Saturday, September 30, 2006

The F State
U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, nominally of West Palm Beach but who actually represents one of those gerrymandered districts that looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before, resigned over sexual e-mail come-on’s to at least one Congressional page that ABC News said were pretty explicit. Foley was co-chair of the House’s caucus on missing and exploited children. The St. Pete Times said it knew the whole thing a year ago but couldn’t write a story because neither boy then involved agreed to be identified.
Meanwhile, in West Palm Beach itself, Bobby Aiken, 48, was arrested for rape, despite a letter in his files (which might be a routine accompaniment to his sex life) that his victim signed (probably under threat of force), indicating that it was all consensual.
In other news, it is believed that some people in the F State have morally normal sex lives.

Justin Kalich, 26, came to his "preliminary hearing" in Greensburg, Pa., on Thursday, on a theft charge, and on advice of counsel, he wore a box over his head. The strategy was brilliant--often discussed among defense attorneys, but seldom if ever attempted. The problem is that eyewitness ID, from the time of the crime until the time of the trial, is notoriously unreliable. It is far more reliable if you test it from the time of the arraignment or preliminary hearing (where the victim has a longer time to stare at the man police have arrested for the crime) to the time of the trial. In other words, the trial ID of the defendant is usually in fact just the ID of the man who has been arrested, not necessarily the man the victim remembers at the time of the crime. Solution: Don’t give the victim any pre-trial opportunity to form an image of who she will be called on to ID later at trial. (Perhaps sensing that their case might be in trouble, prosecutors offered a soft plea bargain on the spot, and Kalich accepted.)

Dr. James Burda surrendered his Ohio chiropractic license
after a state investigation into whether he is a raving lunatic [NOTW 951, 4-30-2006]. (He is.) Burda said he could diagnose and cure via remote control, based on his techniques of Bahlaqeem Vina and Bahlaqeem Jaqem (and no further explanation of those can be given because no further explanation exists). Yr Editor thanks Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Ted Wendling for mentioning NOTW.
Stewart Bromley was expelled from the British surveyors’ professional society over his and his wife’s 2005 scheme to get out of two routine speeding tickets [NOTW 927, 11-13-2005]. It was apparently so important to beat those tickets that Mrs. Bromley flew to Bulgaria for the sole purpose of mailing a postcard home from a fictitious Bulgarian whom the Bromleys had said was driving their car when the cameras caught it speeding.
Wiccans are finally suing the Veterans Affairs Dept. for refusing to allow Wiccan symbols on its adherents’ gravestones (as 30-some other religions’ symbols are allowed--along with a non-religious symbol [for atheists]) [NOTW 958, 6-18-2006].

Below The Fold
A Welsh coroner called the death of a habitual coin-swallower one of "natural causes" . . . . . Liar Liar Lynne Liar Stewart (blind terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman’s lawyer) admits she lied the whole time about whether she illegally facilitated the Sheik’s outside communication . . . . . In Hammond, Ind., the penalty for your kids’ helping to break a woman’s eyeglasses is for her husband to blow up your house . . . . . Apparently the Dvergsnes School in Kristiansand, Norway, is trying to impose a rule requiring boys to sit while urinating, and local politicians are having a fit ("fiddling with God’s work," "a human right not to have to sit down like a girl") . . . . . In other urination news, at the World Chess Championships in Russia, the Bulgarian world champion got tired of the Russian challenger taking bathroom breaks (which are not monitored, so no one knows if it was cheating or a tiny bladder), and the chess federation has cracked down.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain broke into the foie gras debate when asked about proposals to ban it in New Jersey (as it is in Chicago) (because geese’s livers are fattened up to beyond-yikes! levels, which humans say is extremely painful to the geese). "Foie gras is a primary color in the flavor spectrum that we use in the kitchen," he said. Banning it would be "a bomb in the New York restaurant scene." "To ask chefs to cook without that is to ask a painter not to use the color blue."

A 400-yr old festival in Ottery St. Mary, England, is close to cancellation because insurance companies are balking at covering it. How audacious! The event consists of rolling, or carrying on one’s back, flaming barrels of tar, and there was an injury claim last yr. (Lede buried: Guys had been carrying around flaming tar for 399 yrs with no lawsuits.)

Thursday’s usually a boom day for the kind of news we all need to know, but yesterday wasn’t, and Yr Editor has certain standards to maintain. I simply won’t use stories that don’t make me moist, no matter how short that leaves the day’s post. Better luck tomorrow.

Below The Fold
A 73-yr-old Tyler, Tex., used car salesman got into an argument with a supposedly-satisfied customer and so, naturally, slashed him with his machete . . . . . Recent murder arrestees: In Pittsburgh, Timothy Widman, and in Longview, Wash., Bradley Hamrick, both of whom have been disadvantaged since birth by having a certain middle name . . . . . At China's Animal Olympics, er, a clown boxing a kangaroo.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Turns out that Bruce McMahan, a hedge-fund guy who is one of America’s wealthiest men, er, married his, um, daughter in 2004 after a 10-yr-or-so affair. The New Times paper in Broward-Palm Beach (Fla.) broke it yesterday, but, in the inimitable (thankfully!) NT style, it’s one of those stories that NT editors don’t think their reporters are talented enough to tell in fewer than 6,000 words. Fortunately, though, Paul Tharp is that talented a writer, and here’s his piece in this morning’s NY Post. It’s a complicated saga, and however hugely heavenly it may have been for McMahan, then 55, to hook up with his blonde daughter, 21, the pending divorce is that un-heavenly.

NY atty-gen’l candidate Jeanine Pirro, who was until recently the long-time DA in prominent Westchester County, is no doubt toast. She was already trailing Democrat Andrew Cuomo handily, until federal-investigation transcripts were leaked of a phone conversation between her and security man (and former NYC police commissioner) Bernie Kerik over her desire to secretly (and probably illegally) record her suspected-cheater of a husband. When Kerik said bugging the couple’s boat (to catch hubby in the act) would be difficult, Pirro sez, "What am I supposed to do, Bernie? Watch him [f] her every night?" "I can go on the boat, I’ll put the [f]ing thing on myself." Pirro said yesterday that, er, she broke no laws.

Whoa, boy, with those two stories, it was a great morning for New York news, but here’s another: A lower-grades teacher at a school for the gifted on Long Island was fired, and arrested on child-porn charges, and it happens that he operates a website (of fantasies, he said) that revolves around "young boys, slavery, and cannibalism." Complicating things is that he was extremely popular among kids and parents and that he joked a lot. "I say I’m going to eat [the kids], but I’m only joking; the kids always laugh" [he would say, according to a school official].

A British toy company Arsenic and Apple Pie supposedly introduced the world’s first trailer-trash doll, Turleen, last year, and now Turleen has a mulleted, greasy, gaseous, beer-swilling boyfriend, named, of course, Wayne, or at least "Jer Wayne, Jr."

You’ve heard of corrupt third-world prisons, of course, but Guatemala’s Pavon may be the corruptest. Cops and not-on-the-take guards hadn’t set foot in the place in 10 yrs (concerned only with controlling the outer perimeter), leaving inmates to set up restaurants, churches, homes, distilleries, and hard-drug labs, with internal gangs vying for control of the markets. Monday, 6,000 soldiers and cops took back the place.

USA Today refreshes the numbers on how many have been killed while fumbling the theft (for scrap metal) of copper wire from electrical lines: since July, at least 7 men in 5 states.

The dwarf-consulting judge who wrote me [Backstage, 9-27-2006] is Florentino Floro, not Florentino Flores.

I've heard that Google's been having a rough week, server-wise, and doesn't work all that reliably when things are going smoothly. So please make a mental note that if you click on Backstage after 12 noon Eastern time one day, and there's not another post, it's undoubtedly Blogger's failure. Yr Editor is so maniacal at this point that, although I am dangerously close to being a "Creme de la Creme," [CORRECTION: "Creme de la Weird"], myself, I am punctual.

Below The Fold
In Columbus, Ga., Plan C (pregnancy-termination-by-turpentine), but it’s actually quite ineffective.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Recurring Themes: Even though the early-1990's tsunami of child-molesting witch hunts has subsided, pushover child-protection investigators are still on the job. In Tampa, charges are finally dropped (but her reputation not yet restored) against a 23-yr-old female school employee who had been accused of sexually molesting a 6-yr-old who had been found by investigators to be "credible." That’s "credible" despite several witnesses who said the girl was distant and talked to her wristwatch and to trees.

Yr Editor was privileged yesterday to receive a lengthy, quasi-scholarly e-mail from the Filipino dwarf-consulting judge, Florentino Flores [CORRECTION: Floro] [NOTW 972, 9-24-2006], impersonally noting his appearance in News of the Weird. [Soon, Backstage will be upgrading to give the flexibility to upload additional pages so that I could easily post things like Flores’s masterpiece.]
That Zambian archbishop, Emmanuel Milingo, was excommunicated by the Vatican, with the final straw maybe being his recent anointing of four married bishops in Washington, D.C. The Church had snatched him away from his then-new wife, a Moonie, in 2001 and sent him to a re-education camp in Italy [ehh, well, they call it a "convent"], and he stayed there a long time but apparently yearned for the married life and recently bailed out.
Enron Andy Fastow was immediately shipped off to prison yesterday upon his sentencing, and we know he had prepped for it because he reportedly appeared "bulked up." Can’t be too careful about who you shower with, even in minimum security.

Below The Fold
Drug of choice: Listerine! (and what does a Listerine abuser look like?) (and to see how lame Internet advertising is, click the printer-friendly button on the story to catch ads for--you guessed it!) . . . . . At the Univ. of Dubuque (Iowa), I guess they don’t teach their varsity wrestlers how to fall, in that Shane Frederick jumped out of a 2nd-floor window at a party (to escape police) and landed on his face . . . . . Kentucky man can’t decide whether he’s a burglar or a videographer, but in any event he left his camera at the scene . . . . . A guy who gratuitously ratted out his wise-guy colleagues then got 7 yrs more in prison than they got (but what’d you expect with a guy street-named Cheesy Rat?) . . . . . They had a feeling the building was a bad buy when she reached for the pullcord to turn on the light on, and it was a snake (but they were soon wishing that was the only snake on the property!) . . . . . While it seems worthwhile to find out whether surgeons can operate in zero gravity, the tough part would be getting a patient to agree to be cut on, but, hey, they found one!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

qTakeru Kobayashi lapped the field in a lobster-roll-eating contest in Boston, and isn’t it about time that we stop treating the man as a novelty act and recognize athletic endurance of Armstrongian proportions? The 131-pounder outeats everyone at everything, including fat guys who’ve been "in training" for weeks. Lance can pedal a bike for an hour at a higher speed than you can for 3 minutes, and Kobayashi can cram food down for 20 minutes at a pace that'd make you throw up in 2. All hail!

Former New Jersey governor Jim ("I am a gay American") McGreevey is reportedly in rehab in Arizona for his addiction disorder of needing to "be adored by strangers" and chose, as his "assistance [stuffed] animal" for his therapy sessions, Kermit the Frog.

Yr Editor is even getting weary of broken-penis stories, but two hit the news yesterday. A judge in Providence, R.I., tossed out (probably incorrectly, but still--) the $400k judgment for poor Chick Lennon, 68, who is the guy who’s been tumescent since 1996 because of a faulty pump made by a company long since belly-up. The judge has relieved the insurance company of paying up, which is probably not right. And then the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Illinois recently moved to shut down Dr. Sheldon Burman’s clinic for adding length (up to a half-inch) and girth (up to 50 percent), but only after "dozens" of dissatisfied customers won lawsuits, describing themselves in variations of "shriveled up." Burman said he stands by every one of the "thousands" of procedures he’s done (by vacuum and stretching) since 1981. (He’s at

Editor’s Obsessions
The Durham, N.C., district attorney, Michael Nifong, produced another specially-cut jigsaw piece on Friday. (He’s known for months that the pieces he was issued, better known as "evidence," just don’t fit.) After his only evidence from the outset about duration (about the March 2006 alleged Duke lacrosse rape) was that it was 30 minutes long, he said on Friday that it lasted maybe 5-10 minutes, which of course perfectly neutralizes the defense’s previously-exculpatory evidence. His earlier jigsaw-piece-cobbling was even more astonishing: He had the supervisory sergeant on duty bash his own, 3-page, handwritten, on-the-scene report of events that night in favor of a carefully-crafted, typed, 33-page narrative of the evening, four months later, which just happened to tie together lots of the jigsaw pieces that Nifong hadn’t yet been able to find. Yr Editor doesn’t know whether the defendants are guilty, just as I don’t know whether the Guantanamo detainees are guilty, but Nifong’s post-investigation cobbling and whittling surely ranks with the Gitmo proceedings for bold challenges to "due process of law." [The NY Times piece mentioning the 33-pager is here, but it’ll cost you $4.95, or you can trust one of the very, very few political commentators in America whom Yr Editor trusts, Stuart Taylor, who dissects it here for free.]

Below The Fold
Yikes--a NYC flophouse with "bedbugs the size of cockroaches"! . . . . . A Connecticut organization says, hey, wait a minute with those Post Office/Dear-Santa letters from kids because perverts can just walk right in and learn all they need to know about their next victims . . . . . St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ottawa (and perhaps others) says, hey, wait a minute with commercial bottled water because water’s supposed to be a life-giving present from God . . . . . As a Steve Irwin tribute, a guy pledges to feed his newborn kid’s placenta to his pet monitor lizards . . . . . The Baltimore Orioles’ Jay Gibbons fouled off a pitch Saturday night against the Twins, over the backstop screen, right into the ribcage of Mrs. Gibbons (Seriously).

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Wall Street Journal (pay per view) published transcripts from that Feb 2005 British Airways flight 268 that flew across the Atlantic (LA to London) on 3 engines, even though the pilot was aware of the loss for the last 10 hrs, 59 mins, and 30 secs of the 11-hr flight--because the engine burst into flame before he got out of LA County. The pilot told the LA tower, after consulting with the home office, that they’d try to "get as far as we can" on three. (Among the considerations for an emergency landing: dumping $30k in fuel plus liability for up to $275k to compensate passengers for late arrival under European Union rules.) You’ll have to pay WSJ to see the pilot-tower transcripts, but here’s a summary from the Guardian. Last month, the FAA dropped its idea about imposing a $25k fine on British Airways. When the plane landed back then, the news was only about it having to land at Manchester instead of London because it had expended so much fuel flying on three engines, and that story provoked a discussion on when its pilot expert suggested no-prob flying a 747 on three.

Milo G. Chamberlain (0.425 blood-alcohol reading) was arrested for causing a commotion in Madison, Wis. (including getting into a fistfight with a gas-station pump, until a bystander held him back). Also, apparently, when your blood-alcohol level gets that high (based on the minuscule number of cases so far), you either die or, as Chamberlain showed, you can only talk in strings of numbers.

A BBC Radio program is on the scene in Beijing, at the Guolizhuang restaurant, which features rare animal-part dishes, with the specialties of the house being the you-know-whats of various species. "Government officials" come here, said the hostess. "Two of them upstairs. They’re having penis hotpot." "Aborted reindeer fetus" was also mentioned. Donkey penis ("good for the skin"), snake ("very potent" "They have two penises each"), sheep, horse, ox, seal ("excellent for the circulation"), dog (er, "big dog"). Tiger penis (illegal, actually) is ordered only once or twice a year, she said, probably by people who just want to show they can afford it.

Here’s another Wall Street Journal piece you won’t be able to read, but we’re-more-civilized-than-you Belgium apparently is re-thinking its disfavor of stop signs. A transport ministry spokesman complained, "We’d have to put signs at every crossroads. We have lots of intersections." The system now is the honor system (the one on the right goes first) but has evolved into games of chicken. In the days of horse-drawn carriages in Belgium, right-of-way went to the person with the higher social standing, and "It wasn’t unusual for the passengers to get out of their carriages and compare their titles and ranks in the nobility," said another spokesman.

Inside NOTW
Reminder: If you’re a Sirius satellite radio subscriber and have nothing better to do, tune in around 5 p.m. Eastern today to a Discovery channel show hosted by Mo Rocca (formerly of The Daily Show), where he’ll do a 10-15-minute segment on recent weird sciencey news. Mo’ll probably be funny, but I’m not guaranteeing anything else. [I have no idea what number the channel is, nor how easy or impossible it is to get a streaming-audio version on the Internet, so don’t ask.]

Below The Fold
The leaders of that coup in Thailand last week have tried to improve their public relations, by ordering soldiers to smile . . . . . Time to call the moving van: Omaha’s Brontea Evans, 18, just got hit by a gunshot for the 4th time (separate incidents) in the last 11 months . . . . . Privacy Rights Clearinghouse said the cumulative number of personal records fumbled in the last 2 yrs is 93.7 million . . . . . That PR firm Lucifer hired to soften his image is off to a great start, because Jerry Falwell repeated this weekend that Lucifer’s no more scary than Hillary Clinton is.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Evidently (from this post on BoingBoing), Fortean Times is running an interview with the makers of a new documentary on the sociology of the Klingon Language Institute, where Trekkies spend time polishing their skills. The producers are certain that these people are good-obsessed rather than bad-obsessed and therefore above all else are to be admired. Or else they didn’t come across any real weirdos (or chose not to feature them).

Awesome: Graffiti artist Paco Rosic bought a building in Waterloo, Iowa, for his life’s ambition: to re-create (in half-size) Michelangelo’s fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, entirely by spraying (but with not quite as much detail, of course). It cost him and his family their life’s savings, and required a second mortgage for the parents. He has used about 2,000 cans of paint over four months to cover about 2,500 square feet of domed ceiling, and a Los Angeles Times reporter was mighty impressed. (On the other hand, according to this 2-week-old report, Tom Dale spent 25 yrs building his dream boat, launched it from a pier in Port Hueneme, Calif., in August, and immediately ran it aground.)

What does a fella do after being tossed out of his own country in a military coup? Said Thailand’s now-ex-prime-minister Thaksin Shinawatra, arriving in London, escaping a swarm of reporters to catch a bus: "I am going to buy some groceries."

Update: That hapless San Diego bank robber who did everything wrong [Backstage, 9-1-2006] completed the cycle by getting arrested. He’s Gerald Jones, 29, done in probably because he had slobbered a bit of DNA into his Ronald Reagan mask. (He’ll also be in NOTW 972, debuting tomorrow at

Inside NOTW
Yr reclusive Editor has not made a media appearance in over four yrs, which has been just fine (except for the part about declining invitations gracefully, which I’m mediocre at), but I think I’ll give it another try. If you’re a Sirius satellite radio subscriber and have nothing better to do, tune in around 5 p.m. Eastern on Monday (25th) to a Discovery channel show hosted by Mo Rocca (formerly of The Daily Show), where he’ll do a 10-15-minute segment on recent weird sciencey news. Mo’ll probably be funny, but I’m not guaranteeing anything else. I have no idea what number the channel is, nor how easy or impossible it is to get a streaming-audio version on the Internet, so don’t ask.

Below The Fold
According to Texas law, everybody who lives near the woods better STFU [er, better be quiet] during deer-hunting season . . . . . In Lipezk, Russia, a soccer coach allegedly hired "underworld thugs" to beat up three of his least-team-oriented players . . . . . Another find: blow-up dolls made out to look underage . . . . . Great Art! Jazz composer David Baker plans a concert in which he'll beg the audience to set off their cellphone ring tones (as long as it’s on cue) . . . . . The Amazing Kreskin was scheduled to give a free seminar for cops yesterday in Greenfield, Ind., on how to use mental acuity to solve crimes . . . . . Finland cracks down on overcharges for fondling breasts, i.e., US3,200 is too much, but the judge won’t say just how too much . . . . . A Lobez, Poland, marijuana grower said she did it because a little dope in the feed bag steadied her out-of-control cow’s nerves.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ulysses Handy III accepted a plea agreement in Tacoma, Wash., for three murders and will serve life without hope. He consoled the grieving families in court: "Pain is part of life. Deal with it, get over it." He’d do it again, he said. "I shoot people, kill people, all that other good stuff, only when I’m provoked. Vengeance, karma, whatever you want to call it." "[T]here’s two types of people in this world--us and them, predators and prey. I’m damn sure not prey." His mama was there, too, beside herself with shame.

Recurring Themes: Lisa Goff, charged with her husband on state income tax issues in Ogden, Utah, finally bailed out on him and cooperated with authorities. But hubby Douglas still won’t give up his legal theory, i.e., that his incoming money is not "income" but rather "compensation" and therefore, not taxable. A judge has found a cell for him to re-think his position even though it’s unlikely that he ever will.
Soon to be No Longer Weird: Yr Editor’s getting bored with parents who fake their kids’ illnesses, either for profit or because of internal issues (Munchausen syndrome by proxy). I think probably even Dick Wolf is tired of ‘em. Michael Bradway was arraigned in New Haven, Conn., yesterday for allegedly scamming in-laws out of $40k by claiming that his son (now age 9) has cystic fibrosis (also convincing the boy himself and undernourishing him to keep him in character). Bradway is fresh from a suicide attempt, but the prosecutor doesn’t think he faked that nearly as well as he did the cystic-fibrosis thingie.
The following happened once before, but the teacher in that instance was of retirement age, dwelling on a 1940s view of what could go wrong with blood. Terri Nicholson is younger, and a high school science teacher, and a veteran of Kansas state training on blood safety, but she still used the same lancet to draw blood from more than 20 kids.

Yr Editor doesn’t do YouTube (or porn, for that matter) (or else no work would get done around here), but I’m told that you can see that kids’ Bible camp with the hard-core training [Backstage, 9-19-2006] here (perhaps the TV show segment, since it was an ABC News story).

Below The Fold
The census of "lost" computers at the Dept. of Commerce (including its U.S. Census Bureau): 1,137 since 2001 [Ed.: And I think one "loses" an earring or "loses" his place in a book but when a laptop goes away, it was usually "taken"] . . . . . Good news for Mitsuhiro Tateyama of the Japanese pro golf tour: He 2-putted a par-3 hole; bad news: He was on the green in 17 . . . . . A Montreal goth group raises money for Montreal Children’s Hospital (so that people don’t get the wrong impression about nihilism) . . . . . Two Syracuse hookers who run a scam on johns by pretending to be cops then run into trouble when the john is part of a Syracuse police prostitution sting: Picture each trying to cuff the other . . . . . It started out badly with Richard Brooks driving angrily straight at a bunch of Harley bikers, but ended worse with Brooks being beat down not by the bikers but by his own (driverless) car . . . . . "[A]n entire neighborhood" participating in a "comedy of errors" is how a Phoenix cop described the great community outpouring of help when a young teen struggled to drive a stick-shift car; unknown to the Samaritans, the kid had just stolen it . . . . . Proudly walking through downtown Des Moines, Iowa, in the middle of the day carrying an armful of fresh marijuana plants . . . . . This Daily Mail (London) columnist swears that Channel 4 is preparing to air a show called "Masturbation For Girls" that employs an "orgasm coach" who teaches three women all her tricks.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Lucky for U.S. Rep. Bob Ney that the Republican Congress is disorganized. He faces 27 months in prison after pleading guilty in an Abramoff-related corruption case but will still be eligible for his Congressional pension when he gets out because the tough-on-Congressional-crime bill, which would have barred that pension and which Ney said he was "proud" to have voted for, got stuck in committee.

You must know by now how much Yr Editor loves to find new fetishes, or even variations of the same-ol’-fetishes. According to this report in the Macon Telegraph, there’s a guy who has now been booted out of two Wal-Marts (Americus, Ga., Perry, Ga.) for performing a "religious ritual" by having a woman stand on his hands and spit on him, and letting him lick her feet. (There was also the sorta-fetish story of Deefer the bull mastiff in Stapleford, England, that habitually ate his owner-family’s underwear, a habit that recently sent him to the vet to have a pink lace g-string removed from his intestines. But I guess that doesn’t count.)

The chairman of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation resigned after incorrectly suggesting that bestiality is legal in Lebanon. (He also got into trouble for expressing himself on another topic--a topic which Yr Editor regards as mildly to seriously salutary. In an interview, he evidently spoke at length about, as the AP put it, "the joys of bowel movements.")

Canadian Albert Nerenberg announced his 4th annual World Stupidity Awards, with prizes mostly going to the usual suspects, e.g., Bush, Cheney, and the guy Cheney shot (for apologizing to Cheney). Other winners were the Oklahoma penis-pump judge and the guy who tripped over his shoelaces and stumbled down the steps of a museum, crashing into three antique Chinese vases.

Below The Fold
I don’t think so--growing enough dope for 287,000 joints, but said it was just for his wife’s health problems [Link fixed] . . . . . "Panda Bites Man, Man Bites Him Back" (and alcohol was involved) . . . . . Chippewa Indians built a $36m casino-hotel on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but then discovered a federal prohibition against gambling on part of the land, so now it's a $36m hotel [Link fixed] . . . . . Colombia’s chief federal prosecutor was found to have hired a psychic to help deal with corruption on the staff (which he detected by staring into their eyes).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An LA Times piece Monday about the influence of his young wife revealed inadvertently how Rupert Murdoch has soured on his 38 percent interest in DirecTV. Supposedly, his wife, Wendi Deng, 37, hired feng shui experts to make over DirecTV’s headquarters, and the conclusion was for the chief exec to give up his oceanview office and take one overlooking a parking garage and a sewage treatment plant. Also, the chief financial officer had to give up his private bathroom because the toilet was sucking down the company profits. Since then, of course, DirecTV is losing its war with digital cable, and Murdoch himself is said to have called the company a "turd bird" that he is trying to unload.

The free newspaper 24timer in Copenhagen, in business for all of one month, broke the story last week that there are multiple "animal bordellos" in the country, charging bestialists the equivalent of about $85 to $170 per session, using animals that are allegedly veterans at this sort of thing, to relieve any guilt that the pervs might feel. The reporter apparently covers it straight and did manage a couple of quotes with proper names and titles, but still, 24timer’s not exactly Le Monde.

Below The Fold
A street-sign vandal in Orlando cut himself on a jagged edge and bled to death, and a Colorado man practicing his quick draw accidentally killed himself . . . . . A one-issue politician in Idaho said he’ll run for office every election cycle, now that he’s legally changed his entire name to Pro-Life (from Marvin Richardson) . . . . . The hottest TV drama in Colombia right now is Sin Tetas no hay Paraiso, whose translation--guaranteed--wouldn’t get past the FCC here (hint: It’s about a flat-chested woman fretting about succeeding in a surgically-enhanced society) . . . . . In Newton, Mass., a man challenges for the record of being the hardest-sleeping drunk ever to be in a car in front of a patrol car, waiting for a light to change.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

An ideal job for Yr Editor: In Middlesbrough, England, the gov’t has 158 cameras to watch the streets for "anti-social" behavior, but on 7 of them, it has installed loudspeakers so that an operator can also publicly scold. So, the camera catches someone peeing in the street, and out of nowhere comes the voice of the Lord, like "I’m warning you!" (Operators can only "warn.") Sweet!

Christian madrassa in North Dakota: Pastor Becky Fischer’s Bible camp teaches kids the Christian activities of (according to ABC News) "speaking in tongues, weeping for salvation, praying for an end to abortion, and worshiping a picture of President Bush." Said Becky, herself: "I want to see [the kids] as radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are in Palestine, Pakistan, and all those different places. Because, excuse me, we have the truth." Said a camper, "We’re kinda being trained to be warriors, only in a funner way."

The British artist Banksy staged a weekend Los Angeles exhibition of "the elephant in the room" (meaning, y’know, how people describe an issue as B, somehow ignoring the obvious, even-bigger issue, A). Banksy’s issue A was supposedly the fact that so many people live below the poverty line. His point was inadvertently well-taken, as animal rights people raised hell that he had camouflaged his live elephant in sorta-harmful paint in the same colors as the room, and that issue, and not poverty, dominated the weekend.

In a similar vein (inadvertently), Pope Benedict XVI could’ve been a performance artist, himself, when he referenced a medieval text suggesting that the Prophet Mohammad supposedly accepted violence (which surely, surely differentiates ancient Islam from ancient Catholicism), and in response, like clockwork, a few bands among the world’s one billion Muslims have threatened violence against the artist. That perhaps-50,000 of those one billion can, using 21st-century technology, pose a grave threat to civilization is surely an elephant in the room to some Americans.

ABC News brings us up to date on H. Beatty Chadwick, who is now beyond 4,000 days in jail for contempt of court because he won’t or can’t give up around $2.5 million that a judge said is marital property to be split with ex-wife Bobbie, after their marriage went sour in 1992 [NOTW 736, 3-17-2002; NOTW 883, 1-9-2005]. New details Yr Editor learned from this report: Bobbie said Beatty was so controlling during their marriage that he rationed her 6 sheets of tp per bathroom visit, and their sex life took place promptly at 7:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Inside NOTW
Yr Editor has heard from a couple of people so far (with probably more to come) informing me that the extension of the "eruv" [NOTW 971, 9-17-2006] beyond one’s home is "common" and therefore "not weird." In fact, maybe 100 readers a year write to inform me that something in NOTW is just "not weird." I try gingerly to remind them that one person’s Weird is of course another’s Whatever. More specifically, though, the closer one is to an issue, the less likely he or she is to appreciate that others may be struck by its oddness. The eruv seems historically to be purposively restrictive. Lately, it’s less so. One can do a lot of things within the eight-mile perimeter of this particular Berkeley temple. So a restrictive concept has been greatly loosened, and not surprisingly, most congregants are down with that. Of course! Restrictions are OK, as long as they’re not too restrictive. And some might also resist characterizing this liberalization as unusual, as if actually nothing was being liberalized at all. But some of us who are merely observers of the liberalization might view it as of a piece with other declining religious communities’ attempts to be more congregant-friendly. But if you don’t agree, fine. One person’s Weird is another’s Whatever.

Below The Fold
The latest person to survive a sharp object penetrating his brain [with x-ray photo, of course] . . . . . And the latest instance of unintentional suicide-by-cop . . . . . The blind Oregon man who invented a system of curbside markers to make sure blind people didn’t wander aimlessly into traffic was run over when he wandered aimlessly into traffic.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The first-ever successful schlong transplant was done at Guangzhou General Hospital in China, and systems went smoothly for 2 weeks, but then the 44-yr-old man and his wife were said to reject it on “psychological” grounds, which we’d like to know the details of, but doubt they’ll be in the surgery’s forthcoming report in European Urology.

As a Gentile, I’ve been informed by several non-Gentiles that members of a temple are “congregants,” perhaps, but not “parishioners,” as I wrote in this week’s NOTW 971.

The situation with Debby Rose and her monkey Richard [Backstage, 9-16-2006] is worse than I had assumed. It’s not like Debby is a depressed shut-in, all alone except for her one little friend. The triggering incident here was when she went out to eat with “her family” and insisted that Richard dine with them, seated in a high chair. So her “family,” whatever that is, is useless to her disability; only Richard makes it all OK.
Since Wisconsin doesn’t have a specific necrophilia law, sex charges were dropped against those three gents [Backstage, 9-7-2006] (but non-sex charges, y’know, messing with “property,” and so forth, remain).

Below The Fold
Way Undignified: electrocuted while shoveling manure at a mushroom farm . . . . . A new record for forgetting where you parked your car? (7 months) . . . . . Dept. of Transportation’s program for encouraging hybrid-electric transit buses is set back, as its project manager is busted for credit-card theft to procure hookers . . . . . In Paris, probably a case of two women at birth being given the same name (Madeleine Paule Helene Mores), and they may have to dig up the mother to see which deserves it . . . . . Houston, Tex., traffic-camera critic Michael Kubosh decided to deliberately run a camera’ed red light so he could challenge the system, but then a real cop happened to see him, and he got a real ticket.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Another one of those hyper-odd groups (this one whose membership is about 0.0001 percent of the U.S.) who are positive they know more than, in this case, the other 99.9999 percent, uses its own all-silver coins as currency in stores of true believers (because they don’t accept the concepts of the Federal Reserve or the federal income tax). The U.S. Mint is finally saying stop it.

Those guys are only a little less odd than the House of Yahweh branch in Mauche, Kenya, whose members moved into their bunkers on Wednesday (where they’ll stay for a year!) even after the world didn’t end as scheduled on Tuesday (which leaders immediately attributed to a “time-zone” misunderstanding).

A judge in West Australia let an Aboriginal girl off the hook under the state’s racial vilification law even though she called a girl a “white slut”—because it is the “patois of the street.” But relax: The judge said she’d rule the same way if the offending phrase were “black [c-word, which Yr Editor can’t use if he’s ever going to have (2-person) sex again].”

Recurring Themes: NOTW has mentioned “service monkeys” before [NOTW 903, 5-29-2005], perhaps deserving of some protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (e.g., to be admitted to no-pets places if they are trained to provide enumerated tasks, such as helping wheelchair-using shoppers by grabbing things off of shelves). Now, Debby Rose of Springfield, Mo., doesn’t go into that because her main “man” Richard is for emotional support to deal with anxiety. The official NOTW position, of course, is that if you can only get your emotional support from a monkey, “anxiety” is not your main problem . . . . . Accidentally leaving ID behind at the scene of the crime has long been No-Longer-Weird’ed, but it takes a special kind of perp to leave behind his actual birth certificate . . . . . The latest empty house to defy police in a long stand-off, in Ottawa.

In the NY primaries on Tuesday, the out-of-control state Sen. Ada Smith [NOTW 965, 8-6-2006] was sent packing (but not state Assemblywoman Diane Gordon, who won her primary despite what looks like good video evidence of her soliciting a $500k bribe from a developer).
That substantial-sized woman who strangled the burglar [Backstage, 9-11-2006] actually, police now say, strangled (unknown to her) not a burglar but a hit man sent by her husband. (Seriously)

The F State
The upscale city of Weston presented its budget to Broward County via a 20-minute video with music and sound effects. (Paraphrasing former pro football star John Riggins, I say they’re either way ahead of everybody over in Weston or way behind, but they’re not even with anybody.)
Santeria’s so popular in the F State that you don’t even have to be a believer to have its worshipers ease you into the afterlife with headless puppies on your grave.

Below The Fold
The police chief of Moore Township, Pa., reviewing surveillance video of guy robbing a bank, must be beaming with pride: That’s my boy!” . . . . . Anderson, Ind., says it's OK for its little kids to attend school with brown recluse spiders . . . . . A 3-yr-old boy survived a 30-ft fall onto concrete (and, even more impressively, 4 yrs ago, he busted up his dad’s vasectomy) . . . . . More Nigerian ingenuity: I’m not guilty of killing my brother because actually I only killed a goat; it’s just that somehow the goat was transformed into my brother . . . . . The Associated Press Stylebook has apparently OK’d the use of “turd” . . . . . Nigerian scammers took a break and turned inward, cheating actual Nigerian politicians by offering to certify them as corruption-free but then splitting town . . . . . Officer Chris Simpson of the Newbern, N.C., police, channeling Barney Fife, accidentally dropped his bullet, which went off when it hit the floor, firing up at him and getting him just above the eye [Dyersburg, Tenn., News, 9-13-2006, not online]. [CORRECTION: Newbern is in Tennessee, too.]

Friday, September 15, 2006

If you read News of the Weird, you know druggies don’t need help getting arrested: Somebody has set up sort of a Frommer’s-type website of where to buy drugs in, now, 366, cities and towns in the U.S., so you know the cops in all those places are on alert, and let’s see how many people get picked up trolling. [Ed.: There was a heated discussion on a couple of months ago about whether “trolling” is an incorrect variation on “trawling,” so don’t write me about that.]

The Roadhouse restaurant, Chantilly, Va., asked $9k compensation from the city due to lost business when police cordoned off the area after a double-killing of cops. And the Roadhouse was already a scofflaw on $5k in police fines for not fixing its burglar alarm, which had several times called cops to investigate thin air. [Link Corrected]

Recurring Themes: Another widow was revealed to have been renting a rotary telephone [Youth: You’ll have to look on Wikipedia to find out what those are], for the last 42 yrs . . . . . Somebody’s gonna have some ‘splainin’ to do to higher-ups: Another alleged drug-runner (a couple, actually) carrying $1.5m in cocaine (and $123k in cash) forgot it when they turned in their rental car.

Below The Fold
Cops subdue wild pig in Green Bay (keywords: tasers, wrestling, blanket, lawyer) . . . . . A Massachusetts science teacher practices waving his Mr. Wizard from his porch . . . . . A couple relocating to Minnesota from Alaska refuses to deal with moving company and instead mails their 200 boxes of stuff . . . . . Undignified deaths: Men fail to respect bulldozer, crane . . . . . An F-State Freon huffer is suspected of inhaling 31 air-conditioner units dry.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The sex scandal that’s apparently all over the news in Italy: A jealous lover caught her man (allegedly, they’ve twice conceived, and twice aborted) in the act with another woman, and set fire to his house (and also, a machete was involved somewhere along the line). The man is Father Carmelo Mantarro, 70; the alleged arsonist is Sister Silvia Gomes De Sousa, 39.

More on that mystery of the Iowa kid who got napped in 1982 and may or may not have been heard from since [Backstage, 9-4-2006, 9-2-2006]: A retired Iowa investigator (who now works for the prosecutor here in Weird Central) said he thinks the photo laid on the distraught mom’s doorstep in August 2006 was not her son but a kid consensually tied-up in the 1970s, and that he told her that when he first encountered the same photo 25 yrs ago. Investigators are on the job in West Des Moines even as I write, and Yr Editor can’t wait to see how this turns out.
The Dept of Veterans Affairs got bailed out, for the time being, by the state of Nevada, and will not have to make a decision on whether Wiccan soldiers can have their symbol on their grave markers. Nevada said it’s a state cemetery, and the symbol is fine with them [NOTW 958, 6-18-2006].
Michael Wiley, the reckless, no-armed, 1.5-footed driver written up last month by the St. Petersburg Times [Backstage, 8-23-2006], was arrested again--for domestic assault, for allegedly headbutting his wife of 17 yrs.

Reminder: Today through Monday, Sept. 18, expect irregular postings (at least one a day, though).

Below The Fold
A 43-yr-old New York driver took off from a dirt mound and flew into the 2nd story of a house, but he’s not around to celebrate . . . . . State Farm wants to rescind a life insurance policy because the insured was murdered before she could pull off her planned fake death . . . . . Sounds like a joke: a youth sports association raffling off an Uzi . . . . . A woman in Montreal didn’t cut off her womanizing boyfriend’s offending organ--she set it on fire with fondue fuel . . . . . The 2nd-string punter for Univ. of Northern Colorado was arrested for tonyaharding-ing the 1st-string punter . . . . . A Pennsylvania mother admitted that she rewarded her son, 13, for doing his homework by smoking dope with him . . . . . An 8-yr-old kid bills out at $25/hr for teaching grown-ups the secrets of Halo 2 on Xbox.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Least Competent Anti-Abortion Terrorist: David McMenemy was charged with the non-suicidal 9-11 car-bombing (well, ramming and then torching his car) of what he thought was an abortion clinic in Davenport, Iowa. He had the "clinic" part right, anyway.

Who Knew? Brian Lindemann, head of a gang of NYC robbers, is an illustrator on the side, and his cellmate, John A. (Junior) Gotti is a budding, sensitive novelist specializing in kids’ stories. According to Gotti’s lawyer, the two have collaborated on the heart-warming children’s book about a New Jersey family, The Children of Shaolin Forest.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the U.S., touting an expansive consideration of animals’ rights, suggests that we all abandon the word "dogs" in favor of "Canine Americans." [link from]

Some think gov’t knows too much about everybody, and some are sure that gov’t knows too little, e.g., the isolated, reclusive Grand Valley/Grandview Baptist church leaders, who live on 10 acres of backwoods near Granby, Mo. (southeast of Joplin) and five of whom are facing lots o’ charges in connection with the ritual, religious-themed molesting of two girls over long stretches of their childhood. The latest: that Pastor Johnston, helping a home-schooled girl, said the way to get through this algebra junk is improve your spirituality, and let me tutor you on that.

Yr Editor will be traveling for a few days, which to readers means only that posting, though daily, will necessarily be at irregular times. By Tuesday (September 19), I’ll be back to the regular once-daily, by-noon-Eastern-time post.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What ya gonna do? Another one of those NBC Dateline sex-predator sting extravaganzas took place last week in Long Beach, Calif., with 38 arrests, including one man who got caught in the last Long Beach Dateline sting.

Two psychologists at Portsmouth Univ. in England don’t know what we know. Their interviews with serial burglars convinced them the perps are of an "expert" class, right up there with pilots, musicians, and chess players, who perform complicated tasks quickly. Perhaps they’re right, though; perhaps News of the Weird gets only the underbelly, because, after all, some pilots, musicians, and chess players suck at what they do. (Another professor, from Bath Univ., says, in research announced yesterday, that helmeted bicyclists are more likely to get creamed on the highway than the helmetless, and you probably can guess why, although the professor explained it in more measured tones.)

Unlike in the U.S., there must be no fear/uncertainty in the Canadian economy, and besides, there’s the principle of the thing! Grocery-store union workers in Regina, Sask., entered their 53rd week of a strike against Sobey’s, earning now about $5 (Cdn) an hour striking (vs. what a meat dept. worker said he was making before, $14) (and his wife is a full-time student, and they have two kids). But it’s a "good cause," he said.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Jill Metzger may get us in more trouble with Kyrgyzstan than Sacha Baron Cohen is getting us into with Kazakhstan. She went absent from her duty station there, then showed up and publicly claimed to have been kidnaped by mysterious locals, but the USAF whisked her off to Germany with no investigation, and suspicion is that she just went on a bender and faked an abduction. The Kyrgyzstanis want closure. Stay tuned.

Omed Aziz, the guy in England caught driving a car even though he lost both eyes in an explosion [Backstage, 9-5-2006], got a suspended sentence, though the magistrates did order him not to drive any more, er, for three yrs, that is, and then to take an "extended" driving test.
James Dowdy, of Belleville, Ill., 34, got caught apparently just thinking about stealing socks from grade-school kids (whom he was following home). He made News of the Weird for his serial sock-stealing in 1994 [NOTW 357, 12-9-1994] and 1999 [NOTW 575, 2-12-1999], at which point I got weary of covering him.
The lawsuit that is the basis of the lede in this week’s column, 9-10-2006, by the boat-owner against the Hurricane Katrina boat-Samaritan, was dropped last week. [Ed.: So News of the Weird is so powerful that even the pre-publication wafting of a story brings results!]

Below The Fold
Re: that Anglo-American jurisprudential rule preventing double-jeopardy convictions: 800 yrs later, it’s just an American jurisprudential rule . . . . . A man staying at the Buffalo (N.Y.) Motor Lodge was accidentally hit by gunfire while sitting on the throne, by a sexual threesome upstairs . . . . . The German newspaper Bild [Ed.: Well, I know, but sometimes they're right, and this could be one of those times!] reports that Pope Benedict’s dad met his mom in 1920 by putting a personal ad in a Catholic paper (er, for "marriage," not messing around, but then we all know what Catholics have to do when they get married) . . . . . The police force in Alexandria, Tenn. (pop. 814) resigned, and this is (so far) not one of those situations where the county or state will cover for them, so everybody’s on the honor system . . . . . In Waterbury, Conn., a guy apparently burglarized a neighbor and then held a yard sale of his stuff, like, right down the street.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Nancy Grace Gets Results! CNN’s crack interrogator’s bulldog-grilling of Melinda Duckett (of Leesburg in the F State) last week, over Duckett’s missing 2-yr-old child and incoherent alibi, has saved the state lots of money in case the evidence later catches up with Duckett, ‘cause she killed herself after the interview. (Of course, if she didn’t do it . . ..)

Police chief Tod Ozmun of Snyder, Okla. (pop. 1,500; if you’re traveling by car, you’ll need a full tank), finally resigned last week, after parrying with outraged citizens over Mrs. Ozmun’s penchant for posing nude on the Internet. "[We] should have respectable people in office," said a former mayor. (The current mayor and a councilman also resigned.) Said Ozmun, "My wife is 6-foot-3 and weighs 300 pounds. If there is somebody that thinks they can control her, have at it. I have tried for 11 yrs and haven’t been able to."

Speaking of substantial women, the late Edward Dalton Haffey, 59, was caught burglarizing the Portland, Ore., home of Susan Kuhnhausen--caught by Susan, that is--and Susan is 5-foot-7, 260 pounds versus Mr. Haffey’s 5-9, 180. Mr. Haffey is no longer with us, as Susan strangled him with her bare hands.

Newly-surfacing fetishes don’t come along that often, but they must be great news for closet practitioners who thought they were alone in the world. Here, for those of you who get off on watching smartly-heeled women crush tubes of gel, toothpaste, caulking, etc., is a site for you. [Link from BoingBoing]

Controversy in Greensboro, Ga., as town officials made a guy move his 6-ft-tall, 1000-lb. statue of Jesus to the back yard because it violated a front-yard ordinance designed specifically to prevent stores from putting wrecked cars on top of poles in front of their businesses [er, seriously].

Making bulls long for the good old bullfighting days (when they actually had a chance): A sort-of nat’l pastime in Venezuela is coleo, which is played this way [seriously]: 4 guys on horses chase a bull in a large, long pen and try to tip it over by yanking on its tail, and assuming the bull hasn’t broken anything when it falls, they try to get it back on its feet by further twisting (or biting) the tail or by electric prod, and then they keep going. Watching this apparently sends Venezuelans into a frenzy, according to the NY Times.

"God sent us this attorney, and he sent us this judge." So sayeth Wilma Seltzer just after she and hubby Kim realized they won’t serve a day behind bars for their 47 felonies and 44 misdemeanors for practicing medicine without a license, illegally prescribing drugs, and ripping off the state (Ohio) for reimbursement. (On the other hand, they have basically 3 yrs of full-time community service ahead of them, and theoretically, if they screw that up, or the restitution part, they’re looking at 140-plus yrs in prison between them. On the other-other hand, they’re back at work at their "diagnostic and rehabilitation" center.)

And another lawyer sent by God: That would be the one representing Antonia Pearson-Gaballonie, who was convicted in England for keeping her sister-in-law enslaved in her home, sometimes naked, for 8 yrs. The unnamed lawyer pointed out to the court that the slave actually earned 31 Bps a week, which is nearly $3k/yr for 8 yrs, but, y’know, she never asked for it.

Here’s more, from, on that new frontier in sex-with-horse reported here last Thursday [Backstage, 9-7-2006].

Below The Fold
More about that college lacrosse team that hired a stripper (Oh, wait, it’s Manhattan College in NYC, and it was the women’s lacrosse team hiring a male stripper) . . . . . Can’t Possibly Be True: selling padded bras for girls as young as 6 ("bralettes") . . . . . Can’t sell cats in Jeddah or Mecca anymore (even though the Prophet Muhammad supposedly loved cats) because cat owners have become too ostentatious . . . . . A British vicar says he downloaded child porn, but only by mistake, except that he had 119 pictures . . . . . Greenpeace warns the Western world: Your sex toys may contain a substance that can disrupt the hormonal system and harm liver and kidneys.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

“Red Cross Hit with $4.2 million Blood Fine” That’s for “serious” violations of blood-safety rules between 2003 and 2005, but FDA seemed confident that no bad health consequences resulted. (2003 was the starting point because FDA had previously accused the Red Cross of “persistent and serious” blood-safety violations over a 17-yr period.) Reminder: This particular Red Cross activity takes place in a field in which just one mistake can do you in.

That Hong Kong investment banker who tried to get out of her US$15.4m contract for rumba lessons [Backstage, 8-3-2006] won her case. (Recall: She’s only paying her new instructor $250k.)

Editor’s Obsessions
Diploma-Mill “Graduate” Won’t Give It Up: He was hired to run a troubled county Juvenile Detention Center in Indiana, and touted his master’s degree [in what? he didn’t say], which turned out to be from the all-salesman-“faculty” Univ. of Ravenhurst in New York, and now that UR has been exposed, he continues to refer to the coursework, research, and online-classroom sessions he participated in. The county defended its hire. Always lost in these cases is a recognition of the massive insecurity and cynicism necessary to want to buy, and claim, one of these degrees; totally aside from the “honesty” question, why would you want to hire someone like that?

Below The Fold
Least Competent Python: swallowed a pregnant sheep and not surprisingly, got a little sluggish in the middle of the road (with photo) . . . . . Backstage’s tip for sci-fi movie plot: the oozing rotten-egg-stench that ate Borneo (well--actually Java, but Borneo sounds more pre-historic) . . . . . Guilty or innocent--you be the judge of this mugshot (nature of the crime irrelevant) [link from] . . . . . An apparent Photoshop virtuoso dedicated to making top-drawer pseudo-child porn . . . . . Car crashes into bus, and motorist charged with DWPP (penis-pumping) [if you accept Reuters dispatches from Slovakia!] . . . . . Least Competent Suicide Bomber, in Afghanistan this week . . . . . In Athens, Ala., a woman holds her brother at gunpoint, reads him a bill of particulars about him mistreating her during childhood, and requires solemnity as she, still at gunpoint, prays for him.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Which is more newsworthy: (1) a New Zealand doctoral student laying out the case that hearing voices that only you can hear is sometimes beneficial, or at least, no big deal, or (2) your learning right here on Backstage that next Thursday is World Hearing Voices Day?

Several stories caught Yr Editor’s eye (or rather, parts did):
A 19-yr-old caught in Bangor, Wales, filming women in a shower through his shower-gel camera, ineptly told police (according to BBC News) that, well, it must have been he who was responsible, but that he had "no recollection" of setting the thing up.
A judge in New York City let go another cameraman (who had made--gulp--800 videos in two high school girls’ bathrooms) without jail time, declaring that "[s]ending the defendant to jail would not in any way benefit society . . .."
A Christian Science Monitor recap of "int’l terrorism" prosecutions since 9/11 cites the Bush administration as apparently proud of this one: A Kentucky businessman was convicted of lying about the sale of forklift parts to an Iranian businessman (a terrorist act so serious that he earned a Guantanamo-like 50 hrs’ community service).
Utah officials receiving the extradited, disowned-Mormon bigshot Warren Jeffs from Las Vegas this week immediately assigned him to lockup in the town of Hurricane, Utah, at the [no, seriously] Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The House voted to ban the slaughter-for-food of horses but passed right over the torturous treatment of cattle and poultry (with some Congressmen all unctuously righteous about how we treat animals).

I’m not sayin’ you should, but if you want to, you can: You can read a description of a video so vile that, well, they couldn’t even get anyone to talk like that for The Aristocrats. In fact, this is the only place you’ll be able to read something like this without going to an honest-to-goodness, drenched-in-spyware porn site. And it was written by a U.S. Postal inspector, and has it.

"Mr. Yamaki, you are an incredibly lucky man," said the New York City magistrate to a Japanese executive charged with stealing $7m from his company (uttered when the man’s wife and his mistress amiably showed up together to bail him out).

Below The Fold
Dangerous felon kills police officer during traffic stop, which a jury says is about 30 percent the felon’s fault and 70 percent the defective vest’s fault . . . . . Ludington, Mich., in the news (well, only because a guy tried to roast a bear and burned his garage down) . . . . . Awesome--a real estate developer pleads guilty in a scheme involving two thousand, seven hundred kited checks . . . . . In North Carolina, for the time being, you can give a cop permission for an ordinary, general "search" and still not have to worry about him shining a flashlight down your pants . . . . . A Swiss man caught speeding in Canada blames it on the fact that Canada doesn’t have many goats hanging around the highways, thus apparently making pedal to the metal irresistible . . . . . Crisis at the WTO (er, World Toilet Organization) meeting in Moscow--a rival group being formed by the South Korean Toilet Association.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Yr Editor gets in trouble sometimes, telling an eager reader-submitter that the bestiality story he sent was just an ordinary sex-with-horse story that probably wouldn’t make the cut. (How can a sex-with-horse story be "ordinary"? What’s an unusual sex-with-horse story?) Glad you asked.

Variations on the domestic violence theme: Among the Alabama trailer-American community: Husband holds his wife’s leg in a bed of fire ants (more than 100 stings), and among the Oregon rurality: Wife shoots husband in apparent retaliation for his shooting her pet chicken. (It’s dead; he’s not.)

Love to be a fly on the wall in Justice Scalia’s chambers when he hears about this one: In Austin, Tex., a lawyer offers the 14th Amendment, plus a right of procreation, as defenses for his 19-yr-old client charged with having sex with a 14-yr-old girl.

Oops! Richard Ramos in Houston, Tex., decides to speed away from a traffic stop after having read that the Houston Police Dept. had just changed its policy and would no longer high-speed chase traffic perps. Problems: (1) The change was on hold for a week. (2) He had actually been stopped by Harris County Sheriff’s deputies (who have no policy).

Below The Fold
Readers’ Choice: A highly-premeditated necrophilia case in Cassville, Wis., starts with one guy getting turned on by a newspaper obit photo and deciding to dig her up and check her out . . . . . It’s old now that dogs sometimes break into one’s stash and get a little loopy, but a vet in Vancouver, B.C., says it’s a particular problem there—and by the way, she’s sure that dogs "hallucinate" [which is something Yr Editor’s gonna have to see the research design on] . . . . . After trapping a cop’s arm in her car window and driving off for 80 feet, dragging him, she stops, looks at his mixture of pain and fear, and goes, "Now what?" . . . . . The number of assistant coaches in pro football continues to grow, as the Detroit Lions now apparently have a coach to work on nude driving . . . . . Witch doctors in Zimbabwe can write official sick-leave excuses for workers, but only if the witch doctor is certified (i.e., not a phony witch doctor) . . . . . That damned 9th Step in the AA program is a real doozy, in fact, 15-to-life of a doozy . . . . . A 26-yr-old man in LA dies of a severe case of overcharge ($822/hour for fooling around with a stripper) . . . . . Bringing new meaning to the concept of a Chocolate cellphone.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

[NOTE: Backstage was slightly late in posting today, and all Yr Editor has to say about that is that "the market" works very well, in that, with, one gets every bit of the service one pays for. Lately, that means about 50-50 likelihood that I'll be able to post without complications.]

The U.S. Forest Service just promoted Bill Ott to 2nd-in-command of fire operations in the 5-state Rocky Mountain region. The Rocky Mountain News reported that it was Ott who improperly lit part of a 2003 defensive fire that was the "primary cause" (said outside experts) of an out-of-control blaze that might have cost $1.2m (requiring 500 firefighters to put it out). No word of any of that had reached his permanent record, though, and the person who promoted him was new and said he had no idea. [In the October issue of Reason magazine (not free online yet, as far as I can tell), TV’s John Stossel has produced a 4-page chart of the due-process ways a New York City schoolteacher can fend off challenges to his or her screw-ups, which seems to set a standard of taxpayer hopelessness that makes the Forest Service look comparatively earnest.]

It’s in expressions of freedom like this that America shows the Muslim world why democracy and individual rights are best: In Brattleboro, Vt., young folks have been shucking their clothes in the middle of town all summer because . . . "because we can."

The F State
In the primary yesterday, about half the Republicans voted for someone other than Katherine Harris, but she still won, which is the equivalent of Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow because it means we get two more (glorious) months of Harris’s desperate campaign speeches and Jesus-channeling messages as she tries to unseat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. [Recall that her "Karl Rove" is a licensed "clinical pastoral counselor." Licensed! Clinical! Lord knows, we wouldn’t want uncertified clinical pastoral counselors telling our Senators what to do.]
Elsewhere in the F State, a 62-yr-old marathoner and Army contract researcher went out for a noonday run and somehow wound up trapped up to his waist in a swamp for 4 days. [The key word is "somehow."] And he said he spent a lot of the time sleeping. [We make ‘em fearless in the F State. And different.]
Stingrays, schmingrays! A rattlesnake hanging out in a Lowe’s store in Ocala bit a shopper—twice, but she’s OK.

Below The Fold
Aussie researchers find 30 percent of dogs are either left- or right-pawed, that the rest don’t give a crap, and that the difference is actually important . . . . . Mmmmm, Fried Coke on a Stick (er, Coca-Cola) takes a prize at the State Fair of Texas . . . . . At a gay nude beach in Woodway, Wash., bathers provide regular afternoon eye entertainment for train commuters heading home from Seattle . . . . . A lady of the night services a man in a see-into limo and then argues with a gathered crowd, during the act, about her need to make a living . . . . . Adult coach, 36, shows his 13-yr-old players how to take out the opposition—by whipping up on a 13-yr-old opponent . . . . . A driver being chased by police does a fine Wile E. Coyote (off a cliff) (and survives) . . . . . Wife (severely banged up after trying to relieve herself in the Outback): "I now know not to get out of a car and squat right in front of it" . . . . . Sounds like perfect justice (but it'll never fly): Ron Goldman's dad petitions a court to transfer the marketing rights to the name "O.J. Simpson" over to him (to help him collect the $33.5m judgment he won in 1997).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Readers’ Choice: It’s a good bet that the ol’ mailbox will be filled with this one by the end of the day, but Brit Omed Aziz, 31, not only was picked up for Driving While Blind but remains defiant that he was doing it perfectly safely (at 35mph), thanks to help from his passenger (who himself happened to be license-less). Aziz in fact has no eyes at all, via a bomb blast, which also cost him a couple of fingers and hearing in one ear, but he’s going away for a while.

Yr Editor has seen various accounts of the Christian wrestling shows around the South, but the latest AP dispatch reveals that they’re ratcheting up the drama. For example, the Wrestling for Jesus ministry doesn’t just have the cliche-d "run in" by the good guys to save the bad guys; hero Chase Cliett is actually tied up on a cross by the bad guys, then pummeled and bloodied, before the good guys do the run-in.

Below The Fold
Of course Nigerian e-mail scams occasionally work (like here, thanks to a home-equity loan) . . . . . Best Headline (from The Scotsman): "Extra Organs Found in Body" (and a post-mortem investigation has been ordered!) . . . . . Christopher Mayer wanted to visit his boyfriend in lockup in Blountville, Tenn., and figured [incorrectly] that the best way to pull that off would be to fix himself up as a female attorney . . . . . Wilmington, Del., police, responding to a shots-fired call, passed by an apartment with drugs in the window (no one home), snatched ‘em up, waited for an interested party to call up to report a burglary, voila!.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Dance of the Meeeeee: Here’s chapter bla-bla in the continuing saga. Old people complain that sellers rip them off with contracts that they don’t understand. A store responds by making a perhaps-hamhanded attempt to keep its employees from making these contracts. Then an old consumer gets all-offended when she finds out the store doesn’t trust her to make her own contracts. The old consumer could react more graciously and cut the store some slack (perhaps necessary slack, for this old consumer, now 75, may some day be 85 or 95 and need slack). But no. It’s all about meeeeee, and I’m offended!

Good work by the dean, because imagine how embarrassing it’d be for the school if the kid had gotten out with a degree: An underperforming law student sued the school, claiming that it owes him money because it accepted him despite suspecting that he wouldn’t be able to hack it in law school.

Inside NOTW
It’s been No Longer Weirded, but I thought you’d like to know about a new low: left in the car while parents rolled the dice at Caesars Atlantic City, and the kid is 21 days old!

As of this morning, still, last week’s NOTW, dated 8-27-2006, has disappeared from, and it won’t go back up until at least tomorrow, when the website-maintenance people report to work again.

A reader did a little sleuthing on the story Saturday [Backstage, 9-2-2006] about the mother of the kidnaped kid who mysteriously received a 24-yr-old photo of the kid: She maybe wasn’t contacted "by phone" in 1997 by the kid (mom’s only contact with the kid after the 1982 kidnaping). She said, out of the blue, in federal court testimony, that she was visited by him, at least according to this wikipedia entry. Yet she didn't say anything about it until that court appearance in 1999. I, er, think we’re gonna have to maybe put a watch on the mom, Noreen Gosch.

Below The Fold
Some British researchers found that rock music can make some people smarter in the same way that Mozart music makes many people smarter . . . . . The chief official at a U of Florida sperm-sample freezer that had a temperature accident said he "hope[s]" that none of the "thousands" of specimen-donors will sue . . . . . The Daily Yomiuri has a story of a 69-yr-old man writing a 10-yr-old girl 20 yrs ago, and continuing right up to the present, and, as far as we can tell—no sex, ever! . . . . . In public restrooms, research shows that, employee or not, you’re better off, fecal-bacteriawise, never washing your hands . . . . . And speaking of feces, Mr. Vandale Willis, on trial for selling cocaine, expresses his opinion of Duluth, Minn., justice, employing a generous quantity of it . . . . . (real hed) "Phillies Acquire Former Sausage-Beater from Rangers."