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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

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The Enema Bandit

A 53-year-old man with failing eyesight (and who had recently undergone intestinal surgery) told police in Sonoma, Calif., that on Sunday afternoon, May 1, a woman had come to his home and instructed him to drop his pants and get face-down on the bed so that she could administer an enema. He said he assumed his doctor had sent her and thus complied. It was over in two minutes, the man said, and she was gone. The doctor later said he had not sent anybody to perform an enema. (In the 1970s, near Champaign, Ill., Michael Kenyon operated similarly as the "Illinois Enema Bandit"—and inspired the late Frank Zappa's "Illinois Enema Bandit” song.)

Questionable Judgments


Oklahoma inmate Eric Torpy has served six years of his 33-year sentence for armed robbery. Torpy's original sentence was actually for 30 years, but he told the judge that if he was "going down," it would be in "Larry Bird's jersey"—the number 33 worn by the Hall of Fame basketball player. Judge Ray Elliott then accommodated Torpy by adding three years. "Recently, I've wisened up," Torpy said in May. "I'm pretty sure (Bird) thinks I'm an idiot. Truthfully, most people do. My own family does, so I'm pretty sure he does, too."

Least Competent Patient


In May, an unidentified man told police in Niles, Ill., that he had been victimized by a fake medical exam. The man said that the exam was conducted in an otherwise-abandoned office by a lone "doctor" wearing a white lab coat. Allegedly, the “doctor” used toothpicks for acupuncture pressure points and dispensed a container of pills (labeled "dietary supplements") with an expiration date of February 2002. The man said he paid $200 and is not sure he got his money's worth.

Leading Economic Indicators


An April Wall Street Journal report noted that the job of prison guard was being touted as "the greatest entry-level job in California," highlighting its benefits over a typical job resulting from a Harvard University education. The starting pay is comparable; loans are not necessary, since the guard "academy" actually pays the student; and vacation time is generous (seven weeks, five of which are paid). One downside: The prison system is more selective. Harvard accepts 6.2% of applicants versus the guard service's fewer-than-1% of 120,000 applicants.

Weird Animals

Procreation Interventions: (1) Because giant tortoises mate best when they live separately for a while, the Knoxville (Tenn.) Zoo in May temporarily moved its two males, Al and Tex, to Zoo Atlanta to encourage Knoxville females Patches and Corky to yearn for them. Tex, by the way, is 90 years old, and Al is 130 (and hasn't had a date since 1983, according to a May Knoxville News Sentinel story). (2) Hopewell Township, N.J., officials, responding to noise complaints in April, passed an ordinance limiting rooster access to hens to only 10 days a year. (The roosters also must, of course, be "disease-free.")

A News of the Weird Classic

Police in East Patchogue, N.Y., filed a false-report charge against Nicholas Lalla, then 32, in January 1995 after he had filed a complaint that his estranged wife slapped him. Lalla played for police an audiotape he had made, clandestinely, in which slapping sounds are heard amid his yelling, "Don't hit me." When police informed Mrs. Lalla of that clandestine audiotape, she played for them a clandestine videotape she had made of him staging the audiotaping: He is shown, alone, yelling "Don't hit me" outside her house after she had walked away.

© 2011 Chuck Shepherd