Chuck Shepherd's News of The Weird
The Formula One circuit is generally thought to attract fans as a showcase of motorcar technology and racing skill, but organizers of the Australian Grand Prix (the first of the 19 races on the annual circuit) threatened a lawsuit in March against Formula One management because the races should also be showcases of noise. Formula One has softened cars’ power this year in order to make breakthrough achievements in fuel efficiency, but that also tamped down Formula One’s “trademark ear-shattering roar,” according to a Business Insider report. Fans are less likely to buy tickets, the organizers fear, if they lose the deafening, 100-decibel vroom that is a “visceral element of the fan experience.”
The Championship Brackets
Amelia Boomker, 36, of Bolingbrook, Ill., celebrated her acceptance into the Guinness Book of World Records in March, recognized for donating more than 127 gallons of her own breast milk to critically needy babies in the Midwest. The donations came on top of supplying breast milk for her own four sons, three of whom were born during the 2008-2013 period in which she pumped out her excess for the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank.
In March, an unnamed man was rescued by bystanders who heard screaming from a maze-like storm drain, which runs 12 feet below the street in Lawton, Okla. The man had accidentally dropped a $20 bill through a grate and climbed in after it, wandering underground for two days searching for his way out. (He never found the $20.)
Richard Wright of Canada’s Prince Edward Island was busy in March handing out $50 and $100 bills to strangers during a visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, urging the recipients to “thank God” for the gift and to pass it along to others if they could not use it themselves. Wright’s spree was soon broken up as Mounted Police detained him for a “wellness check,” which led to his transfer to a mental-health facility. Wright’s daughter Chelsea told reporters that her dad worked hard for his money, had no mental-health issues and simply wanted to help people, and a friend described him as a “generous individual wrapped up in the acts of kindness.” However, at press time, Wright was still hospitalized.
Confront Your Fears
n Yo No Quiero: The Phoenix suburb of Maryvale was “overrun,” according to February reports, with several “packs” of up to 15 Chihuahuas each, roaming neighborhoods, frightening schoolchildren. Coincidentally, two months earlier, in Hobart, Australia, the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced that it was overwhelmed by massive recent donations of Chihuahuas, most from one couple. Said a spokesman, “We were up to our knees in little Chihuahuas.”
n Pennywise: England’s Manchester Evening News reported in March that local police had handled 19 cases of “clown-related” crimes in the area in 2013, ranging from a clown in the town of Bury peering into the windows of at least two homes, to a boy’s report in Rochdale that a clown holding balloons had tried to grab him on the street. The secretary of Clowns International lamented the “stupid people” who damage the reputation of the clowning “profession.”
Least Competent Criminals
Classic Recurring Themes: (1) Travis Rice, 21, and an accomplice were seen on surveillance video breaking into Arion Motors in Plantation, Fla., in March—video that revealed Rice, at a key moment, yanking something from his pocket and not noticing that a card had fallen to the floor. The card, of course, was his state identification card, and further “investigation” revealed Rice’s Facebook page bragging about the break-in and theft of license plates and car keys. (2) Carlos Ruiz, 42, was arrested in Haddon Township, N.J., in February after he violated a cardinal rule by returning to the scene of the crime. He had stolen valuables including a sound system from a home, and had gotten away, but was captured a half-hour later when he returned for the sound system’s remote control.
© 2014 CHUCK SHEPHERD