Chuck Shepherd's News of The Weird
Jeff Mizanskey, 61, is a poster child for one well-known criticism of mandatory-minimum sentencing laws—that nonviolent marijuana users (and small-time sellers) may wind up doing decades of hard time and in fact more time than some sociopathic offenders serve for heinous offenses. Mizanskey is 20 years into a life sentence with no possibility of parole for several violations of Missouri’s “prior and persistent drug offender” law, and his only chance for freedom is a clemency plea now under consideration by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Weird Old World
■ Unclear on the Concept: Werner Purkhart, who has been running a “silent disco” in Salzburg, Austria, for four years, was denied renewal of his business permit in July, supposedly because his parties were too loud. At a silent disco, each dancer wears headphones to hear radio-transmitted music; to those without headphones, the roomful of swaying, swinging dancers is eerily quiet. Salzburg Mayor Heinz Schaden said it was still too loud. “The noise…is keeping [the neighbors] up,” he said.
■ “The Chinese fondness for napping in odd places is a well-documented phenomenon, one that’s spawned a popular website and even a book,” wrote The Wall Street Journal in a July dispatch. In a recent photo essay, a Getty Images photographer captured a series of shots of customers catching 40 winks in various furniture departments of IKEA stores, which officially does “not see it as a problem,” according to a spokesman. Maybe “we can sell an extra mattress or two.”
Inexplicable: The robber of a Chase Bank in Tucson, Ariz., in March is still on the loose even though surveillance video has been widely distributed. An additional detail from the video: The man pulled the holdup while carrying a small dog in a basket.
The Justice Angle
■ Ajanaffy Njewadda and her husband recently filed a lawsuit against New York City’s transit authority (MTA) following her tumble down some stairs at a subway station (which caused a broken ankle, concussion and lingering trauma that has required psychiatric care). The MTA had placed a large ad for the serial-killer TV series “Dexter” on station stairs, positioned to be seen just as visitors left the subway. Njewadda said she was momentarily terrified by the ad and lost her balance.
■ Oh, Dear!: A man whose name was withheld (“D.B.”) filed a lawsuit in April against medical clinics and physicians who performed his colonoscopy in Fairfax, Va., in 2013, based on what the patient learned from audio his smartphone recorded while he was unconscious. Though he originally intended to record only doctors’ instructions, he was dismayed to know that they began “mocking” him the second he went under, making disparaging and untrue statements about his health, feigning disgust at his body (“Oh! Oscar Mike Goss!”) (slang for “OMG”—oh, my God), threatening to “fire a gun up his rectum,” “diagnosing” him with syphilis or “tuberculosis in the penis” and threatening to (falsely) note hemorrhoids on his record—all done amidst gales of laughter.
(1) In Turkey, some shepherds have outfitted their sheep-monitoring donkeys with solar panels and battery packs to illuminate nighttime isolated fields in emergencies. Thus, for instance, pregnant animals can be aided during field births and not have to return to the farms. (2) In an interview with vice.com, the Swiss founder of Eurolactis touts donkey milk as the preferred substitute for cow milk—since donkeys have only one stomach, as humans have. (Cows, goats and sheep have multiple stomachs to break down their complex milk, but that milk gives humans digestion problems.) On the other hand, as vice.com pointed out, milk drinkers, especially, must learn to ignore the A-word nickname for “donkey.”
The most recent murder suspect to whine about his oppressive jail conditions appears to be Adam Landerman, 21, awaiting trial in the grisly 2013 murders of two people. In July, his patience apparently exhausted, he filed court papers in Joliet, Ill., complaining that the jail’s towels are too small, the jail offers no barber or beautician services or shaving cream, and the food is “monotonous and undiversified,” among other inadequacies.
© 2014 CHUCK SHEPHERD