News of the Weird
by Chuck Shepherd
• A 48-year-old immigrant from Malta regularly hangs out in various New York City bars, but always on the floor, so that he can enjoy his particular passion of being stepped on. “Georgio T.” told The New York Times in June that he has delighted in being stepped on since he was a kid. While one playmate “wanted to be the doctor, (another) wanted to be the carpenter ... I would want to be the carpet.” Nowadays, he carries a custom-made rug he can affix to his back (and a sign, Step on Carpet) and may lie face-down for several hours if the bar is busy. He is also a regular at “high foot-traffic” fetish parties, where dozens of stompers (especially women in stilettos) can satisfy their own urges while gratifying Georgio.
• Steven Gilmore Jr., 21, was arrested in Gainesville, Fla., after an aborted convenience store robbery in which he shot a clerk with a BB gun. Police said Gilmore confessed to the crime, explaining that he is an aspiring rap singer and felt he needed to commit a violent crime to gain “street cred” as a thug.
• Marcella Rivera said the last she heard was that her soldier-husband, William Rivera, would try to reconcile with her and their five children when he got back from Iraq, but then her mother saw a TV program on returning soldiers that showed William being married to another woman. Marcella pressed a bigamy charge in Independence, Mo., but prosecutors dropped it in May after William convinced them that “post-traumatic stress disorder” suffered in Iraq had made him forget that he was married.
• Evils of Renewable Energy: (1) Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick calls the Evergreen Solar Panel manufacturing plant in the town of Devens “the leading edge of our clean energy economy,” but neighbors continue to complain vociferously about the dizzying, 24-hour-a-day noise. According to a June Boston Herald story, farmers report that their horses are developing ulcers and that other animals are behaving strangely. (2) Four hundred goats have mysteriously died since the installation of eight noisy, 24-hour-a-day wind turbines in the Penghu region in Taiwan, according to a Council of Agriculture official cited in a May Reuters report.
• Sexual Confusion: (1) Researchers from the University of British Columbia nursing school reported in December that lesbian and bisexual high school girls are seven times more likely to get pregnant than other girls. A leading hypothesis is that those girls may try to disguise their sexual identity by uninhibited heterosexual behavior. (2) Addressing a conference in Hobart, Australia, in May, professor Julie Quinlivan, dean of the University of Notre Dame Australia’s medical school, said that for disadvantaged teenage girls, becoming pregnant is a good thing, teaching a sense of responsibility that may otherwise not develop. Such teen mothers were more likely to stop smoking, stay in school and find jobs.
• Even though life and health insurance companies now routinely penalize smokers with higher premiums (or by refusing their business), the companies themselves own tobacco company stock worth at least $4.4 billion, according to a recent New England Journal of Medicine report. Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 400,000 Americans die prematurely each year due in part to smoking (burdening life insurance companies but perhaps sparing health insurers from having to pay out over longer lifetimes).
What About My Rights?
• Chutzpah: In 2006, a jury in Tampa convicted William Deparvine, 57, of murdering a husband and wife in order to steal their restored, vintage 1971 Chevy truck that they had offered to sell Deparvine. Judge and jury agreed on the death penalty, and thus began the inevitable delay until execution. With time on his hands, Deparvine filed a lawsuit in 2007 against the dead couple’s estate, insisting (in line with his failed trial defense) that the truck is now his, that the couple had signed over a bill of sale before they died. The couple’s family, having hoped to move on from the tragedy, is instead busy filing court papers.
• In June, lawyer Alfred Rava announced a $500,000 settlement of his lawsuit against the Oakland A’s baseball team for “discriminating” illegally against men when it gave away 7,500 floppy hats to the first women through the turnstiles on a 2004 Mother’s Day breast-cancer-awareness promotion. Rava may get about half (“attorney’s fees”), and any man who swears he was among the first 7,500 fans through the gates that day, and who wanted a hat, will get $50 cash plus other premiums.
That Sacred Institution of Marriage
• (1) When Ian Platt, 51, married Lisa, 42, in Leeds, England, in May, he dressed in traditional morning suit in a ceremony heavily attended by his family. However, after the family members departed, Ian slipped away, donned a wedding dress, and reappeared before friends to take vows as his preferred identity, Susan. Both ceremonies were approved by Lisa. (2) Asia News International reported in May that a man and woman, both 23, from Yichang in China’s Hubei province, were planning to get married in 2011 and had made plans to switch genders before then (since the woman says she’s always looked like a boy, and the man says his “calm demeanor” more resembles that of a woman).
The Weirdo-American Community
• (1) Daniel Doster Jr., 42, was arrested in Yorktown, Ind., in March for masturbating while standing beside his mailbox (which he told police he was doing to show his neighbors “who was boss”). (2) Dean Mark, 53, was arrested at Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nev., in June, for trespassing. Three students had reported encountering Mark a short distance from the school, nude, tied to a large rock, and asked if he wanted to be untied. According to the police report, Mark declined but then a few minutes later appeared fully clothed on the school grounds.
Least Competent Criminals
• Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) In April, police in Fayetteville, N.C., were seeking a pregnant woman who walked into a Carter Bank & Trust branch with a handgun and demanded cash. As a clerk was taking money out to give to her, she received a call on her cell phone, and the conversation became so intense that she ignored the money and walked out of the bank empty-handed, still talking. (2) Alfonso Rizzuto, 47, who was on the run from forgery charges in Scranton, Pa., was arrested in nearby Kingston when he wandered into a post office and an employee noticed that Rizzuto bore a great resemblance to the photo on the Wanted poster of “Alfonso Rizzuto” tacked to the wall.
• Medical Marvel: Paul Gibbs, 26, hopes soon to have his left ear reattached after losing it in a barroom fight, but for now, the ear needs to be re-nourished to be strong enough to survive the surgery. Consequently, Gibbs has become the most recent person to have one organ surgically implanted elsewhere in his body while it absorbs nutrients. His lawyer reported in June at England’s Leeds Crown Court (at a hearing for the two thugs convicted of beating Gibbs up) that the ear was successfully sewn into Gibbs’ abdomen.
A News of the Weird Classic
• In September 1992 in Chicago, Frank D. Zeffere III filed a lawsuit for $40,000 in lost dating expenses against a woman who had broken off their engagement. However, Zeffere, who is a lawyer, wrote her an offer of an out-of-court settlement, beginning with, “I am still willing to marry you on the conditions hereinbelow set forth,” and ending, “Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the matters addressed herein. Sincerely, Frank.”blog comments powered by Disqus
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