News Of The Weird

B y Chuck Shepherd

The Entrepreneurial Spirit! ___

The dating Web site, supposedly limiting its reach only to the attractive (though claiming 600,000 members worldwide), announced recently that it would sponsor a companion egg and sperm bank for its members to sell their essences for a fee. However, as managing director Greg Hodge told Newsweek in June, homely customers were welcome. “Initially, we hesitated to widen the offering to non-beautiful people. But everyone — including ugly people — would like to bring good-looking children into the world, and we can’t be selfish ….”

Ironies ______________________

Despite a scary moment in May, Massachusetts State Rep. Mike Moran said he still supports “comprehensive” immigration reform (taken to mean that restrictions on illegal immigrants be tempered with a special “path to citizenship” for those already here). Rep. Moran’s car was rear-ended (though he was not seriously hurt) by illegal immigrant Isaias Naranjo, who was charged with DUI and speeding. According to police, Naranjo, 27, who was dressed in a Mexican party costume, laughed when told of the charges, informing officers that they could do nothing to him since he had already made plans to return to Mexico. (Furthermore, Massachusetts is forbidden by state law from even notifying U.S. Immigration officials of Naranjo’s case.)

Over the years, according to a June Chicago Sun-Times report, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois has freely used “swagger and braggadocio in talking about his 21 years of military service” as qualification for office. When one contrary fact after another about his record was pointed out by reporters, Kirk explained, “I simply misremembered it wrong.” He admitted that, contrary to his numerous public statements, he was not actually “in” the Iraq Desert Storm war; did not actually “command the Pentagon War Room” when he was assigned there as a Navy Reservist; and was not actually once Naval “Intelligence Officer of the Year.” He is now vying for the U.S. Senate seat once held by Barack Obama.

In May, Douglas Ballard and Joseph Foster were indicted for allegedly selling fraudulent loans in exchange for bribes, while they were vice presidents of the Atlanta-area “faith-based” Integrity Bank. The bank opened in 2000, touting Christian principles, giving Bibles to new customers, and encouraging prayer at employee gatherings. (The bank closed in 2008, thought then merely to be the victim of sour real-estate loans, and in fact the bank’s more-spiritual founder, Steven Skow, had left the bank by 2007.)

Weird Science _______________

Life Imitates a Drew Barrymore Movie: Michelle Philpotts of Spalding, England, and her husband, Ian, and their two children have adjusted, since a car crash 20 years ago, to her anterograde amnesia, which, every day, robs her of short-term memory, forcing her to constantly re-learn her life. According to a June profile in London’s Daily Mail, that includes Ian’s convincing her that the stranger in her bed every morning is her husband, which he does by showing her their wedding photographs.

Fine Points of the Law _______

Things looked grim for Carlos Simon-Timmerman, arrested by U.S. border agents in Puerto Rico while bringing an “underage-sex” video home from a holiday in Mexico. The star of “Little Lupe the Innocent” looked very young, and federal prosecutors in April called an “expert witness” pediatrician, who assured the jury, based on the girl’s underdevelopment, that she was a minor. However, Simon-Timmerman’s lawyer had located “Lupe” via her Web site, and she cheerfully agreed to fly in from her home in Spain with her passport and other documents to prove, at a dramatic point in the trial, that she was 19 when the video was made. Simon-Timmerman was acquitted.

Not My Fault ________________

British actor Nicholas Williams, 33, was acquitted of domestic assault in June even though he had, among other things, “waterboarded” his girlfriend by pulling her shirt over her head and holding her under a shower during a two-hour rampage. Williams persuaded the judge that the anti-smoking drug Champix made him unable to control himself or even to remember the events of that evening. (2) Laith Sharma, 49, admitted in June that he had stalked and fixated upon, “for marriage,” a 14-year-old girl in Windsor, Ontario, but doctors’ testimony won him a sentence of mere house arrest. Sharma, they said, suffers from the popularly known “maple syrup urine disease,” so-called because the excreted scent is a marker for brain damage that prevents impulse control.

What About
Our “Human Rights”? ________

Update: News of the Weird reported in 2005 on a Welshman’s invention of the “Mosquito,” a device that emits an irritating, pulsating, very-high-pitched noise and is marketed to shopkeepers to drive away loitering children and teenagers, since the pitch is audible to them but rarely to anyone older than in the mid-20s (because audio range contracts as we age). In June, following an investigation, the Council of Europe (which oversees the European Court of Human Rights) declared the Mosquito a “human rights violation,” in that the sounds it emits constitute “torture.”



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