British director Missouri Williams brought an adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear" to the London Courtyard art facility in August for a one-week run, centered on a human actor struggling to stage the play using only sheep. The pivotal character, Lear's daughter Cordelia, famously withholds flattering Lear (thus forgoing inheriting the kingdom), and her silence forever tortures Lear — and of course silence is something sheep pull off well. Actor Alasdair Saksena admitted there is an "element of unpredictability with the sheep," but lauded their punctuality, calmness and lack of fee demands. Williams promised another Courtyard run for "King Lear With Sheep" in the fall.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va., has an award-winning "telework" program allowing patent examiners flexible schedules, leading half of the 8,300 to work at home full-time — despite a 2014 Washington Post report on employees gaming the system. In August, the agency's inspector general exposed several of the most ridiculous cases of slacking off, including one examiner who was paid for at least 18 weeks' work last year that he did not perform and that his manager did not notice. (The examiner, who had been issued nine poor-performance warnings since 2012 and who had flaunted his carefree "workday" to co-workers for years, abruptly resigned two hours before a meeting on the charge and thus left with a "clean" personnel record.) Wrote the Post, "It's a startling example of a culture that's maddening."
Highly committed people
Impersonating a police officer in a traffic stop is not uncommon, but Logan Shaulis, 19, was apparently so judgment-impaired on May 30 that he set up his own elaborate "DUI checkpoint" on Route 601 near Somerset, Pa., complete with road flares, demanding "license, registration and insurance" from driver after driver. The irony of the inebriated Shaulis judging motorists' sobriety was short-lived, as real troopers soon arrived and arrested him (for drunken driving, among other charges).
New Hampshire blues
Sexual assault is certainly punishable in New Hampshire by prison time, but pending legislation assumes prison is not enough. By House Bill 212, anyone who commits sexual assault while out hunting or fishing will also have his or her hunting or fishing license revoked.
Adventures in turtle sex
(1) A female Yangtze giant softshell turtle, believed to be the last female of her species, was artificially inseminated in May at Suzhou Zoo in China through the efforts of animal fertility experts from around the world. She is thought to be more than 100 years old (as was the last male to "romance" her, although their courtship produced only unfertilized eggs). (2) The Times of London reported in July that Briton Pamela Horner, seeking her "escaped" tortoise Boris (even though, as they say, he couldn't have gone far), found "tortoise porn" on YouTube (mostly, mating sounds) to play in the yard and lure him back. A tortoise expert told the Times: "They make quite a lot of noise. We can hear them groaning for miles."
Late one night in July, police in Phoenix were chasing a speeding truck whose driver eventually lost control and careened into a house near Mulberry Drive. As officers were checking for victims (it turned out no one was home), they discovered a large quantity of suspected marijuana — and opened an investigation of the unlucky residents.
Shane Peters' cherished 2004 Dodge Durango broke down in Livingston, Texas, in June, but before he could return to tow it, a thief hauled it away. About a month later, Peters' wife spotted the familiar Durango in town and with the help of police got it back — with (courtesy of the thief) a newly repaired driveshaft and three new wheels (and the thief's drug supply, but police seized that).
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