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Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

Aug. 19, 2012
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For Our Benefit

The only unlimited-issue U.S. visa that allows fast-lane entrance for foreign workers is the O-1, available to those people who, in the opinion of the State Department, demonstrate "extraordinary ability." Typically, this list might include scientists or technology engineers. But Reuters reported in June that an O-1 recently went to British journalist Piers Morgan, whose extraordinariness seems limited to replacing Larry King on his CNN interview program, and another went to Shera Bechard, Playboy's Miss November 2010, whose other accomplishment seems to be the creation of an online photo-sharing experience called "Frisky Friday."

Least Competent Criminals

(1) Police in Lewiston, Idaho, discovered in July that someone had recently passed a counterfeit $1 bill. A veteran officer told the Lewiston Tribune that counterfeiting a $1 bill is so stupid that he had seen only one in his life, made by a junior-high student to pay off a bully. (2) In June, firefighters were called to a trolley stop in National City, Calif., to free the arm of a 17-year-old boy after he got it stuck when he reached up a vending machine slot to try to steal a soda. The rescuers employed axes, crowbars, an air chisel and a rotary saw.

Police Report

  • Specialist Perps: (1) In May, Chicago police arrested a man they believed had just minutes earlier used a Bobcat front-end loader to crash through the window of a Family Dollar store and steal two cans of deodorant and a handful of gift cards (and nothing else) and walk away. (2) In June, police in Lorain, Ohio, were looking for a man about 18 years old who had been seen on surveillance video breaking into the same Sunoco convenience store several times recently and taking up to $600 worth of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
  • New Mexico is an "open carry" state, meaning that authorized adults can display loaded handguns in public. However, in the town of Vaughn (population 500), two people who are not authorized to carry are the town's police officers. Chief Ernest Armijo had been convicted in 2011 of criminal nonsupport of a wife and two sons, and among the conditions of probation was a prohibition on gun possession. Deputy Brian Bernal has his own domestic issue: a conviction for family violence that bars him, under federal law, from carrying.

Great Art!

Paris designer Jean-Emmanuel "Valnoir" Simoulin's latest project combines his boyhood fascination with jacket patches and the societal fascination with body modification. He said he will sew patches featuring art from his band's next album directly onto the skin of his back. "It's a nostalgic project about my teenage-hood, when I had an iron faith [in] black-metal [music]," he said.


People With Too Much Money: The luxury doghouse market is thriving, according to a June New York Times report. "Many of them have carpeting, heating and air-conditioning, indoor and outdoor lighting, elaborate music and entertainment systems," wrote the Times, and some even have solar panels. But, said one owner, "Maggie's never been in (hers). She's a house dog." High-end doghouses can go for more than $25,000. Top-shelf interior designers have created dog beds suspended from the ceiling and houses in which the music kicks on only as the dog enters.

Readers' Choice

(1) Rodney Valentine, 37, was released from jail in Wentworth, N.C., on July 21 at about 8 a.m., but adamantly refused to leave until deputies agreed to drive him to a local motel. They declined, and by 1 p.m. Valentine had been re-arrested and charged with trespassing in the jail. (2) TSA Meets Its Match: Jonah Falcon told Huffington Post in July that he had recently survived a pat-down at San Francisco International Airport. Falcon was named in a 1999 HBO documentary as having the largest penis on record, and apparently the "suspicious" bulge drew the attention of the TSA screener, who patted him down and dusted him with explosive-detecting powder before releasing him.

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd


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