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News of the Weird Update

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Update: The man noted in News of the Weird in 1996 for keeping an almost unbelievably detailed personal diary died in October at age 89. For 25 years, Rev. Robert Shields of Dayton, Wash., had chronicled his life in five-minute segments of banalities, leaving 37 million words on paper filling 91 boxes. His self-described "uninhibited," "spontaneous" work was astonishing in its mundaneness. Examples: Aug. 13, 1995, 8:40 a.m. "I filled the humidifying basin mounted over the Futura baseboard heater." 8:45 a.m.: I shaved twice with the Gillette Sensor blade (and) shaved my neck behind both ears, and crossways of my cheeks, too." July 25, 1993, 7 a.m.: "I cleaned out the tub and scraped my feet with my fingernails to remove layers of dead skin." 7:05 a.m.: "Passed a large, firm stool, and a pint of urine. Used 5 sheets of paper."

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