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Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

Jul. 23, 2012
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Bad to Worse

Police in Decatur, Ala., were called to a home on Locust Street in May following a report of a gunshot. They found that a 61-year-old man, who reportedly had been drinking beer to ease his toothache, had finally had enough of the pain and attempted to eliminate the tooth by shooting his jaw with a pistol. The man was hospitalized.

Readers' Choice

(1) A pair of giant tortoises that had mated and lived in harmony for 115 years in zoos in Klagenfurt, Austria, is a couple no more, and apparently things ended badly. In June, the female, named Bibi, bit off part of the shell of the male, Poldi, and efforts to reconcile the pair, including the use of aphrodisiacs, proved futile. (2) Daniel Collins Jr., 72, was charged with aggravated assault in Teaneck, N.J., in June after allegedly threatening to shoot a 47-year-old neighbor. Collins said he was reacting to the neighbor's act of passing gas loudly outside Collins' apartment after the two men had been discussing noise.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

  • When Sherry Bush returned home in Westlake, Ohio, in May, she found an "invoice" from Sue Warren written on a napkin, billing her $75 for a housecleaning job that Warren had done while Bush was out of the house. However, Bush had never heard of Warren. "Did you get the wrong house?" Bush asked Warren when she called the number that had been left on the napkin. "No," Warren said. "I do this all the time. I just stop and clean your house." There has been at least one other report in Westlake of Warren's aggressive acquisition of "clients." Warren was arrested and charged with trespassing in the previous case.
  • Disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker still owes the IRS a reported $6 million and now sells a line of "survival" products to help true believers live through the coming apocalypse. (It is unclear whether believers need to "survive," since the popular reading of the apocalypse casts it as a fast track to heaven for the faithful.) The Talking Points Memo blog did some comparative shopping and found many of Bakker's items to be overpriced by as much as 100%. Bakker also offers the devout a $100 Silver Solution Total Body Cleanse Kit, which includes enemas.

Radical Science

A startup venture in Singapore announced in June that it has developed an adult diaper made of "Sofshell," a substance that hardens on contact and redistributes weight—so that if seniors fall on their rear ends, the impact will be absorbed with a lesser risk of broken bones. One of the developers demonstrated by dropping a bowling ball on a cellphone protected by the material; the phone did not suffer so much as a scratch.

Recurring Themes

Undignified Deaths: (1) A prominent karate instructor and superhero impersonator (of the Marvel Comics character Wolverine) was found dead in Carshalton, England, in February. A coroner's inquest in May determined it was the result of a sexual-misadventure death. The 50-year-old was discovered wrapped in a red nylon sheet with his neck and ankles tightly bound in what police estimated was three rolls of cling film. (2) Though authorities could not be certain, evidence suggests that Vicente Benito, whose body was found in his home in the village of Canizal, Spain, in May, might have been lying there for almost 20 years. The mayor of the 520-person hamlet told a reporter for London's The Guardian that the man had always been a hermit, which is one reason his death could have gone unnoticed for so long. No one noticed a smell coming from the home, but since the house was close to a pigsty, that was not unusual, either.

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd


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