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Saturday November 22nd 2014

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News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

The medical establishment generally regards placentas (afterbirth) as biohazardous waste, but to New York City placenta chef Jennifer Mayer, they are a nutrient-laden meat that can alleviate postpartum depression and aid in breast milk production (among other so-far-unverified benefits). Mayer typically sets up in clients’ own kitchens, she told New York magazine for an August story. Some placentas are “really intense, with grief or sadness or uncertainty.” Others might be “joyful,” “big and round.” Mayer’s method: Drain the blood, blot dry, cook for a half-hour (leaving something resembling brisket), chop into slivers, dehydrate overnight (rendering it jerky-like). For a popular touch, Mayer then grinds it in a blender and pours the powder into several dozen (one-a-day) capsules.

Can’t Possibly Be True The Learning Channel’s “Toddlers & Tiaras” series has pushed critics’ buttons enough with its general support of the competitive world of child beauty pageants, but a recent episode provoked unusually rabid complaints, according to a September New York Post report. Mother Lindsay Jackson had costumed her 4-year-old Maddy as “Dolly Parton”—anatomically correct (chest and backside) Dolly Parton. The Post described Maddy as “embarrass(ed)” at her chest when another 4-year-old pointed at her and asked, “What is that?” (Ultimately, the judges liked Maddy—for “sweetest face.”)

Things You Didn’t Think Existed: (1) World Record for Length of Tonsils: Justin Werner, 21, of Topeka, Kan., was certified in July by the Guinness Book, with tonsils measuring 2.1 inches and 1.9 inches, respectively. The old “champion” was Justin Dodge of Milwaukee. (2) Global Competition in Dominos: The breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia will be the site, in October, of the world domino championship. (Twenty-five countries belong to the International Domino Federation.)

Inexplicable Madrid’s Getafe soccer club, struggling for customers, startled Spain this summer by commissioning a porn movie, with zombies, hoping to attract more fans. As if that were not quixotic enough, it then tied the movie to a campaign to solicit sperm-bank donations. Explained the film’s producer, Angel Torres, “We have to move a mass of fans to seed the world with Getafe supporters.” A promo for the film follows a Getafe fan, armed with a copy of the movie for his viewing pleasure, as he disappears into a clinic’s private cubicle to fulfill his donation.
Least Competent Criminals No Respect: (1) The man who approached tellers at the Eastern Bank in South Boston on Aug. 25 eventually fled empty-handed, but only after one teller had refused his order for “all your money” (she told him she was “closed”) and another had scolded him for breaking into the front of the adjacent line and for not removing his hoodie. (2) A man dressed as Gumby was ignored by a 7-Eleven clerk when he tried to rob the store in Rancho Penasquitos, Calif., on Sept. 5. The clerk told “Gumby” not to waste his time, and “Gumby” finally fled. The clerk had such little respect for “Gumby” that he did not even report the “robbery”; it came to light only when his boss was reviewing surveillance video.

Update Richard Kreimer (whose appearances in “News of the Weird” in 1991 and 2006 achieved “Classic” status earlier this year) is back, apparently still defiantly malodorous. He recently filed four lawsuits against NJ Transit, alleging that he has been illegally prevented from boarding trains just because he is homeless. (NJ Transit says his behavior and lack of hygiene irritate passengers.) A former Kreimer lawyer told the Newark Star-Ledger in August that Kreimer virtually runs “sting” operations, waiting for people to offend him so he can sue. Kreimer, who tape records all his conversations, told the Star-Ledger that the lawsuits will continue, although he looks forward to one day being able to “close my law practice.” However, for now, he says, “Business is booming.”

New Frontiers in Perversion Mennonites, a famously patriarchal, closed-sect religion, often live in colonies such as the one in Bolivia founded by a group from Manitoba, Canada. At press time, eight men from the colony are on trial in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, for rapes of up to 130 women and girls from 2005 to 2009, allegedly instigated by Peter Weiber, 48, the colony’s veterinarian. Weiber supposedly converted a cow anesthetic into an aerosol sedative that he sprayed into the victims’ open bedroom windows at night, after which he and his co-defendants would enter and have their way with the victims. According to an August dispatch in Time magazine, the case is hampered by shamed victims’ reluctance to testify and by the behavior of the defendants, who have been “laughing” at witnesses, “jok(ing) with guards,” or “fall(ing) asleep” during the trial.