NEWS OF THE WEIRD

By on November 3, 2015

Is It Really a “Problem” If 99 Percent Wish They Had It?

Among those struggling with psychological issues in modern America are the rich “one-percenters” (especially the mega-rich “one-percent of one-percenters”), according to counselors specializing in assuaging guilt and moderating class hatred. London’s The Guardian, reporting from New York, found three such counselors, including two who barely stopped short of comparing the plight of the rich-rich with the struggles of “people of color” or out-of-closet gays. Sample worries: isolation (so few rich-rich); stress, caused by political hubbub over “inequality”; and insecurity (is my “friend” really just a friend of my money?).

Can’t Possibly Be True

Stories surface regularly about a hospital patient declared dead but who then revives briefly before once again dying. However, Tammy Cleveland’s recent lawsuit against doctors and DeGraff Memorial Hospital near Buffalo, New York, reveals an incident more startling. She alleges that her late husband Michael displayed multiple signs of life (breathing, eyes open, legs kicking, attempted hugs, struggles against the tube in his throat) for nearly two hours, but with two doctors all the while assuring her that he was gone. (The coroner came and went twice, concluding that calling him had been premature.) The lawsuit alleges that only upon the fourth examination did the doctor exclaim, “My God, he has a pulse!” Michael Cleveland died shortly after that—of a punctured lung from CPR following his initial heart attack—an injury for which he could have been treated.

The Continuing Crisis

For an October report, Vice Media located the half-dozen most-dedicated collectors of those AOL giveaway CDs from the Internet’s dial-up years (“50 Hours Free!”). Sparky Haufle wrote a definitive AOL-CD collector’s guide; Lydia Sloan Cline has 4,000 unique disks; Bustam Halim at one point had 20,000 total, before weeding to 3,000. (The AOL connoisseurs file disks by color, by the hundreds of packaging styles, by number of free hours, and especially by the co-brands—the rare pearls, like AOL’s deals with Frisbee and Spider Man. Their collections, said both Halim and Brian Larkin, are simply “beautiful.”

  • In 20th-century Chicago, according to legend, one did not have to be among the living to vote on election day, and a 2013 policy of the city’s community colleges has seemingly extended rights of the dead—to receive unearned degrees. City Colleges of Chicago, aiming to increase graduation numbers, has awarded a slew of posthumous degrees to former students who died with at least three-fourths of the necessary credits to graduate. (The policy also now automatically awards degrees by “reverse transfer” of credits to students who went on to four-year colleges, where they added enough credits, hypothetically, to meet City Colleges’ standards.)

People Different From Us

It would be exhaustive to chronicle the many ways that the woman born Carolyn Clay, 82, of Chattooga County, Georgia, is different from us. For starters, she was once arrested for stripping nude to protest a quixotic issue before the city council in Rome, Georgia; for another, her driver’s license identifies her as Ms. Serpentfoot Serpentfoot. In October, she filed to change that name—to one with 69 words, 68 hyphens, an ellipsis and the infinity sign. One judge has already turned her down on the ground that she cannot recite the name (though she promised to shorten it on legal papers to “Nofoot Allfoot Serpentfoot”).

Thanks This Week to Elaine Weiss, Gerald Sacks, Ivan Katz, Chuck Hamilton, Ruth Sewell, and Kathryn Wood, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisers.

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