Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact

This Modern World: Wingnut Perspectives


News of the Weird – Cecil Speaks

Filed under: News
Tags: ,



> by Chuck Shepherd

 Cecil Speaks

The distress across the Western world in July over the big-game killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe was apparently misdirected, according to veteran “animal communicator” Karen Anderson of Elk, Washington, who told Facebook and Internet visitors ( that Cecil and she had discussed his demise and that he was over it. Also, Cecil apparently speaks in formal, graceful English, as Anderson quoted him (according to London’s The Independent): “Let not the actions of these few men defeat us,” said Cecil, “or allow darkness to enter our hearts.” “I am,” he added, “grander than before as no one can take our purity, our truth or our soul.” (Anderson’s usual fee to speak with deceased pets is $75 for 15 minutes, but she did not disclose whether she had a client for Cecil’s tab.)



— In May, three Santa Ana, California, police officers who had just raided the unlicensed Sky High Holistic medical marijuana dispensary were caught on the facility’s surveillance video eating supposedly seized cannabis-infused chocolate bars, and an “internal affairs” investigation was opened. However, in August, the Orange County Register reported that the cops went to court to have the video suppressed. Their familiar legal argument is that the video violates their right to privacy — in that they had purposely disabled the cameras before they began munching the contraband and thus had the requisite “expectation of privacy” that triggers the right. (Possibly, they had missed a camera.)
— The mother of three children in Grandview, Missouri, suspected that Dameion McBride, 22, had sexually molested her two daughters (ages 4 and 8) and son (age 3), but McBride indignantly denied it, claiming that he is a child-abuse survivor himself, and booked himself on the national “Steve Wilkos” TV show in May to take a lie detector test to clear his name. However, he failed the test as to each child and was subsequently arrested. (The Associated Press reported that McBride insisted on a police lie detector test — and failed that, too.)


The Continuing Crisis

On Aug. 1, one of the world’s weirdest border disputes came to an end, as India and Bangladesh exchanged more than 160 “enclaves” — sovereign territory completely surrounded by the other country’s sovereign territory (in principle, making travel out of the enclaves impossible unless the enclave had an embassy or another office that issues visas). In fact, there was one Indian enclave (Dahala Khagrabari) completely within a Bangladeshi enclave that is completely inside an Indian enclave inside Bangladesh.


The Litigious Society

— The estate of Dr. Rajan Verma filed a lawsuit in July against the Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo, New York, after Dr. Verma fell to his death following a concert when he lost his balance sliding down the banister. The estate claims that there must have been a sticky substance on the railing. The estate’s lawyers said that since alcohol was served at the concert, the promoters should have known to take extra safety precautions for banister-riders.
— Who gets badly hurt playing musical chairs? Robin Earnest, 46, told an Arkansas claims hearing that she broke two fingers and was forced into “years” of surgery and physical therapy over a game that was part of a class at the College of the Ouachitas in 2011 and demanded at least $75,000 from the state. The July hearing was dominated by a discussion of the proper way to play musical chairs because the instructor had ordered three students to contest one chair — with Earnest asserting that everyone knows it would be two chairs for three people.


News That Sounds Like a Joke

— “Green-fingered residents” can show off their hard work each year at the Quedgeley Show in Gloucestershire, England, entering arrangements of colorful, plump garden-grown vegetables. However, attendance has been off in recent years, reported the Western Daily Press, leaving the show’s future in doubt — until organizers announced that this year, to increase the number of entries, supermarket-bought vegetables could be submitted.
— “Number Two, Turn to the Right and Growl”: Magistrates in Ceredigion, Wales, fined Edward Davies the equivalent of about $1,130 in June, finding that it was his dog that bit a teenage girl last October, sending her to a hospital with swelling and bruising. Aberystwyth authorities had set up a formal police lineup of dogs from the neighborhood, and the girl had made a positive ID of Davies’ dog as the perp.


Least Competent Criminals

Judge Roger Barto, of Waterloo (New York) Village Court, was convicted in August of staging a fake assault on himself to convince doctors to prescribe him pain medication. Officers arriving at the scene found Barto lying on the ground with a shattered porcelain toilet tank lid nearby from (he said) being smacked on the head by a mugger. However, doctors found an apparent flaw in Barto’s ruse: He had forgotten to actually hurt himself during the “attack” — as medical personnel had found no mark, cut or bruise anywhere on him.


Recurring Themes

— Once again during a police raid of a suspected drug house (this time, in Wood River, Illinois, in July), with cops swarming the home and yard, confiscating evidence and arresting occupants, officers had to stop briefly from time to time to answer the front door (10 times during a 90-minute period) — as the dealer’s regular (oblivious) customers continually arrived to buy more heroin.
— In the face of a declining military budget, the Defense Ministry of the Netherlands issued confidential instructions to commanders in July that during training exercises, to preserve dwindling ammunition, soldiers should simply shout “Bang, Bang!” instead of firing their weapons. Said a soldiers’ advocate, “Even if you have no bullets, you (still) have to train with your weapon.”
— Thinning the Herd: (1) When two men who had been drinking in the apartment of Brandon Thomas, 30, in Conyers, Georgia, on July 23 wanted to leave, Mr. Thomas objected. “If y’all are going to drink my alcohol, y’all are going to play my game,” he said, announcing that his “game” was Russian roulette. Minutes later, after spinning the revolver’s cylinder, Mr. Thomas lost the game. (2) Three days later in rural Bell County, Kentucky, John Brock, 60, asked the Lord once again to certify his righteousness by allowing him to safely handle a rattlesnake during services at Mossy Simpson Pentecostal Church. However exemplary Mr. Brock’s faith had been previously, on that day, apparently, it was found wanting, and he is no longer with us.


The Aristocrats!

(1) Wallace Berg, 81, was charged with public indecency in Stratford, Connecticut, in July after a neighbor showed police a video he had made of Berg, naked and (according to an Associated Press report) “performing a sex act with some shrubbery.” (2) “Where the sun don’t shine” is now a standard hiding place for contraband, including for Matthew Smith, 36, arrested in Greendale, Indiana, in July. After he drew attention with a long restroom session at a Shell station, police confronted him about the white powder on his nose, and Smith sheepishly handed over the minutes-ago-removed pills and cocaine — but he had also extracted, inexplicably, a fishing bobber, a screwdriver and an “open tire plug kit.”


News of the Weird Classic (April 2010)

Louis Woodcock, 23, testified at his Toronto trial in March (2010) that he was not involved in the 2005 shooting of a woman, despite being seen on surveillance video approaching the woman with his hand inside his jacket until gunshots rang out. He said his hand was not on a gun but that he often kept his hand inside his jacket to keep from sucking his thumb, which is a habit he picked up in childhood and which did not go over well on the street. (The jury, apparently not seeing him as the thumb-sucking type, convicted him of manslaughter.)


Thanks This Week to Dan Bohlen, Dan Wasserman, Bryce Jackson, and Charles Smaistrla, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

(Read more weird news at; send items to, and P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679.)

Photo Gallery: Best of Buffalo Awards Party

Best of Buffalo 2015  (19 of 27)

Photos by Julie C. Foser from the 2015 Best of Buffalo Awards party, held this past Monday, May 18th. See more Julie’s work at her website,

Congratulations again to all our winners! If you missed this year’s results, you can find them on the Best of Buffalo home page.

Best of Buffalo 2015 Winners List


Miss our annual Best of Buffalo party at the Town Ballroom on Monday night? Find your 2015 Best of Buffalo winners here! A big thank you all who came out to the party, to our nominees who brought food to sample and entertained the crowds, and of course, thanks again to the thousands of you that participated in this year’s poll.

We’ll have a final wrap-up of Best of Buffalo 2015 on Thursday, in this week’s upcoming issue. If you’d like to review all the nominees, or take a look at the nominees and winners from prior years in the archives, visit the Best of Buffalo home page for more.

Dining Out

Bagel Jay’s


Fat Bob’s Smokehouse

Charlie the Butcher


Grover’s Bar & Grill

Amy’s Place

Mike Andrzejewski

Public Espresso + Coffee

Joe’s Deli

Dessert Deli

Lake Effect Diner

Paula’s Donuts

Papa Jake’s Saloon

Lloyd Taco Truck

Rocco’s Wood Fired Pizza

Kostas Family Restaurant


Taj Grill

Chef’s Restaurant

Trattoria Aroma

Cantina Loco

Mezza Restaurant & Lounge

(716) Food and Sport

Pearl Street Grill & Brewery

La Nova

Jim’s Steakout

The Liberty Hound

Globe Market

Spar’s European Sausage Shop


Gigi’s Restaurant

Globe Market

Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More

Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More

Jim’s Steak Out



Sun Restaurant


Duff’s Famous Wings

Shops & Services

Her Story Boutique

Miss Josie’s Antiques

Five Points Bakery

Tony’s Hair Styling


Talking Leaves…Books

Federal Meats

West Herr

Lesniak Chiropractic

Watson’s Chocolates of Distinction

Excuria Salon and Spa

Western New York Dental Group

Hayes Seafood House

Maureen’s Buffalo Wholesale Flower Market


Dr. James Panzarella

Everything Elmwood

Premier Wine & Spirits

Chez Ann Salon & Day Spa

Terrapin Station

Erie County Medical Center

Mansion on Delaware

Wild Things

Cradle Beach Camp

Premier Wine & Spirits

Resurgence Brewing Company

Explore Buffalo

Blue Collar Buffalo

Modern Nostalgia

CrossFit 716

Master Chong’s World Class Tae Kwon Do

Excuria Salon & Spa

American Harley-Davidson of North Tonawanda

Allentown Music

Artemis Tattoo Studio

Dr. John T. Hammersmith

Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market

Delaware Pediatrics Associates

Safety First Nail Spa

Pawprints By Penny & Co. LLC


Markarian Rugs

Butter Block


Nardin Academy

Lexington Co-Op

Hunt Real Estate

Phatman Boardshop

Campus WheelWorks

Hand Of Doom Tattoo

Second Chic

East Meets West Yoga, LLC


Tim Britt

Jony James

JoAnn Falletta

DJ Charles Masters

90 West

Christina Custode

Paul Athoe

Custode and Parisi

Lew Custode

Paul Athoe

Jim Candytree

Parade Chic


Whiskey Reverb

Super Killer Robots

Shawn Duchscherer

Buffalo Choral Arts Society


Sidelines Sports Bar and Grill

Tom Mistretta

Blue Monk


Blue Monk

Buffalo Proper

Blue Monk

The Old Pink

Club Marcella

Century Grill

The Old Pink

The Irishman

Macky’s Essex St. Pub

Macky’s Essex St. Pub

Town Ballroom

Macky’s Essex St. Pub

Buffalo Proper


(716) Food and Sport


Buffalo Proper


The Fine Arts

Mistress J Kiss

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Lehrer Dance

Alicia Blasi

Taylor Burts

Katie Gariepy

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Benjamin Brindise

North Park Theater

Buffalo Museum of Science


A.J. Fries

Luke Copping

Benjamin Brindise

Shark Girl

Heather “MamaRag” Stack

M&T Bank

Matt Lorentz

People and Places

Bills Fan Thunder

Ride for Roswell

The Old Pink


Letchworth State Park

Rob Gronkowski


Charles Pellien


Donn Esmonde

Shredd and Ragan

West Side Rowing Club

Don Paul


Downtown Stadium


SPoT Coffee


The People

The Buffalo School Board


West Side

Massachusetts Avenue Project

Sabres tanking

5th Annual Operation One-Ton Food Drive by Terror Tech

Terry Pegula

Downtown stadium

The Best of Buffalo 2015 Polls Are Now Open!

bobheader2015blogIt’s that time of year again folks – the polls for Artvoice’s annual Best of Buffalo reader’s poll are now open!

Here’s how it works: Visit and sign up for your unique ballot access code. Cast votes in at least 25 categories (there’s 180 to choose from!) Topics include our favorite People, Places, Arts, Music, Nightlife, Shopping and Dining.

You do not need to fill out your ballot in one sitting; you may re-visit your ballot at any time during the polling period to add or change any responses. When the polls close on Tuesday, April 14th we’ll begin the process of tallying the results.

The polls are entirely free-form, so it’s completely up to you, the readers, to decide who this year’s nominees will be. Our only rules are one ballot per person and keep your responses local! Only votes for local people, places, and establishments will be considered. No national chains!

This Modern World: 2014 Year in Review

This is the second part of a two part series. In case you missed it last week, you can find part one here!


This Modern World: 2014 Year in Review

This is Part one of a two part series. Check back next Thursday for Part Two! TMW2014-12-24colorLARGE

This Modern World: Tortured Logic


Older Posts »