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Continued: News of the Weird

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • Last update: September 12, 2007 - 4:21 PM

• In June, addiction experts at an American Medical Association meeting discussed whether to consider "video game addiction" as a distinct mental illness (ultimately deciding to await further study), but one month later, in Reno, Nev., a couple in their early 20s were arrested and charged with abusing their two toddlers by ignoring them for long stretches of time while playing the game Dungeons & Dragons. According to prosecutors, Michael and Iana Straw had plenty of food in their house, but both babies were found severely malnourished and ill in a home marked by squalor except for the expensive computer equipment that occupied the couple nearly all their waking moments.

• Prolific fetishists: Maeyasu Kawamura, 60, indicted in Osaka, Japan, in June (8,000 stolen pieces of women's clothing); Shigeo Kodama, 54, arrested in Hiroshima in February (3,977 panties, 355 bras); a 27-year-old man, accused by police in Waukesha, Wis., in May (1,500 pairs of teenage girls' shoes); Chih Hsien Wu, 43, charged in Fort Collins, Colo., in May (1,300 undergarments belonging to Colorado State University women); Garth Flaherty, 24, charged in Pullman, Wash., in March (1,500 women's undergarments, weighing 93 pounds); Kevin Parrett, 51, sentenced in Faulkton, S.D., in May (800 women's undergarments); Dan Trompke, 37, sentenced in Kearney, Neb., in August (more than 500 women's undergarments).

Recurring themes

Some environmental groups continue to slight the environment when establishing exhibits to increase environmental awareness. The town council of Stoke-on-Trent, England, approved plans in July for a 21-foot-tall metal-sculpted tree to highlight the virtues of its public nature park, but first, 20 real trees would have to be cleared away, and then, to prevent injuries in the darkness, 38 powerful lights would illuminate the structure. And in August, organizers of an environmental awareness festival on Magic Island near Honolulu proposed that the city relocate about 15 shade trees to accommodate the brief surge of visitors expected, leaving, according to a civic group, a "hot, shadeless area" uncomfortable for future parkgoers.

If not for alcohol, could News of the Weird exist?

(1) Alexander Ocampo, 27, was arrested in Hilton Head Island, S.C., in July for DUI and for continuing to drive on even after his car had briefly spun out of control, oblivious of the fact that his passenger had been ejected through his open window. (The passenger survived, but with serious injuries.) (2) WKMG-TV reported in August the arrest of a man in Orlando "suspected" of drunken driving and who was pursued by police until he decided to get out and run for it. When police overtook him, he was still clutching a Corona beer from the 12-pack in the front seat of his car.

Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679 or or go to

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