2017-06-28 / News of The Weird

NEWS OF THE WEIRD

BY CHUCK SHEPHERD
Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate

Litigious around the world

¦ In rare cases, a mother has given birth for the principal purpose of “harvesting” a baby’s cells, ultimately to benefit another family member with a condition or illness that the cells would aid. However, Keri Young of Oklahoma gave birth in April for a different purpose. After learning while pregnant that her baby would not long survive after birth (because of anencephaly), she nonetheless carried it to term — just to harvest organs for unspecified people who might need them (though the grieving Keri and husband Royce admit that some might judge their motive harshly).

¦ In some parts of traditional Japanese society, it remains not uncommon for someone to feel the need to “rent friends.” For example, relatives at a funeral bear grief better if they realize the many “friends” the deceased had. Or, a working man or woman may rent a sweetheart just to help deflect parental pressure to marry. In northern China, in April, a man was arrested for renting “family” and “friends” to populate his side of the aisle at his wedding. Apparently, there were conflicts plaguing each family, and police were investigating, but the groom surely worsened the plan by not coaching the actors on his personal details, thus making inter-family small-talk especially awkward.

Then there are lawsuits

(1) David Waugaman, 57, fell off a barstool last year and needed surgery, and of course he is suing the tavern at Ziggy’s Hotel in Youngwood, Pa., for continuing to serve him before he fell. Wrote Waugaman, “You’re not supposed to feed people so much booze.”

(2) Robert Bratton filed a lawsuit recently in Columbia, Mo., against the Hershey chocolate company because there was too much empty space in his grocery-store box of Reese’s Pieces, which he thought was “deceptive” (even though the correct number of Pieces was printed on the label). In May, federal judge Nanette Laughrey ruled that Bratton’s case could continue for the jury to decide.

(3) Some minority students’ organizations, commenting on the planned extensive renovation of the University of Michigan’s student union building, recommended ditching the current interior’s elegant wood paneling — because it gives off an “imposing, masculine” feeling that makes them seem “marginalized.” A spokesperson for the students, attempting to soothe the controversy, said the marginalization was more based on the building’s “quiet nature.”

(4) In Australia, Chanel’s just-introduced luxury wood-and-resin boomerang (selling for the equivalent of about $1,415) came under fire from aboriginal groups for “cultural appropriation.” (Hermes had issued its own luxury boomerang in 2013.)

Passing bullets

A man shot himself but had the bullet pass through him and hit a bystander (except this time it was fatal to the bystander). Victor Sibson, 21, was charged in Anchorage, Alaska, in May with killing his girlfriend even though he had aimed at his own head. Investigators were persuaded that it was a genuine attempt, though he survived, but in critical condition.

Animals with affordable health care

In April, the annual report of the Association of British Insurers on its members’ policies for pet owners noted that among the claims paid were those for a bearded dragon with an abscess, an anorexic Burmese python, a cocker spaniel that swallowed a turkey baster, a cockatoo with respiratory problems, and even a “lethargic” house cat (which nonetheless cost the equivalent of $470 to treat).

Legal experts everywhere

American “sovereigns” litter courtrooms with their self-indulgent misreadings of history and the Constitution (misreadings that, coincidentally, happen to favor them with free passes on arrests and tax-paying), but now, the U.K.’s Exeter Crown Court has experienced Mark Angell, 41, who said in May that he simply could not step into the courtroom dock to state a plea concerning possession of cannabis because he would thus be “submitting” to “maritime law,” which he could not legally do on dry land. Judge: “Don’t talk nonsense. Get in the dock.” Angell was ordered to trial. Before leaving, he gave the judge a bill for his detention: the equivalent of $2.5 million.

Third-world religion

In March, Zimbabwean pastor Paul Sanyangore of Victory World International Ministries was captured on video during a sermon telephoning God. Clutching a phone to his ear, he yelled, “Hello, is this heaven? I have a woman here, what do you have to say about her?” (Her two children, one epileptic, the other asthmatic, are then confusingly described by “heaven” as being “changed,” and Paul ended the call to resounding cheers from the congregation.)

The classic middle name

Arrested recently and awaiting trial for murder: Boe Wayne Adams (Wichita, Kan., May); Jason Vann Wayne Godfrey (Sanford, N.C., August); Earl Wayne Humphries (Dallas, May); Michael Wayne Pennington Jr. (Tazewell, Va., May). Convicted of murder: Anthony Wayne Davis (Elyria, Ohio, January); Jerry Wayne Merritt (Columbus, Ga., February). Pleaded no contest to murder: Nathan Wayne Scheiern (Glendale, Calif., April). Murder conviction appeal denied: Derrick Wayne Murray (Birmingham, Ala., April). ¦

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