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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Chuck Shepherd's News of The Weird

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Too Much Money              

Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp. (and the world’s fifth-richest person, according to Forbes magazine), is a big basketball fan and was reported in April to have an interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team. An Ellison associate told the Wall Street Journal, for example, that Ellison has basketball courts on at least two of his yachts and shoots hoops for relaxation on the open water. To retrieve his errant shots that go overboard, Ellison hires a ballboy in a powerboat to trail the yachts.                                          

 

Latest Religious Messages                             

■ At one Hindu temple in India’s Kerala state, the religious gift of choice—both for offerings to the deity Lord Muruga and for distribution from the deity to devotees—is the chocolate candy bar, which visitors bring in cartons, according to a March report by the Press Trust of India. (Muruga is the son of the Lord Shiva and was originally worshiped as a child, leading to speculation that he would respond to chocolates.)

■ Details! After convicted murderer Loren Larson Jr. filed a federal lawsuit in Anchorage, Alaska, claiming that his prison wristband ID “defiled” him religiously because it was a “mark of the devil,” a Goose Creek Correctional Center official lectured him on the Book of Revelation. Actually, wrote the official, we would be commanding the “mark of the beast” only if we ordered the ID either “in the right hand” or “in the forehead,” and neither is required by current wristband policy. (Hence, the double-murderer, serving 198 years, still qualifies to avoid hell.)              

 

Questionable Judgments

■ Manhattan’s New York Sushi Ko is only the most recent sophisticated restaurant to feature creative dishes made with Hormel Spam, and foodies and hipsters in fashionable neighborhoods have flocked to the foods. Spam is a well-known delicacy in Hawaii, and the New York facilities offer the island’s musubi (fried Spam, rice, seaweed) and Spam fried rice bowls with seared ahi and flourishes of fresh pineapple, according to an April report on gothamist.com. Sushi Ko’s chef playfully acknowledges that his contents are fresh—“fresh from the can” and sourced locally—“from the nearest bodega.”              

■ Unclear on the Concept: Britain’s most-tattooed man (the former Mathew Whelan, 34, now “King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite”), whose body is 90% ink covered, finally acknowledged in March that he needed to undergo laser removal to clear up his skin. However, “Body Art,” as he is known, then explained that he was spending the equivalent of about $10,000 on removal just so he could start over with new tattoos.                                              

 

Least Competent Criminals           

At a press conference in April, as Houston police officers announced they were after two burglars who had broken into Katz’s lingerie boutique, surveillance video showed two armed men cautiously creeping through the store until one accidentally bumped the other, apparently startling the bumped man, who turned and fired—causing the first man to fire back. Officers counted nearly a dozen bullet holes in the store. Said the Houston press briefer, these are “by far some of the clumsiest crooks that I’ve seen in a long time.”

 

Readers’ Choice

In a popular April “viral” Internet news story, three young men were spotted on late-night surveillance video at a drinking-water reservoir near Portland, Ore., with one of them relieving himself into the 38 million-gallon facility. Utility officials initially decided to flush the entire contents rather than endure complaints by customers (most of whom were likely unaware that the same reservoir routinely tolerates wild-animal urination, long ago declared no health risk). Dallas Jeffrey Delynn, 18, was charged with trespassing and unlawful urination and might receive a sentence similar to that of Portland’s last reservoir urinater (merely 24 hours’ community service). By contrast, a week later in San Antonio, Texas, Daniel Athens, 23, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his own late-night tinkle. Athens had pleaded guilty to urinating against an outside wall of The Alamo (of course a sacred Texas monument).              

 

© 2014 CHUCK SHEPHERD