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NEWS OF THE WEIRD

LEAD STORY

David Ostrom, 40, and his ex-wife, Bridgette Ostrom, 38, have been tussling over custody, visitation issues and property taxes for some time. A frustrated David, of Paola, Kansas, has come up with a unique way of settling their differences. He challenged his ex, of Harlan, Iowa, and her attorney, Matthew Hudson, to a trial by combat and asked the Iowa District Court in Shelby County to let them “resolve our disputes on the field of battle, legally,” the Des Moines Register reported. In court documents, Ostrom claims such a trial “has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States.”

Ostrom also asked for 12 weeks to secure some Japanese samurai swords. Hudson, for his part, argued that the fight could end in a death, and “such ramifications likely outweigh those of property tax and custody issues.” As of press, the court had not ruled on the motions. [Des Moines Register, 1/14/2020]

CONTINUING CRISIS

In Mexico City, Mexico, on any given day, 22 of the 467 escalators at subway stations are broken down, reports the Associated Press, and on January 14 Metro authorities published a list of causes, including “corrosion due to urine” among the top five. Fermin Ramirez, assistant manager for rails and facilities, said he’s concluded that riders urinate on the escalators in off-peak hours or at lightly used stations—“even though it seems hard to believe.” “When we open up escalators for maintenance, there is always urine,” Ramirez noted. Twitter users pushed back, noting that there are no restroom facilities in most Metro stations. The Mexico City subway provides 1.6 billion rides per year— the eighth largest in the world by some measures. [Associated Press, 1/15/2020]

LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS

Bibb County (Georgia) jail inmate Mary Beth Odum, 40, asked for and received a special Christmas card from a friend this year: a greeting filled with methamphetamine and Suboxone from Timothy Lee Snow, 40, according to authorities. The Associated Press reports deputies intercepted the card and began investigating Snow, detaining him on January 9. On his person they found meth, Xanax and a revolver. In his home, deputies found more meth, Suboxone, marijuana, steroids, packing materials, a shotgun and a rifle. He was charged with possession and intent to distribute the drugs, along with giving an inmate drugs. Odom also faces charges of attempt to commit offenses pertaining to the possession of drugs. [Associated Press, 1/13/2020]

Storm Corral, 40, and a possible accomplice went to a lot of trouble to enter the Cigarettes Cheaper store in Sonora, California, on December 22, according to police. They bored a hole in the ceiling, gaining access from a vacant building above the business, which probably took a couple of hours, Sonora Police Chief Turu VanderWiel told Fox40. When Corral tripped an alarm inside the store, he tried to escape back up through the hole but ended up falling through the ceiling into a storage room, all of which was caught on surveillance video. For all his effort, Corral came away with just a bag of rolling tobacco and two energy drinks, said an employee of the business, but he caused thousands of dollars worth of damage. Corral, who was already on probation, was charged with burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime. Police are still looking for his suspected accomplice. [Fox40, 1/12/2020]

 

 

CAN YOU BLAME HER?

Shawna Joseph, 28, of Jersey City, New Jersey, lost her cool on January 7 at the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in Bayonne. Asked to leave around 2 p.m. after becoming angry over the length of the lines, authorities said she returned later that afternoon and unleashed her wrath, smashing computers, assaulting workers and kicking the police officers called to arrest her. The Associated Press reported that Joseph eventually was responsible for about $23,000 in damages, according to authorities, and after she was arrested, she was found to have a PCP-laced marijuana cigarette in her possession; she was charged with criminal mischief, drug possession, aggravated assault and hindering apprehension. [Associated Press, 1/8/2020]

PASSING PARADE

KTVX reported a man in Sandy, Utah, mistakenly assumed his local 24 Hour Fitness was open … 24 hours. Dan Hill went to the gym late on January 11 and finished his session with laps in the pool after midnight. When he emerged, he realized everyone was gone and the doors were locked. “Doesn’t the name suggest that they stay open 24 hours?” Hill complained on Facebook. He called his wife, who suggested he “find a comfortable place to sleep.” Instead, he called police dispatch “and the guy pauses for like 10 seconds and says, ‘You’re where?’” Hill said. He explained that he didn’t want to risk tripping the alarm system and “get busted for breaking and entering,” so police responded and freed Hill from his unexpected prison. A manager from the gym apologized in a statement and said, “We made the decision recently to close select clubs in the overnight hours. . . . We clearly did not do a good job of our closing procedures for this club on Saturday night.” [KTVX, 1/14/2020]

AWESOME!

During the Tokyo Olympics this summer, athletes will sleep on beds made of cardboard, a nod toward sustainability in keeping with Tokyo’s commitment to a “green” Olympics. Which all sounded admirable until Australian basketball player Andrew Bogut pointed out a potential problem: “Great gesture . . . until the athletes finish their events and the 1,000s of condoms handed out all over the village are put to use.” In response, Airweave, the manufacturer of the beds, told AFP the beds will hold up to 440 pounds and have been through rigorous stress tests. “As long as they stick to just two people in the bed, they should be strong enough to support the load,” the company said. [AFP, 1/10/2020]

FETISHES

On Christmas Eve, a man in Bradenton, Florida, woke up to find an intruder in his room. It wasn’t Santa Claus; the victim was awakened by a man sucking on his toes. According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the victim demanded to know what the man was doing and the suspect simply responded he “was there to suck toes.” In the ensuing fight, deputies said the suspect claimed to have a gun, but the victim managed to force him out of the home, where the thwarted toe-sucker smashed a window in the home and destroyed the windshield of the victim’s car before leaving. The Bradenton Herald reported officers were unable to locate the suspect using a K9, so they took DNA samples from the man’s toes, and the incident is still under investigation. [Bradenton Herald, 1/3/2020]

IRONY

The Daily Hive reported on January 15 that an event scheduled for that day at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver was postponed because of snow. Why is this weird? The event was a campus-wide snowball fight set to take place at 12:30 p.m. The university reasoned that traffic problems and canceled classes would make it more difficult for students to participate. The school rescheduled the snowball fight for the next day. [Daily Hive, 1/15/2020]

CHUTZPAH

Journalist Vladimir Mkrtchyan, 41, of Moscow, Russia, came across a painting he made when he was just 6 years old and decided he ought to sell it, Oddity Central reported. It soon got a lot of attention after he posted it January 13 on the Russian classifieds site Avito with an asking a price of 140 million rubles ($2.3 million). Mkrtchyan defended the price, telling Russian media the painting, titled “Red Army Man on Horse,” reflects the realities of the Soviet era through the eyes of a child. “I put all my soul and all my childhood delight into it. As you know, the artist’s hand is guided by God, which means He liked it so much. … The price … is extremely low for such an artwork,” he gushed. [Oddity Central, 1/16/2020]

BRIGHT IDEA

Firefighters in Las Vegas discovered what they say is an illegal, homemade gas station in a backyard on January 7. The setup comprised two yellow tanks in the corner of a walled yard and a gas pump nozzle on the end of a hose long enough to reach from the backyard to the curb out front, the Associated Press reported, for “possible curbside fill-ups.” “This is not only illegal in the city,” Las Vegas Fire and Rescue wrote on social media, “it is a hazard to neighbors (and) first responders who may respond there for an emergency, like a fire.” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police are investigating and believe it is part of a scheme to purchase gasoline with stolen credit cards and stash the fuel in storage containers at private homes. [Associated Press, 1/9/2020]

WAIT, WHAT?

Finally. Lizard owners who want to dress like their reptilian pets have a source for trendy looks: Fashion Brand Company of Los Angeles has been making clothes for lizards for a while, but now you can MATCH your bearded dragon. The current collection, according to OK Whatever, includes velvet jumpsuits and Western fringe jackets that come with a tiny white cowboy hat. The clothes are handmade and go for up to $125 — and that doesn’t include whatever you order for yourself. Founder Penelope Gazin says the ideas “come to me in my dreams,” adding that lizards need clothes because “their bodies are disgusting and should be covered up.” (Gazin doesn’t own a lizard herself; “I dislike lizards,” she admits.) [OK Whatever, 1/8/2020]

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, 910tix.com. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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