WEIRD NEWS ROUNDUP! NO, NOT ABOUT TRUMP!!!!




1.  As nine states next month ask voters to approve some form of legalization of marijuana, a "new customer base" for the product -- pets -- was highlighted in an October New York Times report. Dogs and cats are struck with maladies similar to those that humans report in cannabis success stories: seizures, inflammation, anxiety, arthritis and other pain and subsequent social withdrawals. The "high"-producing THC element cannot be used because it is notoriously toxic to dogs, but other elements in the drug seem to work well not only for dogs and cats but, by anecdotal evidence, pigs, horses and domesticated wild animals. [New York Times, 10-8-2016]


2.   In September, Charles Lawrence III, 60, was sentenced to eight years in prison for attempted sexual assault despite his claim that it was just bad eyesight that caused the problem. He had arrived at a house in Fairfield, Connecticut, to have sex with a male he had met online, but the event turned out to be a "To Catch a Predator" sting. Lawrence, an accountant, claimed that, in text messages with the "boy," he had seen "18" as his age, when, according to police evidence, the text read "13." (Bonus: Lawrence knew "Predator" newsman Chris Hansen socially and commuted daily on the train with him, according to Lawrence's lawyer.) [Connecticut Post, 9-2- 2016]


3.   A 23-year-old woman on a bus in Istanbul, Turkey, was attacked by Abdullah Cakiroglu, 35, in September because, as he told police, he had become "aroused" by her wearing shorts. (Initially, he was not arrested, but after a protest on social media, police came to get him -- though for "inciting," not assault.) He told police, "I lost myself" because the woman had "disregarded the values of our country," and "my spiritual side took over, and I kicked her in the face." [The Independent (London), 9-22-2016]


4.  Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared Oct. 13 Oilfield Prayer Day to cap a statewide initiative of mass wishing for improved performance of the state's energy industry, which has been in the doldrums recently with the worldwide drop in oil prices. Though the initiative's founders, and the associated Oil Patch Chaplains, were largely Baptist church leaders, the governor emphasized that all religions should be praying for a more prosperous industry. [The Oklahoman, 10-1-2016]

5.  In September, a court in Paris upheld France's government ban on people smiling for their passport and identity photos. One official had challenged the required straightforward pose ("neutral," "mouth closed"), lamenting that the French should be encouraged to smile to overcome the perpetual "national depression" that supposedly permeates the country's psyche. [The Guardian (London), 9-29-2016]


6.  The War on Drugs: (1) In September, police in Thurmont, Maryland, announced the culmination of a two-month-long undercover drug operation at the Burger King with two arrests and a total seizure of 5 grams of marijuana and two morphine pills. (2) On Sept. 21, as part of a six-target raid using "military-type" helicopters by the Massachusetts State Police and the National Guard, drug warriors halted the criminal enterprise of Margaret Holcomb, 81, of Amherst, seizing the one and only marijuana plant in her yard that she had planned to harvest soon for relief of her arthritis and glaucoma. [Frederick News-Post, 9-28-2016] [Daily Hampshire Gazette, 9-30-2016]

7.  Couldn't Stop Myself: (1) Joshua Hunt, 31, was arrested in October inside St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he had gone to check on his 9-month-old son, who was being treated for an injury. Police said that while in the ward, he snatched another visitor's purse and took a cellphone and credit cards. (2) Brittany Carulli, 25, was arrested in Harrison Township, New Jersey, in October, charged with stealing a medic's wallet from inside an ambulance. The medic had allowed Carulli in the ambulance to grieve over her boyfriend's body after he was struck and killed by a car. [KJRH-TV (Tulsa), 10-6-2016] [WPVI-TV (Philadelphia), 10-3-2016]

8.  Compelling Explanation: Senate bill 1342, passed in the Idaho legislature earlier in 2016, authorizes schools to use the Bible as a reference in classrooms (despite the U.S. Supreme Court's having specifically condemned a previous version of the bill ever since 1964). The bill's sponsor, Rep. Sage Dixon, said he thought his law was nonetheless constitutional because, "The little Supreme Court in my head says this is OK." (Even so, Gov. C.L. Otter vetoed the bill.) [LoweringTheBar.net, 3-30-2016]

9.  Nebraska voters in November will be asked whether to keep the state's longstanding death penalty for murder -- even though retaining it will require them to vote "repeal." The legislature replaced death row last year with mandatory life sentences, and the referendum is to "repeal" or "retain" that legislation. Hence, to abolish the death penalty, voters must select "retain." The state attorney general, and election officials, declined to challenge the confusing arrangement, instead suggesting that Nebraskans are smart enough to figure the whole thing out. [Omaha World-Herald, 9-20-2016]

10  The Arizona legislature passed a child-molestation law recently that made any adult contact with children's genitals a criminal act, but unlike in other states' similar laws, neglected to include a requirement that the outlawed contact be for "sexual" purposes. Consequently, in principle, parents may be criminally liable, for example, for bathing a baby or changing its diaper. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in September that it is up to the legislature to change the law, but some lawmakers professed indifference, confident that district attorneys will use good judgment about whom to prosecute. [Slate, 9-16-2016]

NOTE: With shoutouts to Chuck Shpherd's "News of the Weird" a fabulous web site, by the way, for the odd, strange, and outrageous news your local newspaper won't tell you.  


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