[news of the weird]
• The Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission in March reprimanded three pornography broadcast stations — not for excessively erotic fare, but for violating Canada’s protection ist, patriotic rules requiring that at least 35 percent of all content be of Canadian origin. According to its notice, the 24-hour AOV Adult Movie Channel, XXX Action Clips and Maleflixxx were falling short of the 8 1/2 hours a day of north-of-the-border sex action (and, in an additional charge, were failing to provide enough closed captioning to accompany the “Yeah’s” and “Oh, baby’s”).
• Drunk Logic: Wendy Simpson, 25, explaining her DUI arrest during a March incident in Huddersfield, England, pointed out that she had just minutes earlier walked to a McDonald’s for a late-night meal because she knew she was too inebriated to drive. However, the dining room was closed, and she was refused service at the drive-thru window because she was on foot, and, she said, the only option left for her was to go home, get her car and return to the drive-thru. On the way back, she was arrested.
• Efren Carrillo, a member of the board of supervisors of California’s Sonoma County, was charged with misdemeanor “peeking” last year in Santa Rosa after he, returning home from a club late at night, saw his female neighbor’s light on and decided to drop in on her (though he did not even know her name). He had knocked at her back patio door, carrying beers, but was dressed awkwardly, leading the woman to call 911. “In retrospect,” the county supervisor told police afterward, “I should have had my pants on” (instead of just his socks and underwear). (His trial was underway at press time.)
Among the arguments offered in March by Darrious Mathis’ lawyers for his jury trial in Cobb County, Georgia, (for assault, kidnapping and carjacking) was the assertion that Mathis needed no force in order to have sex with the female victim on the night in question — because Mathis is such a goodlooking man. (However, the jury was not so dazzled and convicted him on all charges.)
• England’s Stockport magistrates’ court levied the equivalent of a $13,000 fine in March against Lorraine White, 41, who runs a part-time service as a dominatrix (chaining up and whipping “bad” men) in a “sex dungeon.” Her business is apparently perfectly legal; the citation was for violating fire codes because inspectors could not see how a client, being properly disciplined (handcuffed and chained), might escape the dungeon in the event of fire.
• Sounds Like a Joke: The Food and Drug Administration has had run-ins with “homeopathic” products that subtly market themselves as health remedies without ever having sought the required FDA approval. However, in March, a different problem arose, requiring the agency to order a recall of 56 different batches of homeopathic remedies made by the Ferndale, Washington, company Terra-Medica — because they may have (accidentally) been genuine medicine. A variety of the firm’s capsules, tablets and suppositories, said the FDA, might have contained actual penicillin, inadvertently produced as a by-product of fermentation.
Tiffany Austin called a KTVU reporter in March after being dismissed as a member of the Planet Fitness Gym in Richmond, California, after only one 15-minute workout — because she was “too fit” and therefore making other members uncomfortable. Planet Fitness apparently takes seriously its business slogan guaranteeing “no gymtimidation,” designed to keep out-of-shape women from feeling bad about themselves. Said another member, to the reporter, “It’s unfair to show off your body.”
The Litigious Society
• A columnist for the Egyptian newspaper Al-Yawm Al-Sabi proposed in March that Egypt sue Israel in international court for reparations for the 10 Biblical plagues cast from Hebrew curses, including boils, lice, locusts and turning the Nile River into blood. Ahmad al-Gamal asserted that Israelites swiped gold, silver and other precious items as they began their legendary desert wandering. Al- Gamal also wants reparations from Turkey (for the 16th-century Ottoman invasion), France (for Napoleon’s invasion in 1798), and Britain (for 72 years of occupation).
• A California model, Elizabeth Dickson, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles in March against Playboy Enterprises for an injury she suffered as a guest on a Playboy Channel cable TV show in 2012 when she allowed host Kevin Klein to tee a golf ball off of her rear end. According to the $500,000 lawsuit, Klein took a swing at the ball that was teed between her cheeks, missed, and struck her buttocks hard, causing her “pain, suffering, worrying and anxiety.”
Latest Human Rights
• Rehabilitated: Cook County, Ill., judge Cynthia Brim is awaiting the Illinois Courts Commission’s decision as she seeks to be reinstated following her suspension in 2012 for mental health issues. Brim has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, has been hospitalized “multiple” times since 1993 (according to a Chicago Sun- Times report), and now claims to be fine, provided she takes her meds on schedule — which her doctor said she will need to do for the rest of her life. Her suspension came after a manic courtroom outburst lauding her heroic “testicles” and which preceded a scuffle with sheriff’s deputies outside a county judicial building.
Least Competent Criminals
• Genres That Never Get Old: (1) Evelyn Hamilton, 37, was arrested in Lufkin, Texas, in April as merely the most recent person to complain to police that in a recent street transaction, she had been sold inferior marijuana. “Seeds and residue,” she whined to the nearest officer, as she pulled a stash from her bra. (2) Though many people are remorseful about their first tattoos, Jeffrey Chapman is apparently more so. His ultracoolinking (the word “murder” on his neck in reverse image, clearly readable only in a mirror) is now awkward as he prepares, at press time, to stand trial for first-degree murder for a 2011 killing in Great Bend, Kansas.
• Jerry Hartfield lost again. In the Texas case mentioned in News of the Weird in March, the illiterate, borderlineincompetent black man sought release from prison because his constitutional “speedy trial” right was violated. (He had been sentenced to death row in 1977 for murder, but his conviction was overturned in 1983, and the then-governor quickly “commuted” the sentence to life in prison. Hartfield languished behind bars for 23 more years before realizing that there was no “sentence” in effect in 1983 to “commute” and petitioned to be freed since Texas was, basically, mocking his speedy-trial right.) However, in April, district judge Craig Estlinbaum once again turned him down, hinting that Hartfield must have consciously ignored his speedy-trial right for 23 years because he was content to be imprisoned (and might even have been purposely lingering in lockup to make his eventual speedytrial claim stronger). Obviously, Hartfield’s lawyers will appeal further.
ARMED AND CLUMSY (ALL-NEW!)
• Americans (mostly men) continue to accidentally shoot themselves. Several men from law enforcement did: a cop in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in the leg at a bagel shop (December); a former police officer and firearms instructor in Glenwood, Nebraska (January); a sheriff’s deputy, in the leg while defending himself against an aggressive dog in Riverside, California (April); and the police chief in Connersville, Indiana, in the leg (January), but — over 14 years had passed since the previous time he accidentally shot himself! Some familiar (recurring) incidents:
the accidental testicle shot (holstering his weapon into his pants, Portland, Oregon, January); the motorist looking to intimidate in a road rage incident (but shooting his own leg, Orlando, Florida, January); the man demonstrating gun safety to his girlfriend by pointing the “unloaded” gun to his head and firing (fatally) (Oakland County, Michigan, February); and the butt shot, while reaching for his wallet at a Home Depot (Brighton, Michigan, December). !
© 2014 Chuck Shepherd. Universal Press Syndicate.