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Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

Nov. 10, 2011
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Take, and Ye Shall Receive

The thief who made off with the valuable lamp from St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Winson Green, England, in October might well return to the building soon—for confession. Clearly visible on the surveillance video inside was the man, as he was just about to snatch up the lamp, making the sign of the cross.

Unclear on the Concept

  • In September, state troopers patrolling the ground of the Nebraska State Fair told Sally Stricker that she had an "illegal" message on her T-shirt. They said that if Stricker wanted to remain at the fair, she would have to either change shirts or wear hers inside out. The "message" was a marijuana leaf with the slogan "Don't panic, it's organic." Stricker was at the fair to attend the night's live concert starring Willie Nelson.
  • The North Koreans called it a "cruise ship" and tried to use it to establish a business model to attract wealthy tourists from China, but to the New York Times reporter on board in September, the 40-year-old boat was more like a "tramp steamer" on which "vacationers" paid the equivalent of $470 to "enjoy" the five-day trip. More than 200 people boarded the "dim" and "musty" vessel, "sometimes eight to a room with floor mattresses" and iffy bathrooms. The onboard "entertainment" consisted not of shuffleboard but of "decks of cards" and karaoke. Dinner "resembled a mess hall at an American Army base." Food leftovers were thrown overboard, even though some of it was blown back on deck. The trip was capped, wrote the Times, by the boat's crashing into the pier as it docked, knocking a corner of the structure "into a pile of rubble."

Smoking May Harm Your Health

A 44-year-old woman was hospitalized with a head injury and a broken clavicle in September after she inadvertently walked into a still-moving train at Needham Center Station near Boston. Her attention had been diverted because she was trying to light her cigarette as she walked.

He's Back

Saddam Hussein Back in the News: Mohamed Bishr, an Egyptian man bearing a remarkable resemblance to the late Iraqi dictator, claimed in October that he had been briefly kidnapped after spurning an offer to portray Saddam in a porn video. Bishr's adult sons told the Al-Ahram newspaper in Alexandria that their father had been offered the equivalent of $330,000. (In 2002, according to a 2010 Washington Post report, the CIA briefly contemplated using a Saddam impersonator in a porn video as a tool to publicly embarrass Saddam into relinquishing power prior to the U.S. invasion.)

Can't Possibly Be True

  • Apparently, officials at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport felt the need for professional guidance on re-branding their facility to, as one official put it, carry it into “the modern era,” so they hired the creative talents of Big Communications of Birmingham, Ala. Big Communications' suggested name for the airport, announced to great fanfare in September: "Chattanooga Airport."
  • Names in the News: Passed away in May in Fredericksburg, Va.: retired Army Sgt. Harry Palm. Charged with murder in Decatur, Ill., in September: a 15-year-old boy named Shitavious Cook.
  • The British recreation firm UK Paintball announced in August that a female customer had been injured after a paintball shot hit her in the chest, causing her silicone breast implant to "burst." The company recommended that paintball facilities supply better chest protection for women with implants.

© 2011 Chuck Shepherd


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