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10/5/2006

Columns > News of the Weird

NEWS OF THE WEIRD

 

Wedding crashers

Adam Sutton’s elaborate plan to propose to Erika Brussee in July on a small chartered plane near Rome, Ga., didn’t work out, as the engine stalled and the plane crashed (causing minor injuries) near their friends on the ground who were holding up signs with the actual proposal question for Brussee.

Mark Papkey’s elaborate plan to propose to Holly Barnes in June on a hot air balloon near Boston didn’t work out, as the balloon drifted into wilderness, fuel ran out, and they and the pilot were forced to spend the night in the woods before being rescued.

And in Wichita, Kan., in September, Kandi Blakney went to the courthouse for her wedding, but when a clerk pulled up her marriage license, two outstanding arrest warrants also came up, and she was jailed, in her wedding dress.

Angry Management

Executive chef George Llorens, 60, was arrested in Bridgeport, Conn., in July, accused of punching a colleague in the face because the appetizers she made were cold. And Jeffrey Cullen, 58, was arrested in August for firing several gunshots at Kingman, Ariz., firefighters when they told him that they weren’t permitted to rescue his cat from a tree.

winking at danger

In an August segment on WWLP-TV (Springfield, Mass.), police chief Anthony Scott of Holyoke, Mass., described the extent of a recent domestic fight in which Ms. Yesenia Ortiz retaliated against alleged aggressor Victor Cruz: “She grabbed another knife and stabbed him in the winky.” (Cruz was arrested and taken to a hospital for treatment of his winky.)

The art of cruelty

An August Los Angeles exhibition by photographer Jill Greenberg featured 27 2- and 3-year-old kids crying, scenes that Greenberg provoked by offering each one a lollipop and then snatching it away. She admitted that the photos were “upsetting” but denied critics’ accusations of child abuse.

Performance artist Kira O’Reilly’s August show in Penzance, England, Inthewrong-placeness, consisted of a naked woman cradling a dead pig for four hours at a time. O’Reilly explained, on her website: “The work left me with an undercurrent of pigginess (and) unexpected fantasies of mergence and interspecies metamorphoses began to flicker into my consciousness.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called the performance merely “sick.”

Monkey for nothing

In September, following diners’ complaints, the health department in Springfield, Mo., notified restaurants that Debby Rose’s “assistance monkey” could not be permitted to dine with her (in a high chair), even though Rose said she suffers from a disabling social phobia that she can accommodate only if “Richard” (a bonnet macaque monkey) is with her.

Monkeys are generally permitted under the Americans with Disabilities Act if they perform certain tasks; for instance, capuchin monkeys have been trained to fetch groceries from shelves for wheelchair-using patrons. However, animals that provide only emotional support fall into a gray area, according to a U.S. Justice Department spokesperson quoted by the Springfield News-Leader.

Up in smoke

Fire crews arriving at a burning house on 99th Street in Portland, Ore., on July 26 must have suspected that something was up, because nervous residents of the home were ferrying buckets of water to the fire themselves, having already implored neighbors not to call firefighters. Police later found marijuana plants growing in the basement and took three people into custody.

Ugly americans

One Hindu family sued another in Springfield, Mass., in July over an arranged marriage after the bride-to-be presented herself to the groom’s family for the first time and was judged too ugly. Vijai V. Pandey and his wife claimed they were “extremely shocked” at the woman’s “protruded bad teeth” and bad complexion, among other deficiencies.

A spokesman for an American Hindu organization tried to downplay skepticism over arranged marriages, telling the Springfield Republican newspaper that he had seen “very handsome men who are happy with somewhat homely women.”

for quality assurance

Pennsylvania inmate Donta Thomas was re-arrested in August and charged with operating a drug ring on the outside, carried out via the Fayette County prison’s pay phones. According to police, Thomas routinely gave explicit instructions to his accomplices over the phone despite an automated message on each call that the conversation was being recorded. According to a spokesman for the state attorney general, Thomas, speaking, would pause so as not to have to talk over the recording, but then afterward resume planning his deals.

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