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Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012

Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird

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Not Into Politics

In July, Lowell Turpin, 40, was arrested in Anderson County, Tenn., after he became jealous of a stranger's photo on his live-in girlfriend's Facebook page and, demanding to know the identity of the man, allegedly punched her in the face and smashed her computer. According to the police report, it was a campaign photo of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Latest Religious Messages

In July, prayer failed for Leslie Burton, 26, and Terrell Williams, 22, in St. Paul, Minn. As they sat in the back seat of a police car while officers searched their car, the pair, touching hands (according to the cruiser's video camera), quietly begged divine intervention that the guns in their car not be found. However, not only were the guns spotted, but a subsequent strip search also revealed a baggie of suspected Ecstasy pills in Williams' rectum.

Armed and Clumsy

Men Who Accidentally Shot Themselves Recently: a man in Wawa, Ontario, in July, clubbing a mouse with the butt end of a rifle; a 56-year-old man in Sparks, Nev., who brought his handgun with him to The Bourne Legacy and was shot in the buttocks when it fell to the floor; and two men who shot themselves in the genitals (a 45-year-old in Birmingham, Mich., in June and 36-year-old Tavares Colbert in Oklahoma City in July). There were also tough guys like the 18-year-old in Philadelphia who fired the unloaded (he thought!) gun at his own head after his "manhood" was challenged, and the 17-year-old in Largo, Fla., in June who lost in the first round at Russian roulette. One woman didn't even need a gun to shoot herself: a 56-year-old woman in Montoursville, Pa., apparently carries bullets in her purse, and somehow one exploded, wounding her.

Cultural Diversity

* The seaside city of Qingdao, China, is (as described in August by NPR) not “a vacation community for superheroes,” even though many beachgoers wear masks while lounging and sunbathing. The garments are "face-kinis," or light cloth coverings that protect against the "terror of tanning." While Western cultures celebrate darker skin, many Chinese associate it with lower-status, outdoor occupations, and pale skin suggests having lived a pampered life.

* A centuries-old practice of China's upper crust continues today, reported Slate.com in August, except with a bit more circumspection. Rich and/or powerful people on trial or convicted can still get away with hiring replacements to serve their sentences—but because of the increased use of video on the Internet, now the perps can only do so if the replacements facially resemble them. Since the rich person winds up paying for his conviction (though a relatively small price), Slate called the practice (termed "ding zui") sort of a "cap-and-trade" policy for crime.

Questionable Judgments

In July, the mayor of Triberg, Germany, touted his town's new public parking area by noting that 12 of the spaces were wider than the others and would be reserved for female drivers. The harder-to-access "men's spaces" required maneuvering at an angle around concrete pillars. "Men are, as a rule, a little better at such challenges," the mayor said, predicting that the men's spots would become a visitors' "attraction" for the town.

The Weirdo-American Community

People Who Are a Mess: (1) Police in St. Paul, Minn., arrested Brian Wutschke, 45, in August after a female pedestrian said she saw him stop his truck beside her and perform oral sex on a dildo. Officers who patted down Wutschke at the scene noted a "vibrating sex toy" that Wutschke had inserted in a bodily orifice, but officers declined to disturb it while it was still running. Wutschke was cited for indecent conduct. (2) Lab technician Coley Mitchell was arrested in a locker room at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta in August, intoxicated, with his pants down and near two lab monkeys that had been released from their cages.

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd