A subculture of hip-hop music has developed recently among computer science professionals, who taunt each other in verse much as mainstream rap artists do, according to a June report on Wired.com. "Geeksta" rappers like Ytcracker and MC Plus+ spin verses such as the latter's "I'm encrypting shit like every single day / sending it across a network in a safe way / protecting messages to make my pay / if you hack me you're guilty under DMCA" (referring to a federal copyright law). Explained another, "Monzy": "(I)nstead of boasting about our bitches, blunts, Benzes or Benjamins, maybe we talk about our math skills or the efficiency of our code." A hip-hop journal editor doubted the genre would endure, though, because so far the major artists are males: "You're going to need some females."
-- Andre Guthrie, 22, faced with a special five-year-minimum sentence under the law because he robbed a Sovereign Bank in Lowell, Mass., "while masked," argued to his sentencing judge in June that he wasn't actually in disguise but merely in his transvestite mode ("Andrea Guthrie"), including wig, false breasts, and a fake nose and facial moles. "This is what he does," said Guthrie's lawyer. "This is who he is."
-- Maureen Faibish, the owner of two pit bulls that attacked and killed Faibish's 12-year-old son in June in San Francisco while he was home alone (after Faibish had ordered him to stay away from the dogs and shut him in a room), denied that she was in any way responsible for little Nicholas' death. "It (was) Nicky's time to go," she told the San Francisco Chronicle. "When you're born, you're destined to go, and this was his time."
-- In April, Florida Highway Patrol officers in Miami-Dade County had set up surveillance, including an airplane, to catch a notorious motorcyclist who at least twice before had sped past officers, at speeds up to 140 mph, and escaped. On April 24, he blew by again, going the wrong way in rush-hour traffic, but with the help of the plane, officers tracked him to his apartment and arrested him on six counts. The motorcyclist turned out to be David Carpenter, 24, who was at that time on track to become a Florida Highway Patrol officer, with his physical exam only a week away. (He was advised to forget about the new career.)
-- In February, a Judicial Conduct Board in Pittsburgh filed charges against District Judge Ernest Marraccini, who apparently was upset one day at having to sit as a substitute traffic judge. ("Well, I'm not spending the day here," he allegedly said in court.) To the 30 people waiting to appeal their tickets, Marraccini reportedly said, "Well, then, let's just find everybody not guilty!" When the stunned appellants didn't immediately react, Marraccini said, "I told you you're all not guilty. ... What are you, a bunch of morons?"
-- It Must Not Be Difficult to Fly Cessnas: In a widely reported incident in June, an apparently intoxicated 20-year-old man with seven hours' student flying time stole a single-engine plane in Danbury, Conn., and joyrode for three hours before landing in White Plains, N.Y. However, a week before that, a 14-year-old boy, who, according to police, had never flown before, stole a Cessna in Fort Payne, Ala., took it up for about 30 minutes, and touched down and took off again, before landing hard on a road (but suffered only cuts and bruises).
-- Two Middle-Eastern Women's Need for Speed: (1) A 27-year-old Saudi woman, Hanadi Zakaria al-Hindi (whose countrywomen are not permitted to drive cars), was granted a commercial pilot's license in June after flight training in Jordan and returned home to fly for Saudi Prince al-Walid bin Talal's company. (2) Ms. Laleh Seddigh, 28, won Iran's national championship car race in March after becoming the first woman allowed to compete against men in any sport since Iran's Islamic Revolution. (In the winner's circle, Ms. Seddigh put on a scarf and draped a cape over her tight-fitting uniform.)
-- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's lab in Vista, Calif., reported in April that it had received for testing 17 600-gram bricks of what it determined to be cocaine, but that on closer inspection, only the outsides of the bricks were of cocaine. Inside each brick was 500 grams of heroin. Officials guessed that the ruse was to fool transporters, who typically charge more to ship heroin than cocaine.
According to an Associated Press report, Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick told a middle-school class he was visiting in April that the U.S. Congress is different from the Texas legislature, in that in Washington there are "454" members on the House side and "60" in the Senate. (The real numbers are 435 and 100.) And The Kansas City Star, reporting in May on a Missouri legislative debate on the Confederate flag, quoted Rep. Jim Avery as stating that the 1803 Louisiana Purchase involved a fight with France over the territory: "Well, we fought over it. We fought over it, right? You don't think there were any lives lost in that? It was a friendly thing?" (It appears well-settled in history that the Louisiana Purchase was just a land deal.)
According to police in Shreveport, La., in June, Jared Gipson, 24, had entered Blalock's Beauty College looking to rob the place but left (according to a Shreveport Times reporter) "crying, bleeding and under arrest" after the 20 students and teachers (almost all women) wrestled him down and attacked him with curling irons, chairs and a table leg, as well as their fists. Manager Dianne Mitchell had led the charge, tripping Gipson as he headed out the door, then yelling "Get that sucker!"
Gary Moody, 45, was arrested after being pulled by police from a tank underneath a women's outhouse in a park near Albany, N.H., in June. A teenage girl had reported that when she went to use the facility, she saw Moody, standing in the muck below the hole, staring up at her. News of the Weird has reported on others discovered in similar circumstances (and who typically wear raincoats and waders and stand patiently, waiting for a user): in Horsetooth National Park in Colorado in 1998; near Peterborough, Ontario, in 1995; at a state park near Hamden, Conn., in 1990; and near Durango, Colo., in 1990. According to Moody's arrest report, his explanation (which is a familiar one for these situations) was that he accidentally "dropped" a "ring" into the toilet and had to go looking for it.
Lawrence Brown, 91, was arrested in June after an armed standoff with police, who said he was operating a drug market out of his home in order to, according to one officer, "supplement his Social Security income" (Chicago). Dorothy Densmore, 86, was arrested in May for having called 911 20 times in a 40-minute period to complain of poor pizza-service delivery and then biting the officer who came to question her (Charlotte, N.C.). Vera Tursi, 80, who uses an oxygen tank and a walker, was nonetheless arrested in June and charged with running a prostitution service out of her apartment in a low-income project (Lindenwold, N.J.).
A 21-year-old student at University of Tennessee-Chattanooga died after pulling her car into a garage and closing the door behind her but leaving the engine running while continuing a long cell phone call (February). A 54-year-old man in the Tokyo suburb of Musashimurayama became the latest person to be killed by a suicide jumper's inadvertently landing on him (December).
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or WeirdNewsTips@yahoo.com or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com.)