News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*In November Wichita, Kansas, police removed four children from their parents' mobile home, which was littered with animal feces. When police arrived they noticed stacks of Star Trek posters and magazines and heard the parents and kids speaking fluent Klingon, the language created for the Star Trek series. The parents (whose names the Wichita Eagle withheld to protect the children) promised to clean the home and get rid of their two ferrets and seven of their nine cats.

*In November a Japanese game show assigned a contestant, an aspiring comedian nicknamed Nasubi, to a small apartment equipped with little more than a video camera. He agreed to remain in the apartment until he entered enough giveaway contests to win $8,500 worth of prizes. The catch was that he had to subsist only on his winnings. Unknown to Nasubi, however, the video surveillance was not simply to make a record of his ordeal but was broadcast live every Sunday night, even though he was usually nude in his apartment (in that he has not yet won any clothing).

Chutzpah
*In August police in Boca Raton, Florida, say pedestrian Kenneth DeLeon was accidentally hit by a curb-jumping car driven by twenty-two-year-old Adam Blumhof. DeLeon fell through the windshield, landing headfirst in the passenger seat. According to the police report, Blumhof drove on for about a mile, alternately punching DeLeon and screaming at him to get out of his car. He eventually stopped, opened the passenger door, and rolled DeLeon out, even though DeLeon was suffering from two broken legs and a broken arm. (Blumhof pleaded no contest in January.)

*Former Philippines' first lady Imelda Marcos told reporters in December that she would soon file lawsuits to reclaim about $25 billion in assets that were once held by her late husband Ferdinand, and which he had given to some now-wealthy cronies. According to Imelda, the goods were given to friends only for safekeeping. She said that if all of the assets were returned to her, she would own about 150 of the country's major corporations and control about one-half of the Philippines' economy. Since her return from exile in 1991, Imelda actually ran for office twice as a champion of the impoverished and downtrodden.

Great Art!
*In November Northwestern University ordered sophomore music major Ryan Du Val to whitewash his dorm-room ceiling after he had painstakingly painted on it three of Michelangelo's best-known works from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. After the press reported the incident, several people came to Du Val's aid, and the university said the ceiling can stay as is until the end of the school year. A local businessman offered to pay for the removal of the ceiling intact so that it can be exhibited.

*Among recent performance art in the news: Lisa Levy's July show at Webster Hall in New York City, which consisted of items she had recently shoplifted (including half of a liverwurst sandwich she snatched from an elderly man at a deli). Also shown was videotape that captured some of the acquisitions. And the Nottingham "NOW ninety8" art festival in England in October featured a seven-hour video, "Filthy Words and Phrases," in which a woman merely writes 2000 sexual and slang terms on a blackboard. The video project was made with a government grant of about $12,000.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

 
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