Risky Business Models: (1) Orlando-area cosmetic surgeon Jeffrey Hartog inaugurated Liquid Gold, a storehouse for patients' frozen liposuctioned fat, charging $900 to safekeep a coffee-cup-sized portion and $200 per year storage (in case the fat is needed later, as for smoothing facial wrinkles). A Massachusetts General Hospital physician shook his head, telling the Orlando Sentinel, "(F)rozen fat doesn't hold up as well as fresh fat." (2) German biochemist Peer Bork told the journal Nature in September that he and his partners built the not-for-profit MyMicrobes.com social network so that people with similar stomach bacteria can commiserate over diet and gastrointestinal woes. The $2,100 signup fee includes a full gut-bacteria sequencing.
The Continuing Crisis
-- Wild Things: Motorist Clyde White of Corbin, Ky., was charged with attempted murder in August after police finally collared him following a road-rage chase that reached speeds of over 100 mph. White, who had repeatedly rammed his two siblings in their vehicle, is 78 years old, and in that other vehicle were his brother, 82, and his sister, 83.
-- According to a recent report from Britain's Office of National Statistics, there are 297,000 households in the country in which no adult has ever held any kind of job. The number of individuals who thus may never have developed the "habit of work," and who instead have grown accustomed to the country's generous welfare payments, might total 700,000. (In an example cited by the Daily Mail, one such couple in their late 30s, and their children, "earn" the equivalent of almost $1,100 per week in income support and disability payments.)
-- Chicago massage therapist Liudmyla Ksenych, testifying for the prosecution in August in a sex-trafficking trial, happened to notice from the witness stand that the defense lawyer, Douglas Rathe, was formerly a client of hers. The judge immediately declared a mistrial. Rathe later said he visited Ksenych four times in 2009 but that "nothing inappropriate" happened.
Fine Points of the Law
(1) What Year Is This? In August in Lubbock, Texas, Carl Wade Curry, 44, was sentenced to 99 years in prison for cattle rustling. (Said one of the victims, Curry tried to be a smooth-talking, handshake-dealing cattle seller, but "he wasn't capable.") (2) In Jackson, Minn., in March, Andrew Espey was sentenced to 90 days in jail for improperly shingling the roof of his house. Complained Espey, "(A) drunk can drive down the highway and get a lot less (of a sentence)." (He had affixed new shingles without first removing the old ones.)
-- Larry Stone, jailed on property crimes in Tavares, Fla., because he could not make the $1,250 bail, posted the bond in July by earning $1,300 in telephone-company money after discovering a management error that credited his jail account $46 for every international call he pretended to make. (The company figured out the problem a day later and recovered all the payouts from the accounts of Stone and 250 other prisoners who had learned of the glitch. Stone's bond was revoked, of course, and he was returned to lockup.)
-- "Sorry, Honey. I Was Aiming at the Dog": (1) Betty Walker, allegedly firing at the pit bull that she saw lunging at some children, hit the dog with one shot and her husband, 53, with a second shot, killing him (Jackson, Miss., July). (2) Brent Bader, allegedly firing at the family dog, instead hit his wife once in the head, killing her (Twin Peaks, Calif., February). (3) Samuel Campos, 46, allegedly firing to put away the family Chihuahua after having inadvertently wounded it the day before, instead hit his girlfriend, 41, killing her (Willits, Calif., March).
News of the Self-Indulgent
While too many children in Third World countries die from starvation or lack of basic medicines, the preschoolers of the TLC TV channel's "Outrageous Kid Parties" reality show celebrate birthdays and "graduation" (from or to kindergarten) with spectacular events that may cost their parents $30,000 or more. Typical features, according to an August ABC News report, included a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, a dunking booth, animal rides and a cotton candy machine, as well as the obligatory live music and limo or horseback (for grand entrances).
Strategies: (1) Alicia Bouchard, 41, was arrested in Jackson County, Fla., in August, accused of hatching a plot with her husband to impregnate a 12-year-old girl for the purpose of producing a baby that would eventually earn an additional welfare check. (2) In August, the Japanese construction firm Maeda Corp. ordered its 2,700 employees to adopt standard, short hairstyles (a "bob" for women with a longer fringe that could be swept to the side, and a routine short-back-and-sides cut for men with a slightly longer cut on top). Maeda said it was responding to the government's plea to reduce energy usage (less water, less hair dryer time).
People Different From Us
(1) Travis Keen, 28, was arrested in Ouachita Parish, La., in August and charged with indecent exposure while driving around the parking lot at a Walmart. According to the police report, Keen explained that, based on experience, "when he comes to Walmart, he gets aroused." (2) William Falkingham, 34, was warned by police in Idaho Falls, Idaho, in August that he'd better stop wearing his large, black bunny-rabbit suit in public. One resident complained that his son had been frightened and that others were "greatly disturbed," and besides, Falkingham sometimes wore a tutu with the bunny outfit.
(1) Lon Groves, 40, was arrested in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., after a brief standoff with police in July following an incident in which he allegedly held a handgun to the head of his wife in an argument over which of their granddaughters was the wife's favorite. (2) Pastor Daryl Riley of the New Welcome Baptist Church in St. Elmo, Ala., was tased, allegedly by the church's music minister, whom Riley had just fired in August (which led another parishioner to pull a knife and begin stabbing wildly in a melee). Said the music minister's mother, "He done cut (me) before anything started."
Anecdotes have surfaced over the years about an alleged sexual fetish of purposely pumping air into the rectum, and the Snopes.com "urban legends" website accepts that at least one instance has been reliably reported (in 1993 in Thailand, although that involved not self-gratification but a prank that got out of hand, resulting in the death of the victim). In July 2010, in Hull County, England, electrician Gareth Durrant, 26, was the victim of a prank that mirrored the 1993 case except that a quick-acting colleague removed the air hose, which had been inserted by co-workers as Durrant lounged on a break. Durrant said his body felt like it was inflating. In August 2011, as his lawsuit went to Hull Crown Court (as he has been unable to work ever since), he said that he still suffers headaches and stomach pains.
A News of the Weird Classic (March 2006)
Because perhaps hundreds of Japanese Yakuza gangsters are nearing retirement age, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has drafted rules for the former gambling, loan shark and protection workers to qualify for benefits, according to a March dispatch from Tokyo in The Times of London. Since organized gangs avoid paper trails, ex-mobsters must supply a letter acknowledging retirement from their crime boss in order to sign up, although local governments are expected to accept as provisional proof criminal records, gang tattoos and demonstrations of missing fingertips (traditional Yakuza punishment for mistakes).
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