In a May dispatch from Atlanta on Southerners' notoriously unnutritious, fat-laden cuisine, a Chicago Tribune reporter watered readers' mouths with descriptions of the "hamdog" and the "Luther" (prized dishes of Mulligan's restaurant in Decatur, Ga.), which are, respectively, "a half-pound of hamburger meat wrapped around a hot dog, which is deep-fried and served on a hoagie topped with chili, bacon and a fried egg," and "a half-pound burger served with bacon and cheese on a Krispy Kreme doughnut." The 11 states from Washington, D.C., to Florida, west to Texas, have the nation's highest mortality rate from strokes, but, said a University of Mississippi professor, "Food is a strong emblem of identity for Southerners," uniquely shared across racial lines.
Can't Possibly Be True
-- Near Tampa, Fla., in May, Robin Key, 44, survived a .38-caliber gunshot through the windshield of her minivan when the bullet came to rest in her lap after being slowed by hitting her shoulder belt and bra strap. And in New York City in April, Glenda Clarke, 26, in a rest room of a nightclub when a gunfight erupted outside, survived a bullet that tore through a door, grazed her scalp, and came to rest in her thick hair weave.
-- A so-far-unnamed 15-year-old New York City girl (a student at the once-most-dangerous Hillcrest High School) was arrested in May and charged with attacking three classmates by biting them viciously on the face, necessitating plastic surgery for at least one, who had a chunk of flesh gnawed off before bystanders could restrain the girl (described by classmates as a "goth vampire"). "She was trying to get to my jugular," the victim said. "For some reason, she just likes to bite."
-- In May, a judge in Edmonton, Alberta, ordered Shee Theng, 30, to serve a nine-month community-control sentence for partially scalping his then-girlfriend by attempting to "style" her hair with a power drill, a technique he said he learned about on a TV infomercial. Theng admitted that he knew it was a bad idea because he had previously screwed up his own hair trying it out.
-- Michael Scanlon, 31, a chief associate of disgraced Washington, D.C., lobbyist Jack Abramoff, reportedly earned millions from his largely illegal deals with Abramoff and spent most of it buying real estate in Delaware beach communities during 2002-2005, paying at least $12 million in cash. However, according to a May report in the Wilmington News-Journal, Scanlon dutifully each summer during those years worked as a full-time lifeguard on Delaware beaches, at $11.35 an hour, and reportedly had tried to line up the job again this summer, but was turned down by Rehoboth Beach officials because of his pending federal sentence.
-- "Leigh" (who has shed his last name) was arrested at the courthouse in Machias, Maine, in April, charged with trespassing for the 24th time locally, a strategy he has employed unsuccessfully to try to convince a court to erase a 1993 conviction for reckless conduct with a firearm. Leigh's pattern appeared to be: trespass, then raise the 1993 case in court, then see it ignored as irrelevant, then get jailed for trespass, then get out, then trespass again, then repeat the process. In the latest conviction, he was sentenced to time served, since he had already been in jail for the previous year.
Unclear on the Concept
-- Jason Lyon, 28, a National Guardsman from Buffalo, N.Y., who hurt his ankle jumping from a Humvee in Baghdad in 2004, was cleared, after treatment, to return to combat. After his tour ended, he applied to the U.S. Postal Service to be a letter carrier but was turned down because of his ankle injury (though he is free to apply for less-strenuous positions). In March, after publicity about the case, the Postal Service said it would seek a second medical opinion on the ankle, and a decision was pending at press time.
-- Ronald Michalowicz, 54, a fire inspector for Bedford Park, Ill., was dismissed after 28 years on the job (about a year short of retirement) for violating town rules against soliciting charitable contributions. According to a Chicago Sun-Times report in May, the solicitation was initiated by others to pay for Michalowicz's treatment for tongue cancer, which was thought to be fairly quickly fatal, but which he has survived after chemotherapy. A town official, having noted Michalowicz's near-terminal condition earlier, approved the solicitation, but when Michalowicz returned to work, other officials insisted on enforcing the no-solicitation rule. He has sued for wrongful discharge.
More Things to Worry About
(1) Spokane, Wash., dentist Henry G. Kolsrud, 82, decided to give up his license in May rather than face punishment for having an unsanitary office; among the charges: that he kept cat food in the office refrigerator with dental supplies, and that he scooped up cat vomit around the office with dental spatulas. (2) Denmark's Prince Henrik (husband of the queen, Margrethe II) in an April magazine interview declared that dog meat is one of his favorite dishes (even though he is honorary president of the Danish Dachshund Club, owns several dachshunds and has published poems dedicated to dachshunds).
Least Competent Criminals
In St. Paul, Minn., in May, an unnamed man, working out a community-service sentence by cleaning up for the next day's "graduation" at the St. Paul Police Department's dog training school, was caught with drugs by the senior canine "instructor," Buster. According to a report in the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, the worker had brought six small bags of marijuana with him, even though assigned to the dog school. "I was going to smoke it when I was done working," he said.
(1) Defendant Justin Jacobson, 21, fighting an assault charge, had a mistrial declared during jury selection when, during a disagreement at the defense table, he slapped his lawyer (Olympia, Wash., May). (2) Defendant John Gomes, fighting a murder charge and apparently not liking that so many of his lawyer's motions were being denied by the judge, suddenly reached over and began strangling the lawyer, until court officers pulled him off (Boston, May).
Recent Poor-Taste News
(1) In April, authorities at El Salvador's La Esperanza prison near San Salvador arrested visitor Lidia Alvarado for allegedly trying to smuggle an M-67 grenade to inmates by stuffing it inside her vagina. (2) Also in April, according to a report in the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star, a 38-year-old man appeared at the ER at BryanLGH Medical Center West in Lincoln with a 20-ounce soft drink bottle lodged in his rectum. (3) Also in April, according to a report in The Capital (Annapolis, Md.), a former restaurant manager was acquitted of assaulting one of his then-employees, heightening the mystery behind the alleged assault (in which the employee had been found in June 2005 in an alley behind the restaurant with a garden hose's nozzle end stuck in his rectum).
In December, News of the Weird summarized local newspaper reports that "more than 50 witnesses" in 30 pending lawsuits had accused Seattle-area physicians (and brothers) Charles and Dennis Momah of sexually abusing patients and, in some cases, of Dennis' improperly impersonating Charles to patients. However, in May, according to the Seattle Times, the judge who presided over the first of the lawsuits concluded that the patient fabricated her story. Judge Katherine Stolz fined the patient's lawyer, Harish Bharti (who represents most of the complainants), $300,000 for being complicit in the tale and ordered the patient to pay Dennis Momah $2.8 million for defamation. (Charles Momah's earlier conviction for sexually abusing patients was not affected.)
(Visit Chuck Shepherd daily at http://NewsoftheWeird.blogspot.com or www.NewsoftheWeird.com. Send your Weird News to WeirdNewsTips@yahoo.com or P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679.)
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