While the morbidly obese struggle with their health (and society’s scorn), those who eroticize massive weight gain are capturing increased attention, according to a July ABC News report. Commercial and personal websites give full-bellied “gainers,” such as New Jerseyan Donna Simpson, and their admiring “feeders” the opportunity to express themselves. Simpson became a 602-pound media sensation in March, when she began offering pay-per-view video of herself to an audience of horny feeders. Wrote another gainer-blogger, “Lately, I’ve been infatuated with the physics of my belly ... how it moves with me.” When he leans to one side, he wrote, “I feel a roll form around my love handle.” One sex researcher called it a “metaphor of arousal.” In the end, though, as a medical school professor put it, “The fetish may be in our heads, but the plaque is going to be in (their) arteries.”
The Entrepreneurial Spirit!
The dating website BeautifulPeople.com, supposedly limiting its reach only to the attractive (though claiming 600,000 members worldwide), announced recently that it would sponsor a companion egg and sperm bank for its members to sell their essences for a fee. However, as managing director Greg Hodge told Newsweek in June, homely customers were welcome. “Initially, we hesitated to widen the offering to non-beautiful people. But everyone—including ugly people—would like to bring good-looking children into the world, and we can’t be selfish ....”
Life Imitates a Drew Barrymore Movie: Michelle Philpotts of Spalding, England, and her husband, Ian, and their two children have adjusted, since a car crash 20 years ago, to her anterograde amnesia, which, every day, robs her of short-term memory, forcing her to constantly re-learn her life. According to a June profile in London’s Daily Mail, that includes Ian’s convincing her that the stranger in her bed every morning is her husband, which he does by showing her their wedding photographs.
An April National Geographic TV special tracked “Silvano,” an Italian man for whom sleep is almost impossible. He has “fatal familial insomnia,” making him constantly exhausted, and doctors believe he will eventually fall into a fatal dementia. Only 40 families in the world are believed to carry the FFI gene.
Wild elephants recently rampaged through parts of Bangladesh, and according to the head of the country’s Wildlife Trust, those superintelligent animals “are quick to learn human strategies.” For example, he pointed to reports that elephants (protecting their migration corridors) routinely swipe torches from hunters and hurl them not randomly but directly at the hunters’ homes. Recent research on the “cat virus” (toxoplasma gondii) acknowledges that, to be viable, the virus must be passed in rodent feces but can only be hosted in a cat’s stomach—and thus that the “toxo” somehow tricks the rodents to overcome their natural fear of cats and instead, amazingly, to entice cats to eat them. Scientists are now studying whether, when human dopamine goes haywire, such as with schizophrenia, a toxoplasma-gondii-type phenomenon is at work.
In May, Jim Janson, a 20-year veteran “carny” (who ran the games of chance at Canada’s traveling Bill Lynch Shows), graduated from the law school at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has set out on his new calling. Downgrade Cut Short: Eduardo Arrocha, whom News of the Weird mentioned in 2008 when he was “Eak the Geek,” the “Pain-Proof Man” at New York’s Coney Island Sideshow (eating light bulbs, putting his tongue in a mousetrap), completed his first-year studies at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan but decided not to return and said he would concentrate on publishing his poetry.
Least Competent Criminals
Questionable Judgments: Austin, Texas, police issued an arrest warrant in June for Jose Romero, who they say robbed a Speedy Stop clerk after demanding money and menacingly pointing to his waistband, which held a caulking gun. Steven Kyle took about $75,000 worth of merchandise from Cline Custom Jewelers in Edmonds, Wash., in June, but as he left the store, employees shouted to passers-by, several of whom began to chase Kyle. Almost immediately, Kyle dropped his gun and the jewelry and fell to the ground exhausted. (Kyle later revealed that he had only one lung.)
Armed and Clumsy (all new!)
Men Who Accidentally Shot Themselves Recently: Robert Stewart, 55, a police academy instructor, during class (Liberty Township, Ohio, April). Lazaro Flores, 50, practicing quick-draw at his girlfriend’s house (Cape Coral, Fla., January). Michael Webb, 22, showing friends how to disarm a gunman (Camp Lejeune, N.C., February).
Michael Randall Jr., 19, outside a convenience store, preparing to rob it (Athens, Ga., December). Vincent Medina, 19, waistband-as-holster mismanagement (hit in the groin) (Fontana, Calif., June). Brandon Boyce, 24, waistband-as-holster mismanagement (hit in the groin) (Omaha, Neb., July).
Illustrations by Tom Briscoe. Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, Fla. 33679 or visit www.newsoftheweird.com.