Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday’s 5-Star Special
Poor Sen. Sam Brownback: Doctors at Rome’s Umberto Hospital announced they’ve done a great thing with stem cells, which would be alarming enough to Brownback, but what they’ve done is help two women who were born malformed, without, uh, vaginas, by growing them new ones. Both are doing fine. [CORRECTION: These stem cells in all likelihood were not embryonic but came from the women, themselves, thus converting the reference to Sen. Brownback into an inappropriate cheap shot, which Yr Editor hereby regrets.]


Civilization in Decline
In Rajasthan state in India, 18 people have been killed in three days of caste warfare, i.e., low-class Gujjars are demanding to be classified even lower (from an "Other Backward Class" down to "Scheduled Tribe"), so they can get more affirmative action bennies . . . . . The System works! Almost immediately after the Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari was jailed in Tehran while visiting relatives (and thus didn’t return to her Potomac, Md., home on schedule), Citibank, enforcing "U.S. Sanctions regulations," froze her U.S. bank accounts because, well, maybe that means she now lives in Tehran . . . . . Britain’s Guild of Professional Butlers laments that demand (because of all the new filthy-rich people) is way-exceeding supply (which is good news for the "Butler Boot Camp" in Denver, Colo., which turns out finely-polished men’s men in 8 weeks [Wall Street Journal, pay per view] . . . . . German researchers, writing in the journal Cell, say they’ve modified the DNA of a disease-causing bacterium so that it’ll now infect a species that wasn’t considered vulnerable to it before (but relax, because these guys are scientists, and they must know what they’re doing) . . . . . The Christian Science Monitor reports on the Pentagon’s slo-o-o-ow deployment to Iraq of the huge, nearly-impenetrable Cougar trucks, which were first requested by troops way back (2004) when roadside bombs first started appearing, but Rumsfeld thought this was just one more thing that wasn’t all that important (well, that, and the ordinarily slow military contracting process).


The Human Condition Today
Among the juicy wrinkles in the tuberculosis infection caper is the fact that the victim, Andrew Speaker, whose arguably reckless behavior may have harmed many others, makes his living suing people whose reckless behavior harms others [UPDATE: The website of the Speaker Law Firm, in Atlanta, has apparently been beaten down by traffic] . . . . . Lloyd Gable to Spokane, Wash., deputy: As a matter of fact, now that you asked, I do have a bomb in my pocket . . . . . Two nightclubs in Rotterdam have big plans to go green spectacularly, e.g., one plans to recycle dancers’ sweat by condensing it and using the runoff in toilets [Wall Street Journal pay per view] . . . . . Headline (Reuters via Yahoo News): "Indian Lawyers Tie Man to Tree, Beat Him" (Bonus: It was right outside a courthouse).


Your Daily Loser
Omar Garza, 35, was stopped for speeding in Goliad, Tex., with a bunch of stolen goods in his truck, along with cocaine, and for some reason, he blurted out that the cocaine wasn’t really his but was supposed to be a high school graduation gift for his son. The cop said he couldn’t imagine what Garza expected to gain, overall, by saying that (Garza admitted the next day it was his own stuff), but it might have been the same gene that told him to say his name was something-something, even though "Omar Garza" was tattooed on his back.


NOTW Lite
The Pentagon’s space-age DARPA dreamers are now working not on retrofitting cockroaches with nanotech machinery (ho-hum, old news) but rather on actually breeding moths to be born with chips in their brains so they can be remote-controlled . . . . . Sounds Like a Joke: The crack Belgian military is deploying a few troops into the country’s eastern forests to blow up an evil empire of caterpillars.


Good Enough for Gov’t Work
The Arrangements Have Been Made (so why bother?): A small meatpacker seeks permission to test all of its slaughtered cattle for mad-cow, and the large meatpackers (who currently test only 1 percent) understandably object, and the Dept. of Agriculture has lined up with the big boys!


Updates
The Straight Dope telephoned the Oregon doctor who told his ear-aching patient that he had extracted a spider from one ear and a dead spider from the other [NOTW M007, 5-27-2007], and the doctor said he’d changed his mind and thinks the dead spider was just dead ear skin. [Ed.: Apparently, TSD has some fans who think that when a doctor changes his mind about what he told a local reporter, that makes the story an urban legend, and publishing an urban legend is to some TSD readers on the scale of outrage of, say, Karl Rove hiding e-mails on the U.S. Attorney firings.]


Professor Music’s Weird Links
will return tomorrow


NOTW, The Blog
A News of the Weird advisor who’s "in the business" says the statistic Yr Editor used on Wednesday [NOTW Daily, 5-30-2007], showing 12 terror-related designated deportations among 814,000 overall in the last three yrs, is misleading, in that most terror-related suspects are kicked out via the most convenient way, e.g., visa violation (cf. Al Capone, convicted of income-tax evasion). Our reader assures us that, even though their announced misbehavior might be mundane, their permanent record retains all the bad stuff.
Newsrangers: Scott Langill, Bob Pert, Christopher Nalty, Ginger Katz.
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.