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News of the Weird

10/23/2013

The bar is always open

A 61-year-old Texas man who was admitted to a hospital appearing to be falling-down-drunk, despite denying having had even a single drink, was discovered to be unintentionally manufacturing beer in his stomach. With “auto-brewery syndrome,” stomach-based yeast automatically ferments all starches (even vegetables or grains) passing through, converting them into ethanol. Normally, natural stomach bacteria control the yeast, but if, for example, antibiotics had inadvertently eliminated the bacteria, the yeast would prevail. The case was reported in a recent International Journal of Clinical Medicine.

                 

Government in action

Update: As several additional states debate permitting marijuana use by a doctor’s prescription, Irvin Rosenfeld presented his own experience in August to a packed house at Kentucky’s state capitol. Rosenfeld suffers from painful bone tumors (diagnosed, with a poor prognosis, in 1963) and began smoking dope in the federal government’s Compassionate Investigational Drug program in 1982. Since then he has consumed 130,000 government-supplied joints (12 per day, carefully measured), which he said absolutely had prolonged his life. “I didn’t ask for my bone disease,” he said. “All I asked for is the best medicine possible.” …

While Congress struggled recently to pass a budget or an increase to the national debt limit, one program made it through rather easily, according to a September New York Times report on farm subsidies for inactive “farmers.” The subsidies were renewed, based on a 2008 law, virtually assuring that more than 18,000 in-name-only farmers (who received $24 million last year) will not be cut off. Included, according to a 2012 Government Accountability Office report, were recipients at 2,300 “farms” that had not grown a single crop in five years (including 622 without a crop in 10 years).

 

Close enough for government work

The security contractor USIS, which does $2.45 billion worth of background checks for the National Security Agency and other departments (and had cleared file-leaker Edward Snowden and the Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis), gets paid only for completed files. However, full background checks often require months of work, and at some point, reported The New York Times in September, when USIS needed cash, it would “flush” still-open files, treating them as completed, and submit them for payment — as happened with the files of Snowden and Alexis. In both cases, reported the Times, subsequent, crucial information failed to make it into the flushed files.

 

Names in the news

(1) In separate incidents of suspected thefts in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in January (all within about a month), police arrested John Lennon Ribeiro Siqueira, John Lennon Fonseca Ferreira and John Lennon Camargos Gomes. (2) Convicted for drug possession in May in Rockland County, N.Y.: Mr. Genghis Khan, 23. (3) Charged with carjacking in July in Hilo, Hawaii: Mr. Alkapone Cruz-Bailes, 19. (4) Mr. Beezow Doo-doo Zoppitybop-bop-bop, featured in News of the Weird after his December 2011 drug arrest in Madison, Wis., was arrested in August on drug charges in Washington County, Iowa.

 

Indecent art

Steven Cohen, eager to make a point that his country of residence, France, is more oppressive to artists than his native South Africa, staged a one-man demonstration at the Eiffel Tower in September. Wearing a bird outfit, tights and a garter, he had for some reason tethered a live chicken to his exposed penis with a long ribbon. After Cohen was arrested for indecent exposure, his lawyer complained that her client had been kept in custody too long for such a minor charge. “France,” she exclaimed, “is throwing artists in prison.”

                 

Police report

(1) Abbott Griffin, 57, was arrested in Toledo, Ohio, in August and charged with robbing a Circle K convenience store, during which he had allegedly grabbed the clerk and bashed him repeatedly with a Bible. (2) One resident of a shelter in Seattle was charged in August with assaulting another in a dispute over TV-set volume, using a tub of butter-substitute. (3) Ms. Honesty Keener, 37, was convicted in Gloucester County, N.J., in August of a 2011 break-in during which she demanded money from the female resident under threat of rubbing her open sores over the resident’s skin.

                 

People different from us

 (1) Deborah Cipriani, 55, of North Ridgefield, Ohio, runs from her home America’s only rescue center for skunks, and naturally, she told London’s Daily Mail in October, some of her companions like to sleep with her in bed (which is reportedly fine with partner Kevin). (2) Diane Westcott and her husband (also named Kevin), of Layton, Utah, have four cats and a dog, but since 2003 also at least one goose, who of course also sleeps with her. “Gladys” wears diapers because, as Diane explained (with understatement), it is “not possible” to potty train a goose. CV

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