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Saturday December 16th 2017

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News of the Weird 6/29/17

By Chuck Shepherd

Playing The Hits Weird News is forever, but this is my last “News of the Weird” column, as I am now exhausted after almost 30 years in the racket. In this final edition, I remember a few of my favorites. My deep thanks to Andrews McMeel Syndication and to readers, who started me up and kept me going. Y’all take care of yourselves.  —Chuck Shepherd

•Chesapeake, Virginia, inmate Robert Lee Brock filed a $5 million lawsuit against Robert Lee Brock—accusing himself of violating his religious beliefs and his civil rights by getting himself drunk enough that he could not avoid various criminal behaviors. He wrote: “I want to pay myself five million dollars (for this breach of rights), but ask the state to pay it in my behalf since I can’t work and am a ward of the state.” In April, the lawsuit was dismissed. (1995)

•On the day before Good Friday, reported the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Ernesto A. Moshe Montgomery consecrated the Shrine of the Weeping Shirley MacLaine in a room in the Beta Israel Temple in Los Angeles. Inspired by an image he said he had while riding in the actress’s private jet, Montgomery said a subsequent large photograph of him with MacLaine was “observed shedding tears,” which had inspired prayers and testimony of miraculous healings. (1998)

• A child pornography investigation in Minneapolis turned up 1,000 suspect images on the office computer of a 58-year-old University of Minnesota classics professor—named Richard Pervo. (2001)

•In May, Elk River, Minnesota, landlord Todd Plaisted reported that his tenant Kenneth Lane had fled the area, abandoning his rented farmhouse and leaving behind at least 400 tons of used carpeting, at least 10,000 plastic windows from Northwest Airlines planes, and rooms full of sofas, mattresses and washing machines, among other things. Lane told townspeople he ran a “recycling” company, but there was no evidence of sales. A deputy sheriff driving by the farmhouse the year before saw Lane burying carpeting with a tractor and said Lane merely muttered, “I don’t know what to say. You got me. I can’t even make up an excuse.” (1993)

•An FBI investigation into interstate trafficking by diaper fetishists resulted in the arrests of five men belonging to an organization called the Diaper Pail Foundation, which has a letterhead and publishes a newsletter and information exchange for members. A Madison, Wisconsin, man, arrested in April for possession of child pornography, was found inside a van taking pictures of a child relieving himself. The man had offered service to the child’s parents as a toilet trainer. (1990)

•The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in June on the local “Silent Meeting Club,” consisting of several people who gather at various spots around town and make it a point not to speak to each other. Founder John Hudak said his inspiration was his observation that people often feel obligated to talk when they really have nothing to say, such as at parties, and wondered how nice it would be “to have a group of people where you wouldn’t have to talk.” (1992)

•And, from the very first “News of the Weird” column came good ol’ Hal Warden, the Tennessee 16-year-old who was married at 15 and granted a divorce from his wife, 13. Hal had previously been married at age 12 to a 14-year-old (and fathered children with both), but the first wife divorced Hal because, as she told the judge, “He was acting like a 10-year-old.” (1988)