Barb Jones, 68, must be a sight to behold at the zoo in Columbus, Ohio, where she’s a surrogate mother to baby gorillas. She’s not a womb-bearing surrogate; she’s a role-model surrogate. She teaches baby gorillas how to be gorillas (for the benefit of the baby and the observing mother). She crawls around through straw with the baby on her back; she climbs up the platform in the cage; she coughs when the baby misbehaves (because that’s what adult gorillas do). But she draws the line at trimming baby’s nails with her teeth.
A Wiccan family has decided to sue the Veterans Affairs Dept. for not permitting Wiccan symbols on military gravestones. As Yr Editor pointed out [NOTW 900, 5-8-2005], 37 religions’ symbols are permitted, plus a symbol for atheism. Currently, 1,800 military people call themselves Wiccans.
And our old friend, the incurable railroad-joyriding obsessive Darius McCollum, 41 [NOTW 958, 6-18-2006], was just released from Sing Sing in June and living with his parents, but he left home last week, and cops picked him up with unspecified Transit Authority "property," thus violating his parole.
Announcing, ta-duh ta-duh, Yr Editor’s new weblog, wherein all us sophisticates residing in that Great State of Florida gather ‘round daily for reminders of, er, Florida. I’ve been posting since November 1, and if you’re a Floridaphile, you can catch up at http://creativeloafing.typepad.com/thefstate/ (although I may move the main address of this in the future to another newspaper in Florida). There’s very little overlap with Backstage (as if we needed any).
Below The Fold
A 50-yr-old man survives walking into a taxiing plane’s propeller (but, y’know, he’s 50, so he may not be thinking about breeding anymore anyway) . . . . . Afghanis are evidently masturbating furiously in preparation for the Taliban’s re-taking of the country . . . . . Italy’s de-Berlusconi-ing campaign extends to marijuana, in that "personal use" noncriminalization goes from 20 joints to 40 while the gov’t rethinks the whole anti-drug code . . . . . A setback in Memphis for the Nat’l Rifle Ass’n, in that a resident proved ya don’t need a gun to defend yourself from a home invasion, just a sword, and the cops now know who the nine-fingered fugitive is . . . . . We’ve been wondering why so many kids these days seem to get diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder, and here’s a good hypothesis . . . . . A BBC News reporter travels the world’s most dangerous road and lives to describe it; it’s one of the roads out of LaPaz, Bolivia ("one of"? OK, then, don’t take that road! problem solved) . . . . . Resolving a cliff-hanger of a rape case in Pakistan (victim is deaf-mute and thus a poor witness): A Pakistani village council orders the defendant to be slapped 51 times.