News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*In September a Tennessee appeals court rejected a woman's challenge to a child custody ruling that she said endangers her twelve-year-old son. According to the court: "Record does not support finding that unsupervised visitation with husband puts child in danger. (T)here is not one whisper of anything improper in [the father-son] relationship," the judges reassured her, "except for 'butt-facing' incidents (one person is held down while another pulls down his pants and squats with his bare bottom on other's face)."

*According to a Times of London report in October, 45 people (celebrities and prominent executives) have had low-power microchips surgically implanted in their bodies in order to make it easier for police to track them by global satellite in the event they are kidnapped. The Sky-Eye chip, made by the Gen-Etics company, consists of organic and synthetic fibers that are powered by the body's own neurophysiological energy.

*In October ninth-grader Wiccan Jamie Schoonover was suspended for a day from Southwestern High in Baltimore when a classmate said Schoonover hexed her. Schoonover had crossed out the classmate's name, which was written on a wall, and because Schoonover dresses like a witch, her accuser became convinced that something bad was about to happen to her. Schoonover's mother, Colleen Harper, said not to worry because her daughter was too young to hex effectively. Harper only recently became Schoonover's mom; before undergoing hormone treatments she was Schoonover's father.

House of Lords Babylon
*In September the tenth Lord Hardwicke (Joseph Phillip Sebastian Yorke) was suspended by Britain's House of Lords after it was reported that he tried to sell cocaine to a newspaper reporter. In a floor speech in the House several days before, Lord Dunleath reported that he had discovered photos of naked young men on the Lord's Website and that he wasn't sure what to do about that.

Most Visible Politicians
*In September lawyer Paula Sage, age 39, who was running for judge in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, offered a $50,000 reward for evidence that would incriminate the person who had distributed photos that showed her baring her breasts at a 1990 party. And in August, two police officers accused councilwoman Marlane Carr, age 68, of Eleanor, West Virginia, of sexually harassing them when she pulled up her sweater and flashed them. Carr said the officers were retaliating against her for public criticism of their job performance.

Police Blotter
*Police in New York City arrested seven people in October whom they believe are members of a gang of burglars that has been plaguing the area for at least fifteen years, with their total number of crimes estimated to be in the thousands. However, the members appeared to be nearing retirement age: Four of the seven are in their 50s, and one was arrested in his nursing home.

*In June 40-year-old Valerie Nordstrom was convicted of improper driving and fined $35 after a Virginia state trooper stopped her for putting on makeup while driving during morning rush-hour traffic on a rain-slicked highway. The trooper said he followed her for a mile and a half while she was "stretched forward" so she could look at her face up close in the rear-view mirror.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd