News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

WEEK OF JUNE 3, 2012

LEAD STORY -- In Sickness and in Health, But Not in Triviality and Tackiness

All U.S. states have forms of no-fault divorce, but not England, which requires that couples prove adultery or abandonment or "unreasonable behavior," which leads to sometimes-epic weirdness, according to an April New York Times dispatch from London. For instance, one woman's petition blamed her husband's insistence that she speak and dress only in Klingon. Other examples of "unreasonable behavior" (gathered by the Times of London): a husband objecting to the "malicious" preparation of his most hated dish (tuna casserole), a spouse's non-communication for the last 15 years (except by leaving Post-it Notes), a spouse's too-rapid TV channel-changing, a husband's distorting the fit of his wife's best outfits by frequently wearing them, and one's insistence that a pet tarantula reside in a glass case beside the marital bed. [The New York Times, 4-7-2012]

Compelling Explanations

Lame: (1) Madison County, Ind., council member David McCartney admitted to the Herald Bulletin newspaper in March that he had exchanged "sexually explicit" emails with a female official in another county but would not resign. In fact, he said, he had engaged in the exchanges not for hanky-panky but in order to "expose corruption." He has not elaborated. (2) Chris Windham, 27, was charged with improperly photographing a 57-year-old man in a men's room in Trinity, Texas, in March after Windham, using a stall, allegedly snapped a cellphone photo of the man standing at the adjacent urinal. Windham explained that typically he braces himself with one hand on the floor while he wipes himself, and this time the hand on the floor was holding his cellphone. [Indianapolis Star, 3-19-2012] [Houston Press, 3-20-2012]

-- Maureen Raymond, 49, said her roadside DUI test administered in January was unfair. According to records cited by Scripps Media, she told a deputy in Port St. Lucie, Fla., that she couldn't walk a straight line "with her big boobies," which she said makes "balancing" difficult. The deputy reported that Raymond helpfully offered to show him the evidence but that he stopped her. [Scripps Media via WPTV (West Palm Beach), 2-3-2012]

Things People Believe

-- She is not the typical gullible victim. Ms. Priti Mahalanobis is a college-educated mother of two who ran a franchised restaurant in Avalon Park, Fla., near Orlando, but when her health, her brother's marriage and her business experienced problems, she bought a $20 psychic reading from "Mrs. Starr" (also known as Peaches Stevens). The Orlando Sentinel reported in January that, over the next seven months, Mahalanobis lost about $135,000 in cash, jewelry and gift cards to Mrs. Starr. Astonishingly, neither Mahalanobis' health nor her restaurant business noticeably improved! Among the remedies that Mahalanobis accepted: buying seven tabernacles ($19,000 each) to "vanquish (her family's) negativity" and putting $100 bills and a piece of paper with her relatives' names written on it under her mattress along with a grapefruit (which, as everyone knows, attracts and then isolates the evil). [Orlando Sentinel, 1-24-2012]

Things Leaders Believe

-- Though recently elected Councillor Simon Parkes told the Scarborough Evening News in March that his work on the Whitby (England) Town Council would not be affected, he has famously (in a YouTube video) reported lifelong "horrific" invasive encounters with extra-terrestrials, including many visits from a 9-foot-tall, green "mother"-like being who sends him "messages" through his eyes, down his optic nerve to his brain. [Scarborough Evening News, 3-23-2012]

-- Arni Johnsen, a member of Iceland's Parliament, survived a serious 2010 automobile crash -- a stroke of good fortune he has since attributed to a family of elves (three generations, in fact, according to an "elf specialist") who live in a boulder near the crash site. Iceland's Morgunbladid newspaper reported that Johnsen recently had the 30-ton boulder relocated to his own property, which he said affords the elves a better view than at their previous home. (Another elf "authority" told reporters, however, that relocating the family was bound to bring Johnsen bad luck.) [Iceland Review, 5-15-2012]


-- A three-truck crash on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque, N.M., in May destroyed one truck and sent two people to the hospital with minor injuries. One tractor-trailer carrying a load of charcoal and charcoal lighter fluid crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer carrying frozen meat. The lighter fluid facilitated a huge fireball/barbecue. [Albuquerque Journal, 5-17-2012]

-- Only in Muncie: (1) In April, Christina Reber, 43, was charged with assault after she entered the home of her "on-again, off-again" boyfriend in Muncie, Ind., punched him in the head numerous times and squeezed his scrotum until he finally pried her fingers loose. He was taken to Muncie's Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital. (2) Muncie college student Bakhtiyor Khafizov, 21, was arrested in April for allegedly attacking a former girlfriend in her campus dorm room. The woman said she escaped only by kicking him in the groin. The students attend Ball State University. [The Smoking Gun, 4-5-2012] [Star Press (Muncie), 4-17-2012]


-- Felix Velazquez's meticulous attention to detail could have served him well in legitimate endeavors, but was unfortunately displayed in a recent attempt to stalk an ex-girlfriend in Broward County, Fla. He had already been to prison for a 2008 stalking when he allegedly devised a fake double kidnapping -- of her and him -- so that he could "rescue" her and win back her affections. According to prosecutors, he created 23 pages of maps, photos and, reported the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, an "encyclopedic amount of detail about (the woman's) routine, her appearance, friends and driving routes to work" and thought he had convinced a former cellmate to do the abduction. However, as frequently happens, the cellmate got queasy and told police, who devised their own elaborate ruse to sting Velazquez. He is awaiting trial. [Sun-Sentinel via Palm Beach Post, 2-5-2012]

The Litigious Society

-- The family of a 13-year-old girl filed a lawsuit in Queensland, Australia, in April after their daughter, in a physical education tennis class at an upscale private school in Mudgeeraba, was hit in the eye by a bad shot from a fellow 13-year-old. The injury came as the girls were "smashing" balls back to each other from the baseline during a lesson. (Brisbane's Courier-Mail newspaper reported that several schools in Queensland state have banned such "dangerous" schoolyard activities as "cartwheels" and "red rover.") [Courier-Mail, 4-23-2012]

-- Henry Wolf filed a lawsuit in April in San Francisco against BMW, claiming that the Corbin-Pacific seat on its 1993 motorcycle formed such a "ridge" that Wolf developed painful priapism that has plagued him since he made a four-hour ride in May 2010. (Although the actual length of each priapic episode was not disclosed in the lawsuit's initial filing.) [Courthouse News Service, 4-27-2012]

Creme de la Weird

-- Fetishists on Parade: (1) Gary Paterson, 36, was sentenced to community service and psychotherapy after being convicted of trying to lick clean the shoes of four boys (Glenrothes, Scotland, January). (2) Robert Van Wagner, 33, was arrested after three girls (ages 12 and 13) told police he asked them to put on socks he gave them and to run around a field so he could watch. (Port St. Lucie, Fla., April) (3) Tetsuya Ichikawa, 50, was arrested after approaching a 25-year-old woman from behind in a restaurant and licking her hair (Shizuoka, Japan, April). [STV (Glasgow, Scotland), 1-12-2012] [TCPalm (Stuart, Fla.), 4-29-2012] [Agence France-Presse via WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.), 4-18-2012]

Least Competent Terrorists

-- (1) A bomb accidentally exploded on a bus in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in May, killing a man who police suspect was on his way to blow up something else. He was the only person killed, but two suspected associates with him (carrying assault rifles and ammunition) were injured. (2) In April, Mohammad Ashan, described by U.S. officials as a "mid-level Taliban commander" in Paktika province, Afghanistan, walked up to a police checkpoint with a wanted poster of himself (offering a $100 cash reward) and turned himself in -- for the money. Ashan was arrested following a biometric scan to verify his identity. "Yes, yes, that's me," he reportedly said. "Can I get my award now?" [Reuters via (Toronto), 5-17-2012] [Washington Post, 4-17-2012]

Thanks This Week to Don Schullian, Chris James, Gale Walters, Scott Huber, Jakob Derksen, Jim Colucci, Pete Randall, Steve Dunn, and Mike Mendenhall, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

(And for the accomplished and joyous cynic, try News of the Weird Pro Edition, at