Thursday, November 30, 2006

The odder the fetish, the easier it might be to get away with it. For instance, since pee and poops are not universally considered prurient behaviors, a fetishist of that persuasion might try to be a biologist, so that when he worked with his own inventory, he'd look legitimate. Similarly, an alleged foot fetishist, like, say, former Catholic school principal Robert Holloway, 50, of Lorain, Ohio, could just be an affable administrator and, for example, schedule a student-teacher volleyball game and make a blowhard bet that if the teachers somehow lost, the principal would have to, oh, kiss winning players' feet.

Chutzpah: Morgan Conatser, 29, having shoplifted a full-size guitar from a store in De Queen, Ark., stuffed the whole thing under his clothes and walked away. But then shop owner Clifton Lovell saw the stiff, oddly-bulged Conatser shuffling out the door and asked, "What have you got there?" Conatser failed to give the only plausible reply, which would involve a sclerosis of some sort plus several cystic growths in odd places.

No Longer Weird: Yr Editor is officially weary of the scrap-metal (currently, copper) thieves who steal from live electrical lines. Here’s the last one I’ll be reading (from San Bernardino, Calif.).

Update
Aha! Here’s how the world works! That LA firefighter who had managed a $2.7m payoff from the city for race-oriented hazing (but which the mayor vetoed after seeing videos of the same firefighter, himself, engaged in hazing) [Backstage, 11-22-2006] showed up on Tuesday to plead his case for the city council to once again make him rich: Yes, he did several of those pranks, but but but, he said, those pranks were done out of "love" (including shaving the pubic hair of a firefighter bound to a gurney), whereas when someone puts dog food in your spaghetti, that is obviously racism, and $2.7m is the only way to set things right. (The city council voted to re-investigate.)

Below The Fold
Gene and Elinor Coleman celebrated their 77th wedding anniversay in Bristow, Okla., and, said Gene, most days "We sit here and look at each other" . . . . . Intelligence officials in Mongolia staged a realistic practice rescue of a terrorist-captured airliner, thus scaring the bejeezus out of passengers, who had not been informed. (Buried lede: Mongolia has a "Central Intelligence Agency") . . . . .Fairfax County, Va., citing health concerns, is sticking to its ban on homemade food gifts for the homeless (unless they were cooked in a county-licensed kitchen), despite the fact, of course, that with fewer such gifts, the homeless will be doing more Dumpster-diving this holiday season . . . . . It took 10 Bethlehem, Pa., cops to subdue the wild accused murderer Sonny Thomas (who would go on to be convicted of that night’s bloody, grotesque murder), and now Thomas has prevailed in his lawsuit against five of the cops for using excessive force (but on the other hand, he had asked for $35m in damages, and the jury gave him $34,999,999.00 short of that) . . . . . Juan Lopez was beaten, and then he was shot, at the Double Trouble Stable . . . . . Might be a translation problem: The Council for Animal Ethics in Denmark reportedly said the only real need to prohibit human-animal sex would be if it was for sex shows or porn . . . . . This is sooo last-year: The Hilarion Gimeno school in Zaragoza, Spain, canceled Christmas celebrations this year for fear of upsetting Muslims.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Virginia state gov’t needs IQ tests for its high officials: The new head of the state Dept. of Transportation, recently hired from Idaho, dropped by a DMV for a driver’s license, including waiting in line, which was a nice touch to see how his troops treat people. The troops passed. DOT Commissioner Dave Ekern, though, somehow got the idea that he could just walk into a Virginia driver’s license station and get a license without proving he lives in Virginia. D'Oh! So the troops sent him home for documentation. He returned with something, stood in line again cheerfully, and got his license.

140,000 Americans are slogging through hell right now to make the USA safe for this: For the holiday season, you can buy doghouses (models for $10k, $20k, as much as $100k) from Doggie Mansions of West Palm Beach, in styles such as Key West cottage and New England colonial, with Spanish-tile roofs, flat-screen TV’s, air-conditioning, and, of course, beyond the basics, you can buy some frivolous add-ons!

Errorors
On closer inspection, Yr Editor misread the story [Backstage, 11-23-2006] of the chickens that came out of the compost in a zombie-like state at the California farm. They were actual "spent hens" that managed to survive the gas chamber; they were not from eggs laid around the time of death by so-called spent hens that were in reality unspent.

Below The Fold
An IHOP manager in Quincy, Mass., got the bright idea (to stop "dine and dash"’ers) to require all customers to drop off their driver’s licenses when they come in (until the corporate office found out and went nuts) . . . . . Well, sure: A driver accidentally smashed into an optical store, where she had an appointment for eyeglasses . . . . . The family of Singapore-executed drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van marked the first anniversary of his death by releasing balloons in Melbourne, Australia . . . . . That dead-dead-deadly poison that killed ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko? Buy it on the Internet (one "trace," $69) . . . . . The Texas Ethics Commission (OK, grab hold of yourself, now; there really is one) issued a ruling Monday saying state officials need to declare money gifts of any amount—but only with by the single words "currency" or "check" . . . . . A window-washer in downtown Nashville fell asleep on the job 15 stories up and was rescued by firefighters, who thought he was hanging there, dead . . . . . Crisis in a South Boston housing project: A Haitian family is being evicted after allegedly refusing to engage in apartment-hygiene and thus requiring 10 state-paid visits in a yr to kill cockroaches and bedbugs . . . . . Two Decatur, Ill., guys carjacked a Nissan and then, in some shallow-seated display of teenage angst, drove by the crime scene (as the victims talked to cops) and honked the horn; they were arrested after a chase. [CORRECTED: It wasn't a carjacking but just a street robbery from perps' own car.]

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Come on, tell me the truth: When Stephen King buys a machine so that three small towns in Maine can scan the irises of all the school kids, you’re at least a little bit worried, aren’t you? C’mon. Anyway, for now, the sheriff in Eddington (pop. 700) is grateful for the help (though it may be that he’s just imagining who’ll play him in the movie).

Update
Wisconsin judge Michael Lucci wrote two weeks ago [Backstage, 11-16-2006] that he was thinking over what to do about the guy who had sex with the dead deer but whose lawyer had challenged the anti-bestiality statute as applicable only to live animals. Answer: Guilty (because of the venerable legal doctrine of "common sense," which is honored only sporadically in the U.S.). Protection of animals is but one purpose of the statute, he wrote; maintaining public decency is more important, so dead equals alive equals whatever.

Below The Fold
It’s not just with headphones anymore: A 40-yr-old, bare-eared man chose "railroad tracks" as his jogging path in Kingston, Ontario, and was smacked hard by a train . . . . . Yikes! The Food and Drug Administration is apparently tired of haggling with the Red Cross over its sloppy record-keeping, storage procedures, etc., for its blood supplies and fined it $5.7m . . . . . A Jackson, Wis., man has done all the required Guinness Book paperwork to get recognition for his one, 4.1-inch-long arm hair that he’s apparently quite proud of . . . . . People with worse sex lives than you: Bryan Westerlund, 18, Brooklyn Park, Minn., hovered outside of bedroom windows begging women for sex and would even thrust his hand through the screen . . . . . A driver in Yokkaichi, Japan, apparently thought he owned the printout of his DUI test, that it was OK for him to just eat it, and he expressed surprise that police thought it a crime . . . . . Last words: "You can’t shoot me, I’m invisible" (uttered by the late Richard Johnson, after James Quick got fed up with Johnson’s reneging on a $20 bet on the Clemson-South Carolina football game Saturday).

Monday, November 27, 2006

The F state’s kinder, gentler version of Michael Richards: The city manager of a place called Golden Beach (pop. 919 rich people, up a ways from North Miami Beach) said she never meant any harm when she referred to her mature assistant (a black woman) as "mammy," but then, apparently mortified that she’d upset the woman, tried to make things right by assuring her just how much she’s always loved "Aunt Jemima." (Seriously.)

Another TKMB ("the kid’s mother’s boyfriend): Derrick Henry (in Prince Edward Island) was minding his girlfriend’s 10-month-old when she got too warm. He tried a cool cloth, but she stayed warm, and taking her outside in the cold didn’t do the trick, either, so he stuck her in the freezer (just for a minute or so, he said).

Can’t Possibly Be True: CNN Money has found 10 toys pitched for kids who, if they don’t think they’re better than you are now, soon will, ranging in price from $3k up to a fancy backyard playset from Netkidswear.com for $97.5k. (Don’t miss the Victorian mansion playhouse [FAO Schwarz, $22k], the Pirate-themed clubhouse [Costco, $18.5k], the Lego Batman [FAO Schwarz, $27k], the gasoline-powered 2-seater [Mobileation Stores, $32.3k], and the Fantasy Cinderella-style Coach [Poshtots, $47k].)

Below The Fold
Guy goes to the trouble of flying 5,500 miles to get laid (and now faces a max of 145 yrs, in that she was not a cop but an actual Internet chat room 15-yr-old) . . . . . A rock music festival in Pyongyang, according to the North Korean gov’t . . . . . People get angry with loud, inconveniencing construction crews from time to time and want to fight ‘em, but here’s a guy who showed up with actual boxing gloves . . . . . The United Nations is sick of its affiliated charities selling sponsorships to celebrities and companies like Gucci, just so rich people can sleep better at night . . . . . How embarrassing: A 19-yr-old man with a rap sheet, on trial for robbery, being defended by his lawyer-mother, stands up to leave the courtroom when a bag of dope falls out of his pocket . . . . . Burglars have probably made their getaways before in taxicabs, but probably not burglars carrying away a "large safe" . . . . . Some Australians are spending more money on gourmet pet food than they spend on gourmet human food . . . . . China culture frowns on smiling (in favor of the serious look), but a crash course is underway to upgrade hospitality for the 2008 Olympics, meaning seminars and group sessions on how to smile . . . . . Sweden’s about to release two men altogether from murder charges, even though both were with the victim when she died, because each blames the other, meaning neither can be guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt" . . . . . A jail in Petersborough, England, has big plans for the holidays, with parties for the inmates and even cash gifts (when all that the jailers get for the holidays is a small box of chocolates) . . . . . Headline from Australia: "Rain Frustrates Bushfire Fight."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Problem Solved: Muslim clerics who frightened U.S. Airways passengers in Minneapolis on Monday, and were removed, called for all Muslims to boycott U.S. Airways. If the boycott succeeds, U.S. Airways will thus be the go-to airline for all antsy non-Muslims. There couldn’t be more than 200 million of those in the U.S.

Never underestimate the commercial power of an authority figure telling people it’s OK to have fun: (1) Metropolitan State College (Denver, Colo.) has inaugurated a for-credit course on beer, on the brew’s art, science, and nuances. There’s a waiting list. (2) Former Tennessee preacher (and now nat’l seminar conductor on hot Christian sex) Joe Beam says masturbation (manual or mechanical) is nowhere dissed in the Bible so go for it.

Night of the Living Chicks: When a California farm euthanizes "spent hens" and makes compost, it turns out that some of the hens weren’t quite spent (though they are dead). A few residual eggs get dropped, resulting in chickens that wander out of the compost, severely dazed and confused, and are quite a sight, says the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa.

Upon advice of counsel, the brains behind the attempt to build a 5-ft-long marijuana joint in Amsterdam bailed out. The lawyers said just because 100 contributors were bringing not more than the legally-permitted 5g each, cops and judges weren’t likely to look at it that way.

Maybe you had to be there: Texas lawyer Robert M. Phillips, explaining why his teacher’s aide-client might be innocent despite her statement that she let the student kiss her breasts: "[I]n fact what happened is [merely that my client] made a statement. It may be an admission, or may be just their version of what happened. That’s not a confession."

Housekeeping
As previously noted, Backstage will not be published tomorrow and probably will not be published Saturday (but if I hear of something really stupid, I’ll let you know). Back on schedule Monday.

Below The Fold
According to reports, young Barbara Bush’s crack Secret Service detail failed to notice that someone was stealing her purse and cell phone from a tourist restaurant in Buenos Aires . . . . . A car with bad brakes hit a house in Rochester, N.Y., despite the driver’s efforts to stop the car Flintstones-style . . . . . Smoothing the ice at the city skating rink in Boise builds up an appetite, so the two workers (now, ex-workers) drove their Zambonis down to the Burger King, to the drive-thru window . . . . . After hearing from PETA, the upscale U.S. menswear seller Jack Spade said it would stop selling its $40 frog-dissection kit (yep—m-e-n-s-w-e-a-r).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How uncomfortable is the Bronx? Well, it’s a largely-blighted borough of New York City (except for Yankee Stadium and a couple of other places), but sex worker Gina Pane, testifying in the trial of a suburban cop accused of misconduct yesterday, lays it out: "He wanted to go to a motel in the Bronx where I would defecate on him, but I told him I was uncomfortable going to the Bronx."

Updates
And speaking of defecation, tell this to Britain’s National Phobics Society, which Yr Editor mentioned [Backstage, 11-11-2006] is running a campaign of compassion for people anxious about using public rest rooms: A team of Biblical researchers has posited that a sect associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls died off because they pooped in a secret hideaway instead of out in the open. That is, as others took dumps in the sunlight, bacteria were killed naturally, but in the moist, cool hideaway, they thrived and spread.

Housekeeping
As set out yesterday, Yr Editor (who normally publishes Monday through Saturday) will publish tomorrow morning and perhaps once on the weekend, but be back full time on Monday.

Below The Fold
The Katrina-refugee couple (alleged couple, actually) who were recipients of a free house, paid for by the congregants of Memphis’s Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ, have sold it without ever moving in (and then flipped off the church, to boot) . . . . . Two women, 21 and 23, exited their car in Evergreen Park, Ill., in the middle of the road to argue about whether to wear seat belts and were promptly run down by a passing car . . . . . The Los Angeles City Council had just voted 11-1 to approve a $2.7m settlement to a "humiliated" black firefighter, to compensate for race-oriented hazing, when a video showed up of the same firefighter joining in a pretty ugly bout of hazing, himself . . . . . A New Jersey commuter train killed a pedestrian and was taken out of service, stranding 200, and when a substitute train was on the way to pick them up, it killed another pedestrian . . . . . When Yr Editor was 17, he was mostly concerned with how to balance the copy of Playboy in his left hand while he took care of business, but Thiago Olson, 17, of Oakland Township, Mich., has built a machine that creates nuclear fusion . . . . . A suspected double-murderer is tracked down thanks to his profile on a dating website ("nice romantic dinner with soft music, followed by a romantic walk or a carriage ride" and also, of course, he likes to cuddle).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Housekeeping
Yr Editor will publish tomorrow and Thursday, i.e., as you may recall, Yr Editor doesn’t do "holidays." However, Yr Editor does acknowledge that other people do holidays and that when they do, they are less likely to commit weird news, and thus I won’t publish on Friday. Saturday, probably. Monday, definitely. Thankya, thankya verrmuch.

Below The Fold
Best headlines: (Newswales.co.uk) "N. Wales firemen pull horse from septic tank"; (News24.com [South Africa]) "Penis found outside house" . . . . . Charles Littleton convinced police in Saginaw, Mich., by way of standing up to a Taser shot, that he just flat does not ever remove his Dodgers baseball cap: "It means more than just a hat. It’s like my crown. It’s like asking a king to remove his crown" . . . . . Another obscure mayor who’s found a way to make the world’s newswires: in Novo Santo Antonio, Brazil, a city giveaway of Viagra to keep men over 60 happy . . . . . Britain’s Home Office, forced by the opposition to release figures on its "open prison" experiment, reported 70 escapes this yr, including three murderers, one who’s still loose . . . . . Another of those brain-dead public-school teachers who lets students prick themselves for science class, all using the same lancet (Redwood City, Calif.) . . . . . Thank goodness for protesters photographing everyone coming in for abortions at the Hope Clinic in Granite City, Ill., because three of their pictures will be used against a guy who brought in the underage girl he had been abusing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

(Much) More Information Needed
from Saturday’s NY Post: "A former Brooklyn Hospital medical resident was sentenced yesterday for a sex attack—in which he mistakenly left his wedding ring inside the victim." There’s no further explanation of that, and only one more sentence of other details, but you can check for yourself.

Updates
Here’s more news on the Dec. 22 World Orgasm day [Backstage 11-18-2006].
Slate.com’s traveler visits the ethnic Mosuo community around Lugu Lake in Tibet, which, as we know [NOTW 694, 5-22-2001; NOTW 934, 1-1-2006] is a place where the chicks hold all the power (although, like everywhere else, culture fades where commerce rears its head).

Below The Fold
Disney in Britain held an open call for a spokesparrot for the release of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean DVD: "The winning parrot will need to have an outgoing personality, remain calm under pressure, and have screen presence" . . . . . Researchers at the Univ. of Munich medical school report that spider monkeys rub chewed-up leaves over themselves, perhaps as a perfume thing (having found that caca doesn’t grab the babes?) . . . . . A suspect in a Detroit gang shooting is caught after he nonchalantly takes his expensive coat to the cleaners to have the bloodstains removed . . . . . Undignified Death: the Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, 21, 5-foot-8, 88 lbs., with a BMI of 13.5 (15 is the upper level of "starvation") . . . . . It’s that time again: the season’s first house-burndown from deep-frying a turkey (Hurleyville, N.Y.) . . . . . A sleepy, impoverished mountain village in Peru decides to raise money the old-fashioned way: attracting tourists by creating sex exhibits . . . . . Woo, talk about embarrassing! A man happened to be dropping by the Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., to visit his grandmother's grave just when groundskeeper James Scott was peeing on it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Preliminary PlayStation3 Hubbub Casualty Toll: One shot (Putnam, Conn.), one stabbed (Sullivan, Ind.), a trampling (Fresno, Calif.), a beating (Manchester, Conn.), a drive-by shooting (BB gun) (Lexington, Ky.), and at least two other robberies (Englewood, Ohio; Allentown, Pa.). Now for a PS3-compatible game in which PS3 geeks waiting in line to buy the game whip up on street punks trying to rob them. [Associated Press]

The Kinder, Gentler President (of Slovenia): Back in the 1970s, the Calif. governor, Jerry Brown, made minimalism fashionable (for example, allegedly sleeping on a mattress in the governor’s mansion). (Brown, by the way, is now on about his Fifth Act in politics, just elected the state’s attorney general on a dirty-Harry platform.) Now comes Slovenian president Janez Drnovsek, 56, who has moved from the palace to a hut and preaches the virtues of communing with nature. And there appears to be no ulterior mo—oh, wait; he’s got a book out.

Recurring Theme: Texas Justice: The state’s highest criminal appeals court denied death-row Daniel Acker’s writ, but that’s not the issue. The problem is that his state-funded lawyer, Toby Wilkinson of Greenville, Tex., got $25k for writing the writ, and apparently the only thing he did was copy, verbatim, a couple of Acker’s old rant letters. For example, Wilkinson managed to include in the formal writ this language: "I’m just about out of carbon paper. As soon as I get some more typing supplies I have about thirty more errors I want [included] in my appeal."

Recurring Theme: The Litigious Society: A small victory. The first of 1,000 steps. Legislators in British Columbia, and last week in Saskatchewan, have introduced amendments to laws of evidence that make apologies inadmissible in lawsuits for damages. It’d be put-up-or-shut-up for litigants who claim that all they wanted was for the perp/company to say, I’m sorry.

Below The Fold
It’s a laugh riot on the left and right coasts, but the new Ordinance 208 of Greenleaf, Idaho, asking all residents to keep a gun at home, wasn’t a big deal locally, where 80 percent were already armed . . . . . A county council in the UK wants Welsh Dragon Sausages to be better labeled so people don’t think they’re buying dragon meat . . . . . Another tool of Zionism: the Israeli robotic hornet that detects and pursues suicide bombers . . . . . A North Carolina high school Spanish teacher named Khalid Chahhou resigned after getting carried away with a translation assignment straight out of Hamas [link corrected] (but give the dude credit for learning Spanish!) . . . . . In Charlotte, N.C., a high school student called home to complain about being bullied, whereupon his mom and two sisters stormed his classroom and starting beating on the bully (so that should put an end to the bullying!) . . . . . Your freedom to swing your fist ends at the end of my nose (and also your freedom to ignore hygiene) . . . . . "Global Orgasm" day is December 22, and we’re all asked to, er, do our parts to create surges of human energy, to see if anything happens to Earth. (PS3 geeks can help, too, ‘cause you don’t need a partner for this.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Below The Fold
Two soldier-hotties in the news today (one American, one Israeli) . . . . . Contractors working to enclose balconies in an F State apartment complex don’t get a lot of them enclosed fast enough, y’know, before the heavy rains come . . . . . Speaking of flooded apartments, there’s this guy, who doesn’t want to answer cops’ questions about his and threatens to report them to his late uncle, Chief Justice Rehnquist . . . . . Rescuers diving for two missing boaters near Salt Lake City don’t find them, but they did find three other bodies . . . . . President Bush has critics everywhere, including this Indonesian black-magic man who sliced a goat and a snake, mixed the blood with powder, drank some, and smeared some on his face in a failed attempt to freak out Bush’s Secret Service detail . . . . . According to this researcher at Paris’s Pasteur Institute, if I spit in your face, you should thank me . . . . . And two thieves were loose on a train in Britain, but they’re finally in custody, after cops circulated this delightful photo of the vicious sociopaths.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Belmont (Calif). City Council voted to ban all smoking (as in "everywhere") except in single-family, detached homes. That probably doesn’t mean that apartment-dwelling cigarette fiends will be breaking into houses just so they can light up, but it’s likely to cause some trouble (even though it’s lumped in with the lowest of the misdemeanors). Meanwhile, up the peninsula, the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco said, in spirit, anyway, that its residents can smoke marijuana any damn where they want (well, they voted to make sale, use, and cultivation of marijuana the lowest law-enforcement priority) (and also to ban restaurants from using Styrofoam and such).

I’m tellin’ ya, ol’ L. Ron had it all figured out: The traditional version of the Scientology wedding that Tom Cruise and his anointed will have Saturday includes telling him that girls need "clothes and food and tenderness and happiness and frills, a pan, a comb, perhaps a cat" and telling her that "young men are free and may forget" their promises.

Sounds Like a Joke: Marion Barry (still a member of D. C.’s city council, in case you forgot) pleaded not guilty to DUI Tuesday and told the Washington Post that the authorities were trying to "embarrass and discredit" him. Uh . . . never mind.

Animal House Meets the Pleasant Valley nursing home (Argyle, N.Y.): The nursing aide said he only put a pillow on the 85-yr-old Alzheimer’s patient’s face and smacked him a couple of times ("not hard") because he was just joking. Also, police in Sun City, Fla., happened by a parked SUV to see an 80-something woman with a plastic bag tied over her head. Her husband, tracked down, said, Oh, that’s nothing, that he often did that in case she vomited while he wasn’t around. Both men were charged.

Update
The Wisconsin guy who got overwhelmed with arousal last month at the voluptuous dead deer [Backstage, 10-21-2006] is not going down without a fight. The statute says no sex with an "animal," but his public defender said the deer had stopped being an "animal" upon its death. (When does a turkey cease to be an animal? When it’s wrapped in plastic? When it is eaten?) But, countered the prosecutor, if a pet dog dies, it is still the dog. It’s not referred to as the family carcass. Judge Michael Lucci is mulling it. (Wisconsin judges seem able to handle knotty problems like this. Another one has just ruled, on the lingering challenge by activists trying to save Superior's now-demolished Palace Theater, that "you cannot save a building if it doesn't exist.")

Below The Fold
An Anglican bishop (of Southwark), Tom Butler, joined the "better to let badly disabled babies die at birth" crowd . . . . . A German court ruled that it’s the contraceptive-implant doctor’s fault that it didn’t work and that he’s gotta pay until the kid turns 18 . . . . . Officials in Bijeljina, Bosnia, erect a monument to the cabbage ("We very much appreciate this vegetable") . . . . . Problem Solved: In Iida, Japan, a man met a woman through a suicide website and killed her (But he’s still charged with murder. Go figure.) . . . . . London’s Daily Mail found a man who can’t afford private dental care and so tightens his crown with Industrial Super Glue every two months ("You can’t really taste it, but you do have to be careful not to use too much, in case you glue your mouth shut") . . . . . In a USDA report on hunger, an agency sociologist said "hunger" is the wrong term and that hereinafter, it will be "very low food security" . . . . . A UCLA report says the film and television industry in Calif. puts out 140k tons a yr of pollution (and that’s just from Jerry Bruckheimer’s fires and Barbra Streisand’s air-conditioning [ba-dump-pa-dump!].

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Well, Maybe the F State Did Have an Election Problem
Contrary to my overly-felicitous proclamation on November 8th [Backstage, 11-8-2006] (which, by the way, I backtracked on The F State weblog on November 9th), there is a problem, so here’s a rundown as of today [courtesy of The F State]: (1) The Vern Buchanan (R)-Christine Jennings (D) U.S. House race inquiry is proceeding in Sarasota County (Buchanan won by 377 out of 238,000 votes, with 18,000 nonvotes, which would be 15,000 more than the norm). First will be a recount of absentee and provisional ballots, and then technicians will come in and séance with the machines, themselves (with a hearing tomorrow on what the rules for that will be). (2) And jokesters around the world have had fun with one absentee ballot in Broward County that was mailed with the inverted-airplane error stamp (value if real: $300k). Oh, those hopeless Floridians, they said, especially since the ballot was DQ’d anyway, for lack of a signature on the outside. But Yr Editor has laid off of it, knowing to a near-certainty that it was the recently-reissued replica stamp, which seemingly didn’t occur to credulous editors everywhere. And now a Sarasota resident who voted absentee in Broward has confessed. (3) And Clint Curtis, who challenged U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney in the district around Titusville-New Smyrna, lost big (58-42) but said he’s not giving up until someone investigates just why the official results didn’t match a Zogby poll and his internal polling. [press release] (Curtis is the guy who swore he has concrete information on how Feeney’s people hand-jiggered vote machines in 2004.) [You'll have to search BradBlog.com for that] (4) And no technical expertise was needed for St. Petersburg high school teacher Sharion Thurman, 56. She got caught ham-handedly stuffing the homecoming-queen ballot box for her niece.

Inside NOTW
Slate.com’s media commentator Jack Shafer said his ideal newspaper would contain lots of "News of the Weird"-type stories. The reason newspapers have to strain to include them these days (i.e., they’re either in their own feature space or they’re absent) has to do with the ease of photoset layout (versus the difficulty of layout of hot type in the old days). Yr Editor like the "feature space" thing, even though far too many newspapers are writing their own "feature space" rather than renting NOTW for that space.

Below The Fold
Arrrrh, a peg-legged shoplifter was caught stuffing cosmetics into his secret compartment . . . . . First, Gallaudet Univ. students take charge of their education by successfully demanding the ouster of the incoming president, and now Lebanon Valley College students successfully demand, er, a day off from class after a big football game . . . . . Genome sequencers at Baylor College of Medicine discover that the sea urchin "is actually quite similar to us" (though Yr Editor would feel better if the researcher actually named names) . . . . . A court in Nanjing turned down a schoolteacher’s 12-cent slander lawsuit . . . . . Headline that reported on a paper delivered at a medical conference this week: "Frequent Sex Cures Women’s Semen Allergy" . . . . . The outgoing governor of Arkansas, married for 32 yrs, sets up a wedding registry because it’s the only way under state law that he and the missus can accept thank-you gifts.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

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.

Updates
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.

Inside NOTW
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.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Still More Election News: A tranny won a seat on the Hawaii state Board of Education, becoming the highest-ranking one in the U.S. (name? not "Pat," but "Kim") . . . . . Florida-like crisis in the Waldenburg, Ark., mayor’s race, when a third candidate was registered at "0" votes even though he knows he voted for himself (and while the top candidates tied, 12-12) . . . . . An election official in Lysowice, Poland, got so fed up with irregularities that she called the police, then grabbed a box of ballots and locked herself in a rest room . . . . . And another dead candicate won, for a county soil and conservation board seat in North Carolina, and the interesting thing is, not even some of his major supporters knew the guy had been dead for a month.

Oh, Randy, Ya Big Lug: At least 30 death-row inmates in Texas have MySpace.com pages, including cop-killer Randy Halprin, who writes: "I think I’m a pretty funny guy. I have a wacked sense of humor. I can be a big kid at heart. I’m a hopeless (and I mean HOPELESS) romatic [sic]."

The Best Gov’t Idea Since the New Deal: Bob Josephson, a FEMA official in Louisiana, volunteers for a dunk tank in N’awlins, at 3 balls for $5 (to raise money for a Big Easy neighborhood).

Kennebec, Maine, police blotter: "6 p.m., a woman said she suspected someone had sabotaged her washing machine. A police investigation concluded that an imbalanced laundry load had caused the shaking."

That’s Messed Up
A United Nations report on Thursday said that 2.6 billion people have no uncontaminating way to relieve themselves and that more than 1 billion of them have no access to water that’s not caca’ed up (and that, for the relatively paltry sum of $10B a yr, those numbers could be cut in half). ($10B is paltry because it is less than half what rich countries spend on bottled water.) But, but, but, said the report, it’s not all rich countries’ fault. Ethiopia spends 10x more on its military than on water and sanitation, and our friends the Pakistanis spend 47x more.

Below The Fold
Britain’s Home Office decided to compensate drug-addicted criminals big bucks (into the low five figures each) for having forced them to go cold-turkey when they were arrested, which the addicts said constituted "assault" and a human rights violation . . . . . A teenage girl in Santiago, Chile, attempted to resurrect her notorious "spider girls" gang of high-rise apartment burglars who scale balconies, but the only recruit she could get was a "heavily pregnant" girl, and they got caught . . . . . The Only Way Out: three murders followed by a suicide, in rural Oklahoma after a dispute over a fence . . . . . In Sheboygan, Wis., a photocopied $100 bill presented to a gas station clerk (but oops, they forgot to copy the back of the bill) . . . . . Awesome! A wired-up shirt you can put on that will send your air-guitar finger movements wirelessly to a sound generator!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Britain’s "National Phobics Society" has a new campaign: I don’t know what’s involved in such a "campaign," but it appears not to be quite to the point of a telethon. The serious problem being addressed involves potential kidney damage, which we’re all against. So NPS is publicizing that at least 4m Britons suffer from, er, toilet phobia—the fear of using public restrooms. Some sufferers even pass up otherwise good employment if they don’t like the workplace restroom situation. Yr Editor suggests for any forthcoming NPS training film some of the urban surveillance videos in the U.S. featuring our ubiquitous, uninhibited street urinators gleefully streaming wildly against buildings and into shrubs.

Celebrity Section of Backstage: Denise Richards, oops, my bad, that’s Denise Richards, on a film shoot in a Vancouver suburb, had had it up to her saline with paparazzi and tossed two of their laptops off of a balcony, hitting an 80-yr-old woman, who initially says she’s not interested in suing . . . . . In West Palm Beach, one of the three kids who tried to mug David Copperfield (forcing him to reach into his repertoire for the ol’ empty-pockets distraction) pleaded guilty . . . . . The real Andy Griffith sued the Wisconsin Andy Griffith, who had changed his name legally from William Fenrick to improve his chances of being elected sheriff (he lost) (Andy wants him to change it back) . . . . . And speaking of name trademarks, some guy in China’s Fujian province has inexplicably tried to market women’s, er, sanitary pads, under the brand name Yao Ming.

Below The Fold
Canada’s Public Works Ministry, realizing it has to cut down its wild spending, hired a consulting firm for $21M to figure out how to do that . . . . . Michigan may be struggling like any other state with the No Child Left Behind benchmarks, but it has such confidence in its 5th-graders that if they take a safety course, they can legally go shoot animals . . . . . A Georgetown Univ. kid, whose dad bought him a luxury off-campus row house on a swanky street, tries to get around D.C. rich-neighborhood zoning laws by establishing a zoning-exempt "church" so that all his partying buds can live with him . . . . . The F State’s space-cadet Katherine Harris, trailing all year by about 25 points in the polls, said yesterday that she absolutely believed that she’d win her Senate contest Tuesday night, right up to an hour after the polls closed, when the Associated Press called it (she lost by 22) . . . . . Recurring Theme: The world-famous zoo in Chiang Mai, Thailand, said it would try to encourage panda mating by showing panda porn videos.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Election Roundup
James Cagle was elected to the city commission in Niota, Tenn. (93 votes to 92), and only later did constituents learn that there were two outstanding warrants against him in the next county (but both were misdemeanors, so just move on, nothing to see here). And at the polling station in Dripping Springs, Tex., on Tuesday, ex-state Rep. Rick Green happened to run into the man who bitterly beat him four yrs ago, state Rep. Patrick Rose, and took a swing at him (but missed). And [yawn] the recently-departed Marie Stiechen, in South Dakota, and Glenda Dawson, in Texas, won their races (for county commissioner and state representative, respectively). Dawson’s people in fact had put out a campaign brochure subsequent to her death, touting her accomplishments and ignoring her passing (and telling complainers that there was no need to mention it, really, since most voters already knew she was dead, and besides, the brochure didn’t, y’know, promise any new initiatives next term).

Reuters looked at Britain’s Dull Men’s Club (and could barely remain conscious to report on them): Figs are good for you; more airport baggage carousels rotate counterclockwise than clockwise; binge flossing . . .zzzzz.

Below The Fold
The ol’ "you’ve got a tick on your pants, and I need to pull 'em down quickly" seduction . . . . . According to a lawsuit by a family on I-75 in Toledo last yr, it’s not just drivers who need highway rest areas "with facilities" but buses, too! . . . . . A children’s activist was so busy at the office ("tireless advocate" for Massachusetts’s troubled kids) that she left her own three-kid-family’s apartment in "Stephen King movie" condition (said a neighbor), condemned for cockroaches and an "unbelievable" stench . . . . . Update: That Montana high school principal recently suspended briefly for giving a student a wedgie [Backstage, 10-25-2006] has apparently, implicitly, set the bar lower for out-of-control student behavior . . . . . And if you’re one of the few who haven’t been able to glimpse the Iraq returnee in London shooting off the rocket from his nether region, it’s here, and if he didn’t have post-traumatic stress when he got back, he’s got it now.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Update
Now that players of the total-immersion online game Second Life are worrying about how to protect their virtual capital gains from U.S. taxation [Backstage, 10-17-2006] and keeping up with their virtual society via their own Reuters bureau chief [Backstage, 10-16-2006], they can also look forward to their own weekly virtual newspaper ("show business and human interest tales from the avatar world," said a spokesman), to be published in English by the company that puts out Germany’s reeking tabloid Bild.

Below The Fold
Dios’s Will: A Colombian climbed a 45-ft-tall statue of Jesus to pray for the miraculous cure of his epilepsy but fell, and now on top of the epilepsy, he's got multiple fractures of the wrist, hip, and skull . . . . . In India’s Bihar state, the gov’t is hiring eunuchs to do over-the-top song-and-dance stuff to embarrass tax cheats at home and business . . . . . In Cornwall, England, party-loathing residents install three space-age retractable urinals in the street (they rise up only at night) to spare their walls and sidewalks of pub-crawlers’ urinating . . . . . Ronald Schulz argues to a Toronto court that, since he’s in prison, his alimony and child support payments should be lowered (even though the reason he’s in prison was paying a hit man to break his ex’s neck) . . . . . Even better: Sarah Reich demands immunity for two DUI citations—since she was on her way home from AA meetings . . . . . Yikes! Barbados crops are being invaded by hundreds of thousands of nocturnal-only African snails, about the size of human hands!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nyah Nyah Nyah! The F State Didn’t Screw Up! Just a couple of glitches were reported, affecting (so far) just a few hundred ballots (of about 4.5 million). Meanwhile, for example, in Allentown, Pa., a well-behaved voter started working his machine and then just "snapped," suddenly, inexplicably, pounding it over and over with a paperweight until he was led away. Among those who were disappointed at the lack of a meldown in the F State: Al-Jazeera.

In fact, the sheriff’s office in Sarasota had a worse day than any of the state’s election officers. First, they misread an address on a mailbox and, guns drawn, no-knocked their way into a house, and after everyone was properly frightened to death, they discovered that the address on the warrant was next door. So they went next door and knocked and caught the right guy. But 20 minutes later they no-knocked back into the first house because a henchman on the warrant was named "Darryl McNeal" whereas one of the innocents in the first house bore the name "Durrell Jones," which obviously meant that he was Darryl using a false last name. But sometimes, Durrell Jones is just Durrell Jones.

Below The Fold
A cow that escaped its pen along the Queensland (Australia) coast wandered into the surf, paddled around, came ashore, paddled back out, came ashore, paddled back out, and, after four hours of aquatics, died of apparent water-intake . . . . . A 48-yr-old woman took the express lane to Hell, consigned there by the timber rattler at the snake-handling church in Laurel County, Ky. . . . . . An art display was impounded in Bolzano, Italy (well, it was a toilet rigged to play the national anthem when flushed) . . . . . Monica Nicholson bailed herself out on fraudulent-check charges in Decatur, Ill., by presenting jailers with a $10,000 cashier’s check, and . . D’oh!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Only Way Out: Everyone’s talking about Rev. I’m-a-Liar-and-a-Deceiver Haggard, but in the last five days, a pastor, a Texas assistant DA, and a San Francisco cop have all checked out early after being busted for bottom-feeding sex lives (the latter two involving kiddies). The Texas prosecutor was an NBC Dateline "get" and was about to be arrested on camera when he, y’know, struck his own special head shot.

Italy’s version of 3-strikes must be 192-strikes (for enhanced punishment) because the guy who was the "mastermind" of the 2004 Madrid train bombing, which killed 191, got only 10 yrs after being convicted in Milan. (Well, Italy decided to leave the heavy lifting to Spain itself, which will try all seven principals starting in February, asking for individual prison sentences of, oh, 38,000 yrs each, even though the word for "38,000" in Spain is apparently cuarenta.)

Sounds Like a Joke: (1) Hundreds of police applicants in Ghaziabad, India, feeling that the written test was too hard, rioted, attacking people, molesting women, destroying property. Presumably, their point was that such unfair evaluations distract people from recognizing the applicants’ obvious excellence as police officers. (2) A gospel CD was released this week, for the, uh, urban demographic, from NY Episcopal priest Poppa T. Hey, y’all know the 23rd Psalm, the one that goes, "The Lord is all that, I need for nuthin’, he ‘lows me to chill."

Recurring Theme: The latest youth sports horror story, from a Washington, D.C., suburb in Virginia: A football commissioner fired two successful coaches because they violated his rule that his son, 12, play every down on defense. The coaches had shifted the kid to offense for a crucial game, and it led to a win, but no matter. When the kids refused to play for other coaches, their playoff season ended. The son is naturally mortified.

Below The Fold
When you cut the wrong person 13 times in a gang-slashing, well, you say, My bad, and you move on with your life . . . . . Yow! Greenpeace says there’s a floating plastic-pollution island the size of Texas, nearing Hawaii . . . . . Now on sale: Mike Ditka signature wines, including a zinfandel blend that goes for $50 a bottle (seriously) . . . . . Finally, definitive proof that duct tape works no better than a placebo at removing warts . . . . . Interesting dynamics at Idaho State Univ., where Jeffrey Meldrum, Ph.D., a true believer in Bigfoot, does academic-ish research on the big fella (but physics professor D.P. Wells wonders if Meldrum will next study Santa Claus) . . . . . U. of Penna. researchers, examining brain scans of five Pentecostal women, believe they’ve isolated where all that speaking-in-tongues originates (and it’s different from the singing place) . . . . . This buffalo must be a real stud if two competing villagers in India are willing to shell out for DNA tests to identify its daddy.

Monday, November 06, 2006

What Goes Around, Comes Around: The only Enron spouse who gets to keep the money that came in from the executives’ shenanigans ($9m worth) is William Dodson, who is the spouse of soon-to-be-imprisoned Michael Kopper. That’s because, of course, they can’t be legal spouses. All the opposite-sex spouses have had to give everything back, but prosecutors are sort-of forced to treat Dodson as an indirect beneficiary, and they haven’t gone after any of them (yet).

Cape Town inventor Willem van Rensburg has a patent for his 1-second condom (break open the package and apply it in 3 seconds if you’re slow, 1 second when you get the hang of it), and now has started to market it in South Africa. [Ed.: Patent, hell! Polish off a damned Nobel for the dude! And not for "science," either; Nobel for world peace.]

Below The Fold
Utah’s crime rate must not be much because this guy is the state’s Public Enemy Number One (but you’ve gotta see the mug shot) . . . . . Does Bush know that the Iraq was is over? (Two Army recruiters tell prospects exactly that, caught on ABC News hidden cameras) . . . . . A California judge tells Fred Goldman, You’re no O. J. Simpson . . . . . Who knew? "Interviewing" 200 dogs to see what music they respond to, a dog-CD producer found they "love sambas, hate Johnny Cash" and that a drum rimshot scares them.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

People You Probably Need to Give Some Extra Room to: (1) Billy Sartin, 47, indicted for murder in Inez, Ky., reportedly sometimes "devolve[s] into a wolflike state," "run[ning] free in the woods, not necessarily at a time he was being chased by law enforcement." (2) John Sheehan, 33, picked up by the El Cerrito, Calif., train station during rush hour, naked and masturbating, told officers he was armed (but, wait, he was naked!). Uh, he had a 6-inch screwdriver housed in his butt. Wrote the Contra Costa Times: "Mindful that a 6-inch metal awl wrapped in black electrical tape could be used as a weapon, officers kept their weapons trained on [Sheehan, while he removed it]."

Never Give Up: If you’re old enough, you may remember Melvin Dummar’s sensational claim that he saved Howard Hughes’s life in the Nevada desert in 1967 and that Hughes promised him 1/16th of his wealth, reportedly $156m. A jury rejected the claim in 1978. A recent investigation, though, turned up a former Hughes pilot who said he flew Hughes to a desert whorehouse at about that time (whereas the official Hughes organization position all along was that Hughes was home alone).

Another Headache for the Declining Newspaper Industry: The Kerrville (Tex.) Daily News took one on the chin Wednesday when a woman was arrested for going through with hit-man contract negotiations on her ex-husband ("hit man" being an undercover cop, naturally), even though the newspaper had a story that very day that the police were closing in on her. "Don’t you get the paper?" asked the magistrate at her hearing. She: "I was out of town."

Below The Fold
The new president-elect of the Calif. Medical Ass’n: the noted physician Richard S. Frankenstein . . . . . A high-profile gang rape trial in Saudi Arabia ends with 4 of the perps getting prison plus a total of 2,230 lashes and the victim only getting 90 (for being in a car with a man when the perps snatched her) . . . . . A New York administrative judge bought Det. Anthony Chiofalo’s excuse for testing positive: His wife was trying to force him into retirement and had sneaked marijuana into his meatballs . . . . . Brandon Sample, formerly a computer-hacker prodigy (but now in prison for money-laundering), finally won his lawsuit to get prison records on computer disks (the prison having offered only paper copies); the U.S. Court of Appeals said, No, you still can’t have an actual computer to read them on, but, Yo, give him the disks.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Tokyo entrepreneur has opened Cats Livin’, which might solve a lot of problems in the U.S., as well. For the equivalent of $8 or $9, stressed-out executives can either get 10 minutes’ worth of oxygen therapy or relax for a bit in a room full of purring cats (refreshing, since not many people can keep cats in cramped Tokyo apartments). So, if we had places like that here, cat ladies might get gov’t grants for periodic visits (the cost of grants being less than the cleanup and demolition costs of their feces-encrusted homes).

In another one of those death-penalty-lawyer horror stories, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled, by virtue of a 7-7 tie (tie goes to the lower courts), that it was OK by them if Kentucky executes James Slaughter for a 1983 murder. That is, it’s OK despite the fact that Slaughter’s crack defense lawyer, Ferdinand Radolovich, didn’t even know that Slaughter was actually Jeffrey Leonard or that the Leonard family would have testified about Jeffrey’s brain damage and childhood beatings if they had known he was on trial, and even though Radolovich had claimed to have tried four death-penalty cases before when in fact the correct number was zero. The seven affirmers said he’s a vicious dude, no matter what his name is.

Below The Fold
The manager of Planet Fitness in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., calls the police to escort out a member for violating the club’s "no grunting" rule . . . . . How is it that people can find the time to think of stuff like this: New Jersey’s Dennis Westphal, 19, arrested after using a lawn mower to design a racial slur out of the tall grass he was cutting . . . . . For the second time in 10 days, motorists with buzzes on mistook the guard gate at Illinois’s Braidwood nuclear power plant for something else—last Saturday, thinking it was a gas station, and the week before, thinking it was a toll plaza . . . . . Christian-type weddings are now 90 percent of the total in Japan (though only 1 percent of Japanese are Christian) because they like the pageantry, and that creates a market for round-eyed fake preachers . . . . . Best headline (from Knoxville, Tenn.): "Dad Who Tried to Sacrifice Boy Gets Probation" . . . . . Worst explanation: Oliver Alonzo Shepherd, 42 and utterly no relation—don’t even think about it—arrested for harassing a woman in the middle of the night in Covington, Ga., said he was only looking for the remote control that operates his legs [from the Newton Citizen, Newton County, Ga., 11-1-2006, but not online].

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Updates
David Stewart was acquitted in Shepherdsville, Ky., on Tuesday. He’s the guy fingered for calling all those fast-food restaurants and convincing managers to search/fondle their employees under the guise of an official investigation [Backstage, 10-27-2006]. Observers say the prosecution simply had too little evidence of the actual Kentucky call for which he was charged but that Stewart still was probably the guy. He made way-incriminating statements to police when arrested, and besides, the series of calls to various states’ restaurants ended when he was caught. A civil lawsuit remains, against McDonald’s for not protecting one of the victims, but it’s for, er, $200m, under the principle that two perversions make a normal.
An official announcement from Rep. Foley’s office said he has been a guest at the Sierra Tucson rehab center in Catalina, Ariz., since October 1, which would dispel the rumor that he had holed up with Scientologists (which was reported as a reliable possibility by Wonkette.com and repeated here [Backstage, 10-4-2006]).
Yr Editor has already brought to your attention the sex-obsessive U.S. House candidate in North Carolina, Vernon Robinson [Backstage, 10-19-2006], but he has an imitator at gumming the family-values playbook: U.S. House candidate Paul Nelson in Wisconsin. You’d think there were enough serious issues on the table in 2006, but Robinson and Nelson make big deals out their opponents’ support for federal arts and sciences-type grants that wind up in the hands of academics studying obscure sexual activities (e.g., Vietnamese prostitutes, masturbation habits of the elderly, genitalia-wiring to measure sexual responses). However, in Wisconsin, even his own party's honchos are appalled at Nelson.

Below The Fold
An apparently legitimate Australian charity worker impressed a woman very much with his helpfulness, until, that is, he informed her that, "As part of our charity we also change diapers for $1" . . . . . Yet another way to cut those religious corners to salvation: For about $3,100, a guy will make a pilgrimage for Catholics to the holy Sanctuary of Fatima in Portugal . . . . . He took his daughter trick-or-treating, but the cheapest costume he could find was his own old jail jumpsuit . . . . . In Birmingham, England, it got out that the gov’t actually paid a lightbulb-changer about twice as much yearly as the average worker . . . . . Unless the federal gov’t of India objects, Bangalore will soon become the more-ethnic Bengaluru, which means "town of boiled beans" (stemming from a 14th century king’s taste buds) . . . . . Police in Aurora, Colo., are looking for two "heavy-set" girls who went around robbing kids of their candy on Halloween . . . . . Masashi Kamata, 28, was arrested in Nagoya, with 5,000 pairs of stolen slippers in a rented warehouse ("Indoor shoes for school sexually stimulate me") . . . . . The Dept of Health and Human Services is revising its federal grant guidelines for 2007 to offer money for abstinence-only sex education programs to people as old as, er, 29.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oh, Yr Editor thought it was breathtaking to report yesterday [Backstage, 10-31-2006] that Mayan Indians in Mexico’s Yucatan cleaned their deceased family members’ bones once a yr, but the Associated Press referred us this week to a skull-cleaning service in Oklahoma City that has to clean them because it’s the world’s leading supplier of skeletons. Carvers do the initial separation of the tissue from the bone, but then the bones go into the tanks of dermestid beetles, which eat ‘em clean. The whole idea (and the smell) doesn’t seem to bother the workers (as one was chomping on potato chips while he worked), and the production manager said, "I’ve been waist-deep in a dead hippopotamus, and I’d rather do that than change diapers."

The F State
A flood at the jail in Fort Pierce was caused by a female inmate who allegedly was using the nozzle on the overhead sprinkler in her cell to trim her hair weave . . . . . The state wildlife people said they are considering relaxing the law requiring people to call expert trappers to deal with wild alligators on their property, and letting people wrangle the damned things out of there, themselves! (and Yr Editor is clearing out space for the great stories sure to come) . . . . . And what passes for baby-sitting in the F State: duct-taping your kids down while you go to work.

Below The Fold
The big Tel Aviv newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reports more collateral damage from the recent war with Hezbollah: tougher border security and, consequently, rising marijuana prices in Israel . . . . . Who needs Zoloft for depression when you get relief from just putting pictures of your stuff on women’s car windows? . . . . . It’s apparently a big issue in the Czech Republic (where abandoned mausoleums become property of the gov’t) that a hard-up city is willing to sell off a tomb as a "recreational" retreat (after re-burying the residents) [still looking for it online] . . . . . New Orleans Saints’ QB Drew Brees, at war with his over-aggressive mom for 6 yrs, orders her not to mention him in her campaign ads for judge in Texas (judge?) . . . . . One brother had a sword, the other a bathroom plunger; the plunger drew first suction; but when the suckee struggled to unstick himself, his sword accidentally slashed his brother . . . . . God’s Will: An angelic-looking 17-yr-old with a Bible, saying "I want Jesus," starts acting crazy, and cops Taser him, and his wish is granted . . . . . Should have been Tasered, but wasn't, was a Maine lawyer who decided to dress as Osama and walk along the road with a fake gun and fake dynamite—to protest a local tax issue . . . . . I can’t find the original release yet online, but the Reuters report from Seoul said the KCNA news agency in North Korea was touting its world-class magicians, who perform card tricks and stuff and the coup de grâce: catfish-juggling (and "general jugglery").