Chinese media reported in November that Xiao Senwen, of the southern province of Guangdong, had applied to register the name of NBA superstar Yao Ming as a trademark for sanitary napkins and adult diapers. According to a trademark official, the application would almost certainly be denied if Yao were to object during the three-month public notification period, and members of Yao's business team promised that he would. Also in November, actor Andy Griffith filed a lawsuit demanding that a man in Platteville, Wisconsin, legally change his name back to William Harold Fenrick. The former Fenrick acknowledged that he'd taken the name Andy Griffith as a publicity stunt during his unsuccessful bid to get elected county sheriff but argued that he hadn't benefited from the change.
People With Worse Sex Lives Than Yours
Michael McPhail, 26, was arrested in Spanaway, Washington, in October after his wife told police she'd caught him having sex with the couple's four-year-old female pit bull (and allegedly provided cell-phone photos to back up her claim). McPhail is believed to be the first person charged under the state's new bestiality law, passed after a man died last year in Enumclaw while having sex with a horse. And in November a lawyer representing 20-year-old Bryan Hathaway of Superior, Wisconsin, moved to dismiss the bestiality charge against his client. Since the deer that Hathaway allegedly had sex with was dead at the time (he reportedly found it in a ditch) it did not qualify as an animal under state law, the motion argued: "The statute does not prohibit one from having sex with a carcass."
In 2002 Pennsylvania's department of corrections held a misconduct hearing and determined that Frank Williams of suburban Pittsburgh had violated parole by missing a Narcotics Anonymous meeting; he was returned to custody to complete his sentence for drug trafficking. This August the 48-year-old Williams filed a lawsuit against the department, claiming that (1) he missed the NA meeting only because while walking there he was shot in the liver, kidney, colon, and stomach (two men were later convicted of the shooting); (2) he was deprived of his right to attend the hearing because he never received notice of it, as he was comatose or otherwise unconscious at the time; and (3) his medical treatment suffered badly after authorities arrived at the hospital while he was still unable to walk, cuffed and shackled him, and took him back to prison.
In October the Wall Street Journal reported from Kantarat, an 18-hole golf course laid out between active runways at Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok. (Among the course rules: no photos, no weapons.) Also in October, the China Daily reported that Xiamen University, in Fujian Province, would soon require all students majoring in management, law, economics, and software engineering to take golf lessons.
News of the Weird has reported several times on a series of incidents in which a man has called the manager at a fast-food restaurant, identified himself as a police officer investigating an employee there, and convinced the manager to subject the employee to a strip search and other sexual humiliation while he listens in. Law enforcement officials long believed that the calls--more than 70 since 1995 in at least 32 states--were the work of one man. Finally last year David Stewart, a Florida prison guard, was charged with making a 2004 call to a McDonald's outside Louisville, Kentucky: the caller got the middle-aged assistant manager and her fiance (who didn't work there) to imprison an 18-year-old employee for nearly four hours and force her to strip naked, dance around, assume various poses, and ultimately perform oral sex. The manager was convicted for her role and the fiance accepted a plea bargain, but in October a jury acquitted Stewart; the employee's $200 million suit against the McDonald's Corporation is scheduled for trial in February.
Substandard Medical Care
Michael Rosin, formerly a dermatologist in Sarasota, Florida, was sentenced in October to 22 years in prison for repeatedly making false diagnoses of skin cancer and performing unnecessary surgery. Perhaps motivated in part by a Medicare payment system that linked reimbursement levels to the amount of tissue removed from the patient, the 56-year-old Rosin was at one point diagnosing as cancerous 100 percent of the biopsies he reviewed; an FBI investigation concluded that in some cases Rosin arrived at diagnoses of aggressive cancer after examining slides containing chewing gum or plastic foam in lieu of skin samples.
Alcohol: News of the Weird's Best Friend
In October 38-year-old Lloyd Kuykendall was charged with DUI after he drove up to a security checkpoint outside the Braidwood nuclear power plant in Bracerville, Illinois, and, apparently under the impression it was a tollbooth, tried to pay the guard and proceed through. Later in the month, 51-year-old Stanislaw Drobrzawski pulled up to the same checkpoint and tried to buy gas; he too was arrested for DUI.
Once Again Weird
"Political candidate dies but still wins election" and "Local election ends in tie, settled by coin flip" were both relegated to the No Longer Weird list years ago, but the case of Katherine Dunton is nonetheless worthy of note: Dunton, the incumbent in a school board race in Adak, Alaska, died on election day in October, finished in a tie with challenger Dona Highstone, and won the deciding coin toss three weeks later.
Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2006 Chuck Shepherd
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/ Shawn Belshwender.