Chuck Shepherd's News of The Weird
■ Steve Grossman, Massachusetts’ state treasurer, who is running for governor, performed heroically at a candidate forum in March. The Boston Globe reported that Grossman “fervently answered questions on everything from transgender rights [to] sex education [and] issues facing [the] aging members of the [gay/transgender] community” while simultaneously passing a kidney stone (which most victims rate as “level 10” pain—the highest on the medical scale, described by some as comparable to childbirth).
■ Steve Wiles gathered only 28% of the vote in his North Carolina state senate race in May after revelations that he—lately an opponent of gay rights—was until about four years ago a gay male who worked as the female impersonator “Mona Sinclair” at a gay nightclub in Winston-Salem. As recently as April, however (three weeks before a newspaper's revelation), Wiles was categorically denying that he used to be Mona Sinclair. “That’s not me,” he said. “That’s him,” said a man who worked with him at the club. Said the club’s then-co-owner: “I have no ax to grind against him. I just think he’s a liar.”
■ The Alaskan government is scrambling to fulfill its obligation to welcome native communities’ votes on a state tax resolution in August. That means paying translators (at up to $50 a hour) to set out the measure for communities using the languages Yup’ik, Inupiak, Siberian Yupik, Koyukon Athabascan and Gwich’in Athabascan. (The tax measure must also be available on audio—for those communities that rely on the “oral tradition.”) For example, the yes-or-no tax question in Yup’ik is “Una-qaa alerquun ciuniurumanrilli?”
The New World Order
Update: The first “pheromone party” is said to have been staged in New York City in 2010, but the concept was revived recently in London, with men and women bringing used, unwashed, un-fragranced T-shirts in plastic bags as the price of admission (along with the equivalent of $25). Guests sniff the coded bags one after another until genes kick in and signal the sniffer that a certain shirt belongs to Mr. or Ms. Right. At that point, the sniffer projects a cellphone selfie on the wall, and whoever brought that shirt sees the sniffer, at which time things return to normal, i.e., deciding if the sniffer is sufficiently good-looking.
Least Competent Law Enforcement
(1) The Clay County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office twice this year arrested the wrong Ashley Chiasson—in January (for grand theft) and in May (writing bad checks)—despite three years, five inches, 20 pounds and distinctive middle names separating them (Ashley Odessa, the suspect, vs. Ashley Nicole, the innocent victim). (“Nicole” spent five weeks in jail before deputies admitted their mistake.) (2) James Jordan Sr. died in Brooklyn, New York, in 2006, but NYPD officers have barged into his family’s home 12 times since then—four in 2014 alone—seeking him on various charges. His widow, Karen Jordan, even taped his death certificate to the front door, but that failed to deter the officers, one of whom shouted during a recent raid that they “know” Jordan is hiding inside somewhere. Karen recently filed a lawsuit against NYPD for the raids, which include “turning out drawers, looking in closets, harassing my children.”
A News of the Weird Classic (January 2010)
In November (2009), a Chicago judge ruled that former firefighter Jeffrey Boyle is entitled to his $50,000 annual pension even though he had pleaded guilty to eight counts of arson (and allegedly confessed to 12 more). Boyle is known locally as “Matches” Boyle to distinguish him from his brother, James “Quarters” Boyle, who was sentenced to federal prison for bribery involving the theft of millions of dollars in state tollgate coins. Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. concluded that Matches’ arsons were unrelated to his firefighting.
© 2014 CHUCK SHEPHERD