xxxNews Of The Weirdxxx
Bizarre but true stories about real people collected by syndicated columnist Chuck Shepherd.
A family court judge in White Cloud, Mich., ruled in November for Kristin Hanslovsky, who in a child-custody dispute had tried to prevent her ex-husband, Jonathan Fowler (a member of the Native American Church of the Morning Star), from letting their 4-year-old son use peyote in ceremonies at the church. Fowler said the 4-year-old should decide for himself if he wanted to use peyote, which Fowler personally credited for helping overcome his own alcoholism and to “come into contact with God.”
The town of Recklingshausen, Germany (near Cologne), which operates a zoo, found out in November that it could not summarily fire its zookeeper, even though it had caught him barbecuing and eating seven of his animals (five Tibetan mountain chickens and two sheep from Cameroons). After a labor court hearing, the town was forced to comply with German law and give the zookeeper six months’ severance pay.
New York City criminal court judge Gerald Harris ruled in October that drug suspect Vincent Cooper’s rights were violated when a police officer pinched his cheeks, causing four bags of marijuana to fall out. The arresting officer had asked Cooper what he was doing in a notorious drug neighborhood, and when Cooper allegedly mumbled an answer, the officer attempted to clear Cooper’s mouth so he could understand him.
The Boston Globe profiled homeless philosopher Donald Keaney, 61, in December, describing his Walden-like existence in the woods near Brookline, Mass. Keaney lives under a plastic tarp, warmed by several heavy blankets, but the rest of his possessions consist of about 10 years’ worth of newspapers (New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Boston Globe and Boston Herald) that are methodically filed and sealed in plastic bags and strewn around the ground as if they were chairs and tables. Keaney, a political conservative, also attends protests, lectures and concerts, and, by the way, has long been the beneficiary of a trust fund which he has chosen so far to ignore. “Living in the woods, you can see life is very tragic,” he told the Globe. “I don’t know if I’m a misanthrope, but (people) have a lot of limitations.”
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Copyright © 2001 by Chuck Shepherd
NEWS OF THE WEIRD