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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Chuck Shepherd's News of The Weird

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Rocking ‘Messiah’            

Prominent theoretical chemist David Glowacki was ejected from a classical music concert at England’s Bristol Old Vic in June for disrupting a performance of Handel’s Messiah by attempting to crowd-surf in front of the stage. Dr. Glowacki, an expert in non-equilibrium molecular reaction dynamics and who is presently a visiting scientist at Stanford University, was attending a special “informal” performance at which audience members were encouraged to stand and cheer loudly instead of showing the usual demure appreciation. He said afterward that he could not control himself when the performance moved to the “Hallelujah Chorus.”                                          

 

Cultural Diversity            

A formal-dress rental store in Fukui, Japan, with a side business making keepsake portraits of client brides, was surprised at the number of men who began requesting a similar service—to be outfitted just like the women, in wedding gowns and other frills. In fact, just as women expect full makeup and hairstyling for their portraits, so, too, do the men. Said the manager, “We want to provide opportunities for people to enjoy showing their real selves, whether they are men or women.”                                    

 

Democracy in Action!       

■ Inexplicable: Congressional candidate Tim Murray handily lost June’s primary election (82% to 5%) in Oklahoma’s Third District to incumbent U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, but he did not give up. In a rambling letter to KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, Murray accused “Lucas” of being a body-double for Lucas, since it is “widely known” that the “real” Frank Lucas was executed by order of the World Court in southern Ukraine in January 2011. Lucas, asked for a comment, told the station, "It does come as kind of a shock to read that you’re not you.”          

■ The Maricopa Association of Governments in Phoenix notified Dianne “DD” Barker recently that she could continue to address association meetings as a community activist, but was to cease introducing her remarks by performing cartwheels, as she apparently has done several times in the past. Barker, a 65-year-old former Ohio State University cheerleader, said she seeks to demonstrate the value of exercise and public transportation, but agreed to hold off on the cartwheels.

■ Officials at a town meeting in Oxford, Mass., on May 7, were considering whether the municipality should take back its water system from the current owner, Aquarion, when suddenly a fire alarm sounded, resulting in a delay that eventually worked to Aquarion's benefit. Later that month, Oxford police charged William Malloy Jr., 57, with pulling the false alarm. Malloy is a lobbyist for Aquarion, and a Worcester Telegram & Gazette report of the meeting suggests that causing the meeting to run into the early hours of May 8 helped Aquarion garner the necessary votes to prevent the buyback.                                                                   

 

Least Competent Bishop  

In a May deposition on a priest-child sex abuse lawsuit against the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, then-auxiliary bishop Robert Carlson said he was “not sure” in 1984 whether he “knew it was a crime or not” for an adult to engage in sex with a child. (Carlson added, reassuringly, “I understand today it’s a crime.” Carlson today is the archbishop of St. Louis.) Lawyers for the plaintiffs quickly questioned Carlson’s candor, pointing to other 1984-era documents in which Carlson referred to the statute of limitations for legal protection (suggesting he at least suspected that adult-child sex was illegal).                                                         

 

Recurring Themes            

(1) In yet another bizarre animal beauty contest, in June, the tiny serama chicken pageant was celebrated on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Seramas (which are thought by natives to have aphrodisiac powers) have richly colored plumage and a bearing—protruding, heart-shaped chest, wings hanging to the ground—more resembling a goose-stepping soldier than a bird, reported Agence France-Presse. (2) The most recent public toilet explosion (caused by pressure buildup) leveled a commode in the courthouse in Stillwater County, Mont., in June. The deputy county treasurer, Norma Brewer, who had just finished her business, was not injured, but now has another page for her memoirs.        

 

© 2014 CHUCK SHEPHERD