Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008

Just Doing My Job

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The police force in Beaumont,Texas, suspended officer Keith Breiner for crossing the line during an undercover prostitution sting, in that he actually had sex with a prostitute. During an August hearing, Breiner defended his actions by saying, “It was a job, sir. I didn’t have pleasure doing this.” It was, he added, “something I did for the city.”

News That Sounds Like a Joke

In August, the local government in Dymchurch, England, said that it would have to alter a traditional celebration of the literary character Dr. Syn because the town had been unable to obtain liability insurance. According to novels by a local author, the swashbuckling Dr. Syn braved enemy troops to bring food to starving villagers by horseback. Due to the lack of liability insurance, however, the man portraying Dr. Syn could only walk through the village this year. In his murder trial in October in Leeds, England, chef Anthony Morley testified that the killing was in self-defense—though he did admit to carving, cooking and eating part of the body afterward. "At that point (the victim's) body had just become like something I deal with at work, a piece of meat,” he said. “That was my daily task, preparing meat."

The Continuing Crisis

According to an October Winnipeg Sun report, the remote Manitoba First Nations tribes in Canada have started drinking a potent “superjuice,” which is made with fast-acting yeast that encourages quick brewing. According to a local probation officer, the brewing process results in the swill continuing to ferment in the stomach after consumption, causing violent pain and inebriation that lasts for days.

The Sacred Institution of Marriage

  • In September, a Wisconsin appeals court suppressed the surveillance video that allegedly captured David Johnson, 59, having sex with his comatose wife in a Portage nursing home, which would have violated the state law against having sex with an unconscious person. Nursing home caregivers said they installed the camera to protect the wife, but the court ruled that Johnson had an expectation of privacy and that the search violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
  • In November, the Bombay high court expunged the arranged-marriage records of an Indian couple who had separated immediately after their 1998 honeymoon when the husband complained that he had been unable to consummate the marriage because the bride had large boils on her face. The bride has since been cured of her disorder and did not want future suitors to read of her past.

Kids, Let a Professional Handle This

Two high-school boys in Markesan, Wis., were hospitalized in September with broken pelvises after a “prank” went bad and a classmate inadvertently drove over them while they were lying on the road in front of her car. On the other hand, a professional, Tom Owen (known as the “Human Speed Bump”), was hospitalized in October after he attempted to break the Guinness Book record by having eight vehicles run over him. The last vehicle, a box truck, left him in bad shape. Owen did receive certification, though, because the truck passed completely over him.

Failure to Keep a Low Profile

(1) In September, University of New Hampshire officials banned convicted sex offender Bert Allen III, 44, from campus after he posted unauthorized fliers seeking a “trophy wife.” (2) Police in Covington, Ky., arrested Gregory Griggs, 19, in October at the USA Motel, a suspected drug market. Though several people were booked that night, Griggs was the one wearing a T-shirt that read, “It’s not illegal unless you get caught.”

Medical Advice

When a house inhabited by 50 tenants partially collapsed in October in Honolulu, at least 10 of the residents said they had been pressured to let the property manager give them experimental injections. Manager and de-licensed chiropractor Daniel Cunningham, 56, said he has been injecting a self-made substance into himself for years as a way to improve his health. One man said Cunningham injected him directly into the eye, and others complained of various side effects. Cunningham ran for mayor of Honolulu this year and in the September primary received 737 votes on a platform of stopping the government from meddling with health care.

A News of the Weird Classic (November 2004)

Gary Arthur Medrow, then 44, made News of the Weird in our inaugural year, 1988, but his criminal record (mostly for impersonating police officers) goes back at least 10 years before that. Medrow’s periodic compulsion is to call someone on the telephone, usually a woman, pretend to be a law enforcement investigator and ask her to carry a person in her home into another room and then describe the results. News of the Weird reported Medrow’s relapses in 1991, 1997 and, most recently, in 2004, when he was charged in New Berlin, Wis.

2008 Chuck Shepherd