News of the Weird
In May, Andrea Amanatides was booked into prison to begin a six-month sentence in Albany, N.Y., for a probation violation. As she was being placed in a holding cell, however, a cache of drugs fell onto the floor. Deputies soon figured out that a condom Amanatides had placed into a bodily orifice had burst. The final inventory: 26 Oxycontins, 10 Ambiens, 50 Valiums and 37 Adderalls, plus 133 more prescription pills and four baggies containing heroin. The sequence was captured on surveillance video.
The Continuing Crisis
- Things People Believe: Seattle attorney Andrew Basiago told Huffington Post in April that he "time-traveled" eight times as a child as part of the secret Project Pegasus staged by the Pentagon's notorious Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Another lawyer, Alfred Webre, recently explained, matter-of-factly, to a seminar audience in Vancouver, British Columbia, that teleportation is an "inexpensive, environmentally friendly means of transportation" and was used most recently by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "to transport troops to battle." Basiago said, in a flourish of detail, that he was at Ford's Theatre the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated but did not witness it, and added that twice he ran into himself while back in the past.
- In June, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill by the state House of Representatives (House Bill 819) that orders scientists to use the "correct" way to predict weather in North Carolina. The bill requires that only historical analogies back to 1900 be used to predict sea-level rise—meaning that scientists must ignore "feedback loops" in which recent, consistent heat and violent atmospheric conditions suggest more radical weather. For example, nine of the hottest 10 years on record have occurred since 2000, but North Carolina scientists must not be swayed by that fact because only patterns of the more stable 20th century can forecast 21st-century sea levels. (Many North Carolina coastal property owners believe the 39-inch rise in sea level by 2100 that is predicted by many scientists would threaten property values and would rather believe the perhaps-8-inch rise that House Bill 819 would indicate.)
To the Ninth Ring of Hell
- In April, a jury in Charlotte, N.C., convicted Charles Hinton, 47, for breaking into the Levine Children's Hospital in 2010, where he had been charged with stealing video gaming systems that sick children relied on for entertainment while they received cancer treatment.
- A CNN investigation revealed in May that the Disabled Veterans National Foundation had collected almost $56 million in donations over three years, but it had given nearly all of that money to a direct-mail fundraising company. CNN was able to locate a small veterans charity in Birmingham, Ala., that had received help, but mainly in the form of surplus items that the foundation had received free of charge, including 2,600 bags of cough drops, 2,200 bottles of sanitizer, 11,520 bags of coconut M&Ms and 700 pairs of dress shoes. Another, in Prescott, Ariz., received hundreds of chef's coats and aprons, cans of acrylic paint and a needlepoint design pillowcase. Said the manager of the Birmingham charity, "I ask myself what the heck are these people doing."
Serial flasher-alcoholic Michael McShane, 55, of Workington, England, seems well aware that he has a serious problem. He has been arrested 283 times (with 190 convictions) for indecent exposure and public drinking. Apparently, he was trying to keep himself out of trouble one night in April by dressing in two pairs of pants, so that if he shed one, he would still be within the law. However, on that night, police picked up a passed-out McShane outside a bar where he had already managed to pull both pairs of trousers down past his buttocks. In May, he garnered conviction No. 191, in Carlisle Crown Court.
© 2012 Chuck Shepherd