When deputies in Monroe County, Tenn., arrested a woman for theft in August, they learned that one of the items stolen was a 150-year-old Vatican-certified holy relic based on the Veil of Veronica (supposedly used to wipe Jesus' face before the crucifixion). The painting had been stolen from the closet of a trailer home on a back road in the Tennessee mountains, where a local named "Frosty," age 73, had kept it for 20 years with no idea of its significance.
Government in Action!
- Once hired, almost no federal employee ever leaves. Turnover is so slight that, among the typical causes for workers leaving, "death by natural causes" is more likely the reason than "fired for poor job performance." According to a July USA Today report, the federal rate of termination for poor performance is less than one-fifth the private sector's, and the annual retention rate for all federal employees was 99.4 percent (and for white collar and upper-income workers, more than 99.8 percent). Government defenders said the numbers reflect excellence in initial recruitment.
- In June, the Five Guys Burger and Fries restaurant in White Plains, N.Y., was robbed by five guys (well, actually, four guys and a woman). One of the guys worked at Five Guys. All five "guys" were arrested.
- Unclear on the Concept: In April, Robert Williams conscientiously completed his San Diego police officers' application, answering truthfully, he said, questions 172 (yes, he had had sexual contact with a child) and 175 (yes, he had "viewed or transacted" child pornography). Three weeks later, the police had not only rejected his application but arrested him. Williams' wife, Sunem, said the police department has "integrity" problems because "telling the truth during the hiring process brings prosecution. ..."
The Pervo-American Community
Beginning in 2002, a man was reported sidling up to women on crowded New York City subway trains and rubbing against them until he ejaculated. Police were unable to identify him but were concerned enough that they obtained an indictment - "naming" the suspect only as whoever's DNA it was who committed the subway crimes. In July 2011, they finally obtained a match, to Darnell Hardware, 26, who had been in the system repeatedly (drug and indecent-exposure charges) but not until July in offenses that obligated collection of DNA.
News of the Weird has reported on life-sized, anatomically correct dolls manufactured in fine detail with human features (e.g., the "Real Doll," as one brand is called), which are as different from the plastic inflatable dolls sold in adult stores as fine whiskey is to $2-a-bottle rotgut. An early progenitor of the exquisite dolls, according to new research by Briton Graeme Donald, was Adolf Hitler, who was worried that he was losing more soldiers to venereal disease than to battlefield injuries, and ordered his police chief, Heinrich Himmler, to oversee development of a meticulously made doll with blonde hair and blue eyes. (However, according to Donald, the project was stopped in 1942 and all the research lost in the Allies' bombing of Dresden, Germany.) Among those who had heard of Hitler's earlier interest, according to Donald, were the creators of what later became the Barbie doll.
In his signature performance art piece, John Jairo Villamil depicted both the excitement and danger of the city of Bogota, Colombia, by appearing on stage with a tightened garbage bag over his head and his feet in a bucket of water, holding a chain in one hand and a plant's leaf in the other. At a May show at Bogota's Universidad del Bosque, Villamil, 25, fussed with the tightened bag and soon collapsed to the floor, stirred a little, and then was motionless. The audience, likely having assumed that the collapse was part of the performance, did not immediately render assistance, and Villamil lost consciousness and died in a hospital five days later.