Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird
The usual 20,000 or so visitors every year to Belgium's Verbeke Foundation art park have the option (365 of them, anyway) to spend the night inside the feature attraction: an anatomically correct polyester replica of a human colon created by Dutch designer Joep Van Lieshout. At one end, of course, another body part is replicated (and gives the installation its formal name, the Hotel CasAnus). The facility, though "cramped," according to one prominent review, features heating, shower and double bed, and rents for the equivalent of about $150 a night. The 30-acre art park is regarded as one of Europe's "edgiest" art destinations.
The issues director of the fundamentalist American Family Association told his radio audience in November that God's feelings will be hurt if America stops using fossil fuels for energy. "God has buried those treasures there because he loves to see us find them," said Bryan Fischer, who described Americans' campaigns against fossil fuels as similar to the time when Fischer, at age 6, told a birthday-present donor that he didn't like his gift. "And it just crushed that person."
Mauricio Fierro gained instant fame in December in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as the reported victim of a car theft (captured on surveillance video) when he dashed into a pharmacy. He went to a police station to file a report, but encountered the pharmacy owner making his own report—that Fierro was actually robbing him at the moment the car was taken. More surveillance video revealed that while Fierro was standing outside the pharmacy, wondering where his car was, a man ran by and stole the stolen cash. Fierro then immoderately complained to the police even more about Sao Paulo's crime rate and lack of security. Afterward, Fierro admitted to a local news website that in fact he had stolen the very car that he was reporting stolen.
The Continuing Crisis
- Former undercover cop Mark Kennedy filed for damages in October against the London Metropolitan police, claiming post-traumatic stress syndrome based on the department's "negligence" in allowing him to have such a robust sex life on the job that he fell in love with a woman whose organization he had infiltrated. Kennedy's wife has filed for divorce and is also suing the department, and 10 other women (including three of Kennedy's former lovers) have also filed claims.
- Sarah Childs won a restraining order in Denham Springs, La., in December, forbidding the town from shutting down her "Christmas" lights decoration. The large outdoor display (in a neighborhood with traditional Christmas displays) was the image of two hands with middle fingers extended.
Least Competent Parking Enforcers
The week before Christmas, a Nottingham, England, officer wrote parking tickets to drivers of two ambulances that were taking too long to board wheelchair-using schoolchildren who had just sung carols for an hour downtown to raise money for the homeless shelter Emmanuel House. (Following an outpouring of complaints, the Nottingham City Council revoked the tickets.)
Least Competent Criminals
Recurring Themes: (1) Marquis Diggs, 29, entering the county administration building in Jersey City, N.J., in December for a hearing in family court over his mother's restraining order against him, became the most recent drug possessor not to have realized that he might be subjected to a search. Police confiscated 32 baggies of "suspected marijuana." (2) Cleland Ayison, 32, got a sentencing break in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in December when federal judge William Dimitrouleas pitied him. Ayison got only house arrest and community service because his crime—trying to pass a U.S. Federal Reserve note with a face value of $500 million—was so "silly."
Ironies: (1) A 20-year-old man's life ended when he was shot to death in an altercation in San Bernardino, Calif., on Friday, Dec. 21, while attending a Mayan-inspired "End of the World" party. (2) The next night, in Fort Worth, Texas, a 47-year-old guitarist collapsed of a seizure and died onstage. He had played with several bands, including Rigor Mortis.
©2013 CHUCK SHEPHERD