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Saturday July 26th 2014

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News of the Weird 4/10/14

by Chuck Shepherd

Noise Is Golden The Formula One circuit is generally thought to attract fans as a showcase of motorcar technology and racing skill, but organizers of the Australian Grand Prix (the first of the 19 races on the annual circuit) threatened a lawsuit in March against Formula One management because the races should also be showcases of noise. Formula One has softened cars’ power this year in order to make breakthrough achievements in fuel efficiency, but that also tamped down Formula One’s “trademark ear-shattering roar,” according to a Business Insider report. Fans are less likely to buy tickets, the organizers fear, if they lose the deafening, 100-decibel vroom that is a “visceral element of the fan experience.”

The Championship Brackets Amelia Boomker, 36, of Bolingbrook, Ill., celebrated her acceptance into the Guinness Book of World Records in March, recognized for donating more than 127 gallons of her own breast milk to critically needy babies in the Midwest. The donations came on top of supplying breast milk for her own four sons, three of whom were born during the 2008-2013 period in which she pumped out her excess for the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank.

• Most Commandments Violated: James Chatten, 46, pleaded guilty in January to several Commandment violations stemming from a July incident at the Christian Horizons church in Peterborough, Ontario. Chatten brought a prostitute inside the church, for sex, after hours, and stole money to pay her from a church drawer, then lied to police about being forced to raid the drawer.

• Prodigious Criminality: (1) John Bidmead, 65, was convicted in November at Britain’s Exeter Crown Court of possession of child pornography images that totaled, according to police count, 600,000 files—a low number because detectives said they got tired of counting and that the final number was easily over a million. The prosecutor called it “certainly the largest find in this part of the world.” (2) Jason Bourcier, 33, reached a deal with the Virginia Department of Transportation in November to eventually pay down the $200,000 in highway tolls he had ignored for more than three years. He told a judge that, originally, a friend had told him that traveling the Dulles Toll Road to Washington, D.C., was free if the toll collectors had gone home for the evening (not true). (Bourcier told the judge he is now working as a “financial consultant”—surely after rehabilitating his attention to detail.)

Fine Points of the Law In some cultures, and now in Florida, apparently, the act of urination carries no special modesty protection. A judge ruled in March that video of Justin Bieber expelling for a urine test following his January drag-racing arrest in Miami Beach was a “public record” and had to be released to the press under Florida law. (A perhaps overly generous black box was edited into the video to make it somewhat less explicit.) In the video, only one officer is present, observing, based on protocol that respects the suspect’s “privacy”—though the Florida judge in essence invited the entire world to watch Bieber urinate, as the video quickly made the Internet.

Oops! (1) Kentucky state Rep. Leslie Combs, unloading her .380 semi-automatic handgun in her Capitol office in Frankfort in January, accidentally fired a shot into her furniture. Said Combs, “I’m a gun owner. It happens.” In fact, she praised herself for being “particularly careful” to point the gun away from people while “unloading” it. (2) In March, an unnamed man was rescued by bystanders who heard screaming from a maze-like storm drain, which runs 12 feet below the street in Lawton, Okla. The man had accidentally dropped a $20 bill through a grate and climbed in after it, wandering underground for two days searching for his way out. (He never found the $20.)