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News of the odd and strange with Chuck Shepherd

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One-man Arsenal

According to the flabbergasted sheriff of rural Chesterfield County, South Carolina, “This has completely changed our definition of (what constitutes) an ‘ass-load’ of guns.” Brent Nicholson, 51, had been storing more than 7,000 firearms (most of them likely stolen) in his home and a storage building on his property. Every room of the house was stacked with weapons, and it took four tractor-trailer trips to haul everything away, with help of 100 law-enforcement officers. Nicholson also had 500 chainsaws, at least 250 taxidermied deer, elk, and alligator heads, and more. No motive was obvious to deputies. (Nicholson would still be living in the shadows today if he hadn’t run that stop sign on Oct. 21 with bogus license plates on his truck.)

Police Report

— The Human Fanny Pack: Brandon Wilson, 26, was arrested in November in Cedar Rapids, Iowa — his second bust of 2015 in which a substantial number of crack cocaine “baggies” were found in his rectum. Fifty-one were recovered this time (counting the ones with marijuana), down from the 109 discovered in his February arrest. Police in November also found $1,700 cash on him (but just in his pocket).

Leading Economic Indicators

— Following the release of Apple’s yearly financials in October (and based on sales of its iPhone 6), the company announced that, apart from other assets, it was sitting on $206 billion in cash — about like owning the entire gross domestic product of Venezuela, but all in cash. Another way of expressing it: Using only its cash, Apple could buy every single NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL team, plus the 20 most valuable international soccer teams — and still have plenty left. Or, as the BGR.com blog also pointed out, it could instead simply give every man, woman and child in America $646 (coincidentally, about what a new iPhone 6 sells for).

— Even if Armageddon doesn’t happen, the CEO of the massive online retailer Overstock.com believes there is a “10 to 20 percent” chance of a world financial meltdown in the next few years, and he is arranging to be back in business in the aftermath. Patrick Byrnes told the New York Post in November he has stashed away enough food in a well-fortified facility in Utah’s Granite Mountain to serve his 2,000 employees for “30 to 60 days,” along with several thousand other emergency preparations and $10 million in gold. But, he insisted, he’s not a gun-toting “prepper”; the plan is only about tiding employees over until the Internet and banking systems are back up and running.

The Continuing Crisis

— In November in Harare, Zimbabwe, Mison Sere, 42, was judged winner of the 4th annual “Mister Ugly” contest after showcasing his seemingly random dental arrangement (some teeth there, some not) and “wide range of grotesque facial expressions,” according to an Associated Press dispatch. However, many in the crowd thought their favorite was even uglier and threatened to riot. “I am naturally ugly,” said a jealous (former winner) William Masvinu; “He (Sere) is ugly only when he opens his mouth.”

— Cool Moms? (1) Jennifer Terry, 44, was charged with driving her daughter and several other minors around Riverdale, Utah, in August to facilitate their tossing eggs at 10 to 20 homes. Some damage was reported, but so far, Terry is the only one charged. (2) Mandy Wells, 32, told police that she thought “for a minute” that it was a bad idea, “but did it anyway” — she invited 10 kids (aged 12 to 14) to her home for a party and served beer and marijuana. Wells, of Springtown, Texas, said her daughter, 14, smokes marijuana because the girl (go figure!) suffers from depression.

Wait, What?

Kuala Lumpur International Airport took out ads in two Malaysian daily newspapers in December to find the owners of three Boeing 747-200Fs parked there for months (one for at least a year) and threatening to auction them off in 14 days if not claimed. Two are white, and one is “off-white” (if the reader is checking his inventory). The planes’ last listed owner said it sold them in 2008.

Updates

— Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky, 31, has devoted his career to getting on the government’s nerves and succeeded once again in November. (News of the Weird last mentioned him in 2013 when he nailed his scrotum to the floor in Moscow’s Red Square to protest police oppression.) In his latest event, he set fire to the front door of the headquarters of Russia’s security service (the FSB, formerly KGB) and has been detained — though from his cell, he demanded his charge of “vandalism” be changed to “terrorism.” A member of the Russian band Pussy Riot called the door fire “the most important work of contemporary art of recent years.” Pavlensky once sewed his lips together protesting arrests of Pussy Riot.

A News of the Weird Classic (January 2011)

Parents of the 450 pupils (aged 3-11) at Applecroft primary school in Welwyn Garden City, England, were given individualized yearbooks recently (2010) with all the children’s faces obscured by black bars over the eyes (except for photos of the recipient’s own children, which had no obstructions). The precautions (described by one parent as “creepy,” like kids were “prisoners”) were ordered by headmistress Vicky Parsley, who feared that clear photos of children would inevitably wind up in child pornography. The year before, Parsley had prohibited parents from taking photographs during school plays — of their kids or any others — for the same fear.

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