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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chuck Shepherd's News of The Weird

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Compelling Explanations                

Drunk Logic: Wendy Simpson, 25, explaining her DUI arrest during a March incident in Huddersfield, England, pointed out that she had just minutes earlier walked to a McDonald’s for a late-night meal because she knew she was too inebriated to drive. However, the dining room was closed, and she was refused service at the drive-thru window because she was on foot, and, she said, the only option left for her was to go home, get her car and return to the drive-thru. On the way back, she was arrested.                                  

 

Ironies  

Sounds Like a Joke: The Food and Drug Administration has had run-ins with “homeopathic” products that subtly market themselves as health remedies without ever having sought the required FDA approval. However, in March, a different problem arose, requiring the agency to order a recall of 56 different batches of homeopathic remedies made by the Ferndale, Wash., company Terra-Medica—because they may have (accidentally) been genuine medicine. A variety of the firm’s capsules, tablets and suppositories, said the FDA, might have contained actual penicillin, inadvertently produced as a by-product of fermentation.        

Tiffany Austin called a KTVU reporter in March after being dismissed as a member of the Planet Fitness Gym in Richmond, Calif., after only one 15-minute workout—because she was “too fit” and therefore making other members uncomfortable. Planet Fitness apparently takes seriously its business slogan guaranteeing “no gymtimidation,” designed to keep out-of-shape women from feeling bad about themselves. Said another member, to the reporter, “It’s unfair to show off your body.”                 

 

The Litigious Society       

A columnist for the Egyptian newspaper Al-Yawm Al-Sabi proposed in March that Egypt sue Israel in international court for reparations for the 10 Biblical plagues cast from Hebrew curses, including boils, lice, locusts and turning the Nile River into blood. Ahmad al-Gamal asserted that Israelites swiped gold, silver and other precious items as they began their legendary desert wandering. Al-Gamal also wants reparations from Turkey (for the 16th-century Ottoman invasion), France (for Napoleon's invasion in 1798), and Britain (for 72 years of occupation).                                 

 

Latest Human Rights        

Rehabilitated: Cook County, Ill., judge Cynthia Brim is awaiting the Illinois Courts Commission’s decision as she seeks to be reinstated following her suspension in 2012 for mental health issues. Brim has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, has been hospitalized “multiple” times since 1993 (according to a Chicago Sun-Times report), and now claims to be fine, provided she takes her meds on schedule—which her doctor said she will need to do for the rest of her life. Her suspension came after a manic courtroom outburst lauding her heroic “testicles” and which preceded a scuffle with sheriff’s deputies outside a county judicial building.                                      

 

Least Competent Criminals           

Genres That Never Get Old: Though many people are remorseful about their first tattoos, Jeffrey Chapman is apparently more so. His ultra-cool inking (the word “murder” on his neck in reverse image, clearly readable only in a mirror) is now awkward as he prepares, at press time, to stand trial for first-degree murder for a 2011 killing in Great Bend, Kan.                                      

 

Update  

Jerry Hartfield lost again. In the Texas case mentioned in News of the Weird in March, the illiterate man sought release from prison because his constitutional “speedy trial” right was violated. (He had been sentenced to death row in 1977 for murder, but his conviction was overturned in 1983, and the then-governor quickly “commuted” the sentence to life in prison. Hartfield languished behind bars for 23 more years before realizing that there was no “sentence” in effect in 1983 to “commute” and petitioned to be freed since Texas was, basically, mocking his speedy-trial right.) However, in April, district judge Craig Estlinbaum once again turned him down, hinting that Hartfield must have consciously ignored his speedy-trial right for 23 years because he was content to be imprisoned (and might even have been purposely lingering in lockup to make his eventual speedy-trial claim stronger). Obviously, Hartfield’s lawyers will appeal further.                                              

 

© 2014 CHUCK SHEPHERD