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Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

Dec. 29, 2015
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New World Order              

In December, Canada’s supportive organization The Transgender Project released a biographical video of the former Paul Wolscht, 46 and the father of seven children with his ex-wife, Marie, describing her new life as not only a female but a 6-year-old female, Stephoknee Wolscht. She told the Daily Xtra (gay and lesbian news site) that not acting 46 (even while doing “adult” things like working a job and driving a car) enables her to escape “depression and suicidal thoughts.” Among Wolscht’s favorite activities are (coloring-book) coloring, creating a play-like “kingdom” and wearing “really pretty clothes.” Stephoknee now lives with the couple who adopted her. 

Unclear on the Concept    

Thee, Not Me: American “millennials” (those aged 18 to 29) continue a "long-standing tradition," The Washington Post wrote in December, describing a Harvard Institute of Politics poll on their views on war. Following the recent Paris terrorist attacks, about 60% of U.S. millennials said additional American troops would be needed to fight the Islamic State, but 85% answered, in the next question, that no, they themselves were “probably won’t join” or “won’t join” the military. 

Exceptional Floridians     

(1) Police in St. Petersburg, Fla., reported the December arrest of a 12-year-old boy whose rap sheet listed “more than 20” arrests since age 9. He, on a bicycle, had told an 89-year-old driver at a gas station that the man's tire was low, and when the man got out to check, the boy hopped in the car and took off. (2) A driver accidentally plowed through two small businesses in Pensacola, Fla., in December, creating such destruction that the manager of one said it looked like a bomb had hit (forcing both—a tax service and a casket company—to relocate). The driver told police he was attempting to “travel through time.”                                                                                 

Least Competent Criminals           

Oops! (1) Jasper Harrison, 47, working inside the storage unit in Edgewater, Fla., where he grows his marijuana, heard a helicopter overhead on Dec. 9, panicked and called 911 to turn himself in to pre-empt what he presumed was a SWAT raid. Actually, the helicopter belonged to a local news station headed elsewhere, but police later arrested Harrison based on the 911 call. (2) Lloyd Franklin, 34, suspected in a North Carolina double murder, fatally shot himself in a Bensalem, Penn., motel room in November when police knocked on the door. However, cops actually had come to arrest another man in the room on a parole violation.

The Continuing Crisis     

Elaine Williams, 47, was arrested in December in North Forsyth, Ga., and charged with trying to buy a baby for her daughter, 14, via an ad on Craigslist. Williams said her daughter said she “wanted a baby and would get one with or without her help.” (Bonus: Williams lives near Jot Em Down Road.)



Road to Nowhere: The “Bridge to Nowhere" played an outsize role in politics a decade ago as an example of uncontrolled government spending (before Congress killed it). (Ketchikan, Alaska, planned a sleek international airport on nearby, uninhabited Gravina Island, but needed a sleek $450 million bridge to get there.) These days, reported Alaska Dispatch News in November, the original 3.2-mile, $28 million access road on Gravina Island, built to access the bridge, now just ends in a “scrub forest.” One optimistic state official said the road gets “more use all the time”—boaters come for “hunting … berry picking, things like that. It’s actually a nice road.”

A News of the Weird Classic (June 2011)     

A prison guard is “the greatest entry-level job in California,” according to an April (2011) Wall Street Journal report highlighting its benefits over those of a typical job resulting from a Harvard University education. Starting pay is comparable; loans are not necessary (since the guard “academy” actually pays the student); and vacation time is more generous (seven weeks, five paid). One downside: The prison system is more selective: While Harvard accepts 6.2% of applicants, the guard service takes fewer than 1% of its 120,000 applicants).





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