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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird

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Government in Action

  • Suspicions Confirmed: A warehouse in Landover, Md., maintained by a company working on contract for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, contained “secret rooms” of furniture and equipment described as “man caves” for company employees. The EPA inspector general announced the discovery in May, and the government confiscated TVs, refrigerators, couches, personal photos, pin-ups, magazines and videos that the contractor’s personnel brought in while ostensibly “working” on agency business.
  • Update: “(Supermodels) is the one exception (to U.S. immigration policy) that we all scratch our heads about," said a Brookings Institution policy analyst, speaking to Bloomberg Businessweek in May. Foreign-born sports stars and entertainers are fast-tracked with American work permits under one system, but supermodels were excluded from that and must thus compete (successfully, it turns out) with physicists and nuclear engineers to earn visas among the 65,000 slots available only to skilled workers with college degrees. As such, around 250 beauties are admitted every year. (The most recent attempt to get supermodels their own visa category was championed in 2005 and 2007 by, appropriately, then-U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York.)

Police Report

In Kobe, Japan, in May, an unemployed, 32-year-old man carried out a minor theft (stealing a wallet from a parked scooter) apparently just to be locked up in the world-famous city. Besides being the home of Kobe beef, it is acclaimed for its French, Chinese and octopus cuisines, and in fact, Kobe’s Nagata Ward Precinct is renowned for the special gourmet boxed meals prepared by local bento shops, delivered daily to prisoners, which the thief said was foremost on his mind.

Recurring Themes

  • Least Competent Criminals: Shaun Paneral was questioned by police in Carlsbad, N.M., in May, on a loud-music complaint and, concerned that he already had an outstanding arrest warrant, gave his name as “Shaun Paul.” Paneral thus became the most recent perp to choose his alias badly. “Shaun Paul,” whoever he is, is also wanted by police in New Mexico, and Paneral was arrested for the false ID.
  • It’s Good to Be a Dog in the First World: The British company Paw Seasons has created a holiday for dogs (surely to appeal to guilt-ridden owners who leave them behind on their own holidays) priced at the equivalent of $73,000, consisting of a private suite for two weeks, with dog-friendly Hollywood movies, trips to the beach, surfing “lessons,” spa and grooming treatment (including pedicure) by Harrod’s, outfits from Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta and Mulberry, and the pièce de résistance—a personal dog house created in the image of the owner’s own house.

The Jesus and Mary World Tour (All-New!)

Recent Public Appearances: Norwalk, Conn., in May (Jesus in an ink smear on a page of the newspaper The Hour). Saugus, Mass., March (Jesus on a drop cloth in a home). Bradenton, Fla., February (Jesus in profile on a carton of Corona beer). Halifax, Nova Scotia, March (Jesus in a knot of wood on furniture in a store). San Antonio, December (Jesus on a tortilla shell—an item on which he has appeared previously at other sites). Herne Bay, England, October (Jesus on a patch of mold behind a refrigerator). Phoenix, June (Jesus in a smudge on the floor at Sky Harbor International Airport). Northumberland, England, March (Jesus in the condensation on a windshield). Brooklyn, Ohio, February (Jesus in bird droppings on a windshield).

A News of the Weird Classic (August 2009)

Donald Duck may be a lovable icon of comic mishap to American youngsters, but in Germany, he is wise and complicated and retains followers well past their childhoods. Using licensed Disney storylines and art, the legendary translator Erika Fuchs created an erudite Donald, who often “quotes from German literature, speaks in grammatically complex sentences, and is prone to philosophical musings,” according to a May Wall Street Journal dispatch. Though Donald and Uncle Scrooge (“Dagobert”) speak in a lofty richness, nephews Tick, Trick and Track use the slang of youth. Recently in Stuttgart, academics gathered for the 32nd annual congress of the “German Organization for Non-Commercial Followers of Pure Donaldism,” with presentations on such topics as Duckburg’s solar system.               
 
© 2013 CHUCK SHEPHERD
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