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Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009

Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

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Canadian Mischief

In September, in Regina, Saskatchewan, David McKay, 28, finally pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice after initially lying to police officers who were trying to serve a warrant on him from an earlier incident. McKay had repeatedly claimed that he was "Matthew McKay," not "David McKay," even at the station house, when a search revealed that "David McKay" was tattooed on his back.

Undignified Deaths

(1) A 40-year-old man fatally shot himself in Imperial, Mo., in September while attempting to teach gun safety to his girlfriend. The gun fired when the man was quizzing the woman as to whether or not the gun’s safety mechanism was engaged (the man performed this “lesson” while pointing the gun at his head).

The Continuing Crisis

  Australian Adventures: In June, after a monitored, endangered marsupial called a “woylie” was killed in Western Australia, scientists set out to recover the expensive radio collar transmitter it was wearing. But as they approached the signal, a 6-foot-long python swallowed the woylie and its collar. The scientists captured the snake, intending to wait for the collar to pass through, but poachers broke into the Department of Environment and Conservation’s shelter and stole the python, allegedly intending to sell it. According to a June report in The West Australian, the scientists, aided by authorities, eventually picked up the radio transmissions again, arrested one person, and freed the snake from its impending life of captivity.

  In a delicate, two-hour procedure at a hospital in Newport Beach, Calif., in September, firefighters carefully sawed off the inch-thick metal ring (for use with dumbbells) into which a man had inserted his penis three days earlier. He told surgeons his plan was to lengthen the organ in order to, as he put it, "make me the chief of my tribe." By the time he got to the hospital, his member was swollen to more than twice its normal size, and sawing the ring off (without cutting the skin) was the only way to save it.

Bright Ideas

  The mayor of the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, faced with an overcrowded highway running through town, "solved" the problem by making the street one-way and sending traffic into the adjacent town of Clichy-la-Garenne. That city's mayor (a political rival of the Levallois-Perret mayor) reacted by making his portion of the highway a one-way road back toward Levallois-Perret, creating a dilemma at the city limit. Other authorities are working to resolve the impasse.

  Chutzpah! In the tiny town of Tenaha, Texas, police allegedly extorted traveling motorists by subjecting them to bogus traffic stops and then offering to forgo prosecution if the motorists would forfeit their cars and other property. The forfeited items were then sold to fund a special police account. Last year, the ACLU of Texas filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against both the police and local prosecutor Lynda Russell. In September 2009, Russell asked the state attorney general if she could pay her legal expenses from the alleged extorted account.

Senior Living

Ella Orko, 86, was arrested in Chicago in August and charged with shoplifting $252 worth of groceries and sundries, including anti-wrinkle cream. It was Orko’s 61st arrest.

Fine Points of the Law

Judge James Morley dismissed animal cruelty charges in September against former Moorestown, N.J., police officer Robert Melia Jr., who had been caught in 2006 attempting to sexually gratify himself by using the mouths of calves. Because the state has no anti-bestiality statute, Melia was charged with animal "cruelty," but Judge Morley said he was uncertain whether the acts were "cruel" or merely confusing. He reasoned that calves would normally recognize an appendage in their mouths as the prelude to food. If the calf could speak, said Judge Morley, it might merely say, "Where's the milk? I'm not getting any milk."

Fetishes on Parade

(1) Jerry Lowery, 38, surrendered to police in Milwaukee in July in connection with three thefts of expensive eyeglasses from local retailers. He admitted that he "really (likes) to be around glasses" and has had this "problem" for about 15 years. (2) Police in Commerce, Texas, arrested a man in September and charged him with twice approaching a female clerk at Commerce Hardware, holding up a piece of paper with powder on it and blowing it into her face to provoke sneezing. "He becomes aroused by females sneezing,” Police Chief Kerry Crews said of the alleged perpetrator. “In my entire career I've never heard of anything like this."

Love Hurts

Tom Elton, 54, and Brenda Blondell, 59, both convicted murderers who later became prison-rights activists, eventually won parole and performed community work together in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ultimately, they ended up marrying each other. However, in June, police arrested Elton and charged him with murdering Blondell.

© 2009 Chuck Shepherd