It's the Co-Bain, Co-Bain Ka-blam-a
The farthest place from Al-a-bam-a

Church of Kurt Cobain
Founded In Portland
by Chuck Shepherd
source: The Oregonian

May 29, 1996

The "Reverend" Jim Dillon started the Church of Kurt Cobain in Portland, Oregon, honoring the late singer-songwriter and challenging "parishioners," MTV, and rock radio stations to fight drug abuse and suicide. Dillon said his sermons are based on Nirvana songs; for example, "Rape Me" ("Rape me," "Waste me," "I'll kick your open sores") is actually about brotherly love, he said.

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Cobain Church Story A Hoax
by Cliff Walker
sources: Willamette Week
and the Oregonian

The above story, originating from the Portland Oregonian, was later revealed to be a hoax. A contest held by a local radio station offered a prize to anyone who could get the Oregonian to print a story that wasn't true.

The Oregonian editors proved much more stupid than any Oregonians had already suspected when they led with the story on the front page, using a full banner headline, that is, one that extends across the entire width of the front page.

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First Presleyterian
Church of Elvis the Divine
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Independence Examiner, AP

April 27, 1996

Mort Farndu and Karl Edwards, who founded the First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine in 1988, posted the King's 31 Commandments at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, as part of the school's Elvis Week.

Among the Church's tenets: Eat six meals a day, face Las Vegas once a day, make a pilgrimage to Graceland, and fight the anti-Elvis, Michael Jackson.

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Amish Man Jailed:
Won't Honor
Secular Divorce
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Columbia Daily Tribune

May 17, 1996

The Columbia Daily Tribune (Missouri) reported in May on Curryville, Missouri, Amish farmer Noah Schwartz, whom his wife divorced outside the faith in 1983 but who refuses to acknowledge that she is no longer his wife.

While waiting for her to return, Schwartz files income taxes as "married, filing separately."

He was in jail at the time of the interview because he refuses to pay child support.

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Latest Dysfunctional Family

A Family of Molesting Preachers
by Chuck Shepherd
source: AP

May 25, 1996

The Tennessee Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Hixson, Tennessee, Baptist preacher Don McCary, who had been sentenced to 72 years in prison for 13 sex offenses against four teenage boys.

His twin brother, Ron, had been serving time with him at the prison in Pikeville, Tennessee, for raping a 6-year-old boy.

Their older brother, Richard, a former pastor, is still wanted by authorities after pleading guilty to molesting four boys in the 1980s.

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Impregnation Rider Offered

Insurance Coverage Against
Alien Abduction Available
by Chuck Shepherd
sources: Seattle Times, Reuters

August 25, 1996

The London insurance brokerage Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson announced in August it would begin to offer policies to cover people worried about alien abduction. A premium of about $155 a year would pay off about $160,000 to an abductee (provided the abductor was not from Earth) and double that if the insured is impregnated during the abduction. Since alien powers are unknown, men can purchase the impregnation rider, also.

Said Goodfellow director Simon Burgess, "I personally would not buy [this] policy."

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Bottom of the Gene Pool

"Lottery Doctor"
Ordered to Pay Restitution
by Chuck Shepherd

June, 1996

The New Jersey Divison of Consumer Affairs ordered Harold P. Weingold to provide $500,000 in restitution to customers who knew him as the "lottery doctor." During 1992 and 1993, Weingold somehow persuaded 2,000 people to buy an average of $250 worth of good-luck key chains and baubles, and "cosmic protectors" that were merely solar-powered calculators, to guarantee them a "93 per cent" chance of winning lotteries.

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Hitler Baptized L.D.S.
by Jerry Billings

June, 1996

It has been reported that those whacky Mormons have, by a post-mortem church ritual, baptized Adolf Hitler into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The baptism of Chancellor Hitler was performed at the London, L.D.S. Temple on December 10, 1993. He was then "sealed" to Eva Braun at the Los Angeles L.D.S. Temple on June 19, 1994. This means that Mr. Hitler and Miss Braun will be united in one of the Mormon heavens for eternity -- like it or not!

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Help Wanted

Superstition Keeps
Hangman Position Unfilled
by Chuck Shepherd

June, 1996

The government of Zimbabwe announced that it was pessimistic that it could fill the vacant position of hangman after the resignation of Tommy Griffiths, 72, an Englishman who had held the part-time post since the 1950s.

Though dozens of men are on death row, no local person will take the job because of a national superstition about taking someone's life without personal motive.

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Zoo Adds
Homo Sapiens Couple
To Primate Exhibit
by Chuck Shepherd

August, 1996

The Copenhagen (Denmark) Zoo added an exhibit to its primate collection, amidst the baboons and chimpanzees: a Homo sapiens couple who will go about their daily business in a Plexiglas-walled natural habitat consisting of kitchen, living room, bedroom, and workshop, as well as a computer, television, telephone, stereo, and fax machine.

Said a Zoo official, "We are all ... monkeys in a way, but some people find that hard to accept."

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Kneecaps Stolen:
Magic Helps Thieves
by Chuck Shepherd
source: The Independent

August 7, 1995

The city of Bacolod in the Philippines endured a rash of cemetery thefts during the summer, as a gang of thieves dug up graves to steal corpses' kneecaps, which are thought by some Filipinos to have magical properties.

The kneecaps were ground into powder and burned outside homes in order to put residents to sleep so they would be easy targets for the gang's burglaries.

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As Always, 'It Can
Help You Quit Smoking'!

'Laughing Yoga'
Becomes Popular
by Chuck Shepherd

September, 1996

The Wall Street Journal reported that about 100 "laughing clubs" had sprung up in India in the last year based on the philosophy of Dr. Madan Kataria, who says the ancient yoga breathing and laughing exercises can help people shed inhibitions, build self-confidence, stop smoking, alleviate high blood pressure and arthritis, and stop migraine headaches.

After conventional stretching, adherents engage in silent laughs, out-loud laughs with their lips closed, and the roaring "Bombay laugh." Dr. Kataria worries only that some day, the government might try to tax laughter.

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Move It,
Say Practitioners

Chiang Kai-shek Corpse
Angers Feng-Shui Spirits
by Chuck Shepherd

August, 1996

According to a dispatch by Britain's Guardian News Service, the family of Chiang Kai-shek (the Chinese ruler who was chased out by the communists, to Taiwan, in 1949 and who died in 1975) is growing weary of the "temporary" storage of his skeleton in Taiwan, where it has been kept in preparation for its triumphant return to the mainland upon the fall of the communist government.

According to practitioners of the art of feng-shui, the spirits are upset that the skeleton is kept in a box in the living room of the family estate instead of being buried in China.

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'Harassment
of the Dead'

Electric Bill Delinquent;
Marcos' Crypt Cut Off
by Chuck Shepherd

February, 1997

The electric co-op in the Philippine province of Illocos Norte shut off power to the refrigerated crypt of former president Ferdinand Marcos because his wife, now a member of the legislature, is about $215,000 behind in the electricity bill.

The government will not permit Marcos to be buried in Manila because he was suspected of having appropriating billions of dollars during his 20-year reign that ended in 1986.

Shutting off power, said Mrs. Marcos, was "the ultimate harassment, the harassment of the dead."

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But -- She's
-- Uh -- Dead!

Theft Of Remains
Stiffles Marriage Plans
by Chuck Shepherd
sources: Knoxville News-Sentinel, AP

November, 1993

In Las Vegas, Nevada, thieves broke into the car of James Ross and Maryo Griffin just before they were to be married, and stole, among other things, a cardboard box containing the ashes of Ross's first wife, Judy. Ross and Griffin had planned to scatter the ashes in the Grand Canyon, then marry in Las Vegas, thus dramatizing for Griffin the end of Ross's first marriage.

Said Griffin, "They got Judy. I don't see how we can be married until we get Judy taken care of."

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But Norm --
She's Dead!

Life Imitates
the Bates Motel
by Chuck Shepherd

January, 1997

In an eight-day period in towns less than 100 miles apart (Bakersfield and Fresno, California), police found the corpses of elderly mothers that continued to be treated as integral parts of the family by their adult sons.

The Bakersfield woman, who died at age 77 around September, was thought by her son to be merely "demonically depressed" and therefore liable to wake up at any minute and thus had been propped up on the sofa.

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Lived Like Paupers

Eccentric Church Treasurer
Had Plenty Money
by Chuck Shepherd

September, 1996

In East Orange, Vermont, Christie's auction house sold almost $2 million worth of automobiles (including 33 Stutz Bearcats) that belonged to eccentrics A.K. Miller, who died at 87 a few years ago, and his wife Imogene, who died in 1996.

The couple left millions more in gold and silver and other valuables but lived like paupers, sometimes eating dog food or bread made of flour they had swept off the floor, sometimes shopping at yard sales, sometimes dressing in rags. As treasurer of his church, Mr. Miller had once refused to accept a small increase in electricity rates and converted the entire church to kerosene lamps. The Millers paid property taxes but no other ones, and the federal and state governments are now claiming $8.2 million.

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'Plague of Divorce' Cited

Jewish Mistress
Service Closes
by Chuck Shepherd

January, 1997

The Brooklyn, New York, organization Shalom Bayis ("Household Peace" in Hebrew) closed down its 24-hour mistress hotline after an unfavorable New York Daily News story.

A Shalom Bayis spokesman said the hotline's purpose was to place its 40 volunteer mistresses with unsatisfied husbands in order to stop the "plague of divorce" menacing Jewish couples.

Although Shalom Bayis claimed to take no fee for its services, it did admit that after the Daily News story, most of the hotline callers were single men and happily married men who just wanted sex.

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Absolutely No Comment:

Years Later, Blinded Victim
Reads Bible To Kidnapper
by Chuck Shepherd

September, 1996

The Miami Herald reported that David McAllister, 77 and blind, a nursing-home invalid in North Miami Beach, Florida, receives daily visits from Chris Carrier, 32, who reads to McAllister from the Bible.

Their only previous relationship occurred during a few days in December 1974, when McAllister kidnapped young Carrier at a bus stop and left him for dead in the Everglades with cigarette burns on his body, icepick holes in one eye, and a gunshot wound that left him blind in the other eye.

Said Carrier, "I don't stare at my ... potential murderer. I stare at a man, very old, very alone and scared."

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And While We're on the Subject,
And While We're on the Subject,
And While We're on the Subject,
How's Your Ol' Wazoo?

  

Hello,
You Freak!

Weird Etymology
Inspires New Greeting
by Conrad Goeringer (AANEWS)
with Cliff Walker

January 19, 1997

Is there any aspect of life that religious zealots are content to leave untouched? Probably not. Even the local community argot is target for concern and experimentation, at least in the community of Kingsville, Texas. Last week, Kleberg County commissioners voted unanimously for a resolution urging the use of heaven-o instead of hello in greetings.

We're serious!!

And we didn't get this item from the Weekly World News.

The idea for this wretched intrusion of religious correctness came from a local flea market operator who, according to CNN, thought it "sinister" that the root of the word hello was Hell, as in the Christian Hell alleged to await atheists and a wide variety of less-evil non-Christians. "He [Leonso Canales] has led a three-year campaign to get the county to remove the offensive word," says Cable News Network. A local county judge said that everyone in town was "a little apprehensive," but mused: "I suppose it's like everything else, once you get adjusted to it, you might start using it."

And we suppose that once you become fully awakened to the absolute absurdity of this shortsighted and thus patently bigoted move, you might start going out of your way to rebel against the practice in whatever creative ways you see fit.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (Compact Edition), "Hello" has nothing to do with the Christian Hell, but instead is a variation of Hallo, which in turn stems from hollo. Another variant is Halloo. The OED described these terms of yore as being cries made to attract the attention of a ferryman; more generally, "a shout or exclamation to call attention." The term Hell has an entirely different history of derivation: none of the derivative forms of the common or proper noun used to describe the folkloric abode of not-really-dead non-Christians have anything to do with greeting other people, soliciting the services of a ferryman.

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