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Thursday September 18th 2014

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News of the Weird 8/14/14

By Chuck Shepherd

Think Your Own Last Flight Was Unpleasant? (1) The May 28 US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia had to be diverted to Kansas City after a passenger’s service dog did what dogs do, in the aisle, twice (an hour apart). One passenger used the terms “lingering smell,” “dry heaving” and “throwing up” in describing the situation. (2) On a recent (perhaps July) Delta flight from Beijing to Detroit, a Chinese couple apparently nonchalantly laid down paper on their toddler’s seat and encouraged him to address his bowels’ needs despite numerous pleas from nearby passengers to take him to the restroom. According to Chinese news reports, social media sites erupted in criticism of the family for its embarrassing behavior.

Democracy in Action Steve Grossman, Massachusetts’ state treasurer, who is running for governor, performed heroically at a candidate forum in March. The Boston Globe reported that Grossman “fervently answered questions on everything from transgender rights (to) sex education (and) issues facing (the) aging members of the (gay/transgender) community” while simultaneously passing a kidney stone (which most victims rate as “level 10″ pain—the highest on the medical scale, described by some as comparable to childbirth).

• Steve Wiles gathered only 28 percent of the vote in his North Carolina state senate race in May after revelations that he—lately an opponent of gay rights—was until about four years ago a gay male who worked as the female impersonator “Mona Sinclair” at a gay nightclub in Winston-Salem. As recently as April, however (three weeks before a newspaper’s revelation), Wiles was categorically denying that he used to be Mona Sinclair. “That’s not me,” he said. “That’s him,” said a man who worked with him at the club. Said the club’s then-co-owner: “I have no ax to grind against him. I just think he’s a liar.”

• The Alaskan government is scrambling to fulfill its obligation to welcome native communities’ votes on a state tax resolution in August. That means paying translators (at up to $50 a hour) to set out the measure for communities using the languages Yup’ik, Inupiak, Siberian Yupik, Koyukon Athabascan and Gwich’in Athabascan. (The tax measure must also be available on audio—for those communities that rely on the “oral tradition.”) For example, the yes-or-no tax question in Yup’ik is “Una-qaa alerquun ciuniurumanrilli?”

Not My Fault Tom Lakin is challenging State Farm in a St. Clair County, Illinois, courtroom, claiming that the sexual abuse he was convicted of was “unintentional” and that therefore his homeowners’ insurance ought to have covered any claims by the victim. (State Farm, and other insurers, generally pay out for “negligent” events.) He said he had no idea that serving minors alcohol and drugs and encouraging them to have sex with each other would lead to their later sexual exploitation by other adults.

The Redneck Chronicles (1) Has to Be Tied Down: A man was hospitalized in Shreveport, Louisiana, in June after being carried away by a wind gust as he held onto a mattress in the back of a pickup truck on Interstate 49. He suffered road burn and fractures. (2) Jenna Ketcham, 25, was arrested in Sebastian, Florida, in July after exacting a bit of revenge against an ex-boyfriend, whom she encountered squiring another woman in his pickup truck. According to police, Ketcham hit the man in the face and the genitals, and emptied his “dip spit” cup on him.

Least Competent Law Enforcement (1) The Clay County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office twice this year arrested the wrong Ashley Chiasson—in January (for grand theft) and in May (writing bad checks)—despite three years, five inches, 20 pounds and distinctive middle names separating them (Ashley Odessa, the suspect, vs. Ashley Nicole, the innocent victim). (“Odessa” spent five weeks in jail before deputies admitted their mistake.) (2) James Jordan Sr. died in Brooklyn, New York, in 2006, but NYPD officers have barged into his family’s home 12 times since then—four in 2014 alone—seeking him on various charges. His widow, Karen Jordan, even taped his death certificate to the front door, but that failed to deter the officers, one of whom shouted during a recent raid that they “know” Jordan is hiding inside somewhere. Karen recently filed a lawsuit against NYPD for the raids, which include “turning out drawers, looking in closets, harassing my children.”

The Pervo-American Community (1) Among the important news learned from the July indictment of Raymond Black, 61, in Brentwood, New Hampshire, for sex crimes involving girls aged 11 and 13: The going rate for a man who wants preteen girls to kick him in the genitals is as much as $100, which is the amount Black allegedly offered them for various sexual favors. (2) Everything was completely consensual, Ms. B.J. Geardello, 53, assured officers in Ohio County, West Virginia, who caught her taking a stroll along U.S. Highway 40 at 9:30 a.m. on July 29—she in purple nightgown leading her nude boyfriend, 56, by a leash, on all fours, hooded, with his ankles bound. Prosecutors were unsure whether to file charges.