Saturday, February 17, 2007

[UPDATE: Ehhhhh, it's not going to happen at all today, I'm afraid. Back on schedule Monday. If you have a couple minutes to kill, though, you could check out my Florida-only news 'n' commentary, The F State. Thank you.]
[NOTE: NOTW Daily is published 6 days a week, normally not later than 12 noon New York time. By "normally," I mean, "not today." However, I'll probably have something up by 4 p.m. New York time.]

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sounds—uh, Looks Like a Joke: The Int’l Atomic Energy Authority has a new warning sign, which you can see here. Now, the first problem is that it was supposed to alert all unsophisticated people on planet Earth to the dangers of radiation, but "radiation" continues to be represented by the completely inexplicable physicists’ sign for radiation (but now with "rays" supposedly fanning out from it!). Helpfully, though, there is now a skull and crossbones, which is a pretty widely acceptable sign of deadliness, and, even more helpfully, there’s a suggestion of what to do if you happen into an area where this sign is displayed, i.e., you run away! This sign is the result of five yrs’ research and testing on 1,650 people in 11 countries.

Confluence of Several of Yr Editor’s Favorite Themes: You’ve got your grand-scale, arrogant investment fraud, which means you’ve also got your gullible investors believing that money grows on trees (for them, only, not for us!), and you top that off with the daughter of the perp getting an expensive, in-your-face Sweet 16 party on MTV, capped off with a brand-new BMW, and this final word from the charming little girl: "My dad owns an oil company. . . . I love oil. Oil means shoes and cars and purses. So it sets me apart from everybody else in this town [Phoenix]. It smells like money, Daddy!"

And by the way, do we ever coddle fraudsters in the U.S.! By contrast, Mr. Wang Zhendong, convicted in Liaoning, China, of running a fake ant-breeding operation that cost investors the equivalent of $387B, was sentenced to, er, death.

Updates
BBC News carried a story yesterday on the 50th anniversary of the John Frum Movement cargo cult on the south Pacific island of Tanna, but of course Mr. Frum was believed-in before World War II, which is why the islanders thought all that cargo landing on the island (which was a staging area for the war) was heaven-sent.
The DNA test came back on that Malaysian cow that two farmers were contesting ownership of. The cow is supposedly worth the equivalent of $570, but the DNA test (paid for by the two farmers) cost $914 ($457 each). Must be a hell of a cow.

Below The Fold
A kid had a really, really bad experience out tagging the side of a bridge after rappelling over it [Link Corrected] at about -5 degrees F (but then the rope caught on his leg, and, dangling there, he thought if he just shed some of his clothes, it would be easier to wriggle free) . . . . . A (professional) dog groomer apparently sliced off part of a shi tzu’s ear but then super-glued it back on (and fluffed up the shaggy hair over it), but then the glue wasn’t so super, in that the ear came off with the first bath . . . . . Latest truck spill, near the Santa Cruz-Pima county line in Arizona: a marijuana-carrying F-150 driven by a citizen of the sovereign nation of Mexico, trying to elude the Border Patrol . . . . . One more problem for Kenyans: Women don’t know how to give good sex . . . . . New mom Rebecca Johnson said her delivery was quick: "I didn’t know what happened until he was in my pant leg" . . . . . And another of those reactions that Yr Editor (a former teacher), reluctantly, agrees is wrong: New York City school teacher Gale Dragone, 52, threw a book at a 12-yr-old student who just wouldn’t shut up (and bloodied his nose).

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Coulrophobia is the word someone with letters after his name recently made up to describe a serious fear of clowns, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a backgrounder. Its interviewees seem to think the 1990 Stephen King miniseries "It" was the watershed event that tied together those who had been merely uneasy and a new crop of the truly terrified. Said a Ringling Brothers clown, "It’s the ‘in’ phobia right now."

Steve Bixby, 39, went on trial yesterday in Abbeville, S.C., with his dad, 77, charged with double murder (2 deputies, meaning the death penalty is on the table), and the provocation was that the cops were enforcing an order to confiscate an ugly 20-foot patch of land in the front of their even uglier yard on which sits their truly ugly house so that the state could widen Highway 72. The Bixbys had apparently done a lot of stewing over this and had decided to "protect it to our last breath," Steve said. South Carolina is home to a lot of anti-gov’t types, but nobody goes around killing their good ol’ boy deputies, so it’ll be hard finding a jury that doesn’t want to fry ‘em. [Ed.: Oops, that’s only in the F State that we fry people. No, not with the electric chair. As you recall, we stick a needle in them, but we do it all wrong so that the guy gets an excruciatingly painful chemical burn on his arm, a frying, before he expires.] (Bonus point: The Bixbys recently relocated from New Hampshire, y’know, Live Free or Die, so maybe now we’ll see some name-calling between the two states over who’s got the bigger free-state manhood.)

The Confluence of Horniness and Parkinson’s: Three witnesses on the F State’s Sanibel island say it was retired U.S. Rep. Joseph McDade, 75, of Scranton, Pa. (who has the disease, though it’s not known if he was officially twitching), who was following women around in public at a resort while masturbating. That is, those movements around his crotch could have been manifestations of the illness, or perfectly controlled jerkings. (Other news: Ron Thompson is a state legislator in West Virginia, and we still don’t know what kind of problem he’s got, but the House of Delegates voted to let him back in after kicking him out for having disappeared for 10 months. Thompson brought a note from his shrink, but there were no details.)

Below The Fold
Jeffrey Harrison, a popular studmuffin selection from a 1980s Los Angeles sperm donor catalog (interests in philosophy, music, drama) now lives in an RV with 4 dogs and scrapes by on odd jobs . . . . . Plant greenery to improve the area’s feng shui? No, a county gov’t in China has workers just green-spray-paint the side of a facing mountain (Seriously) . . . . . Apparently the U.S.’s most-contrived holiday (which was yesterday) has taken hold in largely-Muslim Bangladesh, at least in the colleges . . . . . After a report that his daughter-stewardess did a Qantas restroom thing with actor Ralph Fiennes, dad defended the woman, calling the complainers jealous and "probably ugly as a hat full of arseholes" . . . . . A gross failure of punishment as rehab, in Manitoba: A man is looking at his 13th conviction in 10 yrs for threatening to beat up or kill people who have done him even the slightest of wrongs . . . . . Minnesota pastor Mac Hammond clarifies that getting rich is not just what God wants but is actually beyond your control: "[I]f you base your life on [God’s] covenant, these [riches] are gonna overtake you. You can’t do anything about it, friend" . . . . . An alternative notion of "properity ministry" struck former pastor Randall Radic in Ripon, Calif., who faked some documents and sold his congregants’ building right out from under them (and got caught but will probably walk because he’s agreed to testify as a jailhouse snitch in another case).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Feng shui, twice removed: First, you hafta believe in feng shui, which is hard enough. But then, you hafta believe (despite a lack of authoritative text) that even animals can get all messed up if the feng shui isn’t just right. The Los Angeles Zoo cleared both hurdles and paid $4,500 to a consultant to fix up the happy new home of the golden monkeys on loan from China.

The Navy put a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on the Environmental Impact Statement it must file when it employs dolphins and sea lions around ports in Washington state to guard against terrorist infiltration. Dolphins have great sonar ability, and it says here that a sea lion can somehow carry around a cuff in its mouth and clamp it on a rogue swimmer’s leg.

Canada’s TV regulators told the Miracle Channel (religious programming on cable) that it would be watching closely to make sure there is no repetition of its 2004 on-air fundraising appeals, which apparently included such pitches as, If you don’t give, you are robbing God and could go bankrupt, and If you give, God says your income will double. There had been reports of donors cashing in retirement accounts and expecting higher real-estate values.

Update
Veteran New Zealand lawyer Rob Moodie was cited for contempt of court for publicly releasing a document about a gov’t bridge collapse, which he said would help his client (since a court had suppressed it). In other news, Moodie, 68, said he has abandoned his campaign to cross-dress in court (showing "a flash of lace at the urinal"), which he had said he was doing in order to call attention to the old-boy network that runs the country’s legal system [NOTW 967, 8-20-2006]. (But the abandonment didn’t stop the Sydney Morning Herald from illustrating its bridge-document story with a file photo of Moodie all dolled up as Miss Alice [in Wonderland].)

Below The Fold
Jorge Mejia, your classic whipped husband: wrecked his wife’s brand-new car but felt he had to make up a full-blown story about being kidnaped and crashing as he wildly escaped . . . . . The worst thing, said the CNN reporter interviewing the macho adolescent who had taken on the name "Col. Rambo" in some African militia was that "[W]e, as adults, had to address [him] as such [or he might kill us]" . . . . . The latest Nigerian scam appears to be the "Free Bishon Frise puppies" deal, if you’ll just send in the shipping money (and a reporter actually called the number in Nigeria and asked to hear the "Bishon" bark, at which point the guy on the phone woofed a couple of times) . . . . . Everyone has a particular issue that sets them off, and for the militant Hindu groups Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena, it’s that blasphemous Western phenomenon of Valentine’s Day, which India’s citizens will celebrate at their peril . . . . . Best Headline (San Jose Mercury News): "Judge Rules Government Supply of Marijuana Is Inadequate"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

London parents outdo even New Yorkers: It’s now commonplace that applications for the most prestigious preschools in London have to be submitted shortly after the baby emerges from the womb, and a few schools suggest even giving them a head’s up during the pregnancy. "I filled in the forms with an epidural in my back," one mom said. One school reserves five advance places every month, and savvy moms try to postpone a 31st-of-the-month delivery (the five slots long-ago taken) so the kid’ll drop on the 1st (new slots open!). [pay-per-view Wall Street Journal, 2-12-2007]

That’s Messed Up
Army still short-changing soldiers on defense: Remember "Shock and Awe"? The March 2003 display of super-destructive, yet precision bombs made the world think there was nothing American technology couldn’t bring to war. Well, here we are, four years later, and the Pentagon still hasn’t armored U.S. soldiers nearly as well as it technologically could. There’s that NBC News report on rocket propelled grenade-defending technology that Israel loves, yet the Pentagon won’t go there because it prefers a competing system made by Raytheon that won’t be ready before, er, 2011. And then the Washington Post reported yesterday that even armor upgrades on the Humvee (just to keep the IEDs from blowing through them, not neutralizing them) is still a work in progress. Y’see, the U.S. needed to attack Iraq in March 2003 and not a bit later, even though it was short in equipment by around $56B, and obviously it hasn’t caught up yet. Yikes.

Below The Fold
El Presidente Morales wants Bolivia to have more indigenous celebrations, like "Tinku," which is an annual Aymara/Quechua community-wide, bloody fight club (aka "a sublime, beautiful act," according to one mayor) . . . . . A judge in Taiwan granted a divorce after the new wife refused to undress on her wedding night, adding (to hubby), "You are ridiculous!" . . . . . Stephen Drake is thought to be (reported The Sun) the only person in Britain clinically terrified of little old ladies, i.e., he’s afraid he’ll uncontrollably attack them and so stays far away . . . . . A British businessman was arraigned in New York City on a charge of raping his personal assistant, but according to a tape recording she made, he said he is "99 percent" sure that he didn’t have sex with her . . . . . Major Irony Alert: A New York City condominium board is suing a Subway sandwich shop because the smell of all that fresh bread grosses them out . . . . . The bully-prevention policy of Kiriani boys’ high school in Kenya: Send the 20 uncircumcized boys home until they get fixed because, otherwise, they’ll get beat up . . . . . Just as the annual inflation rate in Zimbabwe broke 1,500 percent, supporters of President Bob said they were starting a drive to raise about $1.2M to give him a proper 83rd birthday party.

Monday, February 12, 2007

FBI Shutters Fox Mulder’s Office: Well, not quite. Actually, Princeton University is shuttering its Engineering Anomalies Research lab (after 28 yrs of experiments on ESP and telekinesis). While several prominent people had supported the concept of the lab, it produced nothing of peer-review quality. (One editor told the lab’s founder Robert Jahn that he would publish a certain paper if Jahn could get it over to his office telepathically.) The noted watchdog of foolishness, physicist Bob Park, said good riddance.

Meanwhile, Cheshire, Mass., requested federal money for a new fire truck, didn’t get it, but the fire department was instead awarded a $656k Homeland Security grant to beef up its community volunteers to protect against terrorist targets (the most prominent being the Cheshire Cheese Museum) (but the grant stipulation won’t allow buying a fire truck).

Vermont’s proposed no-cellphoning-while-driving legislation is pretty comprehensive: No eating, drinking, smoking, reading, writing, personal grooming, "interacting with pets or cargo," or using any personal communication device while driving—and, just to prevent what sponsoring state Rep. Thomas Koch’s wife said she witnessed, no playing a musical instrument (especially that flute she saw).

Allen Falkner went to San Jose, Calif., last week to give a four-day seminar in the Art of Human Suspension (i.e., hanging from meat hooks) at a tattoo parlor to 15 students who believe their lives will never be the same. News you can use: Skin tears easily, so be careful. "There’s a lot of sharpness." (He means really bad pain.) "I love you in your meat hooks" (said the wife of a hanger). It’s still not certain how Fakir Musafar feels about all this, since he’s the guy who "popularized" hanging in the U.S. in a Modern Primitives book but feels too many people hang now without a proper appreciation of the cultural roots. Noted.

Updates
Breast implants made of one’s own fat were supposed to be an improvement over saline and silicone (er, feel-wise), but now, the ultimate, as a Japanese procedure has been approved in Germany (and therefore, the EU): fat plus stem cells, so that the implants come alive (though they can’t yet do better than B cup, probably).
George Dalmas got 3 yrs in prison for 17 break-ins and 1,074 panty-thefts in McLean, Va. We know about him because he was a mid-level administrator at the CIA [NOTW Daily, 2-9-2006]. Turns out he has more than "that" problem. He’s also kept his fingernail clippings for 20 yrs and constantly inspects pens for bugging devices. The panties, said a shrink, weren’t sexual, just calming devices for his out-of-control demons, and that's why he stored them so carefully in bags.

Below The Fold
A conservation group in Nepal is setting out "harmless" dead animals because contaminated ones are making vultures extinct . . . . . The Lead Story in NOTW this week is about merlot-fed cattle in Australia, but in the UK they’re using beer (40 pints a day) . . . . . A Macquarie University official in Australia, accused of mismanagement, had artwork seized by investigators as possibly university property, but wants it back because it’s hers, especially that painting of her butt . . . . . Excuse me? The Int’l Atomic Energy Agency, fed up with Iran’s posturing, said it would suspend half of the technical nuclear assistance it has been providing the country? Half? Has been providing? . . . . . Not your father’s model train set: At the Int’l Toy Fair in Nuremberg, companies introduce railside scenic figures of (1) police raiding a brothel and (2) a couple having sex in a meadow . . . . . Mobile hoarding: Ann Biglin’s car crashed, she said, because maybe a coffee cup or something landed on her accelerator, but police found her 2000 Ford Focus jam-packed with trash (bonus photo) . . . . . In Kenya’s notorious Kibera slum, they’re tired of celebrities dropping by, tut-tutting for photo opps, and leaving, and now they especially hate the commercial tours of Kibera for guilt-feeling adventurers . . . . . It’s a tough job being an anesthetist for zoo giraffes because, for one thing, like someone chopping down a tree, ya gotta figure out which way the giraffe will fall (which this guy didn’t) . . . . . Tennessee says it’ll go back to the drawing board on its official executioner's manual, into which "lethal injection" instructions were interspersed with the old "electric chair" instructions, as if you had to set a rheostat just before you stuck the guy . . . . . A lawyer to despise (until some day you need him): The evidence showed that a cop with a problem stalked a woman, then traffic-stopped her and ejaculated on her, but by the time the lawyer was done, the jury said it was all her fault.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

There’s a $25,000/person meal being served tonight at a Bangkok hotel (six world-class chefs, fixing grub for 40 invitation-only "epicurean masters," with $500/bottle champagne and a choice among 10 of the finest wines in the world). You don’t want Yr Editor to tell you how many African children will actually die tonight during the hours of the meal because their only drinking water is basically feces soup.

Campaigning against "hate speech" is so inconvenient: Massachusetts state senator Scott Brown is a leading opponent of the state’s legalization of gay marriage and appeared at a high school in Wrentham to discuss the issue. Yr Editor wasn’t there but imagines that at least some people spoke to him about "tolerance" and "stop the hate." Brown then read aloud student messages about him (posted to a Facebook.com page of a pro-gay-marriage teacher at the school), including profanities and negative references to Brown’s daughter (and read the names of the people who posted the comments). Hey, that’s not fair, the opposition screamed.

Riddle Me This: How is Yr Editor to evaluate the story of the über-heroic San Franciscan Michael Keenan, who ran back into a flaming building to save his friend’s dog, which might still die anyway, and now Keenan has a 50-50 chance, himself (and if he makes it, it will only be after going through a living hell). (And it was his second remarkable rescue job in six years.) On the one hand, what a selfless person, and a far, far better human than I! On the other hand, it’s the faintest of lines that separates him from a mid-list mention in any year’s Thinning the Herds.

Inside NOTW
Yr Editor announces the NOTW Reporters’ Hall of Fame, to honor those hard-working stiffs with highly-refined and continuously-tuned noses for the most delicious stories on their respective beats. These are the bylines that, once spotted, bring Yr Editor to life like an Uma Thurman Slap in the Face. The first two inductees, ta-daaaaa, are Tom Alex of the Des Moines Register (consistently a sentinel, alert to above-average criminal stupidity) and R. Scott Moxley of the OC Weekly (Santa Ana, Calif.) (heroically wallowing in Orange County sex gone bad). Congratulations.

Below The Fold
A bodybuilder is suing Pat Robertson for not cutting him in on the money Pat got when he commercially licensed his miracle drinks, and last week the bodybuilder said Rev. Pat (when he showed up for a deposition) threatened to kill him . . . . . An "I left the kids in the car because I was busy" two-fer: a Sheboygan, Wis., mother needing a tanning session (two kids in 12-degree, minus-2 wind chill) and a suburban Minneapolis dad needing to "win some money" at blackjack (minus-7 degrees, minus-22 wind chill, and the kid nearly died) . . . . . Speaking of Sheboygan, and the cold snap, they had to close Interstate 43 on Thursday after it became impassable because of sno—wait, because of cow intestines that spilled from a semi . . . . . A performance artist, still going strong at age 78, lost his appeal over his counterintuitive 2006 hammer attack on one of Duchamp’s famous urinals . . . . . Joanne Harding reached into the candy jar at the Abington, Mass., town clerk’s office, took out a Tootsie Roll, wound up breaking her tooth on it, and now of course is suing the town . . . . . Two anti-whaling activists, intending to mess up a Japanese whaler near Antarctica, got lost in the fog in their little dinghy, were rescued with the help of the whaler, and then immediately resumed their mission and messed up the whaler . . . . . Recurring Theme, but worse: A Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center van dumped a just-released crippled patient back where they think he lives, on Los Angeles’s skid row, broken colostomy bag and all.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A proposal by that state senator from New York City to ban personal audio devices (music players, cell phones, etc.) in crosswalks was prompted not by a concern for public safety (e.g., pedestrian-avoiding cars swerving into buildings, cars, and other pedestrians) but simply because that legislator recently had two constituents, with an inadequate ration of survival genes, who never genuinely respected two-ton death machines.

If you lie down with the deconstructionists, your grade may get deconstructed: Student Brian Marquis sued UMass-Amherst for treating his "84" grade as a C instead of a possible A-minus. "Quite frankly," he said, "I find this utterly unacceptable."

Maybe not "the" root" but "a" root of all evil is people trying to have it both ways, like "compassionate" Whole Foods, for example, which says it has now figured out a humane way to kill lobsters (for its Maine store), i.e., if the lobsters could talk, they’d pretty much be OK with this?

Brandon Reece in Kansas City shows how utterly simple it is to make lots of money these days. He got to reading some books on the Kama Sutra, tantra, Taoist rituals, etc., and thought about relatively dormant ideas about how a penis could be manually stretched to get larger (break down erectile tissue, which grows back microscopically larger each time). Medical experts said any increase in size would be barely, barely noticeable, but never mind. Armed with journal references that verify the germ of his business (but not the suggested results), he put up a website, and the money comes rolling in.

Update
The Florida theater showing The Hoohaa Monologues [NOTW Daily, 2-8-2007] has changed its marquee back to The Vagina Monologues after the producer said the contract with the author prohibits any changes (and the reason certainly was not that CNN and newspapers splashed the story all over the place yesterday).

Housekeeping
I admitted on Tuesday [NOTW Daily, 2-6-2007] that the NY Post webmaster had beat me down, kicked my butt, in hiding a story online that had appeared in the newsprint edition (about the former "breatharian" who had his kid removed by the state). Well, the story is here (for three or four more days, anyway).

Errorors
Yesterday’s alleged ski gondola masturbateur is age 46, not 26.

Below The Fold
A court just up and canceled Tenerife’s entire celebration of Carnival this year (Can they do that? A mere court larger than Carnival? I don’t think so.) . . . . . Suspicions Confirmed: The French hosiery manufacturer Gerbe announced pantyhose for men . . . . . Life Imitates Chris Rock: Cook County (Ill.) will debate a plan to raise revenue by taxing bullets at 10 cents each . . . . . The mayor of Los Angeles, breaking a longstanding strategic silence, has launched a police campaign against the city’s most dangerous gangs (thereby motivating the less-murderous gangs to step it up) . . . . . Alarming trend: the "dental spa" (meaning your root canal comes with a backrub, peppermint foot scrub, manicure, etc.).

Thursday, February 08, 2007

In the early days of News of the Weird and its ancestor (the zine View from the Ledge), Hon. Marion S. Barry (for Shepilov!) was the biggest askhoal around, and we recognized him as chairman of our Board of Inspiration. Today, he still remains aggressively shame-free, but at age 70, it looks more like an undiagnosed case of Alzheimer’s. The D.C. Councilman is now in two courts and might finally have exhausted the reservoir of fear that local judges have for turning on him. Less seriously, he has a pending drug-possession charge that was a probation violation. More seriously, he apparently is blatantly ignoring the terms of a tax-conviction probation by failing to file, at all, federal and local tax returns for 2005. I feel bad for piling on the pathetic Barry now, and I’ll feel even worse after the judges crack down on him and few D.C. residents care anymore.

The clash of civilizations, live from Sudan, reported by Der Spiegel: Geographically and culturally separate from the radical Islamic gov’t to the north and the radical Christian rebels to the south (Darfur) are large numbers of animists, who still worship plants and rocks and things. Oh, it’s gonna be a long, long 21st century.

Can’t Possibly Be True: A drama theater in a conservative north Florida town actually booked The Vagina Monologues, but due to complaints, changed the marquee, presumably so that parents wouldn’t have to explain to their kids what a vagina is. New marquee: The Hoohah Monologues. Seriously.

Below The Fold
The principal of Johnstown Primary School in Wales declared, No Mother’s Day cards this year (that day being March 18 over there) because it might make orphans feel bad . . . . . A Bangladeshi cab driver in New York City earnestly returned a bag of diamonds to an out-of-town dealer who rode with him even though she was from so far out of town that she had left him a 30-cent tip on a $10.70 fare . . . . . More Chinese preparation for the Olympics: On the 11th day of every month, citizens are urged to practice waiting in line (instead of brawling for a space) . . . . . Possible Hoax Alert in Cape Coral, Fla., as a family claims they’re being hyper-stalked by a guy, who even broke in and wrote a cryptic threat on their toilet seat lid, but the cops wish they could find even one piece of physical evidence . . . . . In a Phoenix suburb, a motorist got so incensed at a driver on his cell phone that he rammed him, pushing him into traffic, then fled (and police, for some reason, believe that to be a crime) . . . . . In Hamilton, Ontario, a pathetic robber goes 0-for-3 (petite blonde clerk snatches loot back from him, potential carjack victim pushes him away, and then he loses a second tug-of-war with said petite clerk) . . . . . William Barret III, 26, was arrested at a ski area in Winhall, Vt., and charged with flashin' and jerkin’ in a gondola [Bonus: NY Post hed was "Nude Slope Dope Flaunts Ski Pole"].

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Updates
The saga of Capt. Nowak has, as they say, sucked all the oxygen out of the news cycles here in the F State and around the country, but here’s one more observation: Even though prospective astronauts were reported to get only four hours’ psych counseling as part of tests to determine their suitability, it doesn’t matter, because, according to one of Yr Editor’s showcase tenets . . . (and repeat after me) . . . Everyone . . . has . . . a . . . dark . . . side. Everyone. (Some have several, of course.)
This one feels like an update, but I can’t find it in my database: Michael Fitzgibbon, 37, pleaded no contest in Muskegon, Mich., to having sex with his girlfriend’s 15-yr-old daughter, which he facilitated via written contract to which supposedly the three of them agreed because Fitzgibbon said he couldn’t hold out during the several months his woman would be laid up from surgery (and needed a fill-in).
Last yr, Yr Editor noted how dire things were in Zimbabwe:
Zimbabwe’s world’s-worst inflation officially reached 1,042 percent in April, with prices doubling every three or four months and the unemployment rising to 70 percent. Only the unsophisticated fail to spend any money they have promptly, even though, for example, toilet paper sells for Zim$145,000 a roll (about 69 U.S. cents). According to an April New York Times dispatch, President Robert Mugabe’s remedy is simply to print trillions of dollars in new money (which he needs to keep his government workers loyal, to prop up his dictatorship)
Well, things there are worse.

Below The Fold
Jeez, that’s some miracle therapy: "[Rev. Ted] Haggard Says He Is "Completely Heterosexual" after just three weeks in Arizona . . . . . The California hitman contract called for, er, wasp-handling . . . . . A search-and-rescue official in New Zealand claimed that sometimes, when tourists get lost, they hide from rescuers because they’re afraid they’ll have to reimburse the costs [but I think it might be just a claim] . . . . . The gov’t of Nepal has granted a pre-op transsexual citizenship as a man, and citizenship as a woman, whichever fits at the time . . . . . Things You Didn’t Realize: The law in California and "most states" allows coroners to keep some body parts after autopsies, without notifying the family when they give the rest of the body back (and the San Mateo coroner has 105 pieces) . . . . . The Defense of Marriage Alliance in Washington state proposed legislation to require new husbands and wives to procreate within 3 yrs or forfeit their marital status (thus parrying one of the main arguments against same-sex marriage) . . . . . The Only Clever Criminals Are the Smugglers (continued): Dried prunes from Guyana, destined for Spain, were found to each contain 4.4g of cocaine . . . . . If you’ve got a medically-inserted "seton" for your "anal fistula," U.S. Customs agents (if not Homeland Security) are likely to (painfully) (very painfully) yank it out if they see it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Can’t Possibly Be True: The housing authority in the town of Loebau, Germany, has rules limiting welfare families to certain-size, small apartments, but it is currently short of those. Solution: Put about 100 families up in larger apartments but prohibit them (under threat of inspection) from using all the rooms. (Seriously)

The Arrangements Have Been Made (continued): FEMA is in the house, in Florida, after the wicked Groundhog Day Tornado that killed 19 and wrecked several hundred homes. Heaviest damage was around the town of Lady Lake, which is mostly middle-class and below, many mobile homes, and only a few homes destroyed in the upscale retirement community of The Villages, about 30 miles away. So where is FEMA set up (along with the insurance companies’ RV offices)? Oh, Lady Lake and environs have some FEMA reps traveling around passing out brochures, promising money-dispensing offices within two weeks, but if you need help before then, you can please drive to our office in The Villages (unless your car is still upside down, that is).

Editor’s Obsessions
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom said yesterday that he was checking himself into alcohol rehab after last week being forced to admit that he had had an affair with the wife of his last campaign manager. He quick reported, however (as dedicated gov’t servants do), that he was not actually blaming alcohol for his indiscretion, even though he was. Mel Gibson was drunk, but the rehab he needed was not so much for alcohol but to control, oh, his ignorance about sampling size of ethnic populations involved in good and evil. U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy was drunk, but the rehab he needed was not so much for alcohol but to control his sense of privilege. Mark Foley was probably never drunk, and Gavin Newsom may not have been, either, but the rehab they need is not so much for alcohol but to control their dicks. Yr Editor never gets drunk anymore, but if I get to the point of needing rehab, it’ll be to control my manic enjoyment of schadenfreude (but if that gets to be too embarrassing, hell, I might blame it on beer).

Only if you get all of your news from News of the Weird have you not heard this one, but a married lady astronaut allegedly tried to kidnap a woman in a fit of jealousy over a married [CORRECTION: unmarried, but father of two] male astronaut, after driving from Houston to Orlando without stopping to pee (wearing astronauts’ diapers). And the perp is a babe, and the perp was one promotion away from wearing her first star.

Below The Fold
Kevin Pike and his wife Kimberly, in Columbus, Ind., were officially, judicially, declared stupid (and thus they get a lesser sentence on a drug charge) . . . . . New York City children’s services has removed a 20-month-old kid from the happy home of a former breatharian (subsisting only on air and light) guru who has at least moved on to a low-calorie-and-urine diet [from the print edition of the NY Post, 2-5-2007, but which has mysteriously disappeared without a trace from its website and search engines] . . . . . A man in Belle River, Ontario, died when his snowmobile hit a tree stump in a frozen lake (a stump that he had been campaigning for the gov’t to get rid of for three yrs) (but that he still hit, at 40 mph, around midnight) . . . . . A 254-lb. MIT stem-cell researcher has gone on a hunger strike, which will last, he said, until MIT finally admits that the reason it denied him tenure was racism . . . . . Liberty University (Lynchburg, Va., founder: J. Falwell) is considering awarding a free-ride scholarship to the winner of its proposed Cyberfest online gaming competition . . . . . Sounds Like a Joke: The daughter of two lawyers, in a class called "Portraits of the Virtuous Life" at St. Mary’s University (Winona, Minn.), got tired of classmates ragging on lawyers and punched one guy in the face.

Monday, February 05, 2007

"The Jewish School Where Half the Pupils Are Muslim": London’s Independent reports from thoroughly-Jewish King David primary in Birmingham, England, where Muslim parents fight to get their kids into the place because they so respect its ethos, and its halal-like kosher food, and they willingly learn Hebrew and celebrate Israeli independence day. Oh, the school also has a Muslim prayer room and brings in Muslim teachers during Ramadan, but otherwise, what the Muslims see is what they get, and they’re loving it.

"Where the Women Alone Choose Whom to Wed": That’s a Seattle Times hed on an AP story on one of the islands off the west African country of Guinea-Bissau (just below Senegal) where some women and men still cling to the tradition of ladies’ choice. But as westerners, especially tourists, roll in, they’ve brought western courtship traditions and, by the way, a higher divorce rate, because, the natives say, "Love comes first into the heart of the woman. Once it’s in the woman, only then can it jump into the man." "Now the world is upside-down," complained old-timer Cesar Okrane.

O.J. "Can’t Remember," Even When He’s Making Stuff Up? Leaked transcript excerpts of the ill-fated Fox TV interview that was to kick off publication of If I Did It apparently puts O.J. in the curious position of saying he couldn’t remember some details of things he, according to the book contract, was supposed to be making up in the first place. Asked whether he took off his glove before he grabbed the knife (handed to him by his accomplice, "Charlie," he said), he told interviewer Judith Regan, "You know, I had no conscious memory of doing that, but obviously I must have because they found a glove there." [Yo, O.J., you’re supposed to have "no conscious memory" of any of these things because they didn’t happen to you.]

We Report, You Decide: Are sex offenders recidivists? The NY Times isn’t helping us. Here are three successive sentences:
"Sex offenders have a lower recidivism rate of almost all serious offenders except murderers," [John Q.] La Fond [retired law professor and author] said, citing a Canadian study of nearly 24,000 sex offenders there and in the United States. Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law in Stony Brook, N.Y., called the Torrance [Calif.] decision to allow [a sex offender to volunteer at a school] unacceptable. Ms. Ahearn countered Mr. La Fond’s statistics, citing Department of Justice figures that sexual offenders have the highest recidivism rate of any felons.
Update
Just like clockwork, as news hit last week about ExxonMobil’s record-shattering profit ($40B in 2006), another report spilled out (two weeks early, as it turns out) about how they haven’t cleaned up all the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker spill. The last time the company broke the record for profits (in June, with half-yr profits of $18.7B), it had the courtesy to write Yr Editor a good story [NOTW 969, 9-3-2006] by continuing its Valdez court fight, resisting the Justice Dept. over continuing cleanup costs of $92M. The latest spill news isn’t quite as dramatic, though: Is 26,000 remaining gallons that bad when, according to ExxonMobil, it’s still on only 0.002 of the shore of Prince William Sound?

Below The Fold
Gastric-bypass (and associated) surgeries are increasing among all the little butterball urchins, out of fear that they’ll grow up to be morbidly obese . . . . . A Bosnian magazine reported that a nurse in the Kosevo hospital has narrowed down the possible father of her baby to no more than 20 doctors, and maybe just 15 . . . . . Awesome: Kid with a great story to tell some day, in that his mom just delivered him on the floor at the Resorts Atlantic City casino . . . . . Awesome II: Mexico’s Manuel Quiroz is looking for an official title somewhere as the habanero (red-hot chili pepper!)-eating champ, since they don’t seem to faze him, including when he squeezes the juice into his eyes . . . . . Near Round Rock, Tex., two free-lancers looking like traffic cops set up a sobriety checkpoint, but it appears that they were just trying to help . . . . . Yr Editor has seen stories of desperate individuals trying to extract methamphetamine from their own urine, but here was a whole lab, having somehow acquired fifty gallon-sized jugs of it . . . . . And here’s biology grad student Rebecca O’Flaherty, beholding the vastly underrated maggot, with which she’s so fascinated that she does maggot art.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

He also believes the Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes: President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia received a vision on January 18 (he’s long had psychic powers, he says) that he can cure asthma and HIV, but according to the vision, hours and patients are limited: Asthma, Fridays and Saturdays, 100-patient max, and HIV Mondays and Thursdays, 10-patient max. His secret visionary cure involves 7 herbs mentioned in the Quran. Cures within 3 days, guaranteed.

Everyone Has a Dark Side (continued): William French Anderson, 70, the "father of gene therapy," who was runner-up for Time magazine’s "Man of the Year" in 1995, was sentenced to 14 yrs in prison for his 4-yr "affair" with a co-worker’s daughter, starting at age 10.

Once again, only News of the Weird asks the tough question: London beauty salon proprietor Hari Salem now offers a 45-minute "Aberdeen Organic Hair" massage using a mixture of some plant root or other, plus deodorized bull semen, a product Salem swears has been successful in client after client. So, Salem was sitting around one day and says, "Gee, let me think of some substances that might make hair soft and shiny."

Below The Fold
A premier air accident investigator, reviewing an NTSB report on the non-fatal private-plane takeoff crash of pilot Andre Bauer (who is South Carolina’s lieutenant governor), said Bauer probably tried to take off without releasing the parking brake . . . . . Pervert or Alzheimer’s? An 89-yr-old man driving nude, with 100 nude photos of himself, actually may not have been up to anything . . . . . A squad of American Indians from eight nations is active in using ancestral hunting skills to help track down drug and human traffickers along the Arizona border . . . . . Cultural diversity: The consulate of India in San Francisco routinely tosses out paper records of Americans’ visa applications, explaining that "privacy" can’t be violated unless there are credit-card or Social Security numbers . . . . . Police in Lubbock, Tex., are holding a man who strung up wire at neck level on wilderness bike paths because all those recreation people are destroying nature . . . . . A registered sex offender was arrested for porn possession in Boulder, Colo., but, come on, all he wanted to do was print out pornography in the privacy of his own, er, public library . . . . . Weird hobby: Lincoln, Neb., authorities cleaning out a storage locker of a man who died last year found his collection of, er, 47 gravestones (all stolen) . . . . . Whatever substance it was, Yr Editor wants some: The man was sitting in a vehicle on the street, and suddenly his arms started "thrashing around," said a witness, like he was having a seizure, but it turns out he was just huffing something

Friday, February 02, 2007

Below The Fold
Said the pastor, I’m just a dupe, not a crook, and that’s why the church is short $800K, which was, er, "lost" in an "energies scheme" . . . . . Raelians surface again, seeking gov’t land to build an embassy for extraterrestrials, specifically, all those Raelians out there in space who, unlike Rael, didn’t land on Earth (oh, and it’s not our gov’t they’re asking; it’s Belize’s) . . . . . A scandal in Russia at a hospital where nurses routinely tape the mouths of screaming infants (a practice which Yr Editor, after deep internal debate, decided by 51-49 is wrong) . . . . . Brook Akins, 34, was finally arrested, in Salt Lake City, for an almost constant, five-hour stream of 911 conversations about his severely aching tooth . . . . . Abashiri Beer in Japan is said to have solved numerous brewing problems and has rolled out a beer that’s 30 percent milk . . . . . World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, perhaps to show solidarity with the third world, wears socks with holes in them . . . . . "You jerk . . you made me rub your gross feet," was the reaction of a beauty spa operator to the man who’s still on the run after not paying her . . . . . Kevin Oliver was arrested in Omaha and charged with tricking women into leaving him urine samples under the pretext that they’re for job applications . . . . . Best headline: "Report: Shampoo Scents Make 3 Boys Grow Breasts" (which is a slight exaggeration, but, ehhh . . .).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Updates
Sweden, too, says it will soon crack down and tax its citizens’ real-world income from the Second Life game (but the tax authority spokesman didn’t mention taxing in-game wealth accumulations) [NOTW 980, 11-19-2006].
That Chicago Alderman who is under investigation for bribery regarding a development project that, oops, is actually across the street from her district (and therefore not much within her influence) [NOTW Daily, 1-11-2007] says the white substance seized in a search of her home was not narcotics but actually colon-cleansing powder [Link Corrected] (which she recommends highly, by the way).
The NY Times today is page A1, above the fold, with a report from Arizona on our 29-yr-old sex offender who pretended to be 12 (pretended, to the chagrin of the older guys he was living with, who evidently thought they had achieved nirvana). Turns out he's a bad dude (though a really talented actor, good with makeup), and the three older men may face various charges, but molesting that 12-yr-old won't be one of them. [NOTW Daily, 1-20-2007]

Below The Fold
On trial for torture-kidnaping, he appears to have it all figured out: He burned her using a broken lantern, but only because they were having sex in an unheated house, and she asked him to warm her up by running the flames over her body . . . . . Vatican officials hit the roof when an Italian reporter went undercover, compared the confessional pronouncements of 24 priests, and not surprisingly found discrepancies (except they went 24-for-24 denouncing abortion) . . . . . A town in Quebec, just trying to be fair, says it welcomes immigrants, but issues rules for them: No Stoning Women or Burning them or Tossing Acid on them (y'know, like you's guys do in the old country) . . . . . It’s No Longer Weird, but none has been reported in a while, so here: A 480-lb. woman from Kellyville, Okla., was examined for gastric-bypass surgery, only to learn that 93 of ‘em were an abdominal cyst (but that’s not quite as good as for the women whose cyst is more than half their body weight, resulting in the cyst’s gurney being harder to push out of the OR than the patient’s gurney).

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Recurring Themes
The Shiite Ashura day came and went yesterday, once again showcasing the world’s, er, "diversity." Some Muslims believe they’re not holy unless (in tribute to the suffering of some 7th-century saint named Hussein) they slash themselves all to hell, blood streaming, etc., and start indoctrinating their urchins at age 6 or younger to cut themselves up, too. Said one Lebanese objector, "When the rest of the world is going to the moon, look where these people are—still drawing blood from their heads."
Yr Editor highly recommends this first-person account in Monday’s Guardian (London) by an apotemnophiliac, which is a big word that Yr Editor uses when he needs to feel smart. That’s a person with an obsession to remove one or more limbs. "It is not a sexual thing; it is certainly not a fetish; and it is nothing to do with appearances," she writes. "I simply cannot relate to myself with two legs." What you have to go through: a minimum of six hours of excruciating pain by dry ice to kill the leg completely because otherwise no surgeon will chop it off.

Below The Fold
Two school groups, trying to stop the student fighting in Pakistan, get into a fight with each other over who gets to put up an anti-fighting poster [Link corrected] . . . . . 55 nuns running a business in Greece got in a little over their heads and had to make a run for it until things cool off; they’ve asked the Orthodox Church to help them settle the debts . . . . . We don’t have the official police verdict yet, but it smells like the ol’ senior-citizen gas-brake confusion, only this time the 84-yr-old, heading for a driving seminar, smashed into a school and killed a kid . . . . . The Korean Institute of Criminal Justice reported that South Korean gangsters generally report more satisfaction with their lives than do the police . . . . . There are apparently parts of Barcelona, Spain, that you can legally walk around naked in, according to this report . . . . . Cliches Come to Life: France, with Europe’s shortest average workweek, is now trying to promote the benefits of mid-day naps . . . . . Assault a cop, with a colostomy bag . . . . . The HMP Brixton prison in London, remodeling, will turn its toilets 90 degrees so they’re not facing Mecca, so as not to offend the Muslims housed there (people who are, by definition, criminal dirtbags) . . . . . It appears that nothing can be done to stop St. Emery’s Church (Fairfield, Conn.) from its human-rights-crushing program of loud-speakering 10 minutes of hymns to the neighborhood at 9, noon, 3, and 6 every day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Oh, Jeez, Another Thing to Worry About: Just what we need. U.S. ground troops and allies’ bombers finally stopped several hundred messianic Shiites called the Solders of Heaven, who were poised to kill ordinary Shiites near Baghdad, and right now, there are probably hundreds of McVeigh-loving Christian Identity types in the U.S. feeling rejuvenated. SoH and CI are each into speeding up Armageddon so they can finally get some order in the world again. SoH, heavily-armed, held their own for a while against the bewildered Iraqi army, and in the last 36 hours or so, Yr Editor imagines e-mails a-buzzin’ among the, what, the Phineas Priesthood and the others saying, "See? We can do it. This can work."

The F State Comes Up Big: (1) Robert Moore, 37, of Floral City, is obviously one of the true sanctity-of-life believers in the state because he was so angry that his wife had an abortion that he (according to police) tried to kill her. (2) Jesse "The Human Bomb" Aviles’s "talent" is to lie across two bar stools, wearing helmet and protective clothing, and let someone set off fireworks under him, to achieve lift-off, but his show in Crystal River last weekend was axed, for lack of a permit [there’s a permit for that?]. (3) Edward Cowal just won the $14M Florida lottery, the 2nd time he has been called to the state’s attention; the first was when he was placed on the sex-offender registry. (4) The warden explaining to an investigatory panel that the late double-murderer Angel Diaz was not squirming in pain at his botched December execution but was probably just straining to look at a clock on the wall. ("What, was he late for an appointment?" asked Diaz’s lawyer.)

The Arrangements Have Been Made (which is Yr Editor’s file name for "you can try as hard as you want, but the bigshots will always find a way to win"): In 1984, the New Jersey legislature gave a state development agency about $400M to help rebuild the neighborhoods around casinos, on the theory that the blight was depressing potential tourists. Instead, reported the NY Times on Sunday, the agency just gave it to casinos [Link Corrected], which spent on inside upgrades to compete better with other tourist and gambling destinations. Winners, even though they can easily afford to spend their own money, somehow find a way to spend other people’s.

Proof that some people have way-too-much money: A fella named Tom Vilsack (who used to be governor of Iowa) reported that some people actually had enough money lying around in the last 7 weeks of 2006 that they could give him $1,100,000 because they think he might have a chance in hell of being President.

Note to File: Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, all with exquisite games, all worked hard, all practiced to be the best, all willed themselves to be champions. Barbaro . . . was a horse.

Below The Fold
U.S. State Dept.’s suggestion to the UN on global warming: Y’know, we could fix the whole thing with some dust and mirrors . . . . . In one Saudi tribe, a judicially sanctioned divorce was awarded to the woman, no, wait, actually, to her parents, when they found out the groom had an insufficient pedigree . . . . . UK approved a 12-yr-old boy to start hormone treatment, becoming the world’s youngest medical transsexual (but he has to wait til age 18 for the lopping-off) . . . . . And while that girl is growing her breasts, another piece in the British press says men are stepping up their own man-breast reductions (doubling in the past yr) . . . . . A slow news day classic, from Euless, Tex.

Monday, January 29, 2007

"What if we created the ultimate toilet and you would never have to [leave]?" That was a Roto Rooter guy, thinking up a contest. So they pimped up a toilet to offer as grand prize: 20-inch flat screen TV, TiVo, iPod with toilet paper in docking station; bike-pedal exerciser, laptop computer, Xbox 360, DVD player, refrigerator with beer tap, cup warmer/cooler, fan, and a couple of more things.

China Gets Serious About Sucking Up to Islam: This is the Year of the Pig in China, and New Year’s Day is upon us, and the gov’t’s TV network CCTV last week banned representations of the pig on TV because, apparently, being reminded that there are pigs in the world sends Muslims into deep depression or even rage. Many pig celebrations remain, though (Disney China emphasizes its Piglet this year; Starbucks sells piggy banks; even the country's postal service is pig-themed). [Wall Street Journal $$]

Creative Solution to Prison-Crowding: The UK Home Secretary is seriously considering a queuing system for doing time, sort of like scheduling your sentence at some point in the future when a bed opens up in the Big House. But the future is now in Las Vegas, where federal magistrate Peggy Leen released a notorious bunko artist, John Baldo, on condition that he report right away to the authorities in Boston, where he is wanted in a $2M scheme. (He’s supposedly not dangerous, in the gun way, but turning loose such an accomplished BS artist is surely a stretch.)

Below The Fold
Update: By the way, that Michigan Muslim woman who had her lawsuit tossed out because she wouldn’t show her face while testifying [NOTW Daily, 10-24-2006] has been resurrected for re-hearing . . . . . A Virginia attempted-murder case made it all the way through the trial, right up to closing arguments, before the 74-yr-old defense lawyer had a major senior moment and forgot what he planned to tell the jury (Mistrial!) . . . . . A 7th-grade biology teacher was suspended for asking kids to draw a man’s junk on the blackboard . . . . . The health minister of Japan’s Shimane Prefecture, attributing the low birth rate to the fixed number of women age 15-50: "Because the number of birth-giving machines [is] fixed," they must do their best . . . . . Wrong Place, Wrong Time: A woman sued Penn State because she was taking an exam in 2005, and a stuffed moose head fell off a wall and hit her on the noggin . . . . . District of Calamity: Washington, D.C., fights driving-while-cellphoning by putting up 43 billboards with messages on how distracting the phones are . . . . . People Different From Us: Commotion in front yard, husband goes to check it out, wife follows with shotgun, wife feels threatened by intruder, wife accidentally shoots husband, intruder flees . . . . . The Perfect Local News Story (with photo): TV station on the scene reporting on dangers of thin ice, and, ahhhh, you know what happened . . . . . Dangers of Wicca: Three witchy women patronizing the Wolf Mountain Trading Company, Lititz, Pa., were so trusting of the kindred spirit shopkeeper that, they allege, they let him heal them of various problems in the back room (and were shocked that clothing seemed to hinder his work) . . . . . Least Competent Novelist (27 books so far): Carson City’s David Eddings, who decided the best way to check whether that liquid on the floor was water or gasoline was to toss a lighted paper on it.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Filmmaker Dominic Scott Kay filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles on Thursday against a financial backer of his short "Saving Angelo" (starring Kevin Bacon), demanding "creative control" of the work. That’s about it, the whole story. Oh, wait . . . Dominic is 10 yrs old.

I Cannot Tell a Lie: According to the Cook County, Ill., sheriff, George Robotis, 44, has been representing clients, felicitously, in courts in Chicago and suburbia, and Indiana, for at least a year. Small cases, small fees, but there he was, and no complaints against him. Ten days ago, he was representing a guy on a marijuana possession charge in Judge John Kirby’s courtroom in Chicago when Kirby noticed Robotis’s bar-association member number was missing from his filing. What’s your number, Mr. Robotis? "Oh, I’m not an attorney." (He’s picked up a lot, though, stemming from his 23 larceny convictions, plus others.)

Below The Fold
Glenn Vickers was arrested for DUI, shortly after he, sloppily tailgating the high sheriff in Charleston, W.Va., flipped him the finger as he peeled off—and crashed into a guardrail . . . . . California mountain lions must be pussies because it says here that a 65-yr-old woman fought one off of her husband in Redlands State Park using a small piece of wood and a ball-point pen . . . . . Arrested on felony marijuana possession charges in Tampa: the 23-yr-old Mr. Steve Innocent (and, actually, he might be) . . . . . A retired Plimmerton, New Zealand, man, angry that new mansions were sullying his historic neighborhood, spray-painted the colloquial for caca on the latest (but he’s sorry, and no charges will be filed) . . . . . Aaron de Bruyn was arrested in Washington state for Tasering his wife’s grandmother, but Yr Editor can't see the crime: After all, she wouldn’t stop dogging his parental skills, and after he told her to get out, he gave her 60 seconds, and counted them down, before pulling the trigger. I mean, come on! . . . . . The decidely-pale mayor of Brazoria, Tex. (pop. 2787, 50 miles south of Houston), proposed to ban the ol’ n-word in the city, at a penalty of up to $500 per . . . . . At Ada Barak’s spa in northern Israel, you can get a massage featuring the relaxing slithering of six nonvenomous snakes on your body . . . . . A nun-run hospice in Oxford, England, granted the terminally-ill 22-yr-old man his wish to lose his virginity, and a prostitute was procured . . . . . One of the people who’ll get compensation (at least £107,000 for a broken leg) in the July 7 London bombings is a 1985 convicted vicious rapist, whose two victims tapped the compensation fund at that time for, er, £7,000 each (figure £13,000 in today’s pounds).

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Laws of Irony Are Strictly Enforced: (1) A bunch of Nairobi street kids raided the food tent and chowed down on the feast that had been set up for ministers and dignitaries in town to fret about poverty for the World Social Forum. (2) Arrested (and hospitalized) in Lilburn, Ga., was Ezekiel Dejesus-Rodriguez, 24, who allegedly went on a vandalism jag at the cemetery next to Luxomni Baptist Church, until one of the headstones fell on him, pinned him down, and broke his leg. (3) Among those arrested by San Francisco police this week in a 35-yr-old murder-conspiracy case involving the Black Liberation Army’s targeting of cops (or, in BLA lingo, pigs, er, honky pigs) was Richard O’Neal, 57. O’Neal’s lawyer, James Bustamante, is trying to make the kind, gentle, now-universally loved man seem completely transformed from the one accused of opening fire on a cop in 1971: Said Bustamante, O’Neal hasn’t been in trouble since his early 20's and is in fact now an "easygoing, straight-shooting guy."

Below The Fold
You Know Your Time Has Come: A 63-yr-old flagpole repairman in Anoka, Minn., was killed when that metal ball at the top of the pole fell off and hit him on the head . . . . . Ahmadinejad turns his back toward the West, drops trou, grabs ankles, i.e., a February 11th performance of the Tehran Orchestra will feature a "nuclear symphony" [link from Fark.com] . . . . . Questions still unanswered: Veterinarians in Antwerp, Belgium, said they’ll have to amputate an iguana’s priapic clinton (but he'll be fine because iguanas have two, y’know) . . . . . The New Jersey gov’t sent curiously specific letters to residents in Ringwood advising that until further notice: Don't eat squirrel more than twice a week (once a week if you’re pregnant, once a month, if you’re a kid) . . . . . News to warm the hearts of tax-evaders everywhere: New Zealand lets taxpayers deduct only up to $1,800 in charitable donations, so its wealthiest lady, looking to give away a lot of her $275m, up and moved to Australia (which has no limit) . . . . . A 52-yr-old man in Chimacum, Wash., accidentally shot a hole in his hand Sunday celebrating that exciting Reggie Bush touchdown run against the Bears.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Can’t Possibly Be True: The slot-machine screen, and an employee, at the Philadelphia Park racetrack (Bensalem, Pa.) quite clearly and unambiguously told Stephen Wilkinson he had just won $102k but then management came along and said, no, no, sorry, we were just testing the software (but here, have these two meal tickets on us).

Below The Fold
Who knew? The patriotic "U-S-A!" chant (at Baraboo, Wis., High School, anyway) really means that the opponents draw human posterior into their mouths by creating partial vacuums . . . . . A well-conceived, meticulously executed theft of high-end art and antiques trucked away from a San Francisco home was, er, shot to hell when one of the perps blew the cover by trying to sell it back 3 days later from the same truck . . . . . If you call 911 to report smoke coming from a barbecue restaurant, you know the dispatcher’s gonna give you a hard time (which, it turns out, was too bad for the owner of the restaurant) . . . . . At age 20, he was certain he had found the woman to bear his babies, but it might have been just too much coffee that made him think he needed that assault rifle . . . . . Netherlands TV’s next big thing: a dating game for the "visibly disfigured" (mercifully no longer called "Monster Love") . . . . . Scientists at Germany’s Institute of Systematic Zoology and Evolutionary Biology concluded, after 3 yrs’ study, that when sloths don’t do something, they don’t do it for a long time.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dig deep enough, and everyone has an issue—even guys like prominent Univ. of North Carolina public-health researcher Hugh Tilson (accused of having his way with himself in a crowded airport restroom) and Lord Justice Richards of the Court of Appeal in Britain (accused of demonstrating himself to a female train passenger).

Update: Ed Brown (the New Hampshire tax evader [NOTW Daily, 1-19-2007]) is still holed up and attracting a swarm of anti-tax and black-helicopter types to his home, where he plans to fight to the bloody end when IRS’s jack-booted, Waco-oriented thugs come for him. He's said repeatedly that he’d rather be dead than pay those taxes, which aligns him with Constitution Ranger William Miller: "Ed Brown, my friend and mentor, for patriotic reasons, is now worth more to me, and to what I stand for, dead, than alive." Mrs. Brown, though, convicted with him, has moved out and has crazily chosen to join the rest of us mindless humps in accepting the torturous 20-something-percent skim of our income.

Below The Fold
United Press Int’l reported from Buenos Aires that a tattoo artist, asked by a teenager to ink the logo of a soccer team on his back (but a team the tattoo artist hates), inked a big clinton, instead, and now the kid’s suing . . . . . Actual Headline (AP story on NYC’s WINS radio website): "Son Gets Six Months, Probation for Dismembering Mother" . . . . . Communism survives on yet another continent: Britons and Canadians arriving at a super-isolated spot in Antarctica find remnants of a 1956 Soviet outpost, topped with a glorious, still-pristine statue of Lenin . . . . . An Australian psychologist allegedly told the bulimic woman that her only hope for cure would be to take off her clothes and to let him beat her with this coat-hanger, and she said, Well, if it’s the only way . . ..

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Alexandra Pelosi’s Gotcha Documentary: On Thursday night, HBO debuts the Speaker’s daughter’s "Friends of God" video, including a pre-disgrace episode with pastor Ted Haggard joking with two other evangelicals about how often their wives "climax." Also on the show: drive-through services, Christian pro wrestling, biblical mini-golf, and a conversation with an ex-career woman who decided she’d rather stay home, give birth 10 times, and dress like "Little House on the Prairie."

Construction Worker-by-Day, Rocket Scientist on Weekends: Alfie Carrington, 57, acting on an epiphany 30 yrs ago, started figuring out how to build a Jetson-style flying saucer. $60k later, at work in his rented storage locker in Clinton, Mich., he’s trying to build an aircraft that engineers haven’t been able to master yet (a "rotary engine to stimulate a magnetic levitation system to rotate the ship’s two discs [that] would draw air into propeller blades," according to the AP). One engineer AP contacted said it sounds like the contraption might rip itself apart from the stress of centrifugal force, but, said Carrington's pastor, "Something genius is hiding away in Alfie’s eccentricities."

Another editor buries the lede: The AP had a good lede, though, with a bookkeeper embezzling so much money that she had to spend some of it on a ceramic statue of Al Capone and Hollywood movie props, like a 20-ft-tall smoke-emitting dragon and six "talking trees" like those in "The Wizard of Oz." Better lede: She embezzled $7 million from some company called J&J Materials of Rehoboth, Mass., and they not only didn’t notice that she was writing $1 million a year in checks to herself, but they actually loved her (right up until they hired someone to help her in 2006 and learned the awful truth).

Below The Fold
Latest great use put to local gov’t grants in the UK: teaching immigrants how to swing on the trapeze . . . . . A 23-yr-old man was arrested in Hilton Head Island, S.C., when police spotted him having a fistfight with some shrubbery (Alcohol Was Involved, AWI) . . . . . Soldier Field Built Too Close to Lake Michigan: Two people (maybe a third) apparently fell into the almost ice-cubed water Sunday night celebrating the Bears’ victory (AWI) . . . . . Three words: feral Tsih Tzus . . . . . A freshly-minted Scotland Yard graduate (who is also a Muslim) declined a congratulatory handshake with the police chief because her religion won’t let her touch a man who’s not a relative, but she’s sure Islam won’t mind when she jumps on a male perp if her partner’s in trouble . . . . . A basement flat in London’s oh-so-swanky Knightsbridge is about to go for the equivalent of $4,340 a square foot (all 77 of them, which is like 9 ft by 8.5 ft, which’ll cost you $335k, plus whatever you have to spend to install electricity and heating).

Monday, January 22, 2007

News That’s Just Too Sweet: Fox has bought the Survivor creator’s latest reality show, which pits parents against each other to answer questions from elementary school textbooks ("Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?"). What a great job to have (selecting the most charismatic wannabes who already know they're going to be intellectual schlumps, just to be on teevee)!

Furthermore, in that vein: 22 ordinary middle-class people, i.e., of average ignorance, fell completely for a Louisiana woman’s far-fetched scam, which netted her almost $1m. She told them she was a CIA agent and therefore had access to a satellite imaging system that could scan their bodies for disease and that there was no muss or fuss to it because CIA agents would do all the administering of the scans by coming into their homes while they were asleep. "Solid, middle-class, educated citizens" was how a prosecutor described these victims.

The Arrangements Have Been Made: This is the title under which Yr Editor considers ass-backward breakdowns in which the Americans at the top of the food chain always win, always, somehow. In the NY Times yesterday, Ben Stein describes a case in which the big cheese principal of a public company makes a business decision, via a rubber-stamping board of directors, that is blatantly to his great, great benefit while being simultaneously to the obvious detriment of the shareholders. That the company is Caremark RX, whose only job it is to say "no" to sick people who want health insurance to cover their prescriptions, tends not to inspire outrage.

Below The Fold
The death rate of black men in prison is lower than the death rate of black men not in prison (probably because "prison" is not as dangerous as the "inner city") . . . . . Muslims and Christians in India working together—in their common fear of yoga . . . . . The mayor of Fago, Spain (described as an "unpleasant" man), was murdered, and so despised was he that police consider every single citizen a suspect and have begun mass DNA testing . . . . . How can you drunkenly crash through a window and fall 17 stories and just get a broken leg out of it (especially when Yr Editor has one more opening for a Thinning the Herd story)? . . . . . The most common boy’s name for births in 2006 in Arizona: Angel (but in NY, the vast majority of Hispanics are giving their kids Anglo names) . . . . . Corporate execs caught up in that stock option backdating thing are giving the options back to the company, but in most cases, the company is giving them equivalent bonuses in their place (uh, well: The Arrangements Have Been Made) [Wall Street Journal $$] . . . . . Three guys in Lindenhurst, N.Y., allegedly stole what they probably thought were cellphones (that they would re-sell), but they were global positioning satellite devices, which made the guys really easy to track down . . . . . A major reason so many men are becoming HIV positive, says a major AIDS group about to sue, is because Pfizer replaced Bob Dole with younger men in its Viagra ads (seriously).

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Inside NOTW
You Heard It Here First: A NY couple is going through a divorce but have built a wall on the 2nd floor of their 3-story townhouse so that each has half the place. The AP is on that story, or, you could have read it here 10 months ago [NOTW 945, 3-19-2006] And a Washington Post reporter sure is dazzled (on the front page) to find out about Shiite mutaa marriages, where a man can legally take a wife for a few minutes, get his rocks off, and divorce her, but we all were dazzled to find that out 11 months ago [NOTW 942, 2-26-2006]. Happy to be of service.

Below The Fold
Official-style humiliation to some is urinating on their holy book; to this Japanese man, it was being forced to step on pieces of paper with made-up quotations from his dad . . . . . He makes nearly $60k a week, but he got caught in a store changing the price label on a toilet seat . . . . . A 29-yr-old man shaved his body and conned at least 2 older men into thinking he was 12 when they had sex, and the men were said to be "very upset" when cops told them he was 29 . . . . . The pricy Wagyu cattle in Western Australia already get fed the choicest grains, but now they’re getting a liter a day of Chestnut Grove 2004 cabernet merlot soaked in, which Margaret River Premium Meat Exports says can’t help but make the steaks even tastier . . . . . Brawls in the Taiwanese legislature are almost No Longer Weird, but not when the Speaker gets shoes thrown at him by Ms. Wang Shu-hui.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Chutzpah! Emmalee Bauer, 25, surely a heroine to Slacker America, spent most of 2006 at her desk working for the Sheraton hotel people in Des Moines, Iowa, doing little besides composing her personal diary on company time. Plus, the personal diary consisted largely of detailed descriptions of how she was shirking work. ("I am going to sit right here and play Elf Bowling or some other nonsense." "Accomplishment is overrated, anyway." "I am only here for the money and, lately, for the printer access.") But, finally, her good fortune ran out. Her diary was discovered. She was fired. And then, in the coup de grâce, she applied for unemployment benefits!

The six Christian denominations that share space in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre are still warring with each other over the gov’t’s demand that they put another door in the building (in that there are maybe thousands of people present at any one time but with only one door in case of emergency). Y’see, one of the six would have to give up some space to make the new exit happen, and the holy spirit of the place where Jesus was crucified and resurrected just wouldn’t allow any of them to do that. It’s been 10 yrs since the gov’t asked them nicely to work this out.

Below The Fold
NOTW has had stories of teenagers commandeering transit buses, but here are two bored kids in Nelsonville, Ohio, who took a train for a joyride . . . . . The German website Erento will rent you any of 2,200 things or services, including demonstrators for your political protest at about $190 a day . . . . . A Colorado woman’s lawyer now wants full First Amendment protection for her client’s having dropped off some dog poop at the office of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (of whom she disapproves) . . . . . Gov. Perdue of Georgia is against the possibility of beer and wine sales on Sundays, but he says it’s just because he wants to teach Georgians how to manage their time better, i.e., get all y'all's damn shopping done on Saturday . . . . . Mistakes on TSA’s "no-fly" list include the one that occasionally gets the wife of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens pulled aside because Catherine Stevens’s nickname is "Cat," making her Yusuf Islam . . . . . Don’t you hate it when this happens—you’re out digging for worms in winter, and you get water in your boots, and it freezes, and your feet get stuck in the boot ice? . . . . . Another gov’t official who embezzled taxpayer money only to lose it in a Nigerian scam (and he’s a county treasurer!) . . . . . The marketing of cannabis-containing foods (mostly to medical-marijuana licensees) is getting pretty elaborate [link from BoingBoing.net] . . . . . A now-convicted New Hampshire federal tax-evader (who refuses to be one of the "little frogs sitting in [the] boiling water" of "fascist" America) is holed up in his home, with either "major jail time" or "The Only Way Out" in his future.