Recurring Themes

(1) Add goat horns to the “religious covering” items permitted to be worn in government identification cards. It took Mr. Phelan MoonSong of Millinocket, Maine, two trips to the DMV, but his ID, after his name change, was finally approved in December, based on his Paganism religion. (2) In December, a 21-year-old man became the most recent to fall to his death during a roadside “pit stop.” Four passengers alighted from a car on the side of Interstate 15 near Escondido, California; two urinators returned without incident, and a third also fell about 40 feet but survived. [WGME-TV (Portland), 12-6-2016] [San Diego Union-Tribune, 12-7-2016]

The Passing Parade

(1) In November, an arranged custody swap of a child from one grandmother to another in a Wal-mart parking lot near Dallas ended when both ladies pulled guns and started firing. One granny was hit in the neck and the other arrested after she also fired at an off-duty officer trying to calm things down. (2) A 22-year-old man pedaling a vending cart through downtown Victoria, British Columbia, in November with large-lettered “420 delivery” on the carrier was stopped by police and found with a stash of marijuana. (Selling recreational cannabis is illegal, even though the man had conscientiously printed underneath the sign, “NO MINORS.”) [KDFW-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth), 11-30-2016] [Victoria Police Department release, 11-10-2016]

A News of the Weird Classic (February 2013)

Officials at Seaford, England’s, 12th-century St. Peter’s Church, which is renowned for its eerie quietness, created a 30-minute CD (in 2013) of “total silence,” first as a small-scale fundraising project, but later for general sales (since word-of-mouth had attracted orders from the noise-annoyed as far away as Ghana). Those who have heard it said they could make out only the occasional squeaking of footsteps on the wooden floor and the very distant hum of a passing car. Said one admiring parishioner, “People sometimes like to sit down and just have a bit of peace and quiet.” [Daily Mail (London), 1-27-2013] 

Update

Four innocent Texas women, caught up in the 1990s’ “child sex abuse” panics and who served a cumulative 56 years in prison after their 1997 convictions, were completely exonerated in November by a Texas judge following the recanting of one “victim” and the retracting of the principal forensic “evidence.” The four women, then in their 20s, had been accused of genitally abusing nieces, ages 7 and 9, of one of the women. In the 1990s, beginning with the San Diego-area “McMartin School” case, it became easy for prosecutors to convince ready-to-believe jurors that their little toddlers and adolescents were sexually abused in Satanic cults and by hordes of perverts, “proved” by self-assured counselors misapplying “science” and by fantastical “testimony” of children themselves, taken seriously by adults somehow unaware that children have imaginations and a need to please adults.

How to Tell If You’re Too Drunk

On Nov. 16, Richard Rusin, 34, was charged with DUI in St. Charles, Illinois, after he drove off of a street, going airborne, hitting close to the top of one house, rebounding off of another, uprooting a tree (sending it onto a roof), and knocking out electricity to the neighborhood when the car clipped a utility pole guide wire—and his car landed upside down in a driveway. He was hospitalized.

Allen Johnson Sr., of Meriden, Connecticut, was driving a tractor-trailer up Interstate 89 near Williston, Vermont on Nov. 2 at 63 mph, when, said state police, he apparently tried to stand up in the cab in order to change pants (enabling the rig to roll over). Johnson registered a .209 blood-alcohol level; it was 9:30 a.m.

Least Competent Criminals

Recurring Themes: (1) Gwinnett, Georgia, police know exactly who they like for the Nov. 3 armed robbery of an Exxon convenience store: Mr. Quaris Holland, 29. That’s because the manager told police Holland had been coming by as a customer “every single day” for “six months.” He’s still at large. (2) I Have a Gub (sic): The FBI was offering a reward for tips on their suspect in heists at four Boston-area banks in November. Though the man has eluded them so far, at least one issue plagues him: Each of his holdup notes announces that this is a “robery.”

The Passing Parade

(1) Simon Berry, 24, of the English village of Bray, was recently acknowledged by the Guinness Book people for his bungee drop of 246 feet to precision-dunk a biscuit into a cup of tea. (2) A sign posted recently (apparently without fanfare) at the Castle House Inn hostel in Stockholm, Sweden, warns visitors: “It is a criminal offense to smoke or wank on these premises.” (“Wank” is British slang for self-pleasuring.) The sign contains the familiar “not permitted” circle over a crossed-out item—but just the cigarette.

A News of the Weird Classic (February 2013)

Cliche Come to Life: The Kerry, Ireland, county council voted in January (2013) to let some people drive drunk. The councillors reasoned that in the county’s isolated regions, some seniors live alone and need the camaraderie of the pub but fear a DUI arrest on the way home. The councillors thus empowered police to issue DUI permits to those drivers. Besides, they reasoned, the area is so sparsely populated that some drivers never encounter anyone else on the road at night. (Coincidentally—or not—“several” of the five councillors voting “yea” own pubs.)

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Chuck Shepherd
Copyright 2015 Chuck Shepherd. Distributed by Universal Uclick

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