March Meatiness

Apr. 2, 2008
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While NCAA basketball’s March Madness dominates intercollegiate athletics, another group of collegians is also working out amid coaches’ whistles, enduring bloody, 12-hour practices and cheering on teammates: This group is preparing for the national championship in meat-judging, in which about 40 colleges compete, according to a March Wall Street Journal report. Coaches at powerhouses like Colorado State and South Dakota State say skills such as evaluating T-bone cutting and spotting whether a pig has too much back fat come with determination, concentration and, of course, practice— one coach said it all comes down to time spent in the meat locker, in 38-degree temperatures. Pro scouts even watch from the stands, in the form of representatives from U.S. meat companies that are seeking talent.

Fine Points of the Law
Italy’s highest appeals court ruled in March that it is not illegal for a woman to lie to police if the reason is to cover up her adulterous affair. Court of Cassation judges said that her honor is more important than providing intimate information about her lover.

The Continuing Crisis
At a February casting call in Pittsburgh for the movie Shelter (to star Julianne Moore), producers announced that they were seeking extras to play West Virginia mountain people. Specifically, they were looking for an albino woman, extraordinarily tall or short people, those with unusual body shapes and faces (especially eyes), and “a 9- to-12-year-old Caucasian girl with an other-worldly look. ‘Regular-looking’ children should not attend.”

Tireless Obsessives
Takahiro Fujinuma, 37, was arrested and charged with making at least 2,600 calls to directory assistance. “I would go into ecstasy when a lady (operator) scolded me,” he told a reporter (Tokyo; January). Ms. Lee Amor, 23, pleaded guilty to calling or texting her ex-boyfriend more than 10,000 times over a 65-day period (South Devon, England; February). John Triplette was arrested for allegedly making more than 27,000 calls to “911” since May 2007, consisting mostly of mumbling and making bodily noises (Hayward, Calif.; February). Paul Kavanagh, 40, was sentenced to 30 months in jail for making about 15,000 calls in 12 years to women and asking them about their underwear (West London, England; November).

Least Competent Criminals
Not Ready for Prime Time: Robber Adam Grennan, 39, did not make it out of the Mt. Washington Bank in Dorchester, Mass., in December. Apparently, he was so intent on appearing calm that he waited patiently in line, eyes straight ahead, until the time came to hand the teller his holdup note. He did not notice that a uniformed Boston police officer, working security, had slipped behind him in line. The officer arrested Grennan immediately as he was quietly demanding large bills and “no funny money.”

Padre Pio, who died in 1968 and was sponsored for sainthood by Pope John Paul II, has been a controversial figure for a long time, as News of the Weird reported in 1999. Parishioners wildly loved him, but some Vatican officials were skeptical about his claim of hands bleeding from crucifixion holes (similar to those of Jesus). On orders from Pope Benedict XVI, Padre Pio’s body was exhumed in March and placed on public display for several months at the Vatican. This proved somewhat problematic, as it became obvious that there are no crucifixion holes or scars on his hands or feet.

Leading Economic Indicators
To feed the fast-growing business of women’s hair extensions, brokers in India scour the countryside for Hindu temples that encourage female worshippers to shear themselves as good-luck offerings to the temples’ gods, according to a February dispatch in Germany’s Der Spiegel. Historically, that hair has been used to make mattresses, but because the celebrity-driven extension business is so large, salons around the world pay from $125 to $250 per pound for strands of neverchemically-treated hair of desirable hues.

Undignified Deaths
Latest Electro-Sensual Accidents: Toby Taylor, 37, of York County, Pa., was charged with involuntary manslaughter in January after his wife died of a heart attack while the two were having sex. According to the York Daily Record, police said they found the woman’s body with “alligator clips on the end of a stripped electric cord…attached to her breasts.” About two weeks earlier, 100 miles away in New Berlinville, Pa., a 23-year-old construction worker was electrocuted when he placed electric clips to his chest piercings (despite warnings from his colleagues). 2008 Chuck Shepherd


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