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News of the Weird 5/24/12

by Chuck Shepherd

Laziness Made Us Fat, and Laziness Will Make Us Slim Dr. Oliver Di Pietro of Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., is a leading prescriber of the “K-E diet” that offers desperate people drastic short-term weight loss by threading a feeding tube through the nose to the stomach and dripping in a protein-fat solution, as clients’ only “meals,” for 10 straight days. “Within a few hours,” Dr. Di Pietro told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in April, “your hunger and appetite go away completely.” Fat is burned through “ketosis,” he said, and a loss of 10 to 20 pounds in 10 days is possible. Such short-term loss might be important, for example, for a woman prepping for her wedding day. One client said she doesn’t have “all of the time on the planet” just to exercise, “so I came to the doctor.”

Government in Action! The late Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha was a Capitol Hill powerhouse, and among his legacies is the federally funded airport in his district that largely served him and the local companies heading to Washington, D.C., to lobby for government contracts. (By contrast, the Pittsburgh airport is nearly 60 miles away.) Murtha died in 2010, but the airport (which cost $150 million in earmarked funds to build, upgrade and maintain) still, according to an April Yahoo News dispatch, handles only three flights a day, all from Washington, D.C., and about $100 of every passenger’s ticket is subsidized by the federal government.

Great Architecture! There are big plans in the city of Chiang Rai, Thailand, for a massive Buddhist temple that priests aim to make one of the most beautiful structures in the world, and have entrusted artist Chalermchai Kositpipat to design it in all-white with glittering glass and arrangements of “rich symbolism derived from Buddhist and Hindu traditions.” If Kositpipat has his way, according to an April Huffington Post dispatch, the temple will also have images of Superman, Batman and (from the movie “The Matrix”) Neo—all of which, Kositpipat said, further Lord Buddha’s “message.”

The Aristocrat! Kelly Ervin, 48, was arrested in Salisbury, Md., in April and charged with littering “under 100 pounds.” According to police, Ervin routinely goes for a run every morning at 4 o’clock, and just as routinely, has a bowel movement after about two miles. Most days, that puts him in a certain neighborhood, whose residents have been complaining. When questioned, according to a Salisbury Daily Times reporter, Ervin basically shrugged and said he thought many distance runners do the same thing.

Police Report In March, Jose Romero-Valenzuela, 34, in a hurry to get to the courthouse in Oregon City, Ore., for a hearing on drug charges, managed to pick up three speeding tickets on Interstate 84, one right after the other within the space of an hour. A sheriff’s deputy and two different state troopers charged him with speeds in excess of 92 mph. (Another trooper, specifically monitoring Romero-Valenzuela after the third stop, reported that, finally, he obeyed the speed limit.)

• William Todd arrived in Nashville, Tenn., on April 9 via Greyhound bus and faced a nine-hour layover. According to police, Todd committed at least 11 felonies during that time, one after another, with more charges still possible. Among Todd’s alleged diversions: 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. Said a police sergeant, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” He was finally captured at Opryland, where he had hidden by submerging himself in water up to his nose.

Least Competent Criminals Didn’t Think It Through: (1) Eric King, 21, was leaving a store in Eagan, Minn., in February when a police officer in the parking lot noticed his pronounced waddle. King was arrested when the officer found a shoplifted 19-inch television set down his pants. (2) In March, a 34-year-old Lithuanian-born man led police in Wiltshire, England, in a nighttime foot chase after he had aroused their suspicion. Thermal imaging equipment was used from a helicopter to spot the man in the darkness. He was arrested “hiding” face-down in a manure pit. (Though he originally fled, there was little evidence against him, and he was released.)

Creme de la Weird “Weekend at Bernie’s”—and More: Thomas Parkin inherited real estate from his elderly mother before she died, but quickly lost it in a risky business venture. To get the deed back, according to New York City prosecutors, he concocted a scheme to pretend that Mom was still alive (it would actually be Thomas in a dress) and still owned the land (and thus that the current deedholder was a fraud). Lawyers arranged a meeting with “Mother” (conducted in a darkened room because of Mom’s “recent cataract surgery”), at which she mostly remained silent. Parkin improbably stayed in character, according to a trial dispatch on the Daily Beast, and jurors apparently kept straight faces as Parkin testified that recent “communications” between him and his mother were “mostly one-sided.” In May, Parkin was convicted on 11 counts, and at press time, he was awaiting sentencing. {in}