Chuck Shepherd

One of the Islamic State's first reforms in captured territory has been to require adult women to dress devoutly — including the face-covering burqa robe, which, in Western democracies famously presents security dilemmas because it hinders identification. Now, after two years of Islamic State occupation in Mosul, Iraq, the security problem has come full circle on ISIS itself. Dispatches from the town reported in September that ISIS has likely banned the burqa because it hinders identification of anti-ISIS insurgents who (female and male) wear burqas to sneak up on Islamic State officers.

Dead files

Barbara Murphy, 64, of Roy, Utah, is the most recent "dead" person battling the federal government to prove she is still alive — but seemingly getting nowhere. She said Social Security Administration bureaucrats, citing protocols, have been tight-lipped about her problem and remedies even though her bank account was frozen; Social Security was dunning her for two years' worth of Medicare premiums (since her 2014 "death"); and warning letters had been sent to banks and credit agencies. Nonetheless, Murphy told the Deseret News in August that, all in all, she feels pretty good despite being dead.

Least competent criminals

• Boyd Wiley, 47, was arrested in August when he walked into the Putnam County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office and, apparently in all seriousness, demanded that deputies return the 91 marijuana plants they had unearthed from a vacant lot in the town of Interlachen several days earlier. Until that moment, deputies did not know whose plants they were. Wiley was told that growing marijuana is illegal in Florida and was arrested.

• The most recent perp to realize that cops use Facebook is Mack Yearwood, 42, who ignored a relative's advice and uploaded his Citrus County, Fla., wanted poster for his Facebook profile picture, thus energizing deputies who, until then, had no leads on his whereabouts. He was caught a day later and faces a battery complaint and several open arrest warrants.

Supersize me

Texan Monica Riley, age 27 and weighing 700 pounds, is the most recent "supersized" woman to claim happiness in exhibiting herself seminude for "fans" (she claims 20,000) who watch online as morbidly obese people eat. She told the celebrity news site Barcroft Media in September that her 8,000 calories a day puts her on track to weigh 1,000 pounds soon, and that her loving boyfriend, Sid, 25 and a "feeder," is turned on by helping her. Sid, for instance, feeds Monica her special 3,500-calorie "shake" — through a funnel — and supposedly will eagerly become her caretaker when she eats herself into total immobility. ("Safe for Work" website: SSBBW Magazine)

DIY overkill

Police in Centralia, Wash., arrested a man for reckless burning in August when, trying to rid his apartment of roaches, he declined ordinary aerosol bug spray in favor of making a homemade flamethrower (the aerosol spray fired up by a lighter). He fled the apartment when he realized he might have taken things too far. Firefighters were called, but the damage was minimal.

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