News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*Extreme political protest: At the Eugene, Oregon, city council meeting on August 6, an unidentified man who had been sitting in the audience walked up to controversial Mayor Jim Torrey, leaned over, and vomited on his shoulder. He then walked out, unpursued. One council member who was watching the man during the meeting said the act was clearly premeditated.

*Philip Wright, age eighteen, was given a suspended sentence by a magistrate in Newquay, England, in July on charges that he assaulted his mother and father. Philip started punching when his parents once again suggested that his long-standing obsession with models Claudia Schiffer and Eva Herzegova was getting out of hand, in view of the fact that he had recently changed his name to Philip Herzegova-Schiffer.

Compelling Explanations
*Speaking to reporters at a Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) hospital in April, where he was recuperating after being shot in the leg by a stray bullet during a police shootout with a robber, sixteen-year-old Mohd Zulkhairi Khalid said it was both a shock and a rush to be hit. Although he had seen such things on television, he told the Star newspaper, he was thrilled to experience the excruciating pain.

*In May, Scripps-Howard News Service profiled former lawyer James Kelley of Washington, D.C., one of a small group at his local church who are enthusiastic Episcopalians but who do not believe in God. Said Kelley: "We all love the incense, the stained glass windows, the organ music, the vestments, and all of that. It's drama. It's aesthetics. It's the ritual. That's neat stuff. I don't want to give all that up just because I don't believe in God."

*A federal judge in Rock Island, Illinois, ruled in February in favor of defendant Martin Herman, who had been charged with sexual harassment because he sometimes belched, spit, urinated, scratched his genitals, and was flatulent in the presence of female co-workers at the Mercer County Highway Department office. After hearing several witnesses, the judge concluded that Herman is just a rude person who behaves that way in front of many people, male and female.

*In January Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda of India told a meeting of government employees in Bangalore that, despite his image of laziness, he is actually a workaholic. The various photographs of him dozing off during official meetings are not accurate, he said. "Most of the time I am in deep thought about various welfare programs for the people."

*The Reverend Robert Schuller was accused of roughing up a United Airlines flight attendant during a June trip from Los Angeles to New York, and he agreed in August to enter a first-offender program to settle the charge. The flight attendant said Schuller grabbed and shook him while demanding a fruit cup without cheese because, said the diet-conscious Schuller later, he was afraid that if the cheese were there he would eat it. Schuller said that he was merely "trying to share the love of God" with the man and that he is a "hands-on person."

*Jennifer Lee RoGala, age 30, was arrested in March in Anthony, Alabama, and charged with aggravated child abuse after she playfully chased and wounded three neighborhood children with an air-powered pellet gun. According to the neighbor who called the police: "RoGala was unremorseful.... She said she used to do it all the time up north and couldn't understand what the big deal was about shooting kids with pellets."

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd