news of the weird

by Chuck Shepherd

‘ • Anthropomorphizing little Muffy: (1) AFebruary St. Petersburg Times report foundseveral local people who regularly cook gourmetmeals for their dogs and who revealed their dogs’(or maybe just “their”) favorite recipes. “VeggieCookies for Dogs,” for example, requires wholewheatflour, dried basil, dried cilantro, driedoregano, chopped carrot, green beans, tomatopaste, canola oil and garlic. Asked one chef: Whyfeed “man’s best friend” what you wouldn’t eatyourself? (2) A day spa for dogs (“Wag Style”)in Tokyo offers sessions in a hyperbaric oxygenchamber, supposedly easing doggy arthritis, healingwounds and halting aging. (Some racehorseowners are certain that the chambers help withequine muscle and joint problems, but an academicresearcher told a writerthat evidence of benefit is “anecdotal.”)Compelling Explanations • At first,Rev. Fred Armfield’s arrest for patronizing aprostitute in Greenwood, SC in January lookeduncontroversial, with Armfield allegedly confessingthat he had bargained Melinda “Truck Stop”Robinson down from $10 to $5 for oral sex. Severaldays later, however, Armfield formally disputedthe arrest, calling himself a “descendant ofthe original Moro-Pithecus Disoch, Kenyapithecusand Afro Pithecus,” a “living flesh and bloodbeing with sovereign status,” and someone who,based on his character and community standing,should not be prosecuted. Also, he claimed thatany payment to “Truck Stop” with Federal ReserveNotes did not legally constitute a purchasesince such notes are not lawful money.• Lame: (1) Glenn Armstrong, 47, had adefense ready when police accused him of takingrestroom photographs of boys in Brisbane,Australia in January. He said he was having anongoing debate with his wife and was gatheringproof that most boys are not circumcised. (2)Sheriff’s deputies in Austin, Texas arrested AnthonyGigliotti, 17, after complaints that the teenwas annoying womenby following themaround in public andsnapping photographsof their clothed bodyparts. Gigliotti told onedeputy that he neededthe photos becausethe sex education athis Lake Travis HighSchool was inadequate.• Fredrick Federley, a member of the SwedishParliament, said he has always campaigned assomeone who does not take gifts from those he is responsible for regulating, but he was calledout by the newspaper Aftonbladet in Februaryfor having accepted a free travel holiday from anairline. Federley denied that “he” accepted thetrip. He reminded reporters that he is a notorious,flamboyant cross-dresser, and thus that it was hisalter-ego “Ursula” who received the free holiday.Our Litigious Society • Craig Show, 49,filed a lawsuit in January against the Idaho StatePolice and the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office,demanding compensation following his DUIarrest in August. Show said the cops had seizeda “medicine bag” on his motorcycle and, inopening it for inspection, permitted the “mysticalpowers” inside to escape. The bag was blessedby a “medicine woman” in 1995 and, Show said,had been unopened since then.• Sabrina Medina filed a lawsuit against theHyatt Regency Waikiki Resort in Hawaii inJanuary, claiming that an employee had causedher husband’s death. The late Humberto Murillohad swiped two 12-packs of beer from a storeat the resort, but the manager pursued andconfronted him. Murillo started punching, andbystanders came to the manager’s aid, restrainedMurillo and held him down. Murillo, who wasbipolar and had marijuana in his system, passedout and asphyxiated.• Clumsy: (1) Teacher Karen Hollander fileda lawsuit in November against the New YorkCity Department of Education after taking afall on “slippery foreign substances,” includingcondoms, on the floor at the High School of Art& Design. Since schools distribute condoms oncampus, she said, the department is responsiblewhen students open them and discard them duringthe lunch period, littering the floor. (2) AnthonyAvery, 72, a retired insurance underwriter,filed a lawsuit in December against the exclusiveRye Golf Club in East Sussex County, Englandfor lingering injuries caused when he slippedon the wet floor of the club’s shower room. Thefloor, he said, was “too” slippery.Fine Points of the Law • Human rightslaw: Iraqi immigrant Laith Alani murdered twodoctors in a British hospital in 1990 and hasbeen confined to mental facilities ever since,taking clozapine to control his schizophrenia.Since Alani is not a citizen, the government hassought deportation, but in January the Asylumand Immigration Tribunal ruled that that wouldviolate Alani’s “human rights.” Only the Britishhospitals, reasoned the judges, can guaranteethat Alani will receive uninterrupted clozapine,without which he would become dangerous tohimself and to others (that is, fellow Iraqis, afterrepatriation).• Orthodox Jewish law: Israel Elias and histhen-wife Susan Zirkin were divorced under Britishlaw in 1962, but Zirkin has been unable toremarry since then because Orthodox Jewish lawdoes not recognize divorce unless the husbandgrants the wife a “get,” and Elias has refused.Within the Orthodox community, Zirkin wouldhave been shunned had she remarried, as wouldany children she had. A few rabbis try to workaround the system, but their attempts are notwidely accepted. Zirkin, now 73, was believed tobe the world’s longest-standing “chained” wife,but in February, after 37 years, she became a freewoman. Elias passed away, and the “get” is nolonger necessary.Least Competent Criminals • (1)Myesha Williams, 20, and a friend walked in tothe police station in DeLand, Fla. in January anddemanded to know why their photos appeared inlocal crime news on TV. Following questioning,police decided Williams was the woman on theirsurveillance video robbing a beauty shop and arrestedher (but since Williams’ friend had left beforethe actual robbery, she was not charged). (2)The burglar who stole already-filled prescriptionorders from the West Main Pharmacy in Medford,Ore. in January puzzlingly limited his taketo the pickup-ready packages filed under “O.”Police guessed that the burglar must have beenafter the commonly stolen “oxycodone” and wasunaware that outgoing prescriptions are filed bycustomers’ last names, not their medications.Recurring Themes • (1) Last May, a13-year-old boy in Galt, Calif. became themost recent inadvertent beneficiary of foolishbehavior. Acting on a dare, the boy had chuggedeight shots of tequila and lost consciousness. Aroutine CT scan at the hospital exposed an untilthen-unrevealed brain tumor, and the boy isslowly recovering from his arduous but lifesavingsurgery. (2) In January, James Shimsky, 50,became the most recent priest in the CatholicDiocese of Scranton, Pa. to be arrested for waywardbehavior (with several recent instancesreported in a January edition of News of theWeird). Shimsky was arrested on a Philadelphiastreet for allegedly buying cocaine.A News of the Weird Classic (May2005) • As many as 10 percent of Japaneseyouths may be living in “epic sulks” ashermits (“hikikomori”), according to a March2005 Taipei Times dispatch from Tokyo, thusrepresenting no improvement in the alreadyalarming problem that was described in a Newsof the Weird report in 2000, which estimatedthat 1 million young professionals were then afflicted.Many of the hikikomori still live in theirparents’ homes and simply never leave theirbedrooms except briefly to gather food. Amongthe speculation as to cause: school bullying,academic pressure, poor social skills, excessivevideo-gaming, inaccessible father figures and aneducation system that suppresses youths’ senseof adventure.’ ‘© 2010 Chuck Shepherd Distributed byUniversal Press Syndicate