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Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009

World-Class Adolescent Endeavors

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Japanese engineer Takuo Toda’s paper airplane was certified in May as the Guinness Book record-holder for the longest flight from a single folded sheet of paper: 27.9 seconds. And in Witcham, England, in July, Jim Collins won the World Peashooting Championship, using a “traditional” instrument blowing at a target 12 yards away, but noncompeting ex-champion George Hollis once again drew the most attention with his homemade, gyroscopic-balancing, laser-guided peashooter, with which he won three previous championships.

Compelling Explanations

  • When motorist Timothy Pereira, 19, rammed Christine Speliotis' car head-on in Salem, Mass., in March, there was no doubt in police officers' minds what the cause was: Pereira was driving 81 mph in a 30 mph zone and had swerved into Speliotis' lane. However, in July, the father of Brandon Pereira, 17, an injured passenger in his cousin's car, filed a lawsuit against Speliotis for negligence, claiming that if she had been quicker to get out of the way, the collision would not have occurred.

  • Failed Defenses: (1) A woman in Kansas City, Mo., told police in June that the reason she had stabbed her sleepwalking 24-year-old boyfriend in the face was that she feared he would hurt her if she didn't wake him up. (She said the man had also just finished urinating in her closet.) (2) In Britain's Chelmsford Crown Court in July, Sultan Al-Sayed, 40, was convicted of peeping under the next stall in a swimming pool changing room despite his claim that the only reason he placed his face on the floor was to relieve pain from a toothache.

Ironies

When the tenant failed to pay $87,000 in rent in April and May on two townhouses and a retail property at Trump Plaza in New York, the landlord did what Donald Trump would surely do: The landlord began eviction proceedings. However, the tenant in this case is Donald Trump’s Trump Corp., which leases the space from the current landlord, the Trump Plaza Owners co-op. Said the co-op president: “If you don’t pay the rent when Donald Trump is your landlord, he comes down on you like a hammer. Well, lo and behold...”

Fetishes on Parade

Christopher Bjerkness, 31, was arrested in Duluth, Minn., in July and charged with another episode of breaking into a gym facility and slashing numerous large rubber exercise balls. He had acknowledged a sexual urge to slash that type of ball following a conviction in 2005 for cutting up 70 balls in three incidents at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. This time, 40 balls were damaged at a St. Mary’s/Duluth Clinic West building. Police were told by a psychologist last year, after Bjerkness abandoned court-ordered therapy, that he “continues to be a risk to society.”

Copyright 2009 Chuck Shepherd

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