News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

WEEK OF MAY 16, 2004


-- In April, Luftee Abdul Waalee, 48, was sentenced to three years in prison for trying to pass a fake U.S. Treasury check for $25 million at a credit union in Pittsburgh. According to the prosecutor, Waalee is a member of the "Moors" black separatist group that supposedly believes that each American is endowed with a secret government account worth around $600,000, based on a theory that when the U.S. went off the gold standard in 1933, it began backing its currency not with a precious metal but with the prospective labor of its citizens. (Because the Moors are smarter than everyone else, only they know about these secret accounts and can thus buy and sell them.)

The District of Calamity (continued)

Recent news from the Washington, D.C., public school system, which by some measures is the poorest-performing in the country while simultaneously being the most expensive: D.C. schools were found to spend $234 per year per pupil on security (twice as much as Philadelphia, for instance, and five times as much as Baltimore, according to an April Washington Times report). Also, in one high school last year, 56 percent of students had streaks of at least 15 absences that were unexcused. And in an accounting-firm review of 944 student records in 16 high schools, in "hundreds" of cases the grade ultimately posted did not match the grade turned in, according to the report described in a December Washington Post story.

Government in Action

After a decade of tolerance, the Tokyo metropolitan government ruled in March that used lingerie could no longer be sold in the city's sex shops, where men had been paying the equivalent of $15 to $90 for a pair of panties in a plastic bag, sometimes including a photograph of the former owner. Increasingly, schoolgirls as young as 9 had been supplying the stores.

Unclear on the Concept

-- In March, a Shell/Site convenience store manager in North Naples, Fla., found employee Robert Lee King, 41, lying on the floor rubbing off one not-yet-purchased lottery ticket after another, looking for winners, stacking the used tickets neatly in two piles. The incredulous manager said he tried to explain to King that that isn't the way the lottery business works, whereupon King calmly took his stack of winners and walked out. The manager called in a sheriff's deputy, explained the problem, and showed the surveillance tape of King with the tickets, and while the deputy was writing his report, King happened to come back in to ask for his paycheck. He was charged with grand theft.

-- Residents of South Camden, N.J., who (according to a February Newark Star-Ledger report) have spent years complaining about government failure to rehabilitate their rundown neighborhood, have commenced another level of complaint recently. Now that the state and federal governments have finally sent cleanup and restoration money in, the Star-Ledger reports, residents are complaining that the community is starting to look too good (especially the Delaware River waterfront), which will raise property values (and taxes) and force many longtime residents to leave.

Latest Religious Messages

-- As usual in the hundred-year-old Easter festival on the Greek isle of Chios, townspeople from two churches in Vrodandos stockpiled small rockets (an estimated 25,000 in all) and fired them at each other's bell on Easter morning while parishioners were inside for services (although the windows had been boarded up in anticipation). As in previous years, misguided rockets started fires in nearby houses, but unlike in some years, there were no deaths.

-- Don Sneed, a theological researcher and gay activist in Dallas, released a video in April that he said provides mathematical and scientific proof that God exists (a theory that he proudly says no one has yet refuted). "The God Number" explains Sneed's "Definity -- Uninity -- Infinity," which he says "substantiates the identification of the specific number that represents God." This first video, he said, was for the layperson, and he is at work on a professional version for mathematicians and scientists.

-- Several parents walked out of a holiday program by the Glassport (Pa.) Assembly of God when the actors on stage began whipping the Easter bunny and breaking its eggs, which church officials said was an attempt to move past the benign symbols of the holiday and focus on the suffering of Christ. As children in the audience cried at the beatings, actors chanted, "There is no Easter bunny."

Least Competent Criminals

A man pulled a knife on a cashier at a Family Dollar store in Vineland, N.J., in December and demanded money from the open cash register, but the cashier slammed it shut and said "No." After several more demands and several more refusals, the man walked out. And a potential robber of the Iowa Savings Bank in Des Moines on May 3 suffered a similar fate, except that not only did he finally walk out empty-handed, but he also left behind his own $20 bill he had initially laid on the counter to get the teller's attention.


St. Louis School Board member Rochell Moore was finally removed by a judge for misconduct in April, after incidents beyond the one reported last August in News of the Weird (in which she put a biblical curse on Mayor Francis Slay because she disagreed with his school reform proposals). At the board meeting that ultimately resulted in her dismissal, Moore dumped a pitcher of ice water on an assistant superintendent and later publicly threatened violence against anyone who suggests that she may be mentally ill (though she was involuntarily hospitalized for that in 2002).

More Things to Worry About

In March, the Queenstown Lakes District Council (New Zealand), apparently really concerned about clever sex entrepreneurs, amended its recent bylaw aimed at regulating all potential prostitution in the area, including acts on airplanes, ships and ferries, because it had left out prostitution on "hovercraft" (vehicles that float above the surface by the constant downthrust of air). And in April, the Treasury Department's agency that investigates allegedly illegal financing across U.S. borders was revealed to have only four agents working on money traceable to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, but 21 agents working full-time on violations of the U.S. embargo of Cuba.

Also, in the Last Month ...

Following a violent collision by Shane Millard and opponent Dean Ripley during a British rugby game, doctors stitching up Millard found part of Ripley's tooth in Millard's head. And veterinarians in Manchester, England, discovered that the reason for the poor health of the golf course mascot Libby, a German shepherd, was that she had swallowed 28 balls (but is now fine after surgery). And a wired-up Hamas suicide bomber in the Gaza Strip, on his way to an assignment, was accosted by two Palestinian street thieves and decided he might as well detonate early and take the two men with him.

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