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Chuck Shepher's News of the Weird 11.11.16

Nov. 10, 2015
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Ewwww, Gross!  

While hopeful Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero seeks funding to perform the first ever head “transplant” (with a patient already lined up), Australian doctor Geoff Askin (the country’s “godfather of spinal surgery”) recently successfully “reattached” the head of a 16-month-old boy who was badly injured in a traffic accident. The toddler’s head was described as internally “relocated” and reset onto the vertebra, using wire and rib tissue to graft the head back in place. (Nonetheless, the operation was widely regarded as a “miracle.”)                                         

Police Report       

“Police Squad!” Lives On: (1) Hugo Castro, 28, wanted for questioning in October in San Jose, Calif., after his girlfriend was stabbed to death, helpfully presented himself at the county jail. The sheriff’s deputy listened—and then suggested Castro go find a San Jose police officer. (Castro did, and the deputy was subsequently reassigned.) (2) New Hampshire state police laid down spiked “stop sticks” in November to slow down a fleeing Joshua Buzza, 37, near Greenland, N.H. Buzza was apprehended, but not before he managed to avoid the sticks while goading the drivers of three squad cars over them (flattening several tires).                                      

Great Art!           

Recent Architectural Triumphs: (1) For the annual German Ruhrtriennale Festival in September, Atelier Van Lieshout created a temporary hotel structure that appeared from the street (even to the non-aroused) to be a couple having “doggy-style” sex (to make a statement, a reviewer said, about “the power of humanity over the natural world”). (2) A homeowners association in Winter Haven, Fla., petitioned Steven Chayt to remove the 24-by-12-foot chair he had built in his backyard as an art project—especially because of the hole in the seat—making it, said one neighbor, “essentially a toilet.”                                                                                        

Leading Economic Indicators          

Dealt a Lemon, Make Lemonade: Puerto Rico’s murder/voluntary manslaughter rate is four times higher than that in the 50 states, creating a “pool of [organ] donors in the 18-to-30 age range unmatched in the mainland,” according to an October Reuters report. Government officials hope creating a thriving transplant industry will bring Puerto Rico out of its economic doldrums by encouraging economy-conscious patients to spend money on hotels, transportation and food during their stay.                                                               

Unclear on the Concept     

A Liberty, Mo., sheriff’s deputy politely declined to identify the local man who created the sound of rapid gunfire on Oct. 13 when a “controlled” garbage burn escalated. The man decided to try extinguishing the fire by driving back and forth over it in his van, but the tires caught fire, and in addition to the van’s having a gas tank, it also carried an undisclosed amount of firearms ammunition. The van was a total loss, but the sheriff’s department said it doubted there would be an insurance claim filed.

Least Competent Criminal               

Recurring Theme: In October, Rezwan Hussain, 29, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the illegal drugs enterprise he ran from his mother’s basement in Rochdale, England. He had apparently avoided detection until March, when the Greater Manchester police arrived to question his brother. Hussain said his brother wasn’t home, and they left, but a frightened Hussain ran upstairs and began tossing 500 pounds of drugs out the window in preparation for his getaway. However, police had not yet driven away, and the first bag of a nearly $4.5 million stash happened to land right beside their car.                                  


Members of the New Orleans Vampire Association are not, of course, like Dracula or those Twilight characters, but rather people who are convinced that consuming other people’s blood prevents illness or provides energy—and thus seek “donors” to sit for regular or occasional slicings or pin pricks for friendship, or money or sex. Though some members have gone full-gothic in dress and lifestyle (as described in an October Washington Post report), an academic researcher studying the community has concluded that the vampires generally exhibit no signs of mental illness.                                  

Readers’ Choice  

Another human shot by dog—this time in October in Kosciusko County, Ind. Allie Carter’s pooch had wandered over to Carter’s shotgun on the ground and stepped on it, firing one round into Carter’s left foot. (Bonus: Carter’s dog’s name is Trigger.) The next day, a Washington Post reporter, searching news archives, found 12 more “dog shoots human” stories reported just since 2004 (all but two from the gun-intensive United States).                              




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