Monday, December 17, 2007

Civilization in Decline
Two Dallas, Tex., police officers pressured some ne’er-do-wells on the street to just sign blank citation forms, with one cop explaining he did that as a "courtesy" to the street people so they wouldn’t have to hang around while he wrote up all the paperwork, i.e., deciding which offenses to charge ‘em with . . . . . The District of Calamity: When the director of the Washington, D.C., Dept. of Youth Rehabilitation Services testified recently before the D.C. Council about what a good job he’s doing, one escapee was actually sitting in the gallery, watching, and another was being hidden out at home by his brand-new wife, who is a DYR corrections officer . . . . . The coat of arms of a European Union battle group (of mostly Swedes) depicts a fierce lion, with incidental genitalia (historically, lions depicted without genitalia symbolized battlefield losers), but some women complained, and now the coat of arms just got whipped . . . . . Japan’s Buddhist monks, needing to fight that mighty foe, indifference, put on a rap ‘n’ fashion show to demonstrate, said one, "that Buddhism is cool."

NOTE: There’s a special message from Yr Editor today under NOTW, The Blog; please take a look at it, but, as they say, No Response Necessary, please.

The Human Condition Today
Behold Elbert Jefferson Jr, the City Attorney of Memphis, who is now being (and has been six times in eight yrs) sued by the city of Memphis’s property tax office for a delinquent account . . . . . According to a Washington Post investigation, the deputy inspector-general investigating U.S. contracting in Iraq ordered her employees around by threatening to put Wiccan hexes on ‘em [BETTER LINK] . . . . . Fine Points of the Law: At the Huntington Beach (Calif.) Pier, it’s legal once again to hammer nails into your nose, and at galleries in Athens, Greece, it’s legal once again to display an artist’s video of a woman all manually excited with herself at the playing of the Greek nat’l anthem . . . . . Two Words: "Competitive Knitting" ("Sock Wars," where participants knit socks for specific target players, who are "out" as soon as their socks arrive, with the last knitter standing declared the winner) (Seriously) . . . . . The New Zealand inventor of the worm-based (as opposed to chemical-based) outhouse said a gov’t official actually demanded to know whether the worms were affected psychologically by the amount of human feces they had to deal with (but the inventor managed to find an academic who thinks the worms are probably delighted).

Your Daily Losers
The brothers Lamotte, from around Groton, Conn., are in custody, thanks to a series of bad decisions stemming from an initial need for some new tires. Highlight: Eventually they decided to ditch a stolen truck by driving it into a pond, but it coasted off course with one of the brothers still steering, and crashed hard into some rocks. Latest chapter: To raise money for their defense, they were stealing equipment from a school, helped by an elaborate lookout system with their girlfriends, but then they forgot to bring along the walkie-talkies so the girls could alert them that the cops were about to bust 'em.

Things That Seem Wrong
Y’all teachers have to do better at gearing your lesson plans to the backgrounds of the people you teach, wrote the high school principal in Harlem, which is mighty fine advice, pedagogically, but not so much if the principal is worried about the low pass rate on his record (and there is a $3k teacher incentive to move the kids along).

Edinburgh’s latest tourist attraction: a mechanical cow that farts promptly at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m. . . . . . A NYC salon sells a $400 facial, with extra-small water droplets so that the tiny flecks of 24k gold can seep into the skin . . . . . The Chicago Tribune profiled the nation’s vomitmaster (the owner of Fun Inc., who brews up seven vats a year of fake vomit, [LINK CORRECTED] using a special recipe, to stock the nation’s joke/magic shops) . . . . . Turns out that ragging on someone for having "half a brain" doesn’t work, technically, because all the half did here was energize one side of the girl’s body, without apparently affecting her smarts . . . . . In Joliet, Ill., a guy tried to steal a car parked at a donut shop (uhhh, no, but they were right around the corner and nabbed ‘em) . . . . . Japanese and Korean researchers continue to monkey around with genes: There’s Ko Kobayakawa’s mice bred without the smell gene that alerts them to cats, which means the mice wander amiably right up to ‘em, and Dr. K says they play together (something wimpy about Japanese cats) (and the mouse still freaks out when the cat meows!), and a South Korean team has cloned a cat that possesses a fluorescent protein that shows the cat up red under an ultraviolet light.

That properly-named Iowa toilet-paper thief (Suzanne Butts) [NOTW M029, 10-28-2007] was declared mentally incompetent . . . . . And it’s OK again in Scranton, Pa., to cuss your toilet in the privacy of your own home [NOTW M035, 12-9-2007].

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

NOTW, The Blog
I regret to have to do this, ladies and gentlemen, but I’ll have to make two changes to News of the Weird Daily, and I’m pretty sure they’re permanent (unless that Big Internet Dog comes through, after a year and a half of teasing me, and makes a firm offer). One, you’ll notice; the other, you may not, but still, I disclose it.
First, you’ll notice that I’ll only be publishing Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Sorry. Sorry.
Second, I’m not going to be able to hold myself out as having broadly swept the news universe for weird news every day, as I have been. (That’s not to say that I’ve always caught everything I needed to catch before my three-day staleness rule took effect, but I tried.)
I’m actually cutting back my ritual browsing in half, just about. I’m sure this second change will cost me a great story or two every week, and I feel sick about that, but I can’t spend the extra time it takes to improve the chances that I’ll grab all the great stories instead of almost all the great stories.
Hey, stuff happens. I’ll still be here six days a week, still surfing, still reading e-mail. But kicking 7 deadlines a week (6 Daily’s plus the weekly NOTW) down to 4 looks delicious right now.

Newsrangers: Phil Parker, Paul Music, Mark Neunder, Cindy Hildebrand, Scott Langill, Tom Barker, Michael Bellesiles, Dave Null, Bob Pert, Jana Boardman
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.