Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Associated Press reported that, in the two weeks of the Coming of John Mark Karr before his release on Monday, 10.8 million Google hits had been recorded. And, of course, the tragedy wasn’t the "rush to judgment"–Karr wasn’t brought in exactly kicking and screaming about his innocence–but an underscore of the general emptiness of things.

ABC News acknowledged that the news biz is changing rapidly and that it’ll have to be much more innovative. That is, ordinary freak-outs like hurricanes, crime, global warming, and gas prices are nuthin’. ABC's found scientists to start getting us worried about "wandering black holes," which could end all life on Earth! All! Just like that!

Speaking of scare stunts, the NY Times yesterday said the severe drought in the U.S.’s Great Plains is so bad that it’s reminding people of the Dust Bowl of the 1930's. Yikes! How frightening! But then, pointed out (with quoted passages) that the Times reported the same Dust Bowl theme during "severe" Great Plains droughts in 2003, 2002, 1998, 1996, 1988, 1982, and 1980.

Sure, some public officials have been known to edit their Wikipedia entries (though most likely, they ordered their staffs to do it), but city councilman Pat Carr in Rochester, Minn., is onto a new level of tackiness. The local Post-Bulletin newspaper warned him twice this year to stop posting his disguised messages praising Councilman Carr on their website, but apparently, he can’t stop!

More tacky: Didja see the blog exposure of CBS News’s publicity shot of Katie Couric made thinner? Sure, it’s not a photo from the Lebanon war zone, so it’s not that important for CBS News to be, er, accurate. On the other hand, when it comes to taking the time to doctor photographs, "tacky" is the enemy of "important."

In the F State, at least, if you commit a crime that is so inexplicable (even a highly volitional crime) that all who learn of it scratch their heads, you walk. Hence, former major league all-star pitcher Jeff Reardon is a semi-free man, though he flat-out robbed a jewelry store in December. (Since the judge’s verdict was Not Guilty/Insanity, he’s got some follow-up, but not much because it was the meds, pal, the meds!

Inside NOTW
And the readers pile on: a story on Monday about a woman whose car crashes while she was "teaching her dog to drive." The ol’ mailbox is flooded, and I hardly even believe the story. It’s from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, and it’s true that it ran on the AP wire, from China’s Xinhua News Service, which puts out a lot of good ol’ fashioned news, but, Inner Mongolia? Do we think the Poynter Institute runs good-journalism seminars in Inner Mongolia?

Ms. Pat Niple will get to keep her Ohio NWTF license plate (after some text-message-happy DMV clerk said it was obscene) [Backstage, 8-5-2006].
Here’s a TV station slideshow (28 images) of mostly-tacky places that the Virgin Mary has been sending messages of some sort to, as witnessed by the Anglicized version of her own self appearing there.
According to BoingBoing, the Dept of Homeland Security is complaining about that Federation of American Scientists’ intern who improved DHS’s website of emergency tips for Americans [Backstage, 8-14-2006]. But DHS is complaining not about any of the improvements but because it somehow thinks that if web surfers see a green box with a rust-colored checkmark in it (which FAS borrowed from DHS for the improved FAS site), then they’ll (mistakenly) think that the FAS site is the Dept of Homeland Security's official material, i.e., said checked box is a protected trademark of DHS and can’t be used by the FAS site, There are, of course, two problems with DHS’s analysis: (1) A trademark that nobody in the world recognizes is basically useless, and (2) more to the point, the vast majority of Americans are less likely, not more, to respect official material by this particular gov’t agency.

Below The Fold
On Australia’s Gold Coast, a new high-rise is required to have lifeboats (because ya never can tell about tidal waves) . . . . . Yet another reason why you shouldn’t eat so much: If you’re too fat to testify, people could get away with incest . . . . . An ex-inmate in Georgia sued the prison system because he fell off a sink while shaving (Well, he’s quite petite and says the prison should’ve given him a chair to stand on, under the Americans with Disabilities Act) . . . . . One of the 400 rafters in a St. Petersburg, Russia, race (all rafting on, er, inflatable sex dolls) was DQ’d for, of course, "abusing" his raft . . . . . In Savannah, Ga., a gated community isn’t enough; you must live in a gated community within a gated community! . . . . . Brilliant Raelian recruitment: "Adopt a Clitoris!" [Go on--don't click it; I dare ya!] [SFW] . . . . . For some reason or other, because of new air travel security regs, a handicapped athlete can’t carry on her leg but must check it, instead--and, of course, the airline lost it . . . . . Was that a hijacker who broke into the cockpit of that in-flight Jazz (Air Canada) airliner by ripping the door off the hinges? Why, no, it was just the actual pilot, who had locked himself out when he went to the head . . . . . In Australia, a whorehouse gives gasoline discounts with every, er, purchase.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Justin Chaz Fuller was executed on Thursday in Texas, and perhaps in the end he received justice, but the San Antonio Express-News informed everyone that his first appeals lawyer, Toby C. Wilkinson, is a piece of work. Wilkinson didn’t write the thing very well in the first place, but then, most parts were obviously copied word for word from the brief of an earlier client, complete with ridiculous typos that no reader could miss. And then Wilkinson turned around and did it again to a subsequent client, plus long verbatim passages from his client’s letters to him, including personal and totally non-germane points. Not only is Fuller no longer with us, but Wilkinson’s still on the go-to list for indigent-criminal appeals, and the chief judge of the highest appeals court still says, Move along, Nothing here to see.

Oozing Irony: Michelle Kosilek begged gov’t officials to fund surgery as the final step to her giving up her "Robert Kosilek" identity and becoming complete. To be a woman trapped in a man’s body is horrible, she said. "The greatest loss is the dying I do inside a little bit every day." When Kosilek (who is in the Big House in Massachusetts) killed his wife, he did it at one time, not a little bit every day.

Just in time for the Katrina anniversary: A guy who commandeered an 18-ft sport boat in the hurricane’s aftermath and, according to him, rescued 200 people, was sued for grabbing the boat. The owner said he only had insurance that paid for half of it, and by God, somebody was going to pay the other half.

From Kathleen Blanco, the governor who put "keeping the feds out of states’ business" ahead of "making life-saving decisions before of Katrina’s landfall" comes her latest idea what's more important, this time concerning violent video games: "I’m calling on all parents to diligently monitor the video games that their children are allowed to play. If the courts cannot protect our children, then we need to do it . . .." [emphasis added] [abdication of parental involvement not added]

Well, Of Course! U.S. Senators Coburn and Obama introduced a bi-partisan bill to create a searchable database of government contracts, grants, insurance, loans, and financial assistance, obviously to open up what has so far been a too-secretive process. But a Senatorial-courtesy "hold" has been placed on the bill, suspending it from consideration, by a Senator whose name is . . . a secret!

The continuing parade of perverts: Here’s how an Australian wife learned that her hubby was drugging her and secretly defiling her: "I turned on the [computer] monitor and I saw some kind of file name to the effect of ‘Ripping Anus’ and I thought ‘What the hell is that?’"

Recurring Theme: NOTW 961 [7-9-2006] reported on the live/in-person (non-video) gamers who dress up in medieval costumes and pummel each other in parks around Baltimore, but here they are in Weird Central, well, all 8 of 'em, as a chapter of the Society of Creative Anachronism. Of the sight of a 5th-century Romanized Celt "slashing" a 10th-century Saxon knight, a bemused bystander explained to his grandson, "You don’t see this every day."

Editor’s Obsessions
Russian mathematics genius Grigory Perelman last week declined a prestigious award that could bring him $1m from a Cambridge, Mass., organization (for discovering some theorem or other that Yr Editor would never understand even at the threat of being slashed by a 5th-century Romanized Celt). Apparently, he’s a low-key-egoed, open-source guy who’s happy enough just to do the job. "I know that self-promotion happens a lot, and if people want to do that, good luck to them, but I do not regard it as a positive thing." Others, being less charitable about those who denounce self-promotion, call Perelman’s reclusiveness as a Ted (Unabomer) Kaczynski waiting to happen. In fact, that so many people’s immediate reaction to Perelman seems to be, What a weird, weird guy, is all we need to know. (Well, there's also that little thing about living with his mother, still.)

In the upcoming News of the Weird [9-3-2006] is the report on the Tampa Bank of America bandit who stuffed the stash bag down his pants just as the dye pack was about to explode. He was still on the lam when I wrote that, but now they’ve caught him, following the robbery of a bank closer to his Orlando-area home (where he allegedly told a teller, "Give me something that doesn’t explode"). (He’s OK now, except for that burn on his leg.)
Cox News Service has more detail on that Outward-Bound-type Mexican theme park that lets you practice up your illegal Rio Grande crossings [NOTW 897, 4-17-2005].

Inside NOTW
Yr Editor rises in praise of R. Scott Moxley, the main crime man at the alternative newsweekly OC Weekly in Orange County, Calif. Whether digging the stories up himself, or wading into those dumped into Orange County’s lap, he’s consistently the man with the eye for the money facts and the money quotes. Here’s an ordinary police blotter piece on vibrator-exploration gone wrong, but following Moxleyfication: "Das Booty: The Cautionary Tale of a Janitor, His Dildo, a Rope, and Two Samoans"

Yr Editor’s hiatus ends this week. I’ll post Wed-Fri-Sat this week, with 6-day weeks starting Monday. (Now, if Ernesto changes his mind and drifts back west of the current forecast path, there may be some, y’know, distractions, to that schedule.)

Below The Fold
"I knew it was kind of wrong," said Parker Ward, who was about to admit that he had sex with the dead body he found in a trailer home . . . . . Yeah, I know Spam is a delicacy in Hawaii, but still---spam musabi (which caused a small food-poisoning scare)? . . . . . Awesome--0.46 blood-alcohol in Minnesota . . . . . Cutting-edge traffic control in the Netherlands: To get drivers to slow down and be careful, just remove all road signs and put a children’s playground in the median . . . . . Pennsylvania inmate Donta Thomas was apparently so determined to make those outside drug deals go down that when he called them in, he paid no attention to the voice-message warnings on the phone that all calls were monitored . . . . . An Elmwood Park, N.J., bank robber failed to bring a bag for his loot and consequently left a "paper trail" totaling 86 percent of what he took . . . . . A Martinsburg, W.Va., dad took a little too seriously the warnings that parents should monitor their kids’ computer usage: He finally got his daughter to give up her MySpace password by stapling her ear.

Friday, August 25, 2006

That "integration" thing is not over ‘til it’s over, is apparently the thinking of rural Louisiana school bus driver Delores Davis, i.e., Rosa Parks, Brown v. Board of Education being sooo 1950s! Davis allegedly forced 9 black elementary-school kids to the back of her bus so whites could sit up front.

Backstage was late today, but just 'cause Blogger went down right in the middle of uploading my post. (And, for those just joining us, Backstage appears Mon-Wed-Fri this month, but back to 6-day posts in September.)

An F State dirty-bookstore customer apparently had an epiphany while watching a porno flick and decided to repent on the spot, by setting fire to the store as he was walking out . . . . . It didn’t get that far in Gautier, Miss., though, because a Waldenbooks stuck all its "relationships"-type books in the storeroom so it wouldn’t further anger the one offended woman who has been hassling them for 4 months.

The ol’ public utilities shell game, in Denver: Water’s too expensive, so you conscientiously conserve it, and thus consumption goes down, which means the utility has to raise rates because it’s not selling enough water.

Underappreciated in the 24-hr, 2-minute race of those two guys who set a new speed record for NYC subway travel (passing by all 468 stations in the system): They had to squeeze their bladders and sphincters. The subway system has 70 men’s rooms, but they’ve long been off-limits to passengers, and the Transit Authority said it would take a freedom of information act demand for them to release the locations. The news reports don’t explicitly say that they didn’t tinkle somewhere, but the plan was not to, and when the guys pulled in to the last station, their first order of business was begging a TA employee to get ‘em to a john. [CORRECTION: An TA honcho says the restrooms are public, and a list of their locations probably isn't as obscure as the actual train schedules, which the two men seem to have employed just fine in timing their run. Yr Editor is thus totally confused.]

Britain’s ITV channel reported that Madonna is lobbying the Prime Minister and the Dept of Trade and Industry to use a super-mystical Kabbalah fluid to clean up the world’s radioactive waste.

Here’s an ideal candidate for hard-time boot-camp punishment, but the judge will certainly wuss out. Michael Loughner, 14, is apparently still ticked after 3 yrs that neighbor Alexandria Carasia didn’t get along with the Loughner family cat, which was eventually farmed out to the grandparents. Michael’s revenge: Allegedly, he meows, incessantly, every time he’s around Carasia. Incessantly. 3 yrs. A judge in Jeannette, Pa., will undoubtedly work out some damned compromise.

September Harper’s magazine has an excerpt from a bio of an alleged ex-mistress of Osama bin Laden, which reveals lots o’ stuff on the pious cave man, including his drooling over Whitney Houston and his fondness for Miami Vice, McGyver, and The Wonder Years.

I’m sorry, but it’s beginning to look to me like that astrology thing doesn’t make sense. I mean, the notable British astrologer Russell Grant said it won’t make a bit of difference to his analysis that Pluto has been downgraded by scientists.

In ABC Primetime’s latest "medical mystery" segment, a doctor in India, thinking he was removing a huge abdominal tumor from a 36-yr-old man, was "shock[ed]": "To my surprise and horror, I could shake hands with somebody inside." "First, one limb came out, then another limb came out. Then some part of genitalia, then some part of hair, some limbs, jaws, limbs, hair." It was the man’s fetal twin, trapped inside him and leeching off him for 36 yrs.

Below The Fold
Just in time for the 5th anniversary of 9-11, TSA finally decides it would be better if hijackers couldn’t instantaneously spot the only man on board they needed to disarm . . . . . Love those super-optimistic perverts, like this guy, all loaded up with Viagra, camera, short shorts, and porn (including one photo taped to the handlebars of his bike), as if the ladies are dying to try him out . . . . . A New York woman pleaded guilty to embezzling $2.3m from her employer---just to play the lotteries (about $6k worth of tickets a day) . . . . . The NY Times decides that what is needed in American journalism right now is a full-time fragrance critic . . . . . High school football season opens this weekend in the F State, which means that playing linebacker for South Sumter High will be an 11th-grader named Yourhighness Morgan.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

First, it was Google, with editorless news. Now comes word that Thomson Financial will publish writerless news. We’re all doomed. Thomson has a bot that will write a story about a corporation’s earnings report. Yr Editor thinks News of the Weird is safe for the time being, although a couple of themes might be bot-ready: (1) The pet-hoarding story: Perhaps an algorithm could pick out number, species, inches of feces throughout the house, distance at which neighbors began to notice, number with mange (er, number of animals, not neighbors), etc. (2) Also, maybe the dropped-ID theme: name of bank, type of ID (with codes for driver’s license, deposit slip, utility bill, pay stub, appointment-reminder for next meeting with probation officer), number of minutes until perp was collared, etc.

Recurring Themes
Here’s one similar in nature to that Uzbekistan report carried here last week [Backstage, 8-18-2006] of one guy suffocating in a manure pit, then six more guys die, seriatim, as they dive in to rescue him. Today’s would be the report from Hawaii that, first, two kids were killed when their car ran off the road, and then, 19 hours later, four of their friends gathered at the site in remembrance when another car smashed into them, killing one and putting the others in critical condition. And, then . . ..?
In April, Yr Editor mentioned the 32-yr-old New Zealander who drives up a storm though missing his arms (uses one leg for the gas, one to steer) [NOTW 951, 4-30-2006], but now comes Michael Wiley down here near Weird Central, who drives and drives and drives (mostly recklessly) despite almost constant license revocation, with said revocation due mainly to the fact that he is missing not only his arms, but half of one leg. Reported the St. Petersburg Times:
He guides the key into the ignition with his mouth. Turns it with his toes. Shifts with his knee. Bites the headlight switch. Jams his stump of a left arm into the steering wheel and whips it around.
The backstory is that he had a really gruesome accident at age 13, and now, 26 yrs later, driving is still the chief tactic in his strategy of denial. What would you do to get that license back, the Times asked him. "I’d give my right leg." [Update: One day, one mother-lovin' day, after the story appeared, he was arrested again.]

Chutzpah: Former mayor Philip Giordano of Waterbury, Conn., now serving 37 yrs for schtupping children, filed a claim with the city for $61k in accrued vacation- and sick-pay. (And anyway, elected officials don’t ever get those things) . . . . . Verizon said there is absolutely no connection between (a) the federal gov’t’s dropping of a $1.25/$2.83 fee on DSL service and (b) Verizon’s immediate decision to impose its own $1.20/$2.70 fee on DSL service.

Your Daily [Islamic] Devotion: Clerics in India have ruled that a "taraq taraq taraq" divorce shout, even if the husband is drunk at the time, is binding and that, even though he has changed his mind now, the ex-wife must have an interim, minimum-one-day marriage before she can go back to this father of her 3 children (and the interim man must be at least 70 yrs old).

Reminder: Only Mon-Wed-Fri posts in August; back on schedule in September.

Below The Fold
Prepare for yet another invasion of Mexicans, as super-religious parents, grossed out by explicit new school sex ed textbooks, flee to America, where school boards can shield their kids from that grossness . . . . . Most colleges that field football teams aspire to athletic greatness, but a few apparently do it just to be seltzer-squirted by major-conference teams for the $600k-and-up game fees . . . . . Bryant Weiford, 20, smashed through the front of a Kmart in Hampton, Va., exited, and calmly began shopping (well, trying on women’s shoes), even though it was the middle of the night . . . . . An AP report from Bismarck, N.D., sez Terry Morris and Renee Biwer tied the knot, with Terry’s hen ("Henrietta") the maid of honor (and traveling companion on their honeymoon) . . . . . Tough love in Guelph [Ontario]: 60 days in jail for a teenager who tried to slap two boys with his packwood but missing---not even helicoptering! Attempted helicoptering!. . . . . Best headlines: "Psycho Killer Raccoons Terrorize Olympia [Wash.]" and "Man Sees Virgin Mary in Drip Pan"

Monday, August 21, 2006

Bringing art to the people: The director of a gallery in Penzance, England, scheduled a show by Kira O’Reilly Friday night "to provide audiences in the region with opportunities to see the kind of works that they [ordinarily would] have to go to London to experience." Such a work would be Ms. O’Reilly’s "Inthewrongplaceness," which consists of a naked woman holding a dead pig for four hours.

From the just-out autobio of staid football announcer Pat Summerall: He at first didn’t take to his liver-transplant medication well: "What do you think is wrong with me? My lips just fell off! Quick, grab my arm--it’s going, too. And my leg!" Writes Richard Sandomir in the NY Times: "[Summerall] also sheared off some of his hair with an electric razor in an inexplicable effort to resemble Bruce Willis." Summerall: "Why I had to look like Bruce Willis, I don’t know. I’m not a particular fan of his."

Good news and bad news for those born with one too many: The World Aquarium in St. Louis has this week lined up a celebration for 19 animals born with 2 heads, mostly snakes and turtles. (The two-headed kitten that made the news in June passed away.) What say two of the snakes mate and make a four? The bad news comes from India where a 24-yr-old human with two penii plans surgery to get normal. (That’s a condition that "doctors say" is present in maybe 100 men on Earth. It also is another one of those things that present challenges for Intelligent Design people.)

Recurring Themes
There is no recurring theme that gives Yr Editor more pleasure than news about the person whose day is ruined when he is hit by a flying cow. And readers should rejoice, as well. Your life may be going south; your Zoloft may be losing sting; Armageddon may be around the corner. But, at least you didn’t get hit by a flying cow. Sally Brown, 51, did, though, on Britain’s Isle of Wight, when one fell off a cliff above Brown’s home. It was fatal for the cow, painful for Brown.

The bench-warrant-ignoring attorney gen’l of New Jersey, Zulima Farber [NOTW 948, 4-9-2006], finally quit last week over the charge that she big-footed state troopers when her boyfriend got traffic-stopped two months ago. The boyfriend’s name: Mr. Goore---Mr. Hamlet Goore.
The Oklahoma penis-pumping judge, Donald Thompson [NOTW 940, 2-12-2006], was sentenced to 4 yrs in prison, still in denial.
The Filipino dwarf-consulting judge [Backstage, 5-4-2006]---oh, wait, he denied it [Backstage, 8-1-2006]---was officially kicked off the bench.

It says on the right-hand rail that Yr Editor posts 6 days a week, but in August, as previously announced, it’s only on Mon-Wed-Fri. Back full-time in September.

Below The Fold
A Nebraska federal judge, and now the Court of Appeals, says police can assume the $124k cash you’re carrying is drug money, even if you and your record are clean . . . . . Now--hot dogs sprayed with a virus!--and the FDA said it’s a good thing . . . . . The Las Vegas City Council made it illegal to sleep within 500 ft of street pee-pee and caca, but then said they made a mistake and would repeal the law at their next meeting (after which it’ll again be perfectly OK to sleep with pee-pee and caca) . . . . . For every disappointment, there must be a lawsuit: Ulysee Maillot, 62, got all excited that his number had won a big Quebec lottery, but it was the Montreal Gazette’s bad, and now he wants money for that.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Judges Gone Wild: (in descending order of oblivitude) (1) Gary McKinley of Kenton, Ohio, who said "I shouldn’t even be doing this" and then proceeded to prove his point by deferring punishment until after the coming season for 2 star high school football players, whose immature stunt left one man brain-damaged and another phyisically disabled (and the after-season sentence is only 60 days, anyway). (2) James McGuinness Jr of Lowell, Mass., who promised a recidivist assault convictee freedom if she’d merely recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and after she got to the end of the first line, he said, ehhh, that’s good enough. (3) Paul Zellerbach of Riverside, Calif., who was reprimanded this week by the state judicial agency for declining to leave an Angels-Red Sox playoff game in 2004 to come right back to court and hear a jury verdict in a double murder case. (4) On the other hand, Julia Jent of Portage, Ind., issued a positively sublime decision, ordering several teenagers with traffic tickets to ride the school bus to and from every day, a sentence which apparently totally grossed out the sobbing little brats: "Oh my God," said Jent, of one of the kids, "You would have thought I gave her and her mother the death penalty."

And speaking of stunts, Mr. Kaleb Spangler duct-taped a large firework to a football helmet, put it on, and lit it. He’s really messed up now, but at least he’s still alive, and if you're in Indiana, Kaleb’s votes count just as much as yours.

Boy George had it about right (from Andrea Peyser’s NY Post column on Tuesday), when he was jeered by reporters and neighborhood humps while doing his community-service street-sweeping sentence. When one of the star-sniffers combatively said, "[Y]ou’re really pathetic," B.G. replied, "You’re the one following me [around] cleaning. Who needs to get a fucki*g life?" [emphasis in original]

Sounds like a story idea from Curb Your Enthusiasm: Randy Bailey, on house arrest with an ankle monitor that has a 4-minute delay, decided to dash down the street to the Burger King for a Whopper, yet still get back before the alarm went off at the St. Paul, Minn., police dept. Wouldn’t you know it, slow servers [Yr Editor’s "Saturday Night Fast-Food Restaurant Peril Theory"]. Bailey went nuts on the drive-thru window (and will face a felony property-destruction charge)---but he made it home with seconds to spare. [Note: The SNFFRPT holds that the teenagers forced to work the Saturday night shift are so very disgruntled that every customer is in mortal danger (and that you should say a prayer that the kids merely spit on your Big Mac.]

Recurring Themes: Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka, doing their best Ultimate Fighting imitation after Tamil Tiger protestors dissed them . . . . . In Uzbekistan, another of those "one guy falls into manure pit and the would-be rescuers die one-by-one as they jump in to save him."

Regarding the story at the top of Wednesday’s post [Backstage, 8-16-2006], a reader points out that the high pregnancy rate for girls at Timken High School, Canton, Ohio, is especially poignant in that the school’s teams’ nickname is the Trojans.
I reported in this week’s NOTW [966, 8-13-2006] , that some criminals apparently believe marijuana is odorless, citing a guy in Tucson, Ariz., who had two tons of it in his house (when police were called to a neighbor’s for an unrelated reason). Well, apparently, the issue is Tucson. Since it’s a key logistical point for smugglers, the above was the 7th stash-house bust in the city in 2006, and last Sunday came the 8th, of nearly one ton.

As previously announced, August postings will be only on Mon-Wed-Fri, with six-day postings resuming in September.

Below The Fold
Cankton, La., pop. 388, needs a police chief to stand for election in September because the mayor doesn’t know whether the incumbent will run again or even where he is (since he might have moved to Mississippi) . . . . . The intersection of a bored dentist with a cat that has two unusually large teeth, and the result you get is: a cat with gold crowns . . . . . A near-perfect storm: chocolate bars spiked with psilocine (probably from magic shrooms) . . . . . A female professor pines away for the good old days when the world-class male professors spiked their pedagogy with a side of groping . . . . . A shopper at J.C. Penney sued, claiming she was blindsided by a mannequin that bloodied her scalp and cracked a tooth . . . . . So you think your piercing is something special? Yikes! [link from Boing-Boing].

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Here’s your smoking gun on sex education in schools (unless there’s more here than meets the eye): The Canton, Ohio, school board’s centerpiece of sex ed is abstinence, but it now says a modification is due, after the stats came in: Of 490 female students at Timken High School last yr, 65 got pregnant.

The heavy-metal scene in Egypt? Yep. But the music’s gotta stop when the local mosque blares out the calls to prayer. And though goatees and spiked hair are OK, no drugs or booze or heavy goth makeup. "We are here," said one partier, "because we cannot live without our music."

Candidate Mania: (1) A former ACLU lawyer running for Congress in Arizona is suing her husband’s ex-wife for telling voters that the hubby is between $500thousand and $750thousand [probably Cdn] behind in child support. (2) Ohio Democratic Congressional candidate Stephanie Studebaker is no soft, touchy-feely Democrat---no, wait, she is touchy-feely: She and her husband were both charged with beating each other up, and she has suspended her campaign.

The Clinton-Gates-Buffett African AIDS mission has its work cut out: At the International AIDS conference in Toronto this week, the South African kiosk featured apples, nectarines, lemons, and garlic, as demanded by the country’s health minister, who is big on nutrition as the key to fighting HIV. (Only after some murmuring was a display of anti-retroviral drugs added.)

In other words, yuk-yuk-yuk, those ignorant, backward African countries! And aren’t we in the great US of A privileged to live in the vanguard of intellectual advancement! Er, well, there’s this survey, from a Michigan State researcher, showing that, when it comes to accepting the science of evolution, the U.S. more resembles a cargo-cult country than it does Europe and Japan.

Ready for the new Sally Struthers infomercial, "Won’t you please donate your used thighmasters?" At an int’l conference in Australia, U. of North Carolina Prof. Barry Popkin said the current global figures are: 850 million undernourished, one billion fat people.

The former head of the NY Stock Exchange, Ratso Riz--no, no, Greedo Grasso, might be ready to come out of the transgender closet soon, according to Monday’s NY Post. That is, his 1995 employment contract specified that his pension would have life expectancy determined by a traditional male-mortality table, but by the time of the 2003 contract, life expectancy was to be determined 50 percent by male-mortality and 50 percent by female-. Ehhh, it was probably just a ruse to get a fatter pension. [Or . . . was it?]

On the legal front: In Skokie, Ill., "Mall Sued Over Squirrel Attack," but but but in the F State, "Student Sues [College] Over Boar Attack"!

Recurring Theme: Those awful things, those breast implants, are at least good for something, like stopping shrapnel from an Israeli bomb (as a bullet had been diverted years ago by an F State stripper’s implant [NOTW 307, 12-24-1993]). [CORRECTED: It was an Hizbollah rocket, hitting an Israeli woman.]

U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns was reportedly widely and here [Backstage, 7-28-2006] as critical of out-of-state firefighters who had come to help Montanans subdue a blaze in July, telling some exhausted, bedraggled men as they were ready to leave that they did a "poor job." Well, it was worse than that. The Billings Gazette reported yesterday that the actual terminology was "a piss-poor job," that the team "didn’t do a goddamned thing." (Burns now says that he was just representing his disgruntled constituent-farmers who had complained that their suggestions to the firefighters had been insufficiently appreciated.)

I’ll probably post some more stories this afternoon [CORRECTED: I already did], but I’m still sticking to my August schedule, as previously announced: Only Mon-Wed-Fri posts until the end of the month, when I’ll be back to 6 days a week.

Below The Fold
Yr Editor doesn’t know what’s going on up there in Holyoke, Mass., but the police chief just described a domestic fight in which a woman stabbed her beau in his (and I quote) "winky" . . . . . An ice-cream truck driver (with his obnoxious jingle player still going) was shot to death in Chicago, and police professed that they didn’t know any motive. Really? . . . . . Sounds like a joke: Zookeepers in Netherlands and Indonesia are planning an Internet connection between their respective orangutans, for kind of a visual chatroom . . . . . A UK Passport office rejected the application photo of a 5-yr-old girl because her bare shoulders were visible, which the employee thought might be offensive if her family traveled to a Muslim country . . . . . Two local councils in Australia have interpreted the "outdoor smoking areas" of bars to actually prohibit entry to nonsmokers . . . . . Northwest Airlines was only trying to be sensitive to employees’ taking pay cuts (to help keep the company afloat), but some of ‘em objected to Hint Number such-and-such on Northwest’s memo: "[Don’t be] shy about pulling something you like out of the trash" . . . . . He’s not a middle-name-Wayne murderer; he’s only a middle-name-Wayne dad helping bury the murder victim of his non-middle-name-Wayne son Perry . . . . . An F State foster dad who’s an electrician rigged up a little voltage to discipline his 3-yr-old, to break him of this nasty habit of peeing on sockets to see ‘em spark . . . . . Montanans living in 2 subdivisions near Lake Helena can be forgiven for not being as alarmed at the BP oil pipeline leak as they were about a 26m-gallon sewage leak dangerously close to Lake Helena.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Yr Editor spent most of the 1970s as a federal bureaucrat and observed gobs of the usual downtime and inefficiencies, about which were created many anecdotes that endured dinner parties and classrooms over the years, but apparently Emily Hesaltine, 20, is a better person than I---interested in service, not anecdotes. According to this Washington Post story, she has used her 2-month internship at Federation of American Scientists to basically rewrite, much more helpfully, the entire emergency-preparedness website of the Dept of Homeland Security (after finding the DHS site full of obvious or dubious or repetitive or unhelpful or vastly-overwritten advice). Basically, she called into question the work of at least several highly-paid, civil-service-status-conscious, unindustrious, poor-judgmented, and cynical (i.e., not to realize that many Americans would turn to their marginally-useful site out of stark fear in an emergency) bureaucrats---and then did a better job by herself, in 2 months, at age 20. DHS’s response, apparently, was predictable, e.g., oh, no, she got this thing on this section wrong, and then, on that section over there, that part was confusing, etc. The DHS site is; the FAS rewrite is

They’re mad as hell, and they’re not gonna take it anymore! They’re just the latest courageous public-policy freedom-fighters who say that enough is enough, that they’re tired of always backing down. No more cowering. It ends here. And Yr Editor is referring of course to, er, pedophiles. Two weeks ago, it was Phillip Distasio, defiant as he prepares for trial in Cleveland [Backstage, 8-3-2006]. And now Christopher Palmieri complains, in Bristol, Conn., that stayaway orders against child molesters are unwise and unfair, that they "will turn a [mere] pedophile into a murderer." Besides, he said, if you see a 7-yr-old with a pedophile, it’s usually the 7-yr-old’s doing.

And speaking of underage sex, a woman and her boyfriend and the woman’s 15-yr-old daughter apparently wrote out a contract (and signed it) specifying that while the woman is laid up from surgery for 2 months, the daughter will take her place in bed in exchange for certain gifts. (And did I mention that this was written out . . . and signed?)

Yr Editor has never been to North Platte, Neb., so surely Joshua Shores, 34, who works at a Subway sandwich shop there, knows the relative IQ level in the community better than I do, but still . . .: When surveillance video showed that he was the guy who pocketed $502 instead of putting it into the safe, he answered that he was working undercover for the CIA and not to sweat the $502, that the agency would take care of it.

We knew life was cheap in the F State when one guy at a bar killed another guy for spilling beer on him [Backstage, 5-31-2006], but it just got cheaper: The alleged perp, Eduardo Gonzalez, 18, has now been charged with ordering hits on five witnesses to the shooting. That would be 6 people dying over a spilled beer. (Fortunately, as always, the search for an actual hit man to pull it off led to an undercover cop.)

Reminder: For the rest of August, I plan to post only on Mon-Wed-Fri. Back to 6-day-a-week grind after that. (And my 3-day-staleness rule is also being adjusted accordingly.)

Below The Fold
Sometimes the knee pain from an old gunshot wound is so bad, this guy found out, that the knee must be put out of its misery, by shooting it again [Oops, this is from the 8-12-2006 Herald-Times of Bloomington, Ind., which is strictly pay-per-view] . . . . . She drove her 13-yr-old son around to help him spot someone to rob, because, she told a cop, it was something they could do together . . . . . Barcelona (Spain)’s bright idea to solve its gang problem: legalize the Latin Kings as a grant-eligible community-service group! . . . . . Police in Mumbai ask a local art school its opinion on whether the show they just busted ("Tits, Clits, and Elephant Dicks") is obscene . . . . . Tim Rohrman and the missus said the best thing about the Indiana State Fair is watching the live calf-birth exhibit, with UPI reporting that they "have watched the process several times over the years, but they say they never get tired of it" . . . . . Phoenix sheriff Maximum Joe Arpaio’s latest target: cracking down on 2 radio shock jocks for animal abuse after they offered a listener $550 to eat peanut butter off a bulldog’s butt.

Friday, August 11, 2006

This story theme, emanating almost exclusively from Japan, has previously involved sorta tacky attempts to retaliate for some slight or other, such as being fired or not being promoted, or being jilted by a lover. This guy, though, made his 37,000 talk-free phone calls this year to directory-assistance, just to hear female operators’ voices. Surely this level of boredom, and misplaced industriousness, is unknown outside of Japan.

ABC’s show PrimeTime profiled Camille, a quite successful looker and schoolteacher, but with a lifelong malady called trimethylaminuria, which means that she usually smells like that Dumpster behind the fish market. (And everyone can smell it but her.)

And speaking of fish, we license fishermen, but not parents: LaToya Joplin stands accused of beating her 3-yr-old daughter to death but told a sheriff’s detective that the abuse-ee here is really herself, since her hand was throbbing with pain, in that discipline required that she keep up the beating because the girl never said "ouch" or anything. (Seriously.)

People With Too Much Money: Well, Ruth Regina hasn’t actually put her dog wigs out on her store’s shelves yet, but she’s almost ready. Ruth is a well known hair outfitter for the stars in Miami, ready to branch out with such designs as the "Peek a Bow Wow," falling down over part of a dog’s "face," for sexiness. "There’s some dogs that have the come-hither look."

A story in London’s Wednesday Sun didn’t tell the actual day of this misadventure, but the inconvenience surely rivaled that of what happened Thursday on England-arriving flights. A Thomson flight from Cancun to Birmingham (9 hours) was over the Atlantic when the pilot informed the 295 passengers that, since the ground crew in Cancun had forgotten to empty the toilets, they were now jam-packed and that they’d have to hold it in. Well, no, they went back to Goose Bay, Canada.

Least Competent Criminals: Brit Craig Moore is the latest not to understand that it doesn’t matter what you do to a surveillance camera because all the images are stored in a base unit elsewhere (so that, when he blew up a roadside speed camera to destroy evidence, not only was the photo of his car not affected but neither was the picture of him, as he approached the camera to kill it) . . . . . Police in Tampa report that the unidentified guy who robbed a Bank of America on August 2 still hasn’t sought medical help, which they’re sure he’d have to get after the chemical dye pack blew up when he stuffed his stash bag inside his pants (that’s, er, 425 degrees F).

Sculptor Daniel Edwards, who did the fanciful objet of Britney Spears nude on all fours dropping little Sean Preston [NOTW 953, 5-14-2006], has now unveiled a breast-dominated bust of Hillary Clinton for NY’s Museum of Sex.
And speaking of breasts, on-hiatus porn star Mary Carey said she’ll run again for California governor this yr, or at least the New Mary will (new teeth, new breasts, new thinness, new habits [smoking, abstinence from birth-control and booze]. ("I’ve actually been sober for five days now.")
The Libyan embassy and the Washington, D.C., water authority [Backstage, 8-9-2006] settled their $27k dispute, apparently for quite a bit less than 100 cents on the dollar.

Inside NOTW
Several readers referred to me an e-mail sent yesterday by, drumming up website clicks by describing news and features, including the line "Looking for news of the weird? Try one of our newest blogs, ‘Off/Beat’" (referring to a feature with oh-so-zany stories). Each of the readers was indignant on behalf of Yr Editor. Well, shouldn’t have written what it did, but legally (and morally), the matter is just too ambiguous for Yr Editor to complain about. "[n]ews of the weird" (but not "News of the Weird") has a generic meaning to the worldwide Internet audience of the Post (though less so in the Washington, D.C., service area, where NOTW has been a major media presence for almost 19 yrs now). Plus, let’s face it, among the things you get with this diffusion of media enabled by the Internet are decentralization of decision-making and laxness of pre-publication vetting. That is, decisions on the wording of this e-mail were almost certainly made by people less sophisticated than old-line media people about such things as trademarks.

Reminder: For the rest of August, I plan to post only on Mon-Wed-Fri. Back to 6-day-a-week grind after that.

Below The Fold
An ordinary guy in a small town north of Minneapolis was jailed at a traffic stop just because he didn’t have proof of insurance on him, which was later provided by a relative, but in the interim, another inmate beat him to death in lockup . . . . . British Member of Parliament Ian Gibson, trying to explain a doubling of the incidence of diabetes in his district mused that, well, it might be all that inbreeding . . . . . A member of the Church of Body Modification is mulling a lawsuit against her former employer, a real-church’s hospital in Troy, N.Y., because the hospital didn’t sufficiently accommodate her lip ring . . . . . An F State medical examiner was faulted for basically re-using the paperwork for a couple dozen autopsies, which in fact might have been similar in nature, but there was one for a girl that described her prostate and testes.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Steven Buelow, having finished his wrist-slap sentence in Vermont for a rape-murder at age 15, needs to find a place to live in order to be released. Brainstorm: Pick a name at random from the Burlington phone book, describe himself, and ask if he can stay there. (Seriously.)

Mr. Abdullah Date, 18, steamed that he was charged with crack cocaine possession in NYC, decided to taunt the cops by sending a white powder to the station, with the note, "Ha, Ha, [you] thought it was anthrax" and "Catch me if you can." Also, it was signed "Abdullah Date" with his home address on the envelope.

In fact, the only smart criminals are smugglers, even though they don’t always succeed, as this guy didn’t succeed (but what an effort!): Three illegals were sewn into the seats of his GMC van.

Las Vegas lawyer Joseph Caramango, defending an accused kidnaper, was slurring his words in court, causing the judge to declare a mistrial. But, Caramango pointed out later, I only blew a .075, when the state limit for drivers is .08! But at the time of the slurring, Caramango also referred the judge to his "ex-girlfriend" (who had accompanied him to court 90 minutes late), who, upon questioning by the judge, said she had just met Caramango 20 minutes earlier at a bar.

The District of Calamity: After all of Condoleezza Rice’s work to bring Libya back to the fold of civilized international relations, the D.C. water company won’t turn on the spigot for the Libyan embassy, which Libya hasn’t occupied since 1981, because the company says somebody owes them $27,000 for interim service. [CORRECTION: Bad link above should be this one.]

That nude, drunk redneck spotted walking down U.S. 11 in Fort Payne, Ala. [Backstage, 8-2-2006], now says he was misunderstood: What he was doing was protesting the war in Iraq.
A lot of people are viewing Gunther von Hagens’s Body Worlds exhibit (and its competitors’ shows) [NOTW 692, 5-13-2001; NOTW 766, 10-13-2002], so someone has to be putting all those bodies together. The NY Times is on it.

Reminder: For the rest of August, I plan to post only on Mon-Wed-Fri. Back to 6-day-a-week grind after that.

Below The Fold
It’s not exactly "news," but it did appear in the N.Y. Times yesterday: the 3-ft-long parasite (some up to 30-ft-long, life span up to 20 yrs) that loves your small intestine . . . . . More things to worry about: like driving along near Marshall, Tex., in the dead of summer and running over a penguin . . . . . A reputable textbook publisher in England has a passage specifically labeling high school "cross-country running" programs as "physical abuse" of "human rights" . . . . . People different from us, certainly: amateur archaeologists specializing in outhouses (but "if it stinks, it’s too new") . . . . . And in Brazil, a door fell off an airliner on takeoff (but the plane circled back and landed safely . . which is helpful to know, but, still . . .).

Monday, August 07, 2006

Listen up. Yr Editor is going into semi-hibernation mode for August, which means nothing except that I’ll probably post only Mon-Wed-Fri until the end of the month. I’ll still be at work every day, just not with as much intensity. All mail will be dealt with. However, it’s a fact that August is the worst news month of the year and thus the worst weird-news month. Exceptions will be handled appropriately, though; please keep tuning in. Cheers.

Punctuation Counts: Canada’s telecom regulators cost a company an extra $2.13m (Cdn) over a comma:
Its agreement "shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party."
(The company thought it had a 5-yr deal; the regulators said it was terminable at will with 1 yr’s notice.) [Yr Editor, being an editor, understands. I don’t condone it, but I understand.]

Germany’s Max Planck Institute, a sort of minor league version of the Pentagon’s DARPA (except MPI doesn’t just think of stuff, but actually does the work, too) is working to make mice and fruit flies less stupid. [If it takes 5 more yrs to advance the work to humans, then News of the Weird’s life expectancy is, well, 5 yrs.]

Speaking of which, 50 percent of Americans believe Iraq actually had WMDs, which is a position the Bush Administration has officially abandoned, and also represents a 39 percent increase in stupidity since last yr, when only 36 percent of Americans believed it. [By the way, don’t fall for the Santorum Revelation, that 500 chemical weapons had been found since 2003: Those dead stockpiles of chemical weapons were no part of the Bush Administration’s advocacy of urgent invasion of Iraq in 2002-2003, which was based on Saddam’s immediate ability to attack its neighbors.]

U.S. Rep. Cynthia "Get Your Hands Off Me, Copper" McKinney might not survive her Democratic primary runoff tomorrow, but she may have a better chance than commentators believe. A USA Today story on Friday revealed that her office’s automatic telephone greeting as recently as the July 29 weekend was the same one that played earlier in the month and urged callers to vote in the original primary on "July 20." That primary was actually on July 18. Hence, she may have more voters show up tomorrow than were able to vote for her on the 18th.

The L.A. Times checked in this morning with a poll of age 12-to-24s, not just in the pit of ennui (southern California) but nationwide, showing that with 10 kazillion media choices now available, "a substantial minority think . . . they don’t have nearly enough options." Said a 13-yr-old in Ohio, "I feel like bored like all the time, ‘cause there is like nothing to do." [Ed.: The second and third "like"’s are in the original; the first "like" was added to improve readability.]

Below The Fold
A transexual chicken in (a poorly sourced AFP story from) southern Sweden . . . . . Smoking kills: Phillip Elmore got the death penalty from jurors who were in a hurry, he says, because the judge had barred smoke breaks until they reached a decision . . . . . 400 vendors of Christian goods ‘n’ services have "created almost a parallel [commercial] universe" [L.A. Times] . . . . . Google lawyers say, If you use "to google" instead of "to search," you’re committing "genericide" . . . . . Brooklyn grand juror Edwin Ng, 38, allegedly found a way to get out of jury duty: masturbate on the jury room carpet . . . . . OK, but why? art pieces that change color depending on the viewer’s mood.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Below The Fold
For 10 yrs, Ms. Pat Niple, 74, had a perfectly acceptable personalized Ohio license plate, which was the 4-letter acronym for the business she owned (Northwood Tree Farm), but this year, DMV snickered . . . . . Pity the chickens and goats of Cuba (and Miami), as Santerian Castro lovers (and haters) pray over his survival--prayers that require, um, sacrifices . . . . . Another ultimately lucky clumsy man, who fell backward onto a horseshoes stake, but the worst is that he won’t be sitting down for a while . . . . . Oh, those Montanans, like the guy tooling down the road at 120, oblivious of the trooper trying to catch him, but who then doubles back to help when the trooper has a blowout . . . . . Meteorites landing in India’s Gujarat state produce more Hindu idolatry . . . . . How to really tick off anti-American extremists: Tell ‘em about Steve Ogden’s Spa Dog, giving daily house-call aromatherapy, hydrotherapy baths, paw massages, etc., to rich people’s precious ones.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bad news for global-warming-alarm advocates: The noted meteorologist Pat Robertson agrees with you. (Recall his hurricane and tsunami forecasts [e.g., NOTW 626, 2-4-2000; NOTW 817, 10-5-2003], based on the book that brought us Noah rather than the computers of NOAA.)
Now the warden at California’s maximum-security Pelican Bay is all riled up at that murderer-lifer who paints with his own hair and M&M coloring [Backstage, 7-22-2006]. What Donny Johnson does is mail his postcard paintings to a prison-reform charity, and they sell them, never letting Johnson see a penny, but the warden says this is "unauthorized business dealings."

Below The Fold
An imprisoned F State rapist sued his victim for the trouble she has caused him . . . . . Ouch--11 yrs for an underwear fetish (even if it’s a major underwear fetish, like, maybe 3,400 stolen pieces) . . . . . Across the Bay fm Yr Editor, a bar owner went crazy and had his bouncer toss a water-drinker who was with four boozers running up a nice tab (and now he’s suing) . . . . . Police in Lincolnshire, England, embarked on a bold crime-solving strategy: Supply case information to local churches, and parishioners pray for leads . . . . . "Defending" her husband against accusations of infidelity (he’s in the Scottish Parliament), Gail Sheridan said he’s so hairy ("like a monkey") that the hoochie would already have mentioned that if she’d actually "known" him and that he was too "boring" to have the alleged group sex . . . . . Recurring theme (sort of): We know of dogs in the front seat that trip the gearshift of an idling car, but here’s a Toronto Star report of a bear commandeering a 15-foot boat, bumping the gearshift, and "chasing" the bailed-out fisherman.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Piece-of-Work pedophile Phillip Distasio finally goes on trial next month in Cleveland on 74 child-sex charges, and he informed the judge that he intends a freedom-of-religion defense, that his Arcadian Fields Ministries (whose world hdqtrs is Friar Distasio’s house) will teach the world that adult-child sex is therapeutic for the kids.

F State readers start through the Wall Street Journal piece this morning [pay per view] [free story summary here] about Mimi Monica Wong, 61, widowed, signing a contract to pay a dance-teacher couple US$15.4m for 2 yrs worth of rumba lessons, and they yawn; it’s a little extravagant compared to the Florida retirees’ losses, but it’s the same ol’ game. Except that it’s not. Wong is a high-class Hong Kong private banker with a well-heeled client list, and there’s an int’l championship Latin dance circuit on which she wants to excel, and actually, this was more like a rich amateur paying Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf $15.4m to devote themselves entirely for 2 yrs to making her one of the best tennis players in the world. (It fell apart the day one of the coaches told Wong to move "fat ass" out there, that she was a "lazy cow," and it went downhill from there, until she finally sued for the $8m advance she had paid, while the coaches countersued for the other $7.4m.) She’s back at work giving financial advice while the lawsuit plays out, and she’s paying her new rumba coach only $250k a year.

In a heartbreaking work of staggering bad-dogism, Barney the watchdog went nuts at a British children’s museum and chewed up $900k worth of antique teddy bears (including one once owned by Elvis).

Below The Fold
Double-lottery winner: "I feel like I have a horseshoe stuck up my [ass]" . . . . . In the F State city of Venice, it’s really, really hard for police to research sex crimes on the Internet because the city gov’t has blocked all Internet sex sites (seriously) . . . . . Almost a companion to that survey of lying [NOTW 964, 7-30-2006]: 40 percent of obese people say they do vigorous exercise 3x a week, and 76 percent say they have healthy eating habits . . . . . A Pennsylvania appeals court overruled a judge: Miller Genuine Draft is, too, beer . . . . . 22-month-old Cole Marsolek has taken up water-skiing and allegedly loves it (though his vocabulary for describing such pleasure is extremely limited) . . . . . The driver was sober, but the passenger who momentarily held the steering wheel for him was at .237 and was arrested.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Luckiest Woman in Chicago: A woman sued Borders Bookstore because a restroom toilet seat was loose, and shifted on her, not only "causing" her to actually fall on the floor but to land in such a way that she eventually needed multiple spine surgeries. A woman that clumsy should be grateful that nothing else has actually killed her yet.

Inside NOTW
Starting with the column that will appear on August 6, Yr Editor is revisiting (in weekly bunches) all of the No Longer Weirds, which began appearing in NOTW in 1996. There’s a badly-in-need-of-update list here, [CORRECTION: If this link is Blogger-dead, just go to the intro page and click the No Longer Weird-highlighted link in the 3rd paragraph] which many readers heed, but not the new readers, who have this week flooded Yr Editor with the story of the Westlake, Ohio, cocktail waitress who, upon asking for ID from a young woman, was then presented with the waitress’s own (stolen) driver’s license. Certainly used to be weird, but no longer.

William Lyttle, 75, who owns a substantial house in East London, England, has this problem (as mentioned in NOTW 711, 9-23-2001): For reasons known only to William Lyttle, he burrows incessantly under it (and in 2001, under the property line, causing part of the street to collapse). Now, however, the totality of the extensive, Hezbollah-like tunnelwork underneath has made the town council wary that the entire house could collapse, especially since Lyttle has (surprise!) weighed it down with so much personal junk. The house would be worth the equivalent of $1.5m or more if it were in good repair, which it’s not.

Below The Fold
In the old days, the easiest way to get a guy to turn vicious was to criticize his mother, but these days, mention his driving . . . . . Ehhh, I’m gonna have to actually see that: Inmate escapes by pulling himself over a wall using a rope "fashioned out of toilet tissue and bed sheets" . . . . . Preston, England, police propose to outlaw pub booze sales unless the customer is sitting down . . . . . "Keeping a Low Profile": Aaron Holland, already on probation, was using stolen cards at an ATM and riding with defaced license plates, and he figured a good way to stay under the radar during all this was to be walking around in a clown mask . . . . . Yeee-haaaa! The confluence of redneck themes in Fort Payne, Ala.: a night of drinking, a nude stroll down U.S. 11, and the waving of Old Glory!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Osama bin Laden was a fidgety ‘fraidy cat whenever he heard boom-booms, said a former associate for an upcoming CNN docu, In the Footsteps of bin Laden. But he "toughened" himself by watching Bruce Lee movies and [are you sitting down? are you ready for this?] Peter Graves’s TV show. But not the Mission Impossible TV show. No. Before that. Peter Graves starring in the Saturday morning kids’ horse show Fury (which came on right before Sky King).

But are we safe? A court in London last week acquitted three guys of trying to buy material for a dirty bomb, leaving the implication that the magnitude of the talk-of-the-town plot was more in the imagination of News of the World investigative ace Mazher Mahmood than a serious threat. The all-purpose-tech website The Register more chastises British security than Mahmood, though, because the WMD substance the men were seeking, "red mercury," doesn’t existent. If British security knew that, why make such a big splash? And if British security actually didn’t know it was bogus, well, whoa nelly!

Stafford, Tex., adjacent to Tom DeLay’s Sugar Land, wants to discourage church-building because it has 51 now, and unless actual businesses come to the remaining land, it’ll never get enough tax money to pay the bills. The churches say they can’t help it, that they pray about where to locate, and God says,
Well, at least God talks to flavor after flavor of evangelical protestants, but so far Stafford has no synagogue. (There are even synagogues in Iran, but apparently those congregations are Iranian first, Jewish second.)

Tom Wittman’s problem is that he insists on telling you how smart he is. Instead of quietly converting his ‘94 Saturn to electricity and being done with it, he gave the Alton (Ill.) Telegraph an interview. "Why spend $30 per month on gas when I can spend $3 on electricity?" he asked (obviously so satisfied that he hasn’t kept up with the cost of a fill-up lately). But it cost him 8-thousand-something to rebuild his car for electricity. Even at a $90/month gas bill, he won’t break even until 2014.

Philippine ex-judge Florentino Flores, mentioned here in May [Backstage, 5-4-2006] for the "three dwarfs theory" he used for dispensing justice, complained on Thursday to the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web Today column that he was misquoted, that he was never guided by dwarfs:
I never used the word "DWARVES" in any DECISION, and I never consulted any imaginary dwarf to pen my decisions; my detractors submitted these false evidence [sic] or lies to replace me with their political candidate; what I do believe in is: a) in the so-called (my) SPIRIT GUIDES or PROTECTORS: LUIS, is the KING OF ALL KINGS of ELEMENTALS/spirits worldwide (I opine due to his lights, violet and white); and b) he is GOD’S ANGEL (Genesis, Exodus, etc.)--what St. Paul teaches: Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Prophecy and Spiritual Healing. I am GIFTED; I never tried to develop my psychic powers, since these are God’s GIFTs to me--TO HEAL and TO PROPHESY." [upper case in the original]
As a responsible journalist, Yr Editor is pleased to clear that up.
On another matter, here’s a page of the my-penis-is-my-brush artist Tim Patch [Backstage, 7-28-2006] at work.

Below The Fold
Who knew: avian flu’s devastating impact on badminton shuttlecocks . . . . . And who knew that the Border Patrol caught more than 3.2m illegals entering from Mexico since 1999 and that all illegals entering fm Mexico have left 12,000 tons of garbage in southern Arizona alone . . . . . Just like in the ol’ wives’ tale, Tom Boyle single-handedly lifted a Camaro off a trapped boy (though Boyle is not exactly Woody Allen, at 6-4 and 300 lbs) . . . . . Adalberto Cardoso first tried fending off police by flinging McDonald’s milkshake goo at ‘em, but then tried biting a live electrical line while they bearhugged him (or so it says here).