News Of The Weird

B y Chuck Shepherd

LEAD STORY

David Winkelman, 48, was arrested in Davenport, Iowa, in September on a misdemeanor warrant, still sporting “The Tattoo.” In late 2000, Winkelman, reacting to a radio “contest,” had his forehead inked with the logo of radio station KORB, “93 Rock,” because he had heard on-air personalities “offer” $100,000 to anyone who would do it. Winkelman had the tattoo done before checking, however, and the disk jockeys later informed him that the “contest” was a joke. (Winkelman filed a lawsuit against the station, but it was dismissed. Ten years later, the “93 Rock” format has expired, but Winkelman’s forehead remains busily tattooed.)

Government in Action!

For most of 2010, California’s dysfunctional legislature could find no acceptable tax increases or spending cuts to keep the state from going broke, and only in October did it manage to cobble together enough pie-in-the-sky bookkeeping tricks to create the illusion of a balanced budget.  Nonetheless, the legislature has been busy.  It created a “Motorcycle Awareness Month” and a “Cuss Free Week,” considered changing the official state rock, and made it illegal to use non-California cows in the state’s marketing materials (a decision that entailed five committee votes and exhausted eight legislative analyses, according to a September Wall Street Journal report).

At a U.S. Senate committee grilling in September, the head of enforcement of the Securities and Exchange Commission admitted that not a single agency staff member has been fired or demoted over the multiple missed signals handed to them, in some cases, 11 years before the Ponzi schemes of Bernard Madoff and R. Allen Stanford were uncovered.  Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said it appeared that “one side of the agency was screaming that there was a fire,” but the other side of the agency demurred because putting it out would have been hard work.

Great Art!

In October, the award-winning London theater company Duckie announced plans for a June 2011 production, Lullaby, at the Barbican Pit, that would feature music and performances so soothing that patrons will be encouraged to attend in pajamas and lounge overnight in bed-seats, with an early morning shower included in the ticket price of 42 pounds ($66).  Producer Simon Casson noted that, irrespective of the play, it is almost impossible to find overnight facilities in central London for that price.

A September one-woman “dance” recital of performer-writer Ann Liv Young as a naked “Cinderella” at a theater in Brooklyn, NY ran overtime because Young could not answer a scripted call of nature, which was to have been performed live on stage.  According to an incredulous New York Times reviewer, Young sought tips from the audience to get her bowels moving but finally gave up and ended the performance.  The reviewer cited the show’s “many layers of failure.”

Names Recently in the News

(1) People with tough times ahead: Donald N. Duck, 51 (arrested for DUI, Massillon, OH, June). Lord Jesus Christ, 50 (pedestrian injury, Northampton, MS, May). Tara Wang (marrying Austin DeCock in Moorhead, MN, in October). (2) Police saw them coming: Jerry Dick, 46 (pleaded guilty to indecent exposure, Greensboro, NC, August).  Kermit Butts, 26 (arrested in the slaying of Samuel Boob, Madisonburg, PA, August).  Cum Starkweather, 56 (arrested for prostitution, Springfield, OH, August).

Chutzpah!

(1) The ski-mask-wearing armed robber who knocked off a Wendy’s in Atlanta on July 31 has not been apprehended, but police said he later called the store to ridicule the staff for having so little cash: “Next time, there better be more than $586.”  (2) Ronald White, 35, was arrested in Cinnaminson, NJ, in July, and charged with shoplifting, and was released after posting $400 bail.  Only afterward did police realize that some of the money was counterfeit, but five days later, White was re-arrested when he returned to the station to demand a partial refund for “overpaying” the bail.

Least Competent Dictator

In September, when Ms. Nomatter Tagarira was sentenced to 39 months in jail for fraud, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and several officials were hoping to close the book on an embarrassing episode. Tagarira had convinced them in 2007 that she had the ability, by chanting into a rock, to find diesel fuel in the ground and make it shoot to the surface.  Of course, this could only be accomplished by Tagarira’s having henchmen behind bushes using a pump, but apparently it worked, as she was rewarded with a $2.7 million fee and given use of a 50-vehicle convoy for her dowsing missions.  Her ruse was not discovered until a year later.

Least Competent Criminals

No Time for Disguises: Larry Shawn Taylor, 18, was arrested in Seattle in September, having been rather easily identifiable when police stopped him.  Two victims had reported being robbed by a man with “GET MONEY” shaved into his haircut on one side and “GET” tattooed on his right hand and “MONEY” tattooed on the left.  (At least Taylor did not claim that someone else must have had the same configuration.)

Undignified Deaths

A 49-year-old Bakersfield, CA, doctor, whose relationship with her boyfriend was described as “on-again, off-again,” was killed in August when, after he had locked her out of his house, she tried to enter by sliding down the chimney, where she got stuck and asphyxiated.

Copyright 2010 ChuckShepard

Distributed by Universal UClick

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