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Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

Mar. 3, 2011
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They Grow Up So Fast

Wal-Mart announced in January that it would soon offer a full line of makeup aimed at 8- to 12-year-olds, by GeoGirl, including mascara, sheer lip gloss, pink blush and purple eye shadow, all supposedly designed for young skin. (An executive of Aspire cosmetics said her research revealed a potential market of 6-year-olds.)

The Continuing Crisis

  • Surprise! (1) Recently, New Zealand traffic officer Andy Flitton cited an unnamed speeder for the second time in two years—11,000 miles from the spot of the first ticket. Flitton had moved from the United Kingdom to New Zealand and, unknown to Flitton, the motorist also had relocated to New Zealand last year. When Flitton stopped the man in Wellington in December 2010, the motorist recognized Flitton as the one who had ticketed him on the A5 highway near London. (2) Trevell Coleman, trying to bring "closure" and "get right with God" for having shot a man in 1993 (since he was never caught), confessed the assault to New York City police in December, hoping that his humility might impress a judge. However, police checked and then booked Coleman—for murder. Said Coleman, "For some reason, I really didn't think that (the victim had) died."
  • In November, a Taiwanese factory owner accidentally dropped 200 $1,000 bills (worth about $6,600 in U.S. dollars) into an industrial shredder, turning them into confetti. Luckily for the factory owner, Taiwan's Justice Ministry employs a forensic handwriting analyst who excels at jigsaw puzzles on the side. Ms. Liu Hui-fen worked almost around the clock for seven days to piece together the 75% of each bill sufficient to make them legally exchangeable.

Least Competent Criminals

Robert Michelson was arrested in Farmington, Conn., in February, after calling a 911 operator to inquire about the lawfulness of the marijuana plant he was growing. The operator informed him that it was illegal. (All 911 calls are automatically traced, and Michelson was soon arrested.)

Recurring Themes

People Who Ran Over Themselves: (1) A transit driver was hospitalized in December after his idling bus slipped out of gear and ran over him as he walked around it in front of Waikato Hospital in New Zealand. (2) A 37-year-old woman in Melbourne, Australia, was hospitalized in November after forgetting to engage her parking brake. The car rolled backward down her driveway, knocking her over, and then hit a fence, thrusting forward and running her down a second time. (3) A 67-year-old golfer died on the Evanston (Ill.) Golf Club course in November, apparently run over by his own electric cart. (He was discovered underneath, and the medical examiner ruled the death accidental.)

Great Art!

  • In January, Toronto sculptor-photographer Lisa Murphy added to her reputation for devising "porn for the blind" by producing four more hand-molded erotic figures generated by using clay to replicate photographic scenes of nude and lingerie-clad models (accompanied by descriptions in Braille). The butt was the hardest to sculpt, she explained. "I wanted to get it nice and even and give it a feminine softness so it would actually feel like a woman's butt."
  • Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum is already home to an artist's rendition of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper made from burned toast. Now comes a recent version by Laura Bell of Roscommon, Mich.: da Vinci's masterpiece made with clothes-dryer lint. Bell said she did about 800 hours of laundry of various-colored towels to obtain lint of the proper hues, and then worked 200 more hours to construct the 14-foot-long, 4-foot-high mural.

© 2011 Chuck Shepherd


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