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Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird

Aug. 16, 2011
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An Initial Uproar

Republican Tennessee state Rep. Julia Hurley apologized in July and said she would pay for the refinishing of her desk in the legislative chamber after it was revealed that she had carved her initials in it during a January session. "It was like 1 in the morning on the last day of the session," she told WSMV-TV. "I wasn't thinking straight." Rep. Hurley, 29, unseated a nine-term incumbent legislator in 2010 with a campaign that touted her time as a Hooters waitress. "If I could make it at Hooters," she wrote in the restaurant's magazine, "I could make it anywhere."

Can't Possibly Be True

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is spending a reported $1.5 million to move a big rock from Riverside, Calif., about 60 miles away, to the museum. The rock is a 340-ton boulder that the museum intends to display above a sidewalk (for a work of art titled Levitated Mass). The move will require a 200-foot-long trailer with 200 tires, with one semi-tractor pulling and one pushing. Plans call for the transit to occur at night, with a speed of around 8 mph.

Unclear on the Concept

A draftee in the Singapore army caused a public stir in March when a visitor photographed him undergoing physical training in army fatigues—with the man's maid following behind him, carrying his backpack on her shoulders. (Army officials told reporters the draftee was “remorseful” and had since been counseled.)

Police Blotter

  • Arrested in Woodbridge, Va., in July for burglary after being discovered by police inside the MVC Late Night adult store: U.S. Army officer Justin Dale Little Jim, 28, who was found physically engaged with a "blow-up doll".
  • In June in the Houston suburb of Alvin, Texas, a 42-year-old Walmart customer came across three men running out of the store carrying stolen beer. She decided that it was up to her to take a stand because, as she said later, she was "sick of the lawlessness." The woman (whose name, coincidentally, is Monique Lawless) chased the men into the parking lot, where she climbed onto the hood of their getaway car and even jumped up and down on the hood, to delay their escape. The three men, who were later arrested, were brothers: Sylvester Andre Thompson, Sylvester Durlentren Thompson and Sylvester Primitivo Thompson.
Recent Confusing Headlines

(1) If Yogi Berra Wrote the Headline: "Woman Missing Since She Got Lost" (Chicago Sun-Times, May 17, 2011). (2) Please Explain: "Man With Clown Nose in New Cumberland Poses No Serious Threat" (Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa., July 3, 2011). (3) Run for the Hills: "Return of the Giant Carnivorous Hermaphrodite Snails" (Yahoo! News, LiveScience.com, June 3, 2011).

Recurring Themes

Advances in DNA testing have improved society in several ways over the last two decades, especially in the criminal justice system. But one area remains a backwater in many states, as News of the Weird has noted over the years: men's obligation to pay support for children they did not father. Ray Thomas of Houston is the most recent frustrated complainant, with a court refusing to relieve him of the $52,000 in back child support he owes for a "daughter" that DNA has subsequently shown is not his.


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