In April issues of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, the chief executives of two huge companies in politically sensitive industries were revealed to have received such extravagant bonuses or stock options that even veteran industry observers were said to be shocked. While customers of both companies are chronically panicked about rising prices, Lee Raymond, who retired as CEO of ExxonMobil in December, was reported by the Times to have received the equivalent of $144,000 every day for 13 years, and William McGuire, CEO since 1996 of the highly profitable health-insurance manager United Healthcare, was reported by the Journal to be sitting on stock options that, because they were mysteriously timed to kick in at the best possible date, are worth $1.6 billion.
Convicted drunk driver Joshua Campbell, 23, filed a lawsuit in April against the driver he hit, Bloomfield Township, Mich., police officer Gary Davis, asking the police department to pay him for the "humiliation," "embarrassment" and physical injuries he received. Campbell claims that Davis unsafely turned around on Interstate 75 after a traffic stop and that the turnaround was the cause of the collision. Bloomfield police say that Campbell, in addition to having a 0.17 blood alcohol reading, was going 90 mph and that three patrol cars on the scene with flashing lights should have been a signal to Campbell to slow down.
-- (1) Unexpected childbirths happen from time to time, but the genuinely surprised mother in Ojo Caliente, N.M., in February was Kayla Alire, 18, who just two hours earlier had hit two three-pointers as a starting guard for the town's high school girls' basketball team. (2) In March, Matt Robison, 21, of Ottawa, Ill., said he felt "like I've done something memorable with my life" after sitting for a 14-hour session in which he received 1,016 skin piercings to eclipse the previous Guinness Book record. (Immediately afterward, Robison had to remove each one, which he said was just as excruciating as the piercing.)
-- Prosecutors in Chicago are proceeding with the case against Howard Morgan for allegedly shooting at a police officer, although Morgan denies it, but what was clear was that in returning fire, police shots hit Morgan 25 times (from which he is recovering satisfactorily, according to a January WMAQ-TV story). Also awesome was the endurance of a 35-year-old man in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who, according to a February Poughkeepsie Journal report, had just been a gunshot victim for the fourth time in the same housing complex. (The first and fourth incidents involved multiple wounds.)
-- The El Bulli restaurant in Barcelona, Spain, has long waiting lists for reservations for innovative dishes such as strawberry walnut mayonnaise, foie gras ice cream, cocoa butter with crispy ears of rabbit, and Kellogg's Paella (Rice Krispies, shrimp heads and vanilla-flavored mashed potatoes), according to a February report in The Times of London. The meals of the artistic chef Ferran Adria cost the equivalent of $240 a person, but the world's leading restaurant critics rate it at the top of their lists.
-- Shellie White, 30, was apprehended in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., in March, two years after she fled Arizona with her two children in a custody dispute with her ex-husband. For most of the two years, she has been living as a man (with a female partner), having convinced the kids, now aged 6 and 8, that she is actually their father.
Men's Packages in the News
In Savannah, Ga., in March, police picked up Carlos Little, wandering around a housing complex with a head injury, which he said was from a street robbery, but they later learned from a witness that Little and another man had fought over who was the better-"endowed" (and that, in the showdown, Little proved littler). And in Mexico, according to an April Reuters dispatch, one distinct presidential campaign theme this year is how candidates explicitly tout their manliness; one radio ad, for example, praises Felipe Calderon's "balls," while a TV ad acclaims Roberto Medrazo for having "big ones."
-- (1) Because of unexpectedly large crowds visiting the new Hong Kong Disneyland in January, park officials limited admissions for the first eight days, provoking some mothers who had traveled from all over China to show their frustration by trying to climb in, after first tossing their children, including toddlers, over the fence. (2) Elizabeth Bragg, 23, was convicted in January in Huntington, Ind., when her 4-year-old stepdaughter suffered a car injury. According to the prosecutor, Bragg, intending to punish the girl for misbehaving, told her other kids to "hang on" but then unfastened the belt in the misbehaving girl's car seat, and slammed on the brakes several times, causing the girl to bang her head.
-- Super-Protective Parents: (1) In Mont-de-Marsan, France, Christophe Fauviau, 46, was sentenced to eight years in prison in the death of a young tennis player who ingested a sports drink Fauviau admitted to spiking with a tranquilizer. Fauviau said he spiked 27 young players' drinks before their tournament matches against his son Maxime and his rising-star daughter Valentine. (2) Dieterich Doerfler Sr. was arrested in Seminole County, Fla., in March and charged with shredding his adult son's child pornography collection, which police said he did in order to help the son avoid a probation violation.
The Continuing Crisis
Eleven women in the area around the nation's capital have bonded, according to a February Washington Post story, around a tall, athletic man of German heritage (with a master's degree and who tans easily), whom none has ever met. The man, known as donor 401, is the one whose sperm each of the women chose to be inseminated with, selected from a biographical catalog of the Fairfax Cryobank. That the women's 12 offspring have a common father has provided powerful motivation for them to learn about each other, as a way of learning about 401 (who has now retired as a donor, though there is still a waiting list for his stored sperm.)
Least Competent Criminals
Whoever tried to burglarize the Cell Comm/Nextel store in Victorville, Calif., in March escaped after bungling the job. The store owner told the local Daily Press that the would-be burglar tried to shoot open the door's lock but that the bullet ricocheted and hit him in the chest, knocking him down. The bullet likely did not break the skin but was probably startling and painful, in that the man vomited at the scene before he fled.
Results and schedules for championship tournaments for grown-ups: (1) Rock Paper Scissors (The U.S. championship was held in Las Vegas in April, for a $50,000 prize.) (2) Marbles (The renowned British and World Championship was held in the parking lot of the Greyhound Pub in Crawley, England, in April.) (3) Paper Airplanes (The world championship will be decided in Salzburg, Austria, in May, among representatives from 48 countries.)
(1) Curtis Gokey filed a claim against the city of Lodi, Calif., after a municipal dump truck rammed his car in December, but the claim was dismissed when it was learned that the actual driver of the dump truck was city employee Curtis Gokey. (Subsequently, Gokey's wife declared that she would sue, instead.) (2) Adult education teacher Robert Colla was hospitalized in Ventura, Calif., with severe burns and shrapnel wounds, and lost part of his right hand, when he tried to smash a bug with the paperweight on his desk. The "paperweight," which Colla had found years ago, was a 40mm artillery shell, which, unknown to Colla, was still live.
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or WeirdNewsTips@yahoo.com or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com.)
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