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How bizarre!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-09-12 08:43:45
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bizarre01_07Zombies take over University

It is a class to die for - Zombie studies is now on the curriculum at the University of Baltimore. The new course, which promises to "get you ready for a zombie apocalypse", invites students to devour classic zombie films and comics.

Instead of essays, they write horror scripts or draw storyboards for their ideal monster movie. The minor class, titled English 333, has already been dubbed "Zombie 101" by the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

It was introduced to meet a demand for "interesting, off-the-wall" courses for a new minor in pop culture, according to Jonathan Shorr, chairman of the university's school of communications design.


DOT employee accused of putting cameras in Huntington YMCA dressing room

bizarre02_400_05A filmmaker for the state Department of Transportation has been charged with attempting to covertly film people in the men's dressing room at the Huntington YMCA, according to a report in Friday's Huntington Herald-Dispatch.

David S. Marcum, 45, of Huntington, an employee of the DOT's communications office, was charged on Thursday with misdemeanor criminal invasion of privacy was.

A warrant affidavit charges that Marcum positioned video cameras "to record male persons while in a men's dressing room," according to the Herald-Dispatch. Marcum was arraigned and released on a $10,000 recognizance bond.

A video documentary by Marcum on construction of the new Blennerhassett Island Bridge carrying U.S. 50 across the Ohio River and Blennerhassett Island was selected as the best transportation film of 2009 by the National Transportation Public Affairs Workshop.


Playboy model tries to exit jet during mid-flight fright

bizarre03_04A Playboy centerfold tried to bust out -- midair -- from a jet amid a bad case of high anxiety, the New York Post reported Friday. Sexy 21-year-old model Tiffany Livingston was aboard JetBlue Flight 522 from Orlando, Fla., to Newark, N.J., on Thursday when she bolted from her seat and tried to open the door of the plane, a law-enforcement official said.

"She said she's gone through this before, but never this bad, and didn't have ... her medication," one source said. Livingston was detained and placed in federal custody, with charges pending, last night.

Last year, Livingston, a brunette, was featured as the centerfold for the debut edition of VIP, the Singapore version of Playboy, in which she was described as "not just another pretty face." "Tiffany boasts the immaculate poise of a mature model wrapped with a bubbly demeanor," the profile said. Her agent did not return a call seeking comment.


Funeral workers help nab pastor poser

With a clean-shaven face and neat appearance, Michael Todd Rhodes looked the part of a pastor in a temporary bind. He also came across as soft-spoken and sincere. But police say it was all just a con.

Two funeral workers who see more than their share of legitimate preachers in their line of work saw through the supposed scam Wednesday. Now Michael Todd Rhodes, 43, of 1927 Union Road, Gastonia, faces a charge of attempting to obtain property under false pretense. He was booked into Gaston County Jail under a $25,000 bond. “He was the picture of a pastor,” said Marty Lockridge, a funeral director at Greene Funeral Services on South York Road. “He would fool anyone.”

bizarre04_02Business owner Scott Greene came into the building Wednesday talking about how he met a person in the back parking lot who claimed to be the pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Asheville. The sad story continued about how the supposed pastor had left his wallet at home and now needed money to get back to the mountain city. Who wouldn’t want to help? But the story Greene told had a familiar ring to Lockridge.

Several months ago he met a stranger at a gas station in Gastonia who claimed he was a youth pastor in Hickory. This man told a story about how he had a bunch of children sitting along the shoulder of I-85 in a broken down van after a trip to the Billy Graham Museum in Charlotte. Lockridge pressed the man on details of the story, determined it didn’t add up and went his way without lending a hand. About two months later Lockridge said he met the same man at another nearby gas station. The man told a similar story. Lockridge reminded him that they had met earlier and the man apologized, turned around and walked away, Lockridge said.

While Greene was on the phone Wednesday with workers at Grace Baptist Church in Asheville, Lockridge stole a peek at the supposed preacher. He recognized him right away. The church workers at Grace Baptist told Greene over the phone they’d never heard of the man. Greene confronted Rhodes, who apologized and tried to drive away. Greene, a reserve deputy with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, pulled out his badge and said not so fast. Soon Gastonia Police officers arrived and took Rhodes to jail. Rhodes was last in jail on Aug. 28, when he was charged with driving without a license and an expired license. On May 15, Rhodes was charged with trespassing. “When I came back in here I told the guys, ‘I’m glad that joker’s been caught,’” Lockridge said. Rhodes has a first court appearance Thursday. It is not known whether he has an attorney.

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