News of the Weird

Oct. 28, 2010
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Head Full of ‘Rock’

When David Winkelman, 48, was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant in Davenport, Iowa, in September, he was still sporting "The Tattoo." In late 2000, Winkelman, reacting to a radio "contest," had his forehead inked with the logo of radio station KORB, "93 Rock," because he had heard on-air personalities "offer" $100,000 to anyone who would do it. Winkelman had the tattoo done before fully checking the situation, however, and the disc jockeys later informed him that the "contest" was a joke. Ten years later, the "93 Rock" format is no longer around, but Winkelman's forehead remains tattooed.


(1) The armed robber who knocked off a Wendy's in Atlanta on July 31 still has not been apprehended. Police said that after the crime, the man called the store to ridicule the staff for having so little cash: "Next time, there better be more than $586," he reportedly said. (2) Ronald White, 35, arrested in Cinnaminson, N.J., in July, and charged with shoplifting, was released after posting $400 bail. Only afterward did police realize that some of the money was counterfeit. Five days later, White was arrested again when he returned to the station to demand a partial refund for "overpaying" the bail.

Least Competent Criminals

No Time for Disguises: Larry Shawn Taylor, 18, was arrested in Seattle in September—and it was rather easy for police to identify him. Two victims had reported being robbed by a man with "GET MONEY" shaved into his hair on one side and "GET" tattooed on his right hand and "MONEY" tattooed on the left. (At least Taylor did not claim that someone else must have had the same configuration.)

Undignified Deaths

(1) In August, a 29-year-old man who was part a group of 12 "ghost hunters" on a field trip in Iredell County, N.C., was killed by a train. The 12 were investigating a rumored "ghost train" that killed 30 people in an 1891 crash and supposedly returns every year on the anniversary date. (2) A 49-year-old doctor in Bakersfield, Calif., whose relationship with her boyfriend was described as "on-again, off-again," was killed in August when, after the boyfriend had locked her out of his house, she tried to enter by sliding down the chimney, where she got stuck and later asphyxiated.

Least Competent Dictator

In September, when Ms. Nomatter Tagarira was sentenced to 39 months in jail for fraud, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and several officials were hoping to close the book on an embarrassing episode. In 2007, Tagarira had convinced them that she had the ability—by chanting into a rock—to find diesel fuel in the ground and make it shoot to the surface. Of course, this could only be accomplished because Tagarira had henchmen hide behind bushes and use a pump. But it convinced officials to reward her with a $2.7 million fee and the use of a 50-vehicle convoy for her missions. Her ruse was not discovered until a year later.

Great Art!

  • In October, the award-winning London theater company Duckie announced plans for a June 2011 production, Lullaby, at the Barbican Pit, that would feature music and performances so soothing that patrons will be encouraged to attend in pajamas and lounge overnight in bed-seats, with an early morning shower included in the ticket price of 42 pounds ($66). Producer Simon Casson noted that, irrespective of the play, it is almost impossible to find overnight facilities in central London for that price.

  • A September one-woman "dance" recital of performer-writer Ann Liv Young as a naked "Cinderella" at a theater in Brooklyn, N.Y., ran overtime because Young could not answer a scripted call of nature, which was to have been performed live on the stage. According to an incredulous New York Times reviewer, Young sought tips from the audience to get her bowels moving, but finally gave up and ended the performance. The reviewer cited the show's "many layers of failure."
2010 Chuck Shepherd


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