NEWS OF THE WEIRD

The Passing Parade

The Passing Parade

(1) The world’s first constantly flowing (and free!) “wine fountain” opened in Abruzzo, Italy, in October, to help draw tourists and pilgrims who make the trek south from the Vatican to view the cathedral where remains of the disciple Thomas are kept. Operators said they hope the fountain will not become a home to “drunkards.” (2) In September, the world’s first (legal) beer pipeline opened, pumping 12,000 bottles’ worth an hour from the Halve Maan brewery in Bruges, Belgium, to its bottling plant two miles away (and thus sparing visitors to the historic city the sight of tanker trucks cluttering the cobblestone streets). The pipeline was partly funded by private citizens offered “free beer for life” for their donations. [The Local (Rome), 10-12-2016] [New York Times, 9-17-2016]

Bright Ideas

Prominent British radio host Dame Jenni Murray suggested in October that the U.K. scrap traditional “sex education” courses in school and instead show pornographic videos for classes to “analyze it in exactly the same way as (they analyze Jane Austen)” in order to encourage discussion of the role of sex. Younger students might explore why a boy should not look up a girl’s skirt, but older students would view hard-core material to confront, for example, whether normal women should “shave” or make the typical screeching moans that porno “actresses” make. Dame Jenni said simply condemning pornography is naive because too much money is at stake. [The Independent (London), 10-12-2016]

At a World Cup qualifier match in October in Quito, Ecuador, police arrived during the game to question star player Enner Valencia about an unpaid alimony complaint, and he saw them waiting on the sideline. Local media reported that Valencia then faked an on-field injury near the end of the match to “necessitate” being taken away by ambulance, thus outmaneuvering the police. (He settled the complaint in time for the next match.) [Daily Telegraph (London), 10-7-2016]

Wait, What?

New York’s prestigious Bronx High School of Science enrolls some of the “best and brightest” students in the city — some of whom (perhaps rebelling against the “nerd” label) for the last two years have held unauthorized, consensual fistfights (a “fight club”) in a field near the school, according to an October New York Daily News report. Students at the school (which has produced eight Nobel Prize winners and eight National Medal of Science honorees) then bombarded the Daily News reporter by telephone and Facebook with acrimonious, vulgar messages for placing the school in a bad light. [New York Daily News, 10-12-2016]

Too Quickly Promoted

Nathan Lawwill, 32, from Lansing, Michigan, was arrested in Tunisia in October after emigrating as a recent Muslim convert, speaking little Arabic — which did not restrain him (a one-time Christian) from now being the Islamic Messiah, the “gift to Muslims,” “Mahdi to Muslims and Messiah to the Jews.” “I am going to be the center of the world very quickly,” he wrote on Facebook. He and his brother Patrick were found by police on Oct. 25 “unwashed,” and were detained on suspicion of terrorism. [The Daily Beast, 10-27-2016]

Recurring Themes

Joining some classic cases of sentencing overkill that have populated News of the Weird through the years: In October in San Marcos, Texas, jurors apparently had enough of recidivist drunk driver Jose Marin, 64, who had just racked up conviction No. 8 and so sentenced him to spend the next 99 years in prison and (perhaps more horrifyingly) sober. And in Fresno, California, Rene Lopez, 41, convicted of raping his daughter over a four-year period beginning when she was 16, was sentenced by a Fresno Superior Court judge to prison until the year 3519 (1,503 years from now). [KXAN-TV (Austin), 10-13-2016] [Associated Press via Los Angeles Times, 10-22-2016]

News of the Weird Classic (May 2012)

Awesome Achievement: William Todd, traveling by bus, faced a nine-hour layover in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 9 (2012) — and with time on his hands, managed to (allegedly) commit at least 11 felonies, one after another, while he waited: shooting up a restaurant, setting it on fire, robbing four people at a bar, carjacking, breaking into a law office and defecating on a desk, trolling hotel rooms seeking theft opportunities, and stealing a taxicab and robbing the driver. He was captured at Opryland, where he had hid in water up to his nose. [WSMV-TV (Nashville), 4-9-2012]

(1) The world’s first constantly flowing (and free!) “wine fountain” opened in Abruzzo, Italy, in October, to help draw tourists and pilgrims who make the trek south from the Vatican to view the cathedral where remains of the disciple Thomas are kept. Operators said they hope the fountain will not become a home to “drunkards.” (2) In September, the world’s first (legal) beer pipeline opened, pumping 12,000 bottles’ worth an hour from the Halve Maan brewery in Bruges, Belgium, to its bottling plant two miles away (and thus sparing visitors to the historic city the sight of tanker trucks cluttering the cobblestone streets). The pipeline was partly funded by private citizens offered “free beer for life” for their donations. [The Local (Rome), 10-12-2016] [New York Times, 9-17-2016]

Bright Ideas

Prominent British radio host Dame Jenni Murray suggested in October that the U.K. scrap traditional “sex education” courses in school and instead show pornographic videos for classes to “analyze it in exactly the same way as (they analyze Jane Austen)” in order to encourage discussion of the role of sex. Younger students might explore why a boy should not look up a girl’s skirt, but older students would view hard-core material to confront, for example, whether normal women should “shave” or make the typical screeching moans that porno “actresses” make. Dame Jenni said simply condemning pornography is naive because too much money is at stake. [The Independent (London), 10-12-2016]

At a World Cup qualifier match in October in Quito, Ecuador, police arrived during the game to question star player Enner Valencia about an unpaid alimony complaint, and he saw them waiting on the sideline. Local media reported that Valencia then faked an on-field injury near the end of the match to “necessitate” being taken away by ambulance, thus outmaneuvering the police. (He settled the complaint in time for the next match.) [Daily Telegraph (London), 10-7-2016]

Wait, What?

New York’s prestigious Bronx High School of Science enrolls some of the “best and brightest” students in the city — some of whom (perhaps rebelling against the “nerd” label) for the last two years have held unauthorized, consensual fistfights (a “fight club”) in a field near the school, according to an October New York Daily News report. Students at the school (which has produced eight Nobel Prize winners and eight National Medal of Science honorees) then bombarded the Daily News reporter by telephone and Facebook with acrimonious, vulgar messages for placing the school in a bad light. [New York Daily News, 10-12-2016]

Too Quickly Promoted

Nathan Lawwill, 32, from Lansing, Michigan, was arrested in Tunisia in October after emigrating as a recent Muslim convert, speaking little Arabic — which did not restrain him (a one-time Christian) from now being the Islamic Messiah, the “gift to Muslims,” “Mahdi to Muslims and Messiah to the Jews.” “I am going to be the center of the world very quickly,” he wrote on Facebook. He and his brother Patrick were found by police on Oct. 25 “unwashed,” and were detained on suspicion of terrorism. [The Daily Beast, 10-27-2016]

Recurring Themes

Joining some classic cases of sentencing overkill that have populated News of the Weird through the years: In October in San Marcos, Texas, jurors apparently had enough of recidivist drunk driver Jose Marin, 64, who had just racked up conviction No. 8 and so sentenced him to spend the next 99 years in prison and (perhaps more horrifyingly) sober. And in Fresno, California, Rene Lopez, 41, convicted of raping his daughter over a four-year period beginning when she was 16, was sentenced by a Fresno Superior Court judge to prison until the year 3519 (1,503 years from now). [KXAN-TV (Austin), 10-13-2016] [Associated Press via Los Angeles Times, 10-22-2016]

News of the Weird Classic (May 2012)

Awesome Achievement: William Todd, traveling by bus, faced a nine-hour layover in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 9 (2012) — and with time on his hands, managed to (allegedly) commit at least 11 felonies, one after another, while he waited: shooting up a restaurant, setting it on fire, robbing four people at a bar, carjacking, breaking into a law office and defecating on a desk, trolling hotel rooms seeking theft opportunities, and stealing a taxicab and robbing the driver. He was captured at Opryland, where he had hid in water up to his nose. [WSMV-TV (Nashville), 4-9-2012]