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Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011

Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

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Full-Circle Outsourcing

Aegis Communications, a company in Mumbai, India, announced in May that over the next three years it would hire about 10,000 new employees to work in its call centers fielding customer service problems for U.S.-based companies. However, those jobs are not in India. Aegis will outsource those jobs to Americans, for $12 to $14 per hour, at nine call centers in the United States.

Armed and Clumsy

People Who Accidentally Shot Themselves Recently: Sean Murphy, 38, destroyed most of his finger trying to shoot off a wart (South Yorkshire, England, June). A Secret Service agent (assigned to Nancy Reagan) shot himself in the hip holstering his gun (Ventura, Calif., February). A 17-year-old boy, playing with a gun in bed, shot himself in the testicles (Orlando, February). A training officer at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy shot himself in the thigh (December). Sheriff Lorin Nielson of Bannock County, Idaho, shot himself in the hand (December). Johnathan Hartman, 27, holstering his gun in his back pocket (after threatening his girlfriend), shot himself in the butt (Billings, Mont., December). A man trying to scratch his nose with a pellet gun shot himself in the face (Amherst, Mass., November).

Undignified Deaths


(1) In June, a 24-year-old man, riding a party bus for a friend's bachelor party in Detroit, was killed on Interstate 94 when he popped open an emergency escape hatch on the bus' roof and peered out at the sights. His head slammed into an overpass. (2) Also in June, a 59-year-old woman, who had borrowed a steamroller to help with maintenance on a road near her home in Whatcom County, Wash., lost control of the vehicle and sent it into a ditch. She was thrown from the vehicle and fatally rolled upon.

Civilization in Decline


  • Growing Up Early: (1) A loaded handgun fell from the pocket of a kindergarten student in Houston in April, firing a single bullet that slightly wounded two classmates and the "shooter." (2) Lakewood, Colo., police, attempting to wrest control of a sharpened stick from a second-grade boy who was using it to threaten classmates and a teacher, gave the boy two shots of pepper spray. (The boy had just finished shouting to police, "Get away from me, you f---ers.")
  • Tippecanoe County (Ind.) Judge Loretta Rush, interviewed by the Journal & Courier of Lafayette, Ind., in June, underscored parental drug use as a major risk factor in a child's drifting into substance abuse. "I had a case where a child was born with drugs in his system," Rush recalled. "Both parents were using. We were looking [to place the child in any relative's home], but both sets of grandparents were using. So [the] great-grandmother's in the courtroom, and I had asked her if she would pass a drug screen, and she said she would not…"


The Entrepreneurial Spirit!

  • Who Knew? "The streets of 47th Street are literally paved with gold," said one of New York City's gold wranglers, as he, down on all fours and manipulating tweezers, picked up specks of gold, silver and jewels that had fallen off of clothing and jewelry racks as they were rolled from trucks into stores. The man told the New York Post in June that he had recently earned $819 in redemptions for six days' prospecting.
  •  New, on the News of the Weird Food Cart: (1) grasshopper tacos (at San Francisco's La Oaxaqueña Bakery, but pulled in June by local health authorities who were concerned that the bakery was importing Mexican insects rather than using American ones); (2) cicada ice cream (at Sparky's Homemade in Columbia, Mo., but also yanked off sale by local health authorities in June); (3) maggot-melt sandwiches (which are just what you suspect—cheese and dead maggots—at the California State Fair in July).



© 2011 Chuck Shepherd