News of the Weird
by Chuck Shepherd
• It’s a simple recipe, said A-List New York City chef Daniel Angerer: a cheese derived from the breast milk of his wife, who is nursing the couple’s 3-month-old daughter. As a chef, he said, “you look out for something new and what you can do with it,” and what Angerer could do is make about two quarts of “flavor(ful)” cheese out of two gallons of mother’s milk. “(T)astes just like really sweet cow’s milk.” He posted the recipe, “My Spouse’s Mommy Milk Cheese,” on his blog and invited readers’ participation: “Our baby has plenty (of) back-up mother’s milk in the freezer, so whoever wants to try it is welcome to try it as long as supply lasts (please consider cheese aging time).”
• Florida’s Agriculture Department, acting on a tip, confiscated Giant African Snails believed to have been smuggled into the country by Charles Stewart of Hialeah, Fla., for use in the religion Ifa Orisha, which encourages followers to drink the snails’ mucus for its supposed healing powers. Actually, said the department (joined in the investigation by two federal agencies), bacteria in the mucus causes frequent violent vomiting, among other symptoms. At press time, Stewart had not been charged with a crime.
• A growing drug problem facing Shanghai, China, is stepped-up use of methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs at all-night parties, but not the “rave” parties favored by young fast-lane types in the U.S. These Shanghai druggies, according to a February dispatch in London’s Guardian, are often middle-aged and retired people, who use the drugs to give them strength for all-night games of Mah Jongg played at out-of-the-way parlors around the city.
• Modernization Kept at Bay: (1) Despite Fiji’s strides into the 21st century, the island nation’s court system remains relatively primitive, according to a January report from Agence France-Presse. Transcriptions of court proceedings are still made by ordinary reporters, writing out the dialogue by hand and thus calling on judges, lawyers and witnesses to periodically slow down or repeat themselves when they speak. (2) Papua New Guinea retains many of its historical tribal conflicts, and one flared up in January, according to a dispatch by an Australian Broadcasting Corp. reporter. Two people were killed in skirmishes that were provoked in a quite contemporary way—when a member of one tribe sent a member of another a pornographic text message.
Latest Religious Messages
• Japan’s Mantokuji temple in Gumma province was historically the place where women went to cleanse themselves in divorce, aided by the temple’s iconic toilets, into which the bad spirits from the failed liaisons could be shed and flushed forever. The toilets have been modernized, according to a February Reuters dispatch, and today the temple is used by the faithful to rid themselves of all types of problems. (The upgrades also permitted a solution to a longstanding annoyance at the temple, of visitors mistaking the iconic toilets for regular commodes.)
• American Taliban: (1) Michael Colquitt, 32, got a judicial order of protection in January against his father, Baptist preacher Joe Colquitt, in Alcoa, Tenn. According to Michael, Pastor Joe had threatened him at gunpoint about his poor church-attendance record. (2) Kevin Johnson, 59, was arrested in Madison, Wis., in February and charged with using a stun gun repeatedly on a local dance instructor, whom Johnson believed was a “sinner” (also a “fornicator” and a “peeking Tom”) who “defiles married women” by teaching them dances involving bodies touching.
• Jeff and Marci Beagley were sentenced to 16 months in prison in March after a jury in Oregon City, Ore., found them guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the death of their teenage son, whose congenital urinary tract blockage was treated only with oils and prayer prescribed by the Beagleys’ Followers of Christ Church. Doctors said the boy could have been saved with medical treatment right up until the day he died. (The Beagleys’ infant granddaughter died in 2008 under similar circumstances, but no criminal conviction resulted.)
• A 7-year-old girl died in February in Oroville, Calif., and her 11- year-old sister was hospitalized needing critical care, after being “lovingly” beaten by their adoptive parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, who are followers of religion-based corporal punishment. The Schatzes, as recommended by a fundamentalist Web site, had whipped the girls with quarter-inch-wide plumbers’ rubber tubing, to supposedly make the children “happier” and “more obedient to God.” Criminal charges against the couple were pending at press time.
• In December, in St. Tammany Parish, La., and in February, near Miami Township, Ohio, men driving young female family members around decided it would be cool to feign crimes as they drove. Tim Williams, 45, was arrested in Louisiana after the sight of his duct-taped 12-year-old daughter provoked at least three motorists to call 911. The Ohio man, detained by police after several 911 calls, admitted that he had thought it would be “funny” if his granddaughter held a BB gun to his head as he drove around Dayton Mall.
Alcohol That Miracle Drug
• (1) Toni Tramel, 31, angry at being jailed in Owensboro, Ky., for public intoxication in March, had “assaulting a police officer” added to the charges when, changing into a jail uniform, she allegedly pointed her lactating breast at a female officer and squirted her in the face. (2) Deanne Elsholz, 44, was charged with domestic battery in Wesley Chapel, Fla., in February after hitting her husband, David, in the face with a glass. David, intoxicated, had enraged Deanne by apparently completely missing the toilet bowl as he stood to urinate. (Deanne then angrily charged after him but lost her footing on the slippery floor.)
The Weirdo-American Community
• When the FBI finally concluded that the late-2001 anthrax scare was the work of government scientist Bruce Ivins (who committed suicide in 2008), the bureau released its investigative files, revealing personal activities that (according to Ivins’ own description) “a middle-age man should not do.” For example, Ivins admitted to being a cross-dresser, and agents discovered pornographic fetish magazines on “blindfolding or bondage” themes and “15 pairs of stained women’s panties.” Ivins also admitted a decades-long obsession with the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma and told agents how he broke into two chapters’ houses to steal books on KKG “rituals.”
• In 2005, News of the Weird reported the bustling sales for artist Erin Crowe’s series of oil paintings of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was then riding high, with Greenspan-worshipping money managers quickly buying up her inventory for thousands of dollars each. A Wall Street Journal reporter tracked down Crowe and some of her customers in February 2010 and found, obviously, subdued demand (with some customers having hidden or discarded their Greenspans). Crowe said that one of her Greenspan customers had recently asked her to paint a Ben Bernanke for him, but for about half the fee that he had earlier paid for a Greenspan.
A News of the Weird Classic (February 1996)
• In January 1996, The Wall Street Journal reported on a growing fetish surrounding the act of smoking. Examples: (1) An erotic smoking video from an Oklahoma City firm, CoherentLight: “The scene opens with a young blonde (Paula), dressed in a shimmering strapless gown and a veiled black hat, lighting her cigarette from a nearby candle,” the Journal wrote. “She takes numerous long drags.” (2) A smokers’ newsletter, with film reviews: Of the above video, it wrote, “(Paula) is a fabulous smoker.” Another review, of the Hollywood movie “Mad Love”: “Drew Barrymore smokes throughout; there are many deep inhales, although the exhales aren’t great.”blog comments powered by Disqus
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