He remainssuspended.)Copyright 2010 Chuck ShepherdDistributed by Universal PressSyndicate !

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