Wednesday, June 23, 2010

News of the Weird

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The Winning Spirit

Catholic Youth Organization coach Michael Kman, 45, was charged in May with various misdemeanors regarding an alleged attempt over a several-month period to fix children’s basketball games for his Our Lady of Lourdes church team in East Pennsboro Township, Pa. According to police, Kman sent multiple text messages to two referees, offering them as much as $2,500 if certain games reached the "right outcome." The Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg has suspended Kman from coaching. In Kman's day job, he is a financial consultant.

Risk Vs. Reward

Not Worth the Trouble: (1) Noah Comer, 39, crashed his motorcycle and was killed as he tried to flee sheriff's deputies in San Diego in January after allegedly stealing a pack of cigarettes from a convenience store. (2) Gordon Wright, 56, and two associates were killed in January going the wrong way on Interstate 94 in a Detroit suburb after allegedly stealing $45 worth of Axe beauty products from a CVS store.



People With Issues

Walter "Butch" Rubincan, 46, was charged in February in Newark, Del., as being a serial thief with perhaps a 20-year habit, allegedly specializing in men's shoes. Rubincan—who "kept to himself," according to neighbors—is a medical technologist at two local hospitals, a part-time actor and a one-time championship figure skater. When police investigators first visited Rubincan's home, they discovered 3,900 shoes in about 150 boxes and bags (along with a few more upscale items and stolen photographs). Rubincan reportedly admitted he needed help.

Cultural Diversity      

In May, Britain's Norfolk District Council banned the traditional barroom game of "dwile flonking" just as the inaugural "world championships" were set to take place at the Dog Inn pub in Ludham, Great Yarmouth. The game, which some believe has been played since "medieval times," calls on players to fling a beer-soaked rag from the end of a small stick toward the face of an opponent. In the event that the tosser misses the target two straight times, he must quickly down a half-pint of ale. The council called the game a "health and safety" problem.

Questionable Judgments

  • Patricia Edwards, 51, was arrested in Sanford, Fla., in March after being identified as the woman who walked into a Bank of America branch, handed over a robbery note and walked out with money. After being nabbed three days later, she explained: "There was no plan, no nothing, just impulse. I think everyone should have a list of things they want to do before they (die)."


  • In April, a Toronto Star headline read: "The Brave Man's Solution to Baldness." Philip Levine, 28, working with artist Kat Sinclair, initially solved the problem of his "boring" shaved head by having Sinclair paint original murals on his dome. Reportedly, Levine became a star in the London (England) club scene because of the artwork. Since then, Levine has upgraded to painstakingly laying jewelry designs on his bald head, employing hundreds of thumbtack-sized Swarovski crystals to create a "swooping, shimmery, rockabilly" dome that dazzles in the light. The crystals shed after about a day, creating the opportunity for more designs.

Fine Points of the Law

Scottish TV personality Drew McAdam, a professional body-language reader who advises a Scottish talk show on whether guests with fabulous stories are telling the truth or not, was rejected for jury duty in May after being called by the Livingston Sheriff Court. (Perhaps one of the lawyers thought his or her side would have a better chance without an "expert" lie-detector evaluating witnesses.)

A News of the Weird Classic

British mechanical engineer John Tyrer told an audience at the annual meeting of the Institute of Physics in Brighton, England, in March 1998 that he and his colleagues were using lasers to design a more comfortable bra. "A breast imposes various load distributions…and vibrational problems as the woman walks," he said, and he criticized the "strap design" that "transmits the load to the wrong places." According to Tyrer, the technology, called "Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry," analyzes the way a three-dimensional surface (like a bra) changes when a force is applied to it.

2010 Chuck Shepherd