Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird
"Coming Up Next! The Resurrection! Live!" "If the Messiah descends from the Mount of Olives as foretold in the Bible," wrote the Los Angeles Times in an October dispatch from Jerusalem, the two largest Christian television networks in the United States promise to cover the arrival live from a hilltop in the city. Daystar Television has been beaming a 24/7 web-cam view. In September, Trinity Broadcasting Network purchased the building next door to Daystar's. Trinity has already begun staging live and pre-recorded programs using the broad expanse of the Holy Land city as background.
School of Soft Knocks
(1) Richard Parker Jr., 36, was arrested in New London, Conn., in September after allegedly hitting a man several times with a pillow, then taking his car keys and driving off. (2) An 18-year-old college student who had moved to New York City only three weeks earlier was knocked briefly unconscious in September when a mattress fell 30 stories to the sidewalk from a building on Broad Street in Manhattan.
In October, eight units in the Clearview Apartments in Holland Township, Mich., were destroyed—with two dozen people displaced—when one resident, preparing a meal of squirrel, had a propane torch accident as he was attempting to burn off the rodent's fur.
Can't Possibly Be True
Once again, in September, the upscale Standard Hotel, in New York City's Lower Manhattan, made headlines for the views it provides to amazed pedestrians. In 2009, it was the hotel's floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing amorous couples at play (unless the guests knew to draw the curtains), which seemed to especially delight out-of-towners seeking inexpensive entertainment. Now, a September 2012 report in the New York Daily News revealed that the restrooms at the hotel's Boom Boom Room restaurant posed a bigger problem: no curtains at all. As one restroom user from Australia said, "Sitting on the royal throne, you don't expect a public viewing." On the other hand, the Daily News noted one gentleman relieving himself and waving merrily at the gawking crowd below.
Recurring Theme: In Ventura, Calif., in September, a scammer bilked victims out of money by assuring them that he could double their cash (in this case, $14,000) merely by spraying it with a secret chemical. (The victims had to wait several hours for their newly doubled cash to dry. By the time they eventually discovered that the scammer had taken the cash, the perp was long gone.) Perhaps the weirdest aspect of the scam is that people who are so unsophisticated as to fall for it somehow managed to amass, in this tight economy, $14,000 in cash.
Unclear on the Concept
n Punishment Must Fit the Crime: In September, Britain's Leeds Crown Court meted out "punishment" to a 25-year-old man convicted of sneaking into the changing room of China's female swimmers during the Olympics: He was banned—for five years—from entering any female toilet or changing room.
n In October, Britain's Gravesham Borough Council, weary of neighbors' complaints about the noise and smell from Roy Day's brood of 20 birds, ordered him to remove them and find them a new home. Day, a member of the National Pigeon Racing Association, told reporters of the futility of the order: "They are homing pigeons." "They will just fly straight back to him,” said a friend. “He has never lost one."
The Weirdo-American Community
Recurring Theme: Eric Carrier, 24, was charged once again in September, in Hampton, N.H., with attempting to commit indecent exposure through a scheme of faking a brain injury so that he could hire an in-home nurse to change his diaper. He was similarly charged in July 2011 in Hooksett, N.H., after soliciting five women on Craigslist, and convicted in July 2012.
© 2012 Chuck Shepherd