NEWS OF THE weird
IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH, BUT NOT IN TRIVIALITY AND TACKINESS
All US states have forms of no-fault divorce, but not England, which requires that couples prove adultery or abandonment or “unreasonable behavior,” which leads to sometimes-epic weirdness, according to an April New York Times dispatch from London. For instance, one woman’s petition blamed her husband’s insistence that she speak and dress only in Klingon. Other examples of “unreasonable behavior” (gathered by the Times of London): a husband objecting to the “malicious” preparation of his most hated dish (tuna casserole), a spouse’s non-communication for the last 15 years (except by leaving Post-it Notes), a spouse’s too-rapid TV channel-changing, a husband’s distorting the fit of his wife’s best outfits by frequently wearing them and one’s insistence that a pet tarantula reside in a glass case beside the marital bed.
Lame: (1) Madison County, Ind. council member David McCartney admitted to the Herald Bulletin in March that he had exchanged “sexually explicit” e-mails with a female official but would not resign. In fact, he said, he had engaged in the exchanges in order to “expose corruption.” He has not elaborated. (2) Chris Windham, 27, was charged with improperly photographing a 57-year-old man in a men’s room in Trinity, Texas in March after Windham, in a stall, allegedly snapped a cellphone photo of the man at the adjacent urinal. Windham explained that typically he braces himself with one hand on the floor while he wipes himself, and this time the hand on the floor was holding his cellphone.
• Maureen Raymond, 49, said her roadside DUI test administered in January was unfair. According to records cited by Scripps Media, she told a deputy in Port St. Lucie, Fla. that she couldn’t walk a straight line “with her big boobies,” which she said makes “balancing” difficult. The deputy reported that Raymond helpfully offered to show him the evidence but that he stopped her.
THINGS PEOPLE BELIEVE
• She is not the typical gullible victim. Ms. Priti Mahalanobis is a collegeeducated mother of two who ran a franchised restaurant in Avalon Park, Fla., near Orlando, but when her health, her brother’s marriage and her business experienced problems, she bought a $20 psychic reading from “Mrs. Starr” (also known as Peaches Stevens). The Orlando Sentinel reported in January that, over the next seven months, Mahalanobis lost about $135,000 in cash, jewelry and gift cards to Mrs. Starr. Astonishingly, neither Mahalanobis’ health nor her restaurant business noticeably improved! Among the remedies that Mahalanobis accepted: buying seven tabernacles ($19,000 each) to “vanquish (her family’s) negativity” and putting $100 bills and a piece of paper with her relatives’ names written on it under her mattress along with a grapefruit (which, as everyone knows, attracts and then isolates the evil).
THINGS LEADERS BELIEVE
• Though recently elected Councillor Simon Parkes told the Scarborough Evening News in March that his work on the Whitby (England) Town Council would not be affected, he has famously (in a YouTube video) reported lifelong “horrific” invasive encounters with extraterrestrials, including many visits from a 9-foot-tall, green “mother”-like being who sends him “messages” through his eyes, down his optic nerve to his brain.
• Arni Johnsen, a member of Iceland’s Parliament, survived a serious 2010 automobile crash — a stroke of good fortune he has attributed to a family of elves (three generations, according to an “elf specialist”) who live in a boulder near the site. Iceland’s Morgunbladid newspaper reported that Johnsen had the 30-ton boulder relocated to his property, which he said affords the elves a better view than at their previous home. (Another elf “authority” told reporters, however, that relocating the family was bound to bring Johnsen bad luck.)
• Only in Muncie: (1) In April, Christina Reber, 43, was charged with assault after she entered the home of her “on-again, off-again” boyfriend in Muncie, Ind., punched him in the head and squeezed his scrotum until he finally pried her fingers loose. He was taken to Muncie’s Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital. (2) Muncie college student Bakhtiyor Khafizov, 21, was arrested in April for allegedly attacking a former girlfriend in her dorm room. The woman said she escaped only by kicking him in the groin. The students attend Ball State University.
• Felix Velazquez’s meticulous attention to detail could have served him well in legitimate endeavors, but was unfortunately displayed in a recent attempt to stalk an ex-girlfriend in Broward County, Fla. He had already been to prison for a 2008 stalking when he allegedly devised a fake double kidnapping — of her and him — so that he could “rescue” her and win back her affections. According to prosecutors, he created 23 pages of maps, photos and, reported the South Florida Sun- Sentinel, an “encyclopedic amount of detail about [the woman’s] routine, her appearance, friends and driving routes to work” and thought he had convinced a former cellmate to do the abduction. However, as frequently happens, the cellmate got queasy and told police, who devised their own elaborate ruse to sting Velazquez. He is awaiting trial.
THE LITIGIOUS SOCIETY
• Henry Wolf filed a lawsuit in April in San Francisco against BMW, claiming that the Corbin-Pacific seat on its 1993 motorcycle formed such a “ridge” that he developed painful priapism that has plagued him since he made a four-hour ride in May 2010.
CREME DE LA WEIRD
• Fetishists on Parade: (1) Gary Paterson, 36, was sentenced to community service and psychotherapy after being convicted of trying to lick clean the shoes of four boys (Glenrothes, Scotland, January). (2) Robert Van Wagner, 33, was arrested after three girls (ages 12 and 13) told police he asked them to put on socks and to run around a field so he could watch. (Port St. Lucie, Fla., April)
LEAST COMPETENT TERRORISTS
• (1) A bomb accidentally exploded on a bus in Port Harcourt, Nigeria in May, killing a man who police suspect was on his way to blow up something else. He was the only one killed, but two suspected associates with him (carrying assault rifles and ammunition) were injured. (2) In April, Mohammad Ashan, described by US officials as a “mid-level Taliban commander” in Afghanistan walked up to a police checkpoint with a wanted poster of himself (offering a $100 cash reward) and turned himself in — for the money. Ashan was arrested following a biometric scan to verify his identity. “Yes, yes, that’s me,” he reportedly said. “Can I get my award now?”
© 2012 Chuck Shepherd. Universal Press Syndicate.