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Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird

Oct. 1, 2012
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Plan of Attack

The two robbers who walked into a 7-Eleven in Arlington, Va., in August apparently neglected to coordinate in advance and ended up leaving empty-handed. As the first man pulled a gun and demanded money, the second, a few steps behind, tossed a firecracker in the air, apparently to intimidate the clerk. However, it mainly served to scare the gunman, who flinched and then ran out the door.

Can't Possibly Be True

Police in Seneca Falls, N.Y., arrested Dawn Planty in August and charged her with statutory rape. Planty came to officers' attention when she called 911 to ask if the dispatcher knew the age of consent in the state because she had had sex with a 14-year-old boy recently and wanted to clear her conscience.

Cuddly Geopolitics

On July 4, two peace activists who own a small advertising agency in Malmo, Sweden, pulled off their most audacious stunt yet by hiring a small plane to drop 800 teddy bears emblazoned with democracy-promoting messages over the capital of Belarus. The country's strongman president, Alexander Lukashenko, later fired two generals for their inability to prevent the breach of the country's airspace.

Detroit Dysfunction

Two hours after an early morning multiple-shooting incident in Detroit on Sept. 1, a 36-year-old man reported to a fire station to turn himself in. However, firefighters were unable to persuade police to come arrest him; eventually, reported WXYZ-TV, the firefighters put the man in a taxi and sent him to a police station.

Unclear on the Concept

In a lower-level Norwegian soccer league match in May, player Talat Abunima was ejected for arguing with a referee who had just given him the benefit of a penalty call. He was not fouled, Abunima insisted. "I…tripped over my own feet," he said later. "It was unbelievably clumsy of me and…I felt I had to speak out." The referee first warned Abunima (giving him a yellow card) for complaining and finally red-carded him, telling a local newspaper afterward, "It was a clear penalty. The player got it all wrong. I don't think the players know the rules properly."

Sounds Like a Joke

(1) The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported in July that vandals had wrecked the pen that reptile farmer David Driver used to confine his herd of turtles—and that 1,600 turtles had fled. (2) Apparently at their wits' end trying to get their rare Chilean flamingos to mate, handlers at the Drusillas Zoo Park in East Sussex, England, began piping in music at night, including songs by the human seduction machine, Barry White ("Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe").

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready for Prime Time: A 40-year-old man swiped a cellphone while visiting a patient at the Kagadi Hospital in Uganda in August. The facility is currently treating the country's Ebola virus outbreak, and the phone was in the room of an Ebola patient. Doctors urged the thief to return to the hospital for treatment. He later showed up at the hospital, complaining of symptoms of the virus—which he had, indeed, contracted.

Undignified Deaths

Ironies: (1) Five young men died in Ontario, Calif., in September when their car rolled over as many as five times after speeding through a red light at 1:45 in the morning. One of the occupants had sent Twitter messages during the ride referring to being "drunk" and "going 120 drifting corners." In two messages, he wrote "YOLO" ("you only live once"). (2) A 39-year-old man accidentally had his neck broken in June in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. He had placed his dog’s leash around his neck while getting into his car, apparently unaware that some of the leash was stuck outside the car door. When the man put the car in motion, the leash became tangled in one of the wheels and ended up fatally breaking the man’s neck.


© 2012 Chuck Shepherd



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