Monday, February 19, 2007

Housekeeping Note
Comedy is easy, compared to the art of competing for Internet readers. Yr Editor needs help at both, especially the readers thing. So, I’m going to try to offer News of the Weird Daily by e-mail. All you have to do is register with The Rulers of the Wor—er, Google, at Google Groups, for the group DailyWeird. One thing for sure, based on my experience with Google Groups: You’ll get no spam whatsoever, nothing except NOTW Daily, 6 times a week. No one can use the group for any other purpose. I promise. The links to the stories will be sent in the e-mail, so if you don’t see the links in what you receive, the problem is probably with your e-mail settings, and don’t ask me how to fix them. (Also, don’t confuse this group with the Google Group for the weekly News of the Weird column. That group is called NewsoftheWeird. This group is called DailyWeird.) If this daily thing somehow doesn’t work out in e-mail, I may be writing tomorrow that everything’s off. Now, on with the News . . .

"It was too much for some residents of The Dalles [Oregon] to believe that a rosy-cheeked 82-year-old [married, female] church volunteer with a penchant for gardening and a reputation for kindness actually had sexual intercourse with the 11-year-old boy in her foster care" [wrote The Oregonian]. She reports to start her 3-yr sentence tomorrow after pleading to one count (the kid said it was more). (Her husband, fortunately, passed away after the sex but before word got out.)

Oops: Behold lawyer Anthony E. Sonnett, "defending" Ford Motor Co. from a really bad Explorer rollover injury lawsuit, which Ford has by the way successfully defended in 10 cases out of 10—until this one. According to a New York Times piece, evidence is that the verdict for the plaintiffs, and the humongous punitive damages that followed, were largely due to one final, throwaway question that Sonnett asked the victim’s husband on cross-examination: "The silver lining, to the extent that there could be one, it has brought you and [your severely disabled wife] and the family closer together?" The husband’s answer: "I don’t think it’s a benefit or a plus in any way." The jury took offense to Mr. Sonnett’s suggestion, to the tune of $369 million. (Ford is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for help.) [New York Times, 2-19-2007 $$]

Scott Brown is the Massachusetts state senator who returned fire at a high school, reading students’ vitriol-filled posts about him on a page, all because he opposes the state’s legalization of same-sex marriage [NOTW Daily, 2-10-2007]. Last week, reported that in a former life (1982), Brown posed topless for Cosmopolitan in a hunk contest, all out in the open for gay lurkers.

Inside NOTW
Beware of this week’s News of the Weird. I stuck in a filler at the bottom of the column about Britain’s Nat’l Phobics Society’s gearing up a campaign to recognize people with public restroom anxiety, and immediately one reader wrote to say that he was so offended at my insensitivity to the pee-shy that he would never again read News of the Weird. Seriously. So, please. I need readers to stay with me here, so please do not read that story!

Below The Fold
Do It Again! One mo' time! A world-class German paraglider got swept into a violent t-storm in Australia last week, carried up 6 miles to a low-oxygen, minus-58 degrees F, was unconscious nearly an hour, but then drifted back down and has recovered . . . . . A Virginia road-rager tossed a McD’s cup of ice into a car (caused a mess, but no injuries) and is now serving two yrs in the clink . . . . . "Once a bank robber, always a bank robber," said the San Francisco cop, speaking of Paul Paris, 54, who allegedly knocked off a Citibank while conveniently dressed in the very same clothes he was wearing when released from lockup 7 days earlier . . . . . Another life sustained by the blood of Christ: A burglar got locked into a weekends-only church with only sacramental wine to drink for four days . . . . . No Longer Weird: Another guy found long-since dead (a year, in this case), in front of a TV set, which was still on (even though he was blind) . . . . . New college fad at the U. of Minnesota: Donate blood, then run down to the bar, have just one drink or two, and you’ll be out like a light . . . . . The VA runs hospitals very well (among the best in the country!); they just don’t know how to protect personal data . . . . . Recurring: It’s not as long as Beatty Chadwick has been sitting in a Philadelphia cell for contempt of court, but here’s Martin Armstrong, in a New York City lockup for 7 yrs now, because he says he doesn’t have the documents the judge says he has.