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Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012

Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

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It's Over

Not One Second Longer: In December, a man identified as Antonio C., 99, filed for divorce from his wife of 77 years, Rosa C., age 96, in Rome, Italy. According to an ANSA news agency report, Antonio became upset when he discovered decades-old letters stemming from an extramarital affair Rosa had in the 1940s.

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) Police in London stepped up their search for a man who tried to rob a Halifax bank in October but left empty-handed. He had demanded 700,000 pounds from a bank employee and then, intending to hand over the bag that he had brought for the money, absent-mindedly handed over his gun. Realizing his mistake, he dashed out the door. (2) Verlin Alsept, 59, was arrested in Dayton, Ohio, in January and charged with trying to rob a Family Dollar store. After demanding all of the money in a cash register, he apparently tried to intimidate the clerk by pulling a .38-caliber bullet from his pocket and showing it to her. She was, of course, undaunted, so he walked away (but was arrested nearby).

Unclear on the Concept

  • Brogan Rafferty, 16, in jail in Cleveland, Ohio, awaiting trial for assisting in at least one murder in a robbery scheme, wrote to his father in December. In the letter, which was shared with The Plain Dealer newspaper, Rafferty stated that he was certain God would not allow him to suffer a long prison sentence. That would mean, he wrote, that "all my meaningful family members would be dead" when he got out. There was "no way in hell that any kind of God would do that to me," he wrote.
  • Benjamin North, 26, was apprehended by deputies in Humboldt County, Calif., because they were pretty certain he was the man who used a stolen credit card at a Safeway supermarket in December. They suspected this because North reportedly insisted that the purchase be credited to his personal "Safeway Club" card, which he allegedly presented to the cashier along with the stolen card.


Can't Possibly Be True

The Olympic Committee Will Not Be Calling: (1) Mr. Badr Al-Alyani told a Saudi Arabian newspaper in November that he was nearing the world record for squirting milk from his eye. The current champion, Mehmet Yilmaz of Turkey, reached 2.7 meters (almost 9 feet). Al-Alyani said he had one squeeze of 2.3 meters. He said he "will continue training." (2) In San Francisco, people participate in an annual, refereed event called "Masturbate-a-thon." The supposed world record, set in 2009, is held by Masanobu Sato, who remained aroused for nine hours, 58 minutes. In a series of recently released videos, Sato calmly explained how he "practices" for about two hours every morning while his girlfriend goes about her business (in one video, ironing). Sato said he trains by swimming twice a week and has "gained about (11 pounds) in muscle," which has helped him with "stamina."

Fine Points of the Law

PayPal confirmed to a Toronto Star reporter in January that its refund policy required a buyer to shatter a violin that may have been a pre-World War II classic easily worth the $2,500 the seller was asking. The buyer had balked after paying, claiming that the violin was counterfeit. After producing an expert's opinion to that effect, the buyer demanded that PayPal refund the money, which it did, provided that the buyer first "destroy" the property. (According to PayPal, the laws of many countries, including the United States, prohibit mailing knowingly counterfeit goods. Hence, PayPal could not simply order the violin returned to sender. The seller, meanwhile, certain that the violin was authentic, was left with neither it nor the money.)

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd