Wednesday, June 30, 2010

News Of the Weird

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Adding Insult to Injury

According to a May report by Seattle's KOMO-TV, former Oregon National Guard soldier Gary Pfleider II is awaiting the results of his latest appeal to end the garnishment of his disability checks to cover $3,175 for gear he supposedly "lost" when he was shot in Iraq. Pfleider was hit in the leg by a sniper in 2007, bled profusely and was evacuated (and currently is awaiting his ninth surgery on the leg), but the Oregon National Guard apparently believes that, despite the trauma, Pfleider should have paused to inventory the equipment he was carrying and make arrangements for its safekeeping during his imminent hospitalization.

Can't Possibly Be True

  • To ease the crowds entering the Texas Capitol building in Austin, officials recently opened an "express" line that allows select visitors and personnel to bypass most security precautions. Obviously, members of the Legislature use the express line, along with Capitol employees who have proper ID. A third category of select visitors is more surprising, however: anyone with a Texas concealed-weapons carry permit. The Houston Chronicle reported in June that lobbyists frustrated with the long security lines have been applying for concealed-weapons permits just to be able to use the express line.


  • Though he reportedly coughs more frequently lately, 2-year-old Ardi Rizal of Musi Banyuasin, Indonesia, continues to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, according to a May dispatch in London's Daily Mail and other news reports. Local officials offered Ardi's parents a new car if they convinced him to quit, but the mother warned that her son throws massive, head-banging tantrums if deprived of his smokes, and his fisherman father, noting Ardi's generous girth, says the kid looks fine to him. (Unfortunately for the parents, Ardi prefers only a certain high-end brand, which costs the equivalent of about $2.75 a pack.)

A Sucker Is Born

  • The New Living Expo in San Francisco in May showcased such "healthy-living" breakthroughs as a $1,200 machine promising to suck toxins out of your body; a $249 silver amulet to protect you from "deadly" cell phone radiation; and a $15,000 TurboSonic if your red blood cells need to be "de-clumped." A Canadian study at the same time found that 97% of people who admitted buying "anti-aging" products did not think they would work but nevertheless confessed their need to hope—like those who "hope" the viper-venom-derived $525 Euoko Y-30 Intense Lift Concentrate will prolong their lives.


  • Recurring Theme: Once again, there is a larger question at hand in the case of "swindling psychics." In Portland, Ore., "psychic" Cathy Stevens managed to separate Drakar Druella, 42, from $150,000 (which Stevens needed, allegedly, to cure Druella's "negative energy"). The larger question is how a man so totally lacking in street smarts managed to amass $150,000 to begin with. Druella attempted to explain Stevens’ allure. "She could cry [at] will,” he said. “She becomes what you want and need her to be."

Armed and Clumsy

In this latest collection of men who accidentally shot themselves, private parts were the center of attention. University of Illinois campus police officer Bryan Mallin accidentally shot himself in the butt while shopping in Chicago (March), and Timothy Davis, 22, digging through a drawer in Fort Myers, Fla., last October, also accidentally shot himself in the butt. Four other men (a shopper at a Lowe's Home Improvement store in Lynnwood, Wash., a 17-year-old in Vallejo, Calif., 20-year-old Jeffrey Disney in Hamilton, Ohio, and 50-year-old David Blurton in Dillon, Colo.) accidentally shot themselves in what for men is their most cherished spot.

People With Issues

At her arraignment in Missoula, Mont., in April, Jackiya Ford, 37, refused to enter a plea to various fraud charges because, she explained, "Montana" is not a legal entity. According to the prosecutor, after Ford was shown a house for sale by a local agent, she tried to cut out the middleman by filing an ownership claim to the house and all the land within 20 miles of it (she generously offered to sell it to the legal owner for $900,000, though only if she was paid in "silver or gold"). Armed with her fraudulent ownership document, she broke into the home and posted a no-trespassing sign (the only visitors allowed: people authorized by "our Lord and Savior Yahushua").

2010 Chuck Shepherd