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Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird

May. 15, 2013
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Frontiers of Parenting

Caribou Baby, a Brooklyn, N.Y., "eco-friendly maternity, baby and lifestyle store," has recently been hosting gatherings at which parents exchange tips on "elimination communication"—the weaning of infants without benefit of diapers (as reported in April by The New York Times). Parents watch for cues, such as a certain "cry or grimace" that supposedly signals that the tot urgently needs to be hoisted onto a potty. (Eventually, they say, the potty serves to cue the baby.) Dealing with diapers is so unpleasant, they say, that cleaning an occasional mess becomes tolerable. The little darlings' public appearances sometimes call for diapers, but can also be dealt with by taking the baby behind the nearest tree. One parent even admitted, "I have absolutely been at parties and witnessed people putting their baby over the sink."

Democracy Blues

  • The city council of Oita, Japan, refused to seat a recently elected member because he refused to remove the mask he always wears in public. Professional wrestler "Skull Reaper A-ji" said his fans would not accept him as authentic if he strayed from his character. Some masked U.S. wrestlers, and especially the popular Mexican "Lucha Libre" wrestlers, share the sentiment. (At press time, the issue was apparently still unresolved in Oita.)
  • At a Jan. 8 public meeting, Cooper City, Fla., Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi, annoyed with local activist (and former commissioner) Gladys Wilson, told her (according to video and audio of the meeting), "(B)low me." Wilson, 81, said later she did not understand what the phrase meant; Mallozzi said later that she meant only that she needed to blow her nose.

Unclear on the Concept

John Leopold, the former county executive of Anne Arundel County, Md., serving 30 days in jail for illegally forcing his government security detail and another employee to perform personal errands, apparently wasted no time in March displaying a similar attitude toward his jailers. He quickly demanded that the jailers serve him a breakfast of Cheerios, skim milk, bananas and orange juice instead of the scheduled fare. (Last year, Anders Breivik, the imprisoned 2011 mass murderer of 77 in Norway, famously began a hunger strike when rebuffed over his 27-page list of demands, including Internet access and a series of menu and climate-control improvements.)


Animal rights activists have had success in recent years making covert videos of abuses on farms and in slaughterhouses, showing defenseless animals being cruelly mistreated in patterns unlikely to be caught by government inspectors making orderly, rare visits. However, as The New York Times reported in April, legislators in Iowa, Utah, Missouri and several other states believe that the greater problem is that such videos "defame" the operators of these farms and slaughterhouses, and the states have proposed to criminalize the activists' conduct, which might be "trespassing" in that they gain access only by subterfuge, for instance, pretending earnestly to apply for jobs.

Least Competent Criminals

Just Because It Worked Once: Carl Bellenir, 48, was arrested in San Luis Obispo, Calif., in February after he had successfully cashed in, at a Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, several rolls of pennies that had been stuffed into rolls labeled for dimes. Bellenir apparently did not realize that the rolls would be examined later in the day and so returned the very next morning to the same bank and tried it again. Police were called, and Bellenir fled, but he was captured down the street at a Bank of America trying the same trick.

Readers' Choice

Kent Hendrix heroically rushed to the aid of a female neighbor being assaulted by an acquaintance on their residential street in Millcreek, Utah, in April and scared the man off (though he soon turned himself in). Hendrix is a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and, more to the point, a black belt in Kishindu, and even more to the point, was aiming his favorite Samurai sword at the attacker. Said Hendrix, "His eyes just got huge…that he was staring down 29 inches of razor."

© 2013 CHUCK SHEPHERD           



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