Home / Columns / Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird / Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird
Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird

Google+ Pinterest Print
Doping on Ice

Leaders of the ice-fishing community, aiming for official Olympics recognition as a sport, have begun the process by asking the World Anti-Doping Agency to randomly test its "athletes" for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a February New York Times report. However, said the chairman of the U.S. Freshwater Fishing Association, "We do not test for beer, because then everybody would fail." Ice-fishing is a lonely, frigid endeavor rarely employing strength but mostly requiring guile and strategy, as competitors who discover advantageous spots in the lake must surreptitiously upload the hauls lest competitors rush over to drill their own holes. Urine tests have also been run in recent years on competitors in darts, miniature golf, chess and tug-of-war, and in 2011, one chess player, two minigolfers and one tugger tested positive.

Cultural Diversity

  • A frequent sight on Soweto, South Africa, streets recently is crowds of 12-to-15-year-old boys known as "izikhotane" ("boasters") who hang out in their designer jeans, "shimmering silk shirts, bright pink and blue shoes, and white-straw, narrow-brimmed fedoras," according to a February BBC News dispatch. Flashing wads of cash begged from beleaguered parents, hundreds may amass, playing loud music and sometimes even trashing their fancy clothes as if to feign an indifference to wealth. Since many izikhotanes' families are working-class survivors of apartheid, they are mostly ashamed of their kids' behavior. "This isn't what we struggled for," lamented one parent. But, protested a peer-pressured boaster, "(Y)ou must dress like this, even if you live in a shack."
  • India's annual "Rural Olympics" might be the cultural equivalent of several Southern U.S. "Redneck Olympics" but taken somewhat more seriously in that this year corporate sponsorships (Nokia and Suzuki) helped fund the equivalent of about $66,000 in prize money for such events as competitive pulling using only one's ears or teeth. "We do this for money, trophies, fame and respect," one ear-puller told The Wall Street Journal in February. This year, in the four-day event in Punjab state, the 50,000 spectators could watch a teeth-lifter pull a 110-pound sack upward for about eight seconds and an ear-puller ease a car about 15 feet.

Latest Religious Messages

The 14 guests at a jewelry party in Lake City, Fla., were initially incredulous that home-invader Derek Lee, 24, meant to rob them, but when they saw that he was serious (by putting his gun to the head of one woman), the hostess went into action. "In the name of Jesus," she shouted, "get out of my house now!" Then the guests chanted in unison, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" over and over. Lee, frightened or bewildered, sprinted out the door empty-handed and was later arrested.

Questionable Judgments

In February, an off-duty Tampa, Fla., police officer and an off-duty sheriff's detective from nearby Hernando County were awarded the sheriff's office's highest honor, the Medal of Valor, for exemplary bravery in an October incident in which a 42-year-old naked woman was shot to death by the officers. The woman was holding a gun and had made threats, and a 5-year-old boy was inside a truck that she wanted to steal. However, even though others had interacted with her moments before the shooting and judged her non-threatening, the officers still thought their only move was to shoot to kill. Said the woman's brother, "They shot a mentally disturbed, naked woman. Is that valor?"

Least Competent Criminals

Lee Wildman, 35, and Adrian Stanton, 32, pleaded guilty in connection with a burglary at Durham (England) University's Oriental Museum, in which they heisted artwork worth the equivalent of about $2.6 million and hid it in a field in April 2012. However, they were unable to help authorities locate the bounty because they had forgotten exactly where they stashed it. Eventually, a fingertip search of the area turned up the stolen goods. Said Judge Christopher Prince, "This is not an offense that can be described as sophisticated."                                         
               
© 2013 CHUCK SHEPHERD