News of the weird: 05/05

By Chuck Shepherd

World’s worst sculptor

It seemed like a good idea when the village of Celoron, New York, paid for a bronze statue honoring one of its only celebrities, Lucille Ball, in 2009. Ball had spent her childhood years there, and, even today, everyone “Loves Lucy.” However, the result was apparently a monstrosity, described in news reports as “frightening” and unrecognizable by anyone who has ever watched Ball’s TV shows or movies. The original sculptor first suggested a fee between $8,000 and $10,000 to make a better one, but after Mayor Scott Schrecengost started a fundraising campaign, the sculptor offered to make another one for free.

Wait, what?

Tough love: An unnamed Catholic priest in Taranto, Italy, was recently defrocked after reports that he arranged for online role-playing with another man who pretended to be Judas as the priest dispatched him to gay orgies to be punished for betraying Jesus by members of the Vatican security force. He was charged with doing this while attempting to minister to an unemployed laborer.

Paulo Silva, 51, who will stand trial for bestiality charges in April at the Framingham, Massachusetts, District Court, insisted that his charges be reduced to attempted larceny. Yes, he was caught fondling the male purebred pit bull, but he had no sexual motivation, his lawyer explained. Silva said a friend of his owned a female pit bull and he had asked the owner if the two dogs could mate, but when the owner declined, Silva said he was simply trying to collect the sperm himself. Judge Jennifer Stark was unmoved.

Leading economic indicators

In addition to fallouts from the budget cuts and personnel reductions at the IRS, the supervisory revenue official for the Dallas region disclosed in April that his office had so few collectors that it would pursue only scofflaws who owe the government at least $1 million. “I have to say,” the supervisor told a reporter, “nobody’s ever going to knock on [the] door” of anyone who owes anything from $100,000 to $999,999.

Unclear on the concept

At the sixth-annual National Disability Summit in Melbourne, Australia, in March, all of the speakers except one were able-bodied. That person, in a wheelchair, had to be lifted up to the stage because there was no ramp. Disabled activists in attendance also told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the tables to accommodate them were at the back of the room, the food tables were elevated to accommodate standers and the one accessible toilet was being used as storage space.

Bright ideas

Simon Schrader, 17, a German high school student preparing for the all-important “Abitur” advanced-level tests to identify top-performing students, filed a formal request in April for an advance copy of the test under North Rhine-Westphalia’s freedom of information law. “I just wanted to see what they would say,” he says. He filed a little late, though, with the state’s deadline for responding following the testing.

Raising our most delicate generation: In preparation for the National Union of Students Women’s Conference in Solihull, England, next March, some attendees requested that clapping for any of the speakers be discouraged, and that approval from the audience be expressed by “jazz hands”: open hands, palms directed to the stage and the fingers extended wildly. Using “jazz hands” would show compassion for attendees who have anxiety and other disorders and for speakers who might be distracted by the din of approval.

People different from us

The obsession with bodily beauty for Venezuelan women usually focuses on face, breasts and buttocks, and model Aleira Avendano has certainly had those surgeries. Avendano’s signature feature, however, is her 20-inch waist, which she says has been maintained by wearing an absurdly tight corset for 23 hours a day for the past six years. “I wash myself and rest for an hour, and then I put it on again. At first, it was terrible, then I got used to it, and [it] became a necessity.”

Compelling explanations

A jury in Atascadero, California, having already convicted Mark Andrews, 51, of murder, concluded in March that he was legally sane at the time he shot and killed his neighbor—after claiming the victim was a vampire and that he himself was a werewolf. A month later, a judge in San Francisco acquitted Santino Aviles, 41, of robbery and other felony charges after he claimed that the apartment he broke into was a spaceship that would take him to safety before the imminent explosion of the Earth. His lawyer called his condition a “meth-fueled psychosis,” and he was convicted only of misdemeanors.

Readers’ choice

(1) No charges were filed after a 74-year-old woman was shot by her son-in-law in Lee County, Georgia, this April. Larry McElroy, the son-in-law, said he shot at and killed an armadillo with his 9mm handgun, but then the bullet ricocheted, traveled about 100 yards, first off of a fence and then through the woman’s mobile home, hitting her in the back. Deputies accepted this explanation. The woman was not seriously hurt. (2) Robert Abercrombie became the most recent practitioner of DIY tooth extraction when he yanked out a front tooth of his 8-year-old son, Jason, by tying the tooth to his Camaro and driving away. Jason was perfectly cool with the stunt, which was captured on video and posted on the Internet. “It came out!” Jason shouted joyously (and bloodily) to the camera.

Copyright 2015 Chuck ShepherdDistributed by Universal Uclick

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Copyright 2015 Chuck Shepherd. Distributed by Universal Uclick

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