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Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

May. 19, 2011
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Putting the 'Care' in Health Care

Marla Gilson, 59, was fired in April after her employer callously rejected her offer to work from home in Chevy Chase, Md., at reduced salary, while she recovers from chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. Gilson served as chief executive of the Association of Jewish Aging Services of North America, which represents 112 facilities that help frail and elderly Jewish residents. Gilson's termination also made her health care much more expensive and potentially made her uninsurable in the future if her treatment is successful. Nonetheless, the board of directors thanked her for her service and wished her a "speedy recovery."

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready for Prime Time: Harold Luken, 45, was arrested April 8 in New York City near a Bank of America after his alleged attempt to rob it failed badly. According to police, Luken walked in at 1:50 p.m. and announced that he had a gun and intended to rob the place. Instead of acting quickly, he stood in a line of customers and said he would wait for a teller. When he finally got to the window (with police apparently on their way), Luken restated his intention and, as if narrating, announced the handing over of the robbery note. When the teller refused his request for money, Luken asked to check the balance in his own account. When the teller again declined, Luken reportedly walked away and shouted, "OK, I will go to Citibank (and) rob them instead!" He was arrested minutes later.

Unclear on the Concept

  • In March, Thomas Cavender, 60, of Bessemer City, N.C., pleaded unsuccessfully with a judge to remove him from the National Sex Offender Registry, to which he had been assigned as part of his sentence in 2000 for molesting a third-grade girl. Cavender told the judge that he had become a preacher and that it "hurts my ministry when you're in the pulpit and someone goes to the computer, and there you are."
  • In April, two police constables in North London, England, threatened Louise Willows with arrest for criminal damage and forced her to clean her artwork from a city sidewalk. Willows had cleared off 25 deposits of dog droppings that dog-walkers had failed to remove; in their place she had drawn pink cupcakes in chalk with a nearby message that stated, "Dog owners, please clear up your dog's mess. Children walk here."

Cavalcade of Rednecks

(1) In April, Robert Hohenberger, 64, was arrested in Clayton County, Ga., for shooting a neighbor's dog with a BB gun after complaining that he was tired of dogs "pooping" in his yard. The neighbor, Leticia Mendoza, told police that her dog was innocent, in that the dog had actually relieved itself inside the home right before she let it out. (2) In February, Johnathan Avery, 31, was arrested in Benson, N.C., for hitting his 6-year-old son on the head with a spoon. The strike drew blood and the cut later became infected. Hospital personnel treating the kid called police, as Avery had apparently attempted to suture the wound with fishing line.

Last Words

"Go ahead and shoot me," said Rodney Gilbert, 57, while embroiled in a domestic tiff with his girlfriend Kimberly Gustafson in Ocala, Fla., in February. According to police, Gustafson, after cocking the gun in a room with several witnesses, turned to walk away without firing—but then Gilbert trailed after her, shouting his final words several more times.

A News of the Weird Classic

A Tulsa, Okla., physician, writing in a 1992 issue of the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, reported on a 32-year-old woman whose neighbors had just had a large satellite dish installed in their yard. The woman became convinced that Donald Duck was wooing her and that the dish had been placed there to facilitate his communications with her. She spent lots of time "hovering" around the dish and eventually undressed and climbed into it, where she said later that she had consummated her marriage to Mr. Duck.

© 2011 Chuck Shepherd


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