Some mornings I can hardly wait to hear overnight news, and some mornings I dread it. As I write this, our nation is reeling after the terrorist attack in New York City, apparently timed to involve school children on Halloween day by a man who seems proud of his deadly work. Not all news, though, is bad. Some of it is just plain wacky, so much so that the only description I can come up with is, “You really can’t make up this stuff.”
Here are a few examples.
If it’s Tuesday, who is being accused of sexual harassment today?
Allegations against Harvey Weinstein continue to roll in, and he is hardly alone. More recently, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey of “House of Cards” fame has been accused by a young actor who says he was a teenager at the time he was assaulted. For his part, Spacey took the opportunity to make it public that he is gay, something long-rumored in the industry. Netflix grabbed its opportunity to suspend production of “House of Cards.”
There have also been allegations against three Dartmouth College professors, a top NPR editor and actor Jeremy Piven. And lest North Carolina be left out, the Wilmington Star News reported that a candidate for the Kure Beach town council is the longtime author of a blog regarding all things sexual. A sample post read, “Her punishment went well. She left with marks and bruises that should remind her of proper behavior for quite a while.”
You really can’t make up this stuff.
From the annals of history, The New York Times reports that Michelangelo, one of the world’s greatest and most famous artists of all time, was in an artistic snit by the time he completed painting the exquisite Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, one of the most beautiful and iconic rooms in history. The Chapel was opened in 1512 after four years of painting during which Michelangelo lay on his back high above the floor as he painted the ceiling with God and Adam reaching fingers toward each other. Wrote the painter, sculptor and all-around Renaissance man:
“I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture, hunched up here like a cat in Lombardy (or anywhere else where the stagnant water’s poison). My stomach’s squashed under my chin, my beard’s pointing at heaven, my brain’s crushed in a casket, my breast twists like a harpy’s. My brush, above me all the time, dribbles paint so my face makes a fine floor for the droppings. My haunches are grinding into my guts, my poor ass strains to work as a counterweight, every gesture I make is blind and aimless. My skin hangs loose below me, my spine’s all knotted from folding over itself. I’m bent taut as a Syrian bow.”
Michelangelo goes on a bit more, but you get the idea.
I wish we were all so creative when we gripe about our jobs, but none of us could make up that one.
From Washington, the biggest and most serious news surrounds the indictments of President Trump’s former campaign manager, along with one of his lieutenants. Unbeknownst to everyone beyond the special prosecutor and his staff, a Trump campaign aide has apparently been spilling some serious beans. George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for telling what he knows about campaign contacts with Russians. In doing so he went, in the words of a president whose relationship with the truth is challenging at best and seemingly nonexistent at worst, from “an energy and oil consultant … an excellent guy” to a “lowlevel volunteer” who “has already proven to be a liar.”
Finally, from The Associated Press comes a little item from Germany about a couple in the city of Kassel who will not under any circumstances be allowed to name their newborn son Lucifer. You read that correctly - Lucifer, a word connoting Satan and general evil. German parents are allowed to name their children, of course, but officials are allowed to step in if the name would expose the child to humiliation or offend others. Step in the officials did, and the parents decided to switch to Lucian, though there is no word on what the boy will be called at home. AP also reports that several countries have banned Lucifer and other names. Not so in the United States, where 13 little boys were named Lucifer in 2016, a record crop.
You really can’t make up this stuff.