Thursday, July 15, 2010

News Of the Weird

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GOP Leadership

While still chairman of the Florida Republican Party, Jim Greer was revealed to have ordered the continuous shuttling of emergency "notes" to him during a Republican National Committee (RNC) meeting. According to an April Orlando Sentinel profile, the "notes" were all blank. A Florida RNC official concluded that Greer was simply trying to make himself appear important to his colleagues. (In June, Greer was indicted on six felony counts related to raiding the state party's treasury.)

Fine Points of the Law

In April, Prince Edward Island (Canada) Judge John Douglas acquitted minor league hockey player Chris Doyle of assault, though Doyle had arrived uninvited at the home of his former girlfriend, where he annoyed and berated her, and then would not leave. A woman was injured when Doyle punched a door, causing it to smash against her face, but Judge Douglas accepted that Doyle honestly did not know the woman was behind the door. Said the judge, "If he was charged with being a colossal asshole, I would find him guilty. Of 'assault causing bodily harm,' I find him not guilty."

In Two Cradles of Bizarre Politics

n Florida: At a forum in May for county school board aspirants in Orlando, Fla., candidate John Mark Coney took the floor to read passages from the Bible and then to emphasize his suitability for office by announcing that he, at age 53, is a virgin.

n Russia: On television in May, the governor of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, recounted that he had been abducted in a spaceship in 1997 and forced to communicate with aliens telepathically. Ilyumzhinov added that later he entertained some alien beings in his apartment. One opponent seized the moment and called for an inquiry into whether Ilyumzhinov had telepathically spilled government secrets while under the aliens' spell. Then, former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov announced he would challenge Ilyumzhinov for the position of head of the World Chess Federation (which Ilyumzhinov has led since 1995), but yet another Russian chess icon, Arkady Dvorkovich (who is President Medvedev's chief economic adviser), said he still backed Ilyumzhinov because of the latter's superior managerial talent.

A Professional All the Way

In May, the chief media spokesman of the Nye County, Nev., sheriff's office, Detective David Boruchowitz, announced to the media the arrest of a man charged with burglary and assault. The suspect's name, he reported, was none other than Detective David Boruchowitz. The chief investigator on the case, Boruchowitz told reporters, was also Detective David Boruchowitz. (Three days later, the charges were dropped, but somebody else made the announcement.)

Great Art!

  • At a June concert outside Australia's Sydney Opera House, American musicians Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed performed Anderson's 20-minute, very-high-pitched composition "Music for Dogs," an arrangement likely to have been largely unmelodious to humans, who generally cannot hear such high pitches, but of more interest to dogs, who can. (News reports were inconclusive about the dogs’ level of enjoyment.)

  • West Virginia's Division of Culture and History announced in June it would hold a state-sponsored art exhibition to showcase the state's arts talent. In the recent past, the state had refused such projects because the last one, in 1963, turned out badly. The grand prize that year, supposedly representing the character and tradition of the state, went to "West Virginia Moon," which was a collection of broken boards and part of a screen door.

Arizona in Action

Arizona decided to show its soft side recently, by implementing a $1.25 million federal grant that it believes will save the lives of at least five squirrels a year. The state's 250 endangered Mount Graham red squirrels risk becoming roadkill on Route 366 near Pima, so the state is building a rope bridge for them to cross the road (in addition to several existing tunnels).

2010 Chuck Shepherd