Monday, January 01, 2007

Apple Digs Itself a Hole: The company said Steve Jobs simultaneously (a) helped pick favorable [back]dates for his lucrative stock options during 1997-2002 but (b) did nothing improper, despite the fact that the company has admitted that $84 million during that time frame was improperly reported to shareholders and the SEC. Maybe Jobs is looking for Pixar to come up with something that’ll make the whole thing disappear from the SEC’s screens. (And speaking of Pixar, when Jobs was chairman, stock options were [back]dated, conveniently, lucratively, at a certain official board meeting, with proper paperwork and everything, that now is known not to have taken place at all.) [The go-to source on all this is the Wall Street Journal, 12-30-06, whose website is normally pay-per-view, but everyone in the world can access it for free tomorrow, January 2.]

Sounds Like a Joke: A study of 200,000 European women found not only that exercise helps ward off breast cancer but that housework-type exercise is better at warding it off than regular exercise. [Next? Nat’l Safety Council study finds it far more hazardous for motorists to stop and ask directions than just to drive on.] Mainstream academics did the study, and it was funded by anti-cancer money, so it looks OK at first blush. But Yr Editor smells some severe over- or under-disaggregation of variables.

Sounds Like a Fraternity Joke: At England’s Sea Life Centre, a Christmas treat of Brussels sprouts for the turtles gave them gas, creating (as we all know) bubbles, which raised the water level enough to set off emergency sensors.

People Whose Sex Lives Are a Complete Mess (cont’d): Nicolas Leathers, 23, in Augusta, Maine, takes not only women’s underwear but tampons and maxipads, and he’s already on probation for throwing a summer camp mattress into a river because he didn’t want anyone to know that he had masturbated on it.

Inexplicable: Mr. Sudan Provost, 40, intended to rob the River City Bank in Sacramento, Calif., in that he had a holdup note and threatened to use his gun and said not to mess with him because "I do this for a living." That was before he innocently opened his bag to reveal no gun and before he asked the clerk for a tissue because he had the sniffles and before he just turned and walked out of the bank without money and before he wandered back into the bank a while later while police were there conducting interviews.

Recent Buried Ledes: The Mirror (London) piece was about Electrolux’s new Dustmate, a battery-operated, sensored pair of shoes with which you can vacuum as you walk, but the real news: Even before this, 28 percent of Brits vacuum daily . . . . . The Des Moines Register piece was about how Iowa public health law bars patients from taking home from the doctor’s their amputated body parts, but the real news: The 85-year-old woman who thus has to give up her infected toe is Ms. Gladys Goose.

Housekeeping
As previously announced, off tomorrow and back to daily posting on Wednesday (daily except Sundays, that is) . . . . . And yes, I changed the title and format of this page. No big deal except this: From now on, I do not have a "blog." I have a daily column. It’s not a blog. It’s not a blog, I tell you! It’s a daily supplement to the weekly News of the Weird!

Below The Fold
We recently saw a Washington-state-bound teenage girl mistakenly book a flight to Washington, D.C., but here’s an adult bound for Sydney, Australia, booked into Sidney, Montana (answer to your question: you take a commuter flight from Billings) . . . . . Tacky: Wanted on a child-support warrant, he nonetheless tried to stick an extra hotdog in his bun at the convenience store and hide it from the clerk with excess condiments . . . . . North Carolina’s "malicious castration" law surfaces again (and here’s the mug shot of the perp, who, in all likelihood, probably just ripped skin off and not the actuals) . . . . . Adult brother, tired of adult sister’s belittling him about every little thing (however appropriate it might have been) took an ax and gave her 5 whacks, in the head, and he said he stopped only because the ax got stuck in her skull . . . . . From the Star Tribune (Minneapolis): "Opera That Depicts Bush, Blair [and Chirac and Putin, by the way] Dancing in Underwear Is Canceled" . . . . . Yr Editor is usually skeptical of reports of people swallowing spoons, but here’s a well-done story and, of course, the x-ray . . . . . On the first day of Islam’s Eid al-Adha animal sacrifice-feast, Turkey’s ER’s were jammed with 1,400 accidental self-stabbings by the amateur butchers (and four injuries that occurred when the victims fell over on the killers) . . . . . New status symbol for the rich in China’s super-capitalism region: wet nurses for their babies (good pay for young, beautiful, Ming-dynasty-poetry-reciting women with "superior breasts") . . . . . Texas judge Keith Dean, defeated for re-election in November, has finally, 16 yrs late, backed down on his life sentence to Tyrone Brown for smoking marijuana during his probation (after the judge had been shamed for turning the other cheek to a murderer on probation who tested positive several times for cocaine) . . . . . Mr. Kouadio Kouassi was finally booted out of the clerk's office after several relentless attempts to file a (completely baseless) ownership claim for the upscale SoHo Grand Hotel in New York City. (Seriously. Just walked in and filed the papers.)