Wednesday, May 12, 2010

News of the Weird

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No Words for It

In March, leaders of the St. John's Lutheran Church in Baraboo, Wis., voted to fire the principal of the church’s elementary and middle school because he had questioned the church's teachings—though church leaders would not specify what it was he had questioned. Some in the community think it had to do with questions regarding Lutheran doctrine that states women shall not have authority over men. The church held a meeting of members on March 21 regarding the fate of the principal, but female members were banned from speaking. (According to the Baraboo News Republic, women cannot vote on the church’s business, but generally they have been allowed to speak at meetings.)

Poor Parenting Skills

(1) Delmer Doss, 19, and his girlfriend, Amber Burgess, 19, were arrested in Stanley, N.C., in February on child abuse charges after police found an allegedly incriminating video of their 11-month-old son. In the video, the toddler was reportedly blindfolded and the parents were shown laughing at him, over and over, as he fell down while attempting to walk to them. (2) In March in Dallas, Krystal Gardner, 28, confronting a repo man driving off with her SUV, tossed her 1-year-old baby through an open window to stop the vehicle from leaving. At that point, the repo man got out of the SUV, only to see a teenager emerge from Gardner's house and fire a 12-gauge shotgun. Both Gardner and the teenager were arrested.

Questionable Judgments

  • In March, the European Union's Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office granted a trademark to two German entrepreneurs to market a beer called “Fucking Hell.” Under the office's reasoning, in parts of Germany and Austria the word "hell" refers to "light ale," and the other word is the official name of a town in Austria. However, according to a March report in Der Spiegel, the applicants for the trademark have no connection to the town, and there is no brewery there, or even plans for a brewery.
  • Judge Robert Benjamin of the Hobart branch of Australia's Family Courts ruled in a March custody case that two sisters, ages 10 and 8, must spend weekends with their father, even though he is a convicted sex offender with a child-porn habit. The judge attached some restrictions, including the fact that the father must install a lock on the girls' bedroom door that he cannot control and, if the girls stay overnight, the father must have "an adult friend" spend the night, too, so that he will be less likely to offend.

News That Sounds Like a Joke

(1) In January, the principal of D. Roy Kennedy Public School in Ottawa, Ontario, banned "ball-playing" anywhere on school grounds, declaring that it is too dangerous. (2) Ricardo West, 22, who performs as a Michael Jackson impersonator, was arrested in April in Allen Park, Mich., on 12 counts of sexual misconduct with an 11-year-old boy.

Fetishes on Parade

In April, a 27-year-old man reported to Oklahoma City police that another man had sexually assaulted him during a meeting in which the men were supposed to fart for one another. According to a story in The Oklahoman, the men met online and discussed a "fetish for flatulence." They set up a meeting, but instead of the agreed-upon flatulence, the other man allegedly sexually assaulted the 27-year-old. The first man said he wanted only for the second man to "fart for me." The first man's name was not disclosed because he could be the victim of a sex crime.

Cultural Diversity

According to an April Reuters dispatch from South Korea, one of the world's longest-running TV comedy shows is the weekly North Korean production "It's So Funny." The show’s format involves a man and a woman in military uniforms talking to each other (though they sometimes sing and dance). The latest episode "extolled the virtue of beans, while avoiding any flatulence humor," according to Reuters. "If we soldiers see beans, we become happy," said the man, leading both hosts to laugh. According to Reuters, "The two talk about how bean-fed North Korean soldiers were able to fight off U.S. imperialist troops during the Korean War."

2010 Chuck Shepherd