First-term U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida is already among the House’s most conservative members, but his Republican primary challenger claims to be even more so–but with a quixotic, longtime hobby as a costumed, role-playing “gamer.” Challenger Jake Rush (in his day job, a lawyer) portrays supernatural characters as a prominent member of the national Mind’s Eye Society and Florida’s Covenant of the Poisoned Absinthe, including a vampire named “Chazz Darling,” who, according to a Yahoo message board, once left an explicit, body-parts-bloodying threat to a role-player with whom he had been feuding. The Florida political report SaintPetersBlog broke the story–and was quickly criticized, less by Rush’s political defenders than by the indignant “cosplay” community, feeling mocked.
GOVERNMENT IN ACTION
A scandal erupted in 2013 at Minot (N.D.) Air Force Base when missile-launch specialists were charged with cheating on proficiency tests, but additional documents uncovered by the Associated Press in March 2014 show that the problem was worse than originally reported. The overall missile-launch program, run by “missileers,” was judged “substandard”–the equivalent of an F grade in school–and “rehabilitated” in the eyes of Air Force officers only because the 91st Missile Wing Command’s support staff (cooks, drivers, clerks, etc.) scored very high and brought the command’s overall performance to the equivalent of a D.
IN TAX WE TRUST
The tax software company Vertex reported in March, via the Tax Foundation, that tax-hating American states have somehow organized themselves into nearly 10,000 sales/use-tax jurisdictions with distinct rules, coverages or exemptions. Ironically, states criticized as tax profligates sometimes have the simplest systems (e.g., one set of rules covering the entire state, such as in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.) while states regarded as refuges from intrusive government often have the most complicated (e.g., 310 different jurisdictions in Utah, 587 in Oklahoma, 994 in Iowa and 1,515 in Texas).
LOVE JAPANESE SYLE
Formally asking a sweetheart to “please be my (boyfriend/girlfriend)” is said to be a traditional romantic milestone in Japanese relationships, and the town of Nagareyama in Chiba Prefecture now provides a government document to commemorate that big step (for a filing fee, of course). In fact, according to the news site RocketNews24.com, since only one party need file the document, the town hopes the form will become a strategic step to declare one’s love without the need for messy, face-to-face, rejection-risking confrontation (and also become a robust municipal-revenue producer).
British artist Millie Brown, 27, profiled in January in London’s Daily Mail, creates Jackson Pollock-style canvases by vomiting on them after ingesting colored soy milk. Brown (whose work hangs in London’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! showcase) said she fasts for two days prior to public performances and, as the show starts, times her ingestions so that the proper hues don’t prematurely mix in her stomach. Her appearance, at work, in a Lady Gaga music video brought her a somewhat larger audience. Said the understated Brown, “I am able to challenge people’s perceptions of beauty.”
Paris’ Hunting and Wildlife Museum hosted, from April 1 to April 13, artist Abraham Poincheval’s real-time demonstration of “birth and rebirth”–his living completely inside a hollowed-out bear carcass the entire time, eating, drinking, reading, sleeping and relieving himself (down the bear’s legs) before a live camera, with a viewing window for spectators. Poincheval, who in a previous installation lived for a while in a hole, likened the experience merely to the cramped quarters of astronauts.
Although Douglas Lydic, 29, escaped from a patrol car in December in Commodore, Pa., while handcuffed (and was soon re-captured), prosecutors declined to charge him with fleeing since he was merely being “detained” at the time. But they did charge Lydic with theft of the handcuffs. And Dustin Bell, 25, wearing a police officer’s badge that had been stolen from the Sand Springs, Okla., department, apparently only casually considered how to wield his newly acquired “authority.” He was arrested in April after asking at a Tulsa tanning salon for a law-enforcement discount–to get a $34 session for $10.
Ms. Terry Boyd, 52, was ordered to probation in Wausau, Wis., in February on charges of imprisoning two men in a second-story bedroom, leaving them screaming for help from a window. According to police, Boyd had refused to release the men until at least one agreed to have sex with her. And after Maria Montanez-Colon, 58, called 911 in February in Punta Gorda, Fla., the responding officer reported that she immediately began fondling him, describing herself as “horny,” noting “I haven’t been penetrated in years.” The officer politely declined and warned her about frivolous 911 calls, but Montanez-Colon was arrested shortly afterward when she called again, asking the second responding officer, “How else am I going to get [to have sex]?”