Friends for Rent | News of the Weird | Salt Lake City Weekly

Friends for Rent 

Animals with affordable health care, an indecent epidemic, strange smugglers and more.

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Three weeks ago, News of the Weird touted the "genderless," extraterrestrial-appearing Hollywood makeup artist known as Vinny Ohh, but then Marcela Iglesias announced (following a leaked TV clip) that she had formed an agency for would-be celebrities who had radically transformed their bodies, and that Vinny is now a client. Iglesias' Plastics of Hollywood has human "Ken" dolls Rodrigo Alves and Justin Jedlica, the Argentine "elf" Luis Padron, Jessica Rabbit look-alike Pixee Fox and seven others who, Iglesias figures, have collectively spent almost $3 million on surgery and procedures (some of which are ongoing). Padron, 25, seems the most ambitious, having endured, among other procedures, painful, "medically unapproved" treatments to change his eye color.

Recurring Themes
Richard Patterson, 65, is the most recent defendant to choose, as a trial strategy, to show the jury his penis. A Broward County, Fla., court was trying him in the choking death of his girlfriend. Patterson called the death accidental, as it occurred during oral sex, and there was conflicting medical opinion on whether that could have proved fatal. Patterson's lawyer said his standby position was to show a mold of the penis, but insisted that a live demonstration would be more effective. Update: The judge disallowed the showing, but in May the jury found Patterson not guilty anyway.

• In rare cases, mothers have given birth for the principal purpose of "harvesting" a baby's cells, ultimately to benefit another family member with a condition or illness that the cells would aid. However, Keri Young of Oklahoma gave birth in April for a different purpose. After learning while pregnant that her baby would not long survive after birth because of anencephaly, she nonetheless carried it to term—just to harvest organs for unspecified people who might need them, though the grieving Keri and husband Royce admit that some might judge their motive harshly.

• In some parts of traditional Japanese society, it's not uncommon for someone to feel the need to rent friends. For example, relatives at a funeral bear the grief better if they realize the many friends the deceased had. Or, a working man or woman might rent a sweetheart just to help deflect parental pressure to marry. In northern China, in April, a man was arrested for renting family and friends to populate his side of the aisle at his wedding. Apparently, there were conflicts plaguing each family, and police were investigating, but the groom surely worsened the plan by not coaching the actors on his personal details, thus making interfamily small-talk especially awkward.

Our Litigious Society
David Waugaman, 57, fell off a barstool last year and needed surgery. Of course, he is suing the tavern at Ziggy's Hotel in Youngwood, Pa., for continuing to serve him before he fell. He wrote, "You're not supposed to feed people so much booze."

• Robert Bratton filed a lawsuit recently in Columbia, Mo., against the Hershey chocolate company because there was too much empty space in his grocery-store box of Reese's Pieces, which he thought was "deceptive," even though the correct number of Pieces was printed on the label. In May, federal judge Nanette Laughrey ruled that Bratton's case could continue for the jury to decide.

Latest From Offended Classes
Some minority students' organizations, commenting on the planned extensive renovation of the University of Michigan's student union building, recommended ditching the current interior's elegant wood paneling—because it gives off an "imposing, masculine" feeling that makes them seem "marginalized." A spokesperson for the students, attempting to soothe the controversy, said the marginalization was more based on the building's "quiet nature."

• In Australia, Chanel's just-introduced luxury wood-and-resin boomerang, selling for the equivalent of about $1,415, came under fire from aboriginal groups for "cultural appropriation." Meanwhile, Hermès had been selling its own luxury boomerang since 2013.

Animals With Affordable Health Care
In April, the annual report of the Association of British Insurers on its members' policies for pet owners noted that among the claims paid were those for a bearded dragon with an abscess, an anorexic Burmese python, a cocker spaniel that swallowed a turkey baster, a cockatoo with respiratory problems and even a "lethargic" house cat (which nonetheless cost the equivalent of $470 to treat).

Legal "Experts" Everywhere!
American "sovereigns" litter courtrooms with their self-indulgent misreadings of history and the Constitution—misreadings that, coincidentally, happen to favor them with free passes on arrests and tax-paying—but now, the U.K.'s Exeter Crown Court has experienced Mark Angell, 41, who said in May that he simply could not step into the courtroom dock to state a plea concerning possession of cannabis because he would thus be "submitting" to "maritime law," which he could not legally do on dry land. Judge: "Don't talk nonsense. Get in the dock." Angell was ordered to trial. Before leaving, he gave the judge a bill for his detention: the equivalent of $2.5 million.

When God Calls
In March, Zimbabwean pastor Paul Sanyangore of Victory World International Ministries was captured on video during a sermon telephoning God. Clutching a phone to his ear, he yelled, "Hello, is this heaven? I have a woman here; what do you have to say about her?" Her two children—one epileptic, the other asthmatic—are then confusingly described by "heaven" as being "changed," and Paul ended the call to resounding cheers from the congregation.

More of the World's Third-Oldest Crime (Smuggling)
In the latest awesome drug-mule haul of gold into South Korea, where it fetches higher prices than in neighboring countries, 51 people were arrested in May for bringing in, over a two-year period, a cumulative 2 tons, worth $99 million, by hiding it in body parts befitting their biological sex.

• Customs officials in Abdali, Kuwait, apprehended a pigeon in May with 178 ketamine pills inside a fabric pocket attached to its back.

Almost an Epidemic
Men suffering compulsive public masturbation recently: In the midst of evening rush hour in the New York-New Jersey Lincoln Tunnel, Ismael Esquilin, 48, stopped his minivan and engaged (May 11). 2. In downtown Portland, Ore., Terry Andreassen was arrested engaging "vigorously" because he "hates Portland" and was charged with felony public indecency (May 3). 3. In Dunbar, W.Va., Tristan Tucker, 27, allegedly broke into a relative's home and stole security camera recordings of him engaging (April 23). 4. Vix Bodziak, 70, allegedly engaged at a McDonald's in Springfield, Mass. Bonus: Police found a paper-stuffed tube sock bulging underneath his pant leg (April 20).

The Classic Middle Name (all-new!)
Arrested Recently and Awaiting Trial for Murder: Boe Wayne Adams (Wichita, Kan., May); Jason Vann Wayne Godfrey (Sanford, N.C., August); Earl Wayne Humphries (Dallas, May); Michael Wayne Pennington Jr. (Tazewell, Va., May). Convicted of Murder: Anthony Wayne Davis (Elyria, Ohio, January); Jerry Wayne Merritt (Columbus, Ga., February). Pleaded No Contest to Murder: Nathan Wayne Scheiern (Glendale, Calif., April). Murder Conviction Appeal Denied: Derrick Wayne Murray (Birmingham, Ala., April). Convicted Murderer Seeking New Plea Deal: Robert Wayne Lonardo (Benton, Maine, May). Murderers No Longer With Us: Billy Wayne Cope (Rock Hill, S.C., February, died in prison); Marcel Wayne Williams (Varner, Ark., April, executed).

Thanks this week to Alan Magid, Chip Gorman and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

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