Weirdness  - 28Nov97
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 97 17:14:15 -0800
Subject: Weirdness  - 28Nov97
Excerpted-from: WEIRDNUZ.512 (News of the Weird, November 28, 1997)
by Chuck Shepherd
* London's Daily Telegraph reported in October that a Catholic
Church-supported teaching program for schools in Ireland and Northern
Ireland has suggested eliminating references to "daddy" and "mummy" in
lesson plans, for fear of confusing or offending kids ages 4 and 5 who are
not raised in traditional homes.
* At a September meeting of Christian Coalition leaders in Atlanta, founder
Pat Robertson said the religious group should raise its political intensity
by looking to the notorious machine politics of Chicago and New York's
Tammany Hall as models and that it would be God who would personally select
the Republican best suited to advance the Coalition's agenda in the next
Presidential campaign. Robertson had begun his remarks by noting that he
assumed he was talking only "in the family" and that if any members of the
press were present, "would you please shoot yourself?" (The speech was
recorded without his permission and leaked to the press.)
* Catholic priest Donald Kocher , 61, testifying at a deposition in August
in a Chicago-area lawsuit against him and his diocese for sexual abuse of
parishioners, admitted that he had had sex with as many as a dozen women
over a 20-year period. However, he added, "I've always seen [the affairs]
as morally wrong, and I've always tried to bring them to a conclusion as
quickly as I could."
* In September in New York City, federal judge Lewis A. Kaplan disregarded
sentencing guidelines and sent Orthodox Jew Solomon Sprei to prison for only
18 months for insurance fraud (versus three to four years, as prescribed).
Kaplan cited Sprei's three marriageable-age daughters, who by law of his
Bobov Hasidim must rely on their father to find husbands for them. Kaplan
declared that the happiness of at least two of them would be crucially
delayed if Sprei were imprisoned for the recommended time.
* Lancaster (Va.) High School marching band director Robert T. Spiers was
detained and handcuffed at a parade in Warsaw, Va., in October after he
twice ignored Sheriff Gene Sydnor's demand that he speed up his marchers.
Sydnor said he was concerned that the gap in front of the Lancaster band
was growing so large that people might think the parade was over. Spiers
was released about 15 minutes later, and the Lancaster band eventually won
* According to psychologists at Portsmouth University in England, the
two-tone sirens and flashing blue lights of British police cars seriously
impair the judgment of officers by the time they arrive at a crime scene.
Dr. Aldert Vrij, who led a recent study, told the Daily Telegraph in October
that officers subsequently tended to underestimate the danger they face and
tended to become sluggish and reluctant to fire their weapons.
* In July, Max, a 400-pound western lowland gorilla housed in the
Johannesburg (South Africa) Zoo, captured a fleeing burglary suspect, Isaac
Mofokeng, 29, who unwisely tried a short-cut through the ape compound. In
the process, Mofokeng fired two gunshots, hitting Max in the jaw and
shoulder, but he mended quickly. Among Max's subsequent awards: honorary
constable of the local police precinct, Newsmaker of the Year by the
Johannesburg Press Club, and spokesbeast for Lemombo-brand bananas (fee: a
Copyright 1997 by Universal Press Syndicate.
© 1997 Peter Langston