Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird
Update: Gary Medrow, 68, has periodically surfaced in News of the Weird since 1991 for his unique behavior of using a false identity to persuade Milwaukee-area strangers over the phone to lift other strangers off the ground—behavior for which he has occasionally been jailed and ordered to psychiatric care. After a recent period of calm, Medrow slipped in November and was charged with impersonating a photojournalist to convince two Cedarburg (Wis.) High School students to hoist each other on their shoulders (and four similar incidents were under investigation). At an earlier hearing, Medrow said that his "addiction" helps him to relieve tension and anxiety.
The Continuing Crisis
■ Notwithstanding its nuclear submarines, ballistic missiles and spy satellites, France maintains Europe's last "squadron" of military carrier pigeons. Legislator Jean-Pierre Decool lauds the pigeons and campaigns for their upgrade, warning that in the event of war or other catastrophe, the birds would be a valuable messaging network. (Pigeons have been used at times in the current Syrian civil war.) Until very recently, according to a November Wall Street Journal dispatch, pigeons wearing harnesses had been used by a hospital in Normandy to ferry blood samples to a testing lab (a 25-minute flight).
Jason Schall, 38, who has retired as a financial planner and now devotes his energy to fishing, had a spectacular week in September when he won a catch-and-release tournament in Charleston, S.C., came within 1 1/2 inches of a world record on another catch and was notified recently of setting two Nevada state records for largest fish caught. Schall's coup de grace, he told the Charleston Post and Courier, came a few days later when he caught a redfish while sitting on his living room sofa in Daniel Island, S.C., watching a Clemson football game with a pal. He had run a line with bait through a crack in the door, through his yard into the lake behind his home.
Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found recently in tests that 10th-grade students who play video games (especially first-person shooting and sports games) regularly score just as high in robotic surgery dexterity as resident doctors. The lead researcher said that surgery simulations (for example, suturing) have built-in unpredictability, for training purposes, but since complex video games are laden with unpredictability, players logging at least two hours a day with the joystick in fact may even slightly outperform the residents.
Homeless man Darren Kersey, 28, was jailed overnight in November in Sarasota, Fla., after being busted for charging his cell phone at an outlet at a public picnic shelter in the city's Gillespie Park. The police report noted that "theft of city utilities will not be tolerated ..." However, for owners of electric cars (less likely to be homeless!), the city runs several absolutely free charging stations, including one at city hall. The American Civil Liberties Union has accused the city for years of being aggressively inhospitable toward the city's homeless. (Kersey was released the next day when a judge ruled the arrest improper.)
Fetish on Parade
Carlos Romero, 31, told arresting officers in Ocala, Fla., in September that Florida was a "backwards" because it frowns on zoophilia and still punishes his sexual behavior with a donkey. He admitted to being aroused by animals "in heat," but explained that all he did was stand behind the animal and masturbate while cleaning her genitals. Any genital-genital contact, he said, was "accidental."
Daniel Greer, 24, told the New York Daily News that on Sept. 7 in Brooklyn, N.Y., a police officer who had been trailing the bicyclist stopped him and issued separate traffic tickets for riding through three red lights while listening to music through earphones. The three offenses, plus a related ticket, forced Greer to court, where he clumsily pleaded guilty, not aware of the amount of the fine. His multiple offenses made him a repeat offender and he was fined over $1,550.
©2012 CHUCK SHEPHERD