by Chuck Shepherd


• For “beach season” in Qingdao, China recently, middle-aged ladies returned to the shore of the Yellow Sea sporting their relatively revealing (though age- appropriate) bathing suits — but wearing  distinctive cloth hoods with tiny holes only for the eyes, nose and mouth. To many in China, dark skin still signals laborers and fair skin the indoor “leisure” class, according to a July report on the business website Quartz.

• In Shenzhen, China, one of the country’s richest cities, services are being openly advertised by “wet nurses” to supply adults with breast milk, either directly from the source or after pumping (and purchased by either the infirm or just rich people overconcerned with nourishment). These milk “suppliers” can earn at least four times the average personal income, with healthy, attractive women earning even more, of course, according to a July Agence France-Presse dispatch.

Comments on China’s social media ranged from “It’s just a business” to “People become perverts when they are too rich and tire of other forms of entertainment.”

Latest Religious Messages

• Satan was thrust into the recent Texas legislature debate with pro-choicers shouting, “Hail, Satan!” at the right-tolife faction. However, whom Satan had endorsed was not clear. A British organization called UK Church of Satan appeared to criticize the pro-choicers (according to Twitter comments) while the New Yorkbased Church of Satan (founded in 1966 by Anton LaVey) insists on a woman’s right to choose, said its High Priest Peter Gilmore — although he acknowledged that shouting “Hail, Satan” to anti-abortion activists was “ludicrous and meaningless.”

• Megachurch bishop Ira V. Hilliard told his Sugarland, Texas, congregation (New Light Christian Center) in June that one of his two private aircraft — a helicopter valued at about $1 million — needs new blades, but rather than pay it himself, he asked parishioners to each find it in their hearts to send him $52 “favor seeds” for the blades. (His ministry also owns a $2 million Hawker jet and a $3 million

hangar.) To sweeten the deal, he virtually promised that a donor’s gift would be met by a “breakthrough favor” from God in the form of a car repair or their very own “dream” car either 52 days or 52 weeks later (according to a church letter described by the Christian Post).

Questionable Judgments

• Sharon Jobson thought her major grieving was over at the two-year mark after her son had been killed driving into a CN Rail train at a crossing that had not then been updated with safety features. (John Jobson, 22, was speeding and failed to stop, perhaps because of a partially obscured warning sign and a nonstandard train horn.) The government subsequently ordered upgrades, and Sharon decided not to sue, but CN Rail had no such reluctance and filed in July for $500,000 against John’s estate to cover damage to its tracks and the subsequent customer slowdown caused by the collision. (At press time, with grief forced upon her once again, Sharon was re-evaluating litigation.)

News That Sounds Like a Joke

• In May (before Edward Snowden began releasing his previously classified document cache), the ACLU released its own attempts to learn some of the same information from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act. Two of the documents, totaling 69 pages, were completely “redacted” — solid black boxes covering the entirety of every page except for page numbers and document title.

The Redneck Chronicles

(1) Police in York, Pa., arrested both Karen Harrelson, 48, and Gregory Stambaugh, 57, in May because they could not figure out which one started the couple’s knife fight — over which contestant (Candice or Kree) deserved to win this year’s “American Idol.” They had apparently stabbed each other with the same knife. (2) Dewayne Eddy, 54, was charged in Yuba County, Calif. in May with beating his adult daughter with folding lawn chairs and a can of beans after discovering that a bolt was missing in the chicken coop in his yard.

The Weirdo-American Community

Ronald Rock, 31, was arrested in Malone, NY in May after surveillance video convinced police that he was the man at a Sears store who told a female stranger that he loved her shoes and wanted to buy a pair for his mother — and asked if she would take one off to show him. Rock then appeared to stuff the shoe down his pants and masturbate vigorously. (Malone is within 25 miles of the small town of Massena, which was the site of the man caught on video stuffing the Hannaford’s pepperoni down his pants for the same purpose — reported in News of the Weird seven weeks ago.)

Thanks This Week to Bill Thomas, Andy Gilbert, and Michelle Jensen, and to the News of the Weird Senior Advisors (Jenny T. Beatty, Paul Di Filippo, Ginger Katz, Joe Littrell, Matt Mirapaul, Paul Music, Karl Olson, and Jim Sweeney) and Board of Editorial Advisors (Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Harry Farkas, Sam Gaines, Herb Jue, Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Steve Miller, Christopher Nalty, Mark Neunder, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Rob Snyder, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, and Jerry Whittle).

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd. Universal Press Syndicate.