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Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

Nov. 18, 2011
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Parenting 'Renaissance'

Freemon Seay, 38, was arrested in Thurston County, Wash., in October on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after disciplining his 16-year-old daughter for leaving home without his approval. Seay allegedly forced the girl to suit up in armor and helmet, hold a wooden sword and fight him. Seay also was dressed in armor and armed with a wooden sword. They allegedly fought for more than two hours, until the daughter could no longer stand up. Seay's wife (the girl's stepmother), booked as an accessory, was said by deputies to have been supportive of her husband's "Renaissance Faire" enthusiasm, which Freemon Seay called a "lifestyle."

Bright Idea

In Malone, N.Y., in September, Clyde Gardner, 57, was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison for twice trying to murder his ex-girlfriend. Initially, he was going to dress in a recently skinned bear's hide, walk on its paws (so as not to leave shoe prints) and "maul" her with the claws. After abandoning that plan, he promised a friend $15,000 to kill the woman in a car crash. Since Gardner was a demolition derby driver, he offered expert instructions. The friend turned Gardner in.


  • The ingenuity of drug smugglers is never to be underestimated, as demonstrated by an ABC News report from Nogales, Ariz., in October. Smugglers had dug tunnels from Nogales, Mexico, to Nogales, Ariz., engineered perfectly to end along International Street's metered parking spaces. Vans with false bottoms were parked in certain spaces, and meters were fed. Smugglers broke though the pavement, and the drugs were loaded into the vans. Crews would then repair the pavement, and the vans departed. The Arizona city's mayor called it "unbelievable."
  • Toto is to sophisticated toilets in Japan as Apple is to consumer electronics in America. In September, Toto unveiled a prototype motorcycle with a toilet bowl to convert a driver's waste into fuel, not only making it self-gassed-up but also contributing to the company's goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions in bathrooms by 50% within six years (compared to 1990 levels). The company was launching a monthlong, cross-country publicity tour.

Armed and Clumsy (All-New!)

People Who Shot Themselves Recently: Two men, a 23-year-old in Fayetteville, N.C. (June), and a 22-year-old in Seminole, Fla. (October), accidentally shot themselves in the head while trying to assure friends that their guns posed no danger. A firearms instructor shot himself in the thigh during his recertification class at the Smith & Wesson facility in Springfield, Mass. (September). A man on a first date at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Charlotte, N.C., accidentally shot himself in the leg as he was escorting his date to their car (September). And, as usual, at least one man (a 27-year-old in Chandler, Ariz.) paid the price for using his waistband as a holster, causing a "groin" injury (August). And Milwaukee police secured a search warrant to photograph Otis Lockett's penis (July) as evidence that he was illegally in possession of a gun (as a felon) by showing that he had accidentally shot off nearly all of his organ.

Cutting-Edge Tactics

Crime-Fighting: (1) In October, about 120 professional mimes began voluntarily patrolling the traffic-congested Sucre district of Caracas, Venezuela, at the request of Mayor Carlos Ocariz. The white-gloved mimes' specialty was wagging their fingers at scofflaw motorists and pedestrians. Mimes interviewed by the Associated Press reported improvements. (2) At least 300 professional clowns from Mexico and Central America, in Mexico City in October for a convention, demonstrated against the country's drug-cartel violence by laughing, in unison, nonstop, for 15 minutes. (They were likely less successful than the mimes.)

© 2011 Chuck Shepherd


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