News of the Weird  - 4Apr97
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 97 17:21:00 -0700
Subject: News of the Weird  - 4Apr97
Excerpted-from: WEIRDNUZ.478 (News of the Weird, April 4, 1997)
by Chuck Shepherd
* In February, the electric co-op in the Philippine province of Illocos
Norte shut off power to the refrigerated crypt of former president Ferdinand
Marcos because his wife, now a member of the legislature, is about $215,000
behind in the electricity bill. The government will not permit Marcos to
be buried in Manila because he was suspected of having appropriating
billions of dollars during his 20-year reign that ented in 1986. Shutting
off power, said Mrs. Marcos, was "the ultimate harassment, the harassment
of the dead."
* Each December for four months, the Ice Hotel residential igloo opens in
the Lapland region of Sweden, housing about 40 people at about $130 a night
for a double room, and with a bar, restaurant, conference facilities, and
a bridal suite. Room temperatures range from 27-45 degrees F, and sleeping
bags are used, cushioned by spruce boughs and reindeer skins.
* According to a trade association of prostitutes in Harare, Zimbabwe,
massive layoffs in the economy have led to an oversupply of women taking up
prostitution and a reduction in men's spending power, causing them either
to ignore prostitutes or to visit bars only to drink and flirt before going
home to the wife. To save their jobs, the association recommended in
January that prostitutes raise their price from about $2.80 to about $4.60
but also requested that wives loosen the pursestrings to allow husbands to
spend more when they go out.
* The Associated Press reported in February on the Time Machine lounge in
Tokyo, and the "relief room" at the Yamanakako resort, in which stressed-out
workers pay from about $80 to $125 for a few minutes of satisfaction by
smashing fake ceramic antiques in a museum-like sitting room. Often, say
the proprietors, the names of tyrannical bosses or unfaithful spouses will
be yelled out as the destruction takes place.
* A February Associated Press story described how two mid-career, Berkeley,
Calif., professionals (nurse Raphaela Pope, 52, and lawyer Sam Louie, 36)
became prosperous telepathic "pet psychics." Pope charges $40 per half-hour
by telephone, which sometimes includes talking directly to the pet. Said
one of her customers, "I learned [from Pope] that Scarlette [the cat]
thought I didn't want her around. Scarlette changed immediately after
talking [sic] to Raphaela, and we're happy again."
* Six nurses at a government health care for the disabled facility in
Barrie, Ontario, were fired in December for disobeying new countywide rules
that required them to provide sexual assistance to their patients (e.g.,
helping them masturbate, positioning couples for sex, assisting to put on
a condom). In January, the agency said it would reconsider the rules, but
the women remain jobless and have filed a lawsuit.
* According to an October Chicago Tribune report, Illinois and most other
states interpret the federal "motor voter" law to require mental health
agencies to help all clients register and vote in national elections, even
those with mental ages down to 5 or 6. The only ones who cannot vote are
clients formally declared by a court to be mentally incompetent (about half
of Illinois agencies' clients). One woman in the Tribune story, now
qualified to vote, took 20 minutes to write her first name at the
registration desk; another was registered despite the fact that his only
communication ability seemed to be to repeat the last words he hears.
Relatives fear the clients will be ridiculed at the polls and that agencies'
personnel, while "assisting" them to vote, will simply complete the ballots
as they wish.
* In November, attempting to influence an Arlington, Va., jury to give him
a light sentence for 20 counts of credit card fraud, Oludare Ogunde, 28, at
first asked for mercy but then said the jury should keep him out of prison
because if he were locked up, he would just teach other inmates--the
"hardened criminals"--how to commit credit card fraud. "And," he reminded
the jury, "we're trying to prevent crime in America."
Copyright 1997 by Universal Press Syndicate.
© 1997 Peter Langston