In a popular April "viral" Internet news story, three young men were spotted on late-night surveillance video at a drinking-water reservoir near Portland, Ore., with one of them relieving himself into the 38-million-gallon facility. Utility officials initially decided to flush the entire contents rather than endure complaints by customers (most of whom were likely unaware that the same reservoir routinely tolerates wild-animal urination, long ago declared no health risk). Dallas Jeffrey Delynn, 18, was charged with trespassing and unlawful urination and might receive a sentence similar to that of Portland's last reservoir urinater (merely 24 hours' community service). By contrast, a week later in San Antonio, Texas, Daniel Athens, 23, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his own late-night tinkle. Athens had pleaded guilty to urinating against an outside wall of The Alamo (of course a sacred Texas monument). [The Oregonian (Portland), 4-17-2014] [The Smoking Gun, 4-15-2014]
An unnamed British inmate published a letter in a prison newspaper in April alleging continuous religious discrimination against him by guards and officials. The man claims he is a practicing Jedi (and of course cannot reveal his name because he fears retaliation "from the dark side") and complains that Jedi-ism, though officially recognized as a religion in the UK (the 7th-most popular, according to the census, with more than 175,000 adherents) is nonetheless unacknowledged by the National Offender Management Service. [The Guardian (London), 4-17-2014]
Underreported among the 24-hour news saturation in April on the sinking of the South Korean ferry en route from Incheon to the recreational island of Jeju is that a primary attraction on Jeju is "LoveLand," a theme park with bold, uninhibited sexual structures, and a traditional honeymoon destination. Visitors enter through giant spread female legs, and most park mascots are anthropomorphic figures representing the male and female sex organs. The park contains 140 sculptures of humans in sexual positions and of phallus statues and stone labia -- and, reportedly, something called a "hands-on masturbation cycle." [Yahoo News, 6-29-2007]
Speaking on a popular Christian Internet podcast in March (reported by Houston's KHOU-TV), Pastor John Benefiel of Oklahoma City's Church on the Rock described how, in a 2007 blessing, he might have prayed "too hard." He was attempting to help drought-stricken Texas and Oklahoma by using a specific prayer message (the "Baal divorce decree"), but that inadvertently resulted, he said, in "every lake" in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri rising above flood stage, causing thousands of people to lose their homes and 22 to lose their lives. [KHOU-TV, 3-26-2014]
Wellma "Tootie" Shafer, 46, was fired as a cashier at the Last Chance Market in Russell, Iowa, after a customer reported her engaging in "sexual" banter at the register. Her boss, Rick Braaksma, explained, "We cannot ... talk about adult situations in front of other customers," and when Shafer sought unemployment compensation, Braaksma challenged her application. However, among the items Last Chance sells are Wake the F--- Up Coffee, The Hottest F---ing Sauce (noted, the label states, for its "ass-burning quality"), and The Hottest F---ing Nuts (all product names using the explicit "F word"), and a state administrative judge granted Shafer benefits, showing (according to an April Des Moines Register report) little sympathy for the store's contradictory policy. [Des Moines Register, 4-24-2014]
Manhattan's New York Sushi Ko is only the most recent sophisticated restaurant to feature creative dishes made with Hormel Spam, and foodies and hipsters in fashionable neighborhoods have flocked to the foods. Spam is a well-known delicacy in Hawaii, and the New York facilities offer the island's musubi (fried Spam, rice, seaweed) and other Spam fried rice bowls with seared ahi and flourishes of fresh pineapple, according to an April report on Gothamist.com. Sushi Ko's chef playfully acknowledges that his contents are fresh -- "fresh from the can" and sourced locally -- "from the nearest bodega." [Gothamist.com, 4-1-2014]
News of the Weird has previously noticed the extraordinary discomfort some women embrace just to be able to wear a certain pair of designer shoes. However, the number and ingenuity of foot doctors serving such women has grown substantially in recent years. An April New York Times report noted that Beverly Hills podiatrist Ali Sadrieh offers a Perfect 10! procedure (aesthetic toe- shortening), a Model T (toe-lengthening) and Foot Tuck (a foot-padding for high-heel pain). New York's Dr. Oliver Zong treats High Heel Foot (when the foot conforms to the shape of a stiletto) and Hitchhiker's Toe (an abnormally large big toe sticking out like a thumb). Some patients get to the point right away, Dr. Sadrieh said, by bringing in specific cherished shoes and asking which foot-retrofitting procedure would do the job (although Dr. Zong said he turned down one woman who said she would be OK with nine toes if that's what it took). [New York Times, 4-22-2014]
An unnamed 40-year-old man was charged in Briec, France, in May for a February incident in which his cat knocked over his statue of Buddha, demolishing it. The man apparently so reveres Buddha that, enraged, he tortured the cat by tossing it into his washing machine and setting it for a cycle at the equivalent of 104 degrees F. [The Local (Paris), 5-7-2014]
In his March 23 sermon (according to Huffington Post), Phoenix, Arizona, pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful World Baptist Church explained in detail why women in the congregation must refrain from speaking during services. Citing 1 Timothy 2:11 and 1 Corinthians 14, Anderson said the woman should learn only "in silence." "Now obviously, before the service begins," he conceded, "there's chatting and talking going on that's perfectly legitimate. (And when) we all sing praises to God, of course the ladies should also lift up their voices. But when it's learning time, it's silence time (for females)." (Also, he said, since the comment "Amen" means "That's true," it would be inappropriate for females to utter it.) [Huffington Post, 3-26-2014]
As of late March, the Sainsbury's supermarket in Basford, England, still had an operational ATM on an outside wall even though its screen and controls were only 15 inches off the ground, forcing customers to bend over or kneel down to get cash. A Sainsbury's spokesman, shown a photo by a reporter of a user squatting "incredibly uncomfortabl(y)," said no one had complained, but that the store would look into moving the machine. The only explanation offered for the placement was that the store is located on a hill. [BBC News, 3-25-2014]
Least-Competent First Responders:
(1) In February, East Detroit High School swim instructor Johnathan Sails, 24, sitting poolside, dived in to help a drowning student -- but only after first going to the locker room to change from his street clothes. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter when the student died.
(2) When a 6-year-old girl had her finger severed by a closing door in school in December, administrators at the Dickinson School District near Houston merely called her parents to come take the girl to the hospital. The principal denied it was an "emergency," since the girl's finger, after all, had already been bagged in ice.
(3) When a fire alarm sounded in February at Como Park High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, one girl was in the school swimming pool, and the outside temperature was minus 5 F, but several faculty members insisted (by protocol) that she leave the building dressed as she was (barring her, even, from waiting in a teacher's car because it is against the rules).
[WJBK (Detroit), 2-11-2014] [KRIV-TV (Houston), 12-11-2013] [WCCO-TV, 2-28-2014]
At a press conference in April, as Houston police officers announced they were after two burglars who had broken into Katz's lingerie boutique, surveillance video showed two armed men cautiously creeping through the store until one accidentally bumped the other, apparently startling the bumped man, who turned and fired -- causing the first man to fire back. Officers counted nearly a dozen bullet holes in the store. Said the Houston press briefer, these are "by far some of the clumsiest crooks that I've seen in a long time." [KHOU-TV, 4-30-2014]
John Novak, 48, was taken to a hospital and then arrested after a rough night in May in Buhl, Idaho, in which he threatened his sister with a rifle-bayonet and then tried a home remedy to relieve a snoring problem. With what was later measured as a 0.50 blood-alcohol level (more than six times the state's presumed-impaired limit), he stuck two straws into his nostrils and slammed a door rapidly into his face, attempting to break the nose (and apparently succeeding, although his exact condition was not reported). He said he had been drinking "for a week straight," to dull the anticipated pain he had planned to create. [MagicValley.com (Twin Falls, Idaho), 5-7-2014]