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Saturday September 20th 2014

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News of the Weird

By Chuck Sheppard

Top Gun: Todd Whitehurst may be the “father” of from 42 to 60 children, based on statistical probability that recognizes his virtuosity as a sperm donor, according to a June New York Post profile (though one website, Donor Sibling Registry, claims to have documented 129 children sired by an unnamed seed demon, who is one of 92 highly productive men with 10 or more). Whitehurst, who like the others, was selected based on his sperm’s profile and speed, donated weekly for about three years in the late 1980s (for $50 a session), and has been contacted so far by nine teenagers who sent him their photos after piecing together evidence identifying him (despite sperm banks’ promises of confidentiality). Whitehurst, acknowledging the resemblances to his “offspring,” seems to find the relationships fulfilling, however limited they are. Said he, “I love Father’s Day.”

Bright Ideas New York scent artist Christopher Brosius had made his name with fragrances recalling childhood (such as Clean Baby Butt, Green Bean and Baseball Glove), but felt it was time, according to an April report in New York magazine, to approach the next frontier—to make a perfume so exclusive that no one could smell it. By Brosius’ reasoning, the scent’s chemicals would provoke whatever reactions scents provoke in those exposed to it, but the actual scent would be undetectable to the nose; hence, no one would know why they were reacting as they were. By trial and error, he combined jasmine, sandalwood and natural amber, and scaled them down in power, yielding what he calls Where We Are There Is No Here. Said Brosius, “The question, ‘What perfume are you wearing?’ should never arise.”

Blow Against the Empire: Bank of America (BA) had the tables turned on it in June after the company wrongfully harassed an alleged mortgage scofflaw in Naples, Fla. BA had attempted to foreclose on homeowners Warren and Maureen Nyerges last year even though the couple had bought their house with cash—paid directly to BA. It took BA a year and a half to understand its mistake—that is, until the Nyergeses sued and won a judgment for expenses of $2,534, which BA promptly ignored. The Nyergeses’ attorney obtained a seizure order, and two sheriff’s deputies, with a moving truck, arrived at the local BA branch on June 3 to load $2,534 worth of furniture and computer equipment from the bank’s offices. After about an hour on the phone with higher-ups, the local BA manager issue a check for $2,534.

“Big Snake’s” Company Town China’s sleepy Zisiqiao Village in Zhejiang province is actually headquarters for the country’s revered snake industry, with 160 families raising about 3 million serpents a year, mostly to harvest livers and gall bladders for soup, wine, and other products consumed for their immunity-building properties. In a June Reuters dispatch, one farmer described the 25-year evolution of “Snake Town” from a place where farmers simply threw males and females together for breeding to today’s sophisticated production facilities that supply proper snake diets, research measures to enrich female fertility, and provide enhanced incubation conditions.

The Continuing Crisis Perhaps a kindergartner needs to have his dad wait with him and wave bye-bye as he steps onto the school bus in the morning, but Rain Price is a 10th-grader (in American Fork, Utah), and his dad, Dale Price, nevertheless waves from the bus stop every morning, right in front of Rain’s friends. Furthermore, according to a June report by KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, Dale makes it a point to be wearing a different, “crazy” costume every morning (170 in all for the school year, including, once, a wedding dress).

Fetishes on Parade Toshihiko Mizuno, 55, was arrested in Tokyo in June after three girls, ages 9 and 10, reported that he had talked them into spitting for him so that he could record it on video, to assist with “research” he was doing on “saliva.” Police later discovered 26 videotapes, featuring about 400 young girls spitting. According to local media sources, Mizuno has had the obsession for 17 years, successfully getting at least 500 girls to spit, among the estimated 4,000 he propositioned.

Least Competent Criminals Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) Eric Cogan, 33, was arrested in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in June after (according to police) presenting a holdup note to a teller at a TD Bank. To get to the teller, Cogan walked right by a sheriff’s cruiser parked in front of the bank and a deputy in uniform seated inside the bank’s entrance. (2) In April, Matthew Hudleston, 33, pleaded guilty in Mobile, Ala., to robbing a Regions Bank, using a holdup note that mentioned a gun. He got away but was arrested after he returned a few minutes later to ask for the holdup note back.

Undignified Deaths The Good Lord Willing: (1) Self-described anarchist Luciano Pitronello Schuffeneger was hospitalized and placed in a medically induced coma after a bomb he was planning for a Banco Santander bank in Santiago, Chile, exploded prematurely. He suffered third-degree burns and lost both hands and his eyesight, after accidentally tripping the bomb’s trigger before entering the bank. (2) Mr. Isabel Gutierrez, 53, died of a heart attack in Refugio County, Texas, in June, after taking a break during the act of raping a 77-year-old woman. He told his victim that he didn’t feel well, moved away from her, and stopped breathing.