Monday, December 31, 2007

A 26-yr-old man in Bremerton, Wash., got beat up last week by his girlfriend, who didn’t like it a bit when he brought his dog into the bathroom while the couple showered. She: If the dog stays, I go. He: Maybe my next girlfriend will appreciate the dog more, you [bad word not disclosed by AP]. She: [bam!] [pow!].


Civilization in Decline
The reason so many bad things are happening these days is because a big demon has taken over our souls, said the witch doc—no, wait, that was Pope Benedict, who will soon direct every diocese to have staff exorcists . . . . . The Recording Industry Ass’n of America has disclosed, in two legal proceedings so far, that it might go after someone who buys a CD and copies it onto his computer (Said the RIAA chief of litigation, copying a song you bought is "a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy.’") . . . . . British gov’t offices send mixed signals on pussification: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority urges that all students have unlimited time to finish their nat’l qualification tests, but on the other hand, the Dept. of Children, Schools, and Families recommended that pre-school attendants suppress their "natural instinct" and actually let boys play with toy guns . . . . . Here’s a medical insurance company story that will warm your heart . . if you’re a medical insurance company stockholder (Hannah Devane, 3, would soon die except for a special food formula that costs $1.2k/month, but the policy says clearly that the company doesn’t pay for "supplements").

The Human Condition Today
He was only "minimal[ly]" alcohol-stoked, so it might have been a lucid explanation for why he crashed into that light pole, and that lucid explanation was: "pterodactyl" . . . . . Accused of a burglary in South Brunswick, N.J.: a 9-yr-old boy and his wingman, 5 . . . . . Another perp, foiled by technology: The armed robber heard someone’s cell phone go off and screamed—screamed!—for the recipient not to answer it, but the loud scream set off the recipient’s Bluetooth, which connected the call, and the caller heard the robber screaming and notified police.

Your Daily Losers
It could be Jeremy Hart, 24, who allegedly burglarized a home in Topsham, Maine, and hopped in his car to get away, but it wouldn’t run because earlier he had jammed it into a snow bank, and so he got really cold and went back and knocked on the door to ask the victims (who were by now awake, after hearing Hart's initial getaway) if he could come in and get warm. Or it could be Ronald Stach, who camped out on the roof of a Baltimore bar to protest the football Ravens’ losing season, which got him a lot of publicity, which was bad in that he still owes his ex-wife over $40k in child support (Bonus: She caught him bragging on TV about how much money he was spending on Ravens memorabilia).

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Bakersfield, Calif., high school teacher Tom Adame was arrested after he allegedly offered "to trace his genitalia for two underage girls," according to local KERO-TV.


NOTW Lite
Last week, and tomorrow, are the two times a year that several hundred residents of Kirkwall, Scotland, play the town game of "Ba’," which could hardly be less complicated: People who live close to the sea ("Doonies") and people who live at the other end ("Uppies") gather in the town square, a ball is tossed to the center, and a couple hundred Doonies try to smush the ball to the "wall" at the other end, while a couple hundred Uppies try to smush it in the other direction, and people get hurt . . . . . "I know a lot about gas," said a renowned gastroenterologist, but "I really can’t treat anybody" because flatus is one of those "givens" in life.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Celebrity hairpieces for the toddler, especially The Bob [Marley] and The Donald [Trump]


NOTW, The Blog
From a year-end roundup of fashions: gold leggings by Nicolas Ghesquiére, at, er, $159k (and click "next" to see the Damien Hurst diamond skull, which sold for $122m). [link from Fark.com]

Newsrangers: Steve Miller, Joe Littrell, Paul Music, Harry Farkas
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Just in time to celebrate the birth of Christ, priests from two of the Christian denominations that share the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem got into a broom-swinging melee when worshipers wandered into territory of the other. (Bonus: The fighting had to be broken up by, er, Palestinian police.) (This is not the same as the historically contentious sharing of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem [NOTW M004, 5-6-2007], with six Christian denominations constantly in each other’s faces because, by God . . . well, just because . . ..)

Civilization in Decline
You might not have heard that the U.S. Air Force had grounded all 450 of its F-15s (because of a potential major structural problem), and if you hadn’t heard that, you wouldn’t have heard that, among the interim measures, our Alaskan NORAD alerts are being covered by Canada and the Hawaii alerts by, er, the Minnesota Nat’l Guard, but everything’s fine, nothing to see here, move along . . . . . A columnist for The Australian reported that "much" of the A$400m donated from Down Under for 2004 Indonesian tsunami victims went not to "relief" but to PC programs such as "gender justice" and trade-union encouragement . . . . . Another ridiculous blood-alcohol reading (.55), which means, apparently, either "man" is sharply progressing, evolution-wise, in ability to withstand booze, or the machines don’t work right . . . . . News You Can Use: It’s legal to shoplift at Whole Foods (or at least, if they catch you shoplifting, all you have to do is give the stuff back and be on your way, so it looks like a risk worth taking).

The Human Condition Today
A woman was arrested in Bremerton, Wash., for beating up her ex-boyfriend, and all he ever did that night was, well, get up in the middle of the night to pee and mistake that closet for the bathroom . . . . . Arrested in Springfield, Ill., for repeatedly groping two women: Mr. Larry L. Letcher [scroll down] . . . . . Firefighters in the F State’s redneck panhandle area said they are tired of all the recent 911 calls about "smoke" and that people should try to learn about this thing called "fog" . . . . . Also in that area: An 18-yr-old was arrested for cold-cocking a stranger-teenager who uttered the words "your daddy" in his own cell-phone call that the perp overheard; turns out the perp is "very temperamental" about his own father (who’s in prison) and "not at all sorry" that he punched the guy, even though he now knows the guy wasn’t talking about the perp’s dad . . . . . Also from the F State: Charles Sanchez was arrested on several charges after having recently moved his girlfriend down from Ohio, apparently by telling her that he’d protect her; she’d been having problems with her old boyfriend, and luckily, Sanchez was from Homeland Security (no, he wasn’t) and would place her in HS’s "witness protection program" (no, they don’t) . . . . . Chutzpah! Georgia Ann Newman, 36, was charged with battery on a police officer in the town of Dunbar, W.Va., because, when being led away by officers after her arrest for slapping a guy, she wiped her nose on the officer’s shirt.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Well, we could include this 28-yr-old guy, who got one lap dance after another (and one drink after another) at a strip club near Weird Central, and about 2 a.m., he slumped over dead. That would be a bad sex life, all right.

NOTW Lite
Beauty parlors are high on violent Sunni gangs’ sh*t list in Baghdad, but women can’t stop going ("[This salon has] never been empty, not through the Iraq-Iran war, the Gulf war, or this war. Women are women; they always want to look good") . . . . . A 77-yr-old Iowa man accidentally fell head-first into his septic tank opening on Monday, got stuck, and spent an hour kicking his legs around until his wife saw him and called for help.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Year-end is for many a time for reflection, and you and I may be dwelling on a few regrets for bad decisions made during 2007, but, hey, don’t let ‘em get you down: Imagine what this guy’s gonna go through if he ever comes to his senses. Safe For Work, But Not For Eyes. (The Odd News page on the website has some other, er, interesting stuff.)

NOTW, The Blog
(1) Erroror: Yr Editor’s parade of errors continues: Wednesday’s story from "Buckie, England" actually came from, er, "Buckie, Scotland" (and the importance of that distinction to the people of Scotland, by the way, could scarcely be overestimated).
(2) Probable Erroror: Reader Alexandra Dorival advises not to plan that pointed-ear surgery [NOTW Daily, 12-26-2007] just yet:
Your latest link, about the pointed ears, is probably a hoax. It's still a very weird link, but once you get to the pictures of past patients, you can see that there's no way their ears could have been made that way surgically. Their ears are bigger than they were before. The ears there are probably prosthetics, or someone Photoshopped the pictures. Here's a link to some real ear pointing. Suitable for stomachs, but lots of scarring. http://wiki.bmezine.com/index.php/Ear_Pointing
(3) Here’s the lawsuit-ography of the prolific and delightful frivolous litigant Jonathan Lee Riches, who, as a guest of the South Carolina prison system, has plenty of time for same. In fact, his litigiousness is best appreciated as performance art. News of the Weird featured him twice but then gave up, as he pumped out his lawsuits much faster than I could keep up. [Link from Fark.com]

Newsrangers: Dan Drasher, Rick Ackman, Ken Berens, Justin Bera, Gregory Klosterman, Eli Christman, Tom Barker, Emory Kimbrough, Gerald Sacks, Jamie Anderson
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Populist, good ol’ boy Jacob Zuma was just elected prez of the African Nat’l Congress, making him odds-on to be prez of South Africa, itself (Bonus: At his rape trial, at which he was acquitted, his defense was that, for Zulus like himself, to decline to have sex with a horny woman was as contemptuous of her as raping her, and, then, as to why he hadn’t used a condom with the HIV-positive woman, he said, ehhh, "I had a shower afterward").

Civilization in Decline
The Denver Post has rounded up the latest kitschy Jesus thingies ("Evangelical Christians are drawn to products that reinforce their religious values, and more so than other groups," said a marketer), such as Jesus bull-riding, surfing, and playing soccer; Jesus air-fresheners; Lord’s Prayer alarm clocks; and Grapes of Galilee wine . . . . . The headmaster of Cluny Primary in Buckie, England, apologized for preventing a 9-yr-old boy from attending his class’s Christmas party; the headmaster’s original analysis: Hey, his parents kept him out of the school’s religious education class, so . . ..

The Human Condition Today
An off-duty cop in Vancouver, Wash., is in big trouble because a butcher shop mis-seasoned his 4 lbs. of deer jerky (and the cop decided the only way to truly express his anger was with his sidearm) . . . . . Another one of those Iowa unemployment compensation cases, with the fire-ee losing, because she worked on her salacious novel while on duty (e.g., "She accepted the pizza and watched his tan surf shorts hug his ass as he walked away") . . . . . Georgia state and city employees charged $370k this yr on gov’t credit cards, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, including purchases involving colon-cleansing, Frank’s Gun Shop, NASCAR, Psycho Clown Tattoo, and the DragonCon geek meet . . . . . From a Seattle Times year-end wrap up of weird news from the world of, er, classical music: an oboist and a French horn player, acting out; a balcony brawl at the Boston Pops; a dispute over the right to call your orchestra "Really Terrible"; and the revelation that violinists are studs while tuba players, uh, aren’t.

NOTW Lite
A nationwide collection agency specializing in tormenting library patrons with overdue books, e.g., $2M/yr collected in NYC . . . . . North Dakota farmer Paul Smokov said his weather-forecasting is about "85 percent" accurate, despite substituting "analyzing pig spleens" for "Doppler radar."

Professor Music’s Weird Links
You’ve been putting it off long enough! Time to get serious about . . . surgery to . . . make your ears pointed. Waiting behind the rope to get into the club is so-o-o-o yesterday. If your ears are right, the night is right!

NOTW, The Blog
Erroror: In this week’s News of the Weird, Yr Editor unfortunately confused the name of a Wal-Mart employee with the White Rain hairspray-drinking perp, I sincerely apologize to Mr. Christopher White, who as far as I know, is a fine citizen with no substance-abuse issues. (A Correction will be appended to versions of the weekly NOTW beginning 12-30-2007.)

Newsrangers: Cindy Hildebrand, Sam Gaines, John Garner
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The owner of the Maltermeister Turm restaurant (Gostar, Germany) has dealt with a new state no-smoking law by the sensible way of cutting three holes through a wall to the outside. A patron inside can grab a smoke by sticking his head and hands through the holes and puffing away.

Civilization in Decline
An apparently serious research paper published at Israel’s Hebrew Univ. touts the successful "strategy" of Israeli forces’ refraining from raping Palestinian women . . . . . This is the World’s Big Issue right now: Will we ever be able to make fun of religions (in this story, a California company selling underwear with Hindu gods’ images), but here is the Big Solution to the World’s Big Issue (in this story, Kyrgyzstan, a Muslim nation, announced plans for a big Santa Claus festival and theme park, so that non-Muslims from around the world will come have fun and spend money) . . . . . The District of Calamity (cont’d): The Washington Post is at it again with the tale of a successful elementary school principal, retiring, being given a $2.9M grant for a school foundation, with unbelievably skimpy paperwork, no accounting, no auditing, squiggly "signatures" that the Post cannot find any school official to own up to, $357k spent on travel in two yrs, and "16" employ—no, 16 was what the principal told the Post in the first interview, but, check that, we had, er, two employees.

The Human Condition Today
The Chattanooga paint-sniffer (125 court appearances) was caught, high and covered with paint, but this time, this time, he tried to say that, no, someone threw paint on him as a prank . . . . . The most naive woman in Arizona (who turned in a perv who had put a mirror on the floor between ladies’ room stalls): "Why would somebody do that, invade people’s privacy on purpose?" . . . . . A 15-yr-old boy at Hilton Head Island (S.C.) High School apparently got it up enough several times in 2003 to satisfy his sex-needy teacher, but he’s 18 now, and he wants the big bucks because he was "viciously teased" by his friends and will have "emotional issues intermittently for the rest of his life" (which describes, er, all of us?).

NOTW Lite
The Japanese inventor-gene comes through again: a wash-and-wear suit ("wash" meaning "wash it in the shower") . . . . . What a great country, that Netherlands: He was arrested on suspicion of growing cannabis and then served a cake spiked with hashish by the jailer! . . . . . Many female monkeys yell out during sex, but the German biologists studying them say it must be because it turns on the male (and not simply because she’s gettin’ her groove on) . . . . . Punishment for a trespassing teenager was for the workers to hang him for a while from a forklift, but a judge [sigh] said that was wrong . . . . . Readers’ Choice: Billionaire Ken Henricks, 66, who made his fortune from an Illinois roofing company, was killed at home when he accidentally fell through the roof of his garage.

Updates
Britain is about to formally outlaw designer babies, but the British Deaf Ass’n and similar groups want the right reserved to parents to create designer deaf babies because that fits their cultural lifestyles. News of the Weird touched this issue in the U.S., when it was recalcitrant parents’ refusals to let their teeny, tiny deaf babies have safe, effective cochlear implants [NOTW 741, 4-21-2002, NOTW 376, 4-14-1995], and both times Yr Editor had his ears torched (figuratively) by members of the "deaf community" who pointed out (entirely correctly) that I had no idea what it was like being deaf and that (entirely incorrectly) no non-deaf person had any right to decide this issue.

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

NOTW, The Blog
(1) Let Yr Editor, who’s hypersensitive about getting drawn into partisan political pissing matches, clarify my comment from Friday about the blue-skinned man story that I wrote was of dubious legitimacy. Just because I left a link to "Fox News" does not signify that I view Fox as an illegitimate source; to the contrary, I use Fox all the time. However, the particular blue-skinned man story on Fox appears to be a re-write of several stories that were, themselves, of dubious origin. That is not to say that the blue-skinned man doesn’t exist; I’m virtually certain that he does. But, for confidence in the news, I need to see a reportorial brand on it, and the Fox story doesn’t include one. (There are several possible reasons why no brand is mentioned. I’m guessing here: "entry-level editors, summarizing Internet stories, with journalistically-hardened editors, maybe, taking generous holiday leave.") In any event, ABC and CNN have now identified the actual TV station that shot the video story (KFSN-TV, Fresno, Calif., for which this would have been a local story). Until I knew that, I couldn’t rule out that the source wasn’t "Garth Algar, sitting in his basement editing some ol’ video into his own YouTube."
(2) Yr (straight) Editor has one thing against gays: their co-opting/retiring of the most excellent word queer. Bizarre is a pretty good word—better than odd or weird—but queer (or at least the queer of 50 yrs ago) looks and feels precisely like the concept it represents. Anyway, Thailand’s English-language Phuket Gazette editors didn’t get the gay memo, because they’ve called their "weird news" page "queer news."
(3) Just past my three-day rule on staleness for NOTW Daily: A Pennsylvania court ruled, unsurprisingly, that it’s only property improperly searched by the gov’t that is inadmissible in court (and if improperly searched by a Circuit City tech support guy, it’s still admissible, and you’ll just have to sue Circuit City for violating your privacy). Since it involves a retail computer store’s techie, you already guessed correctly that it involves child porn, and the perp’s name is . . . [drum roll] . . . the central-casting name for a Polish perv . . . Kenneth Sodomsky.

Newsrangers: Karl Olson, Diane Gunnels-Rowley, Matt Mirapaul, Lance Ellisor, Mark Neunder, Paul Blumstein
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Civilization in Decline
District of Calamity: A Washington, D.C., firefighter is facing discipline (including suspension) for disobeying a direct order, with the order being to keep driving his truck to the training class he was headed for and not to stop and try to put out that fire that he’s looking straight at (because the dispatched crew will arrive in just a few minutes) (He stopped anyway, and he and his partner put it out with only $150k damage) . . . . . "I’m Offended!!!": A British mental health support group puts out a magazine, written by patients, who want to have a little fun at Christmas time, so they re-design carols for their fellow patients, e.g., for paranoids, "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town to Get Me"; for multiple-personality, "We Three Kings Disoriented Are," and one patient complai—no, no, one relative of a patient complains that this is way over the line, and immediately the support group sucks up to her, pulls the feature, and begins the process of worrying itself silly about how insensitive its organization is.

The Human Condition Today
In Cortland County, N.Y., a deputy ticketed a man for DWI, and thus told his wife (who was with him) that she'd have to slide over behind the wheel and drive the both of them home, but she didn’t make it but a few feet down the road ‘til the deputy realized she was stink-faced, too . . . . . Carol Mendenhall is surely the only person in America this yr given a municipal citation (Dibble, Okla., just south of Oklahoma City) because it’s illegal for animals to fornicate in public, including her two goats . . . . . Thinking Small: Wesley Gregory, a Greensboro, N.C., parking-meter employee, was arrested for skimming off his collections, er, taking 10 yrs to skim $2,500 . . . . . A Boston city council member, Chuck Turner, got caught violating city law by not shoveling snow on the sidewalk in front of his home, and said he didn’t care, and that shoveling is just not something he’s interested in . . . . . "No such thing as a stupid question," the teachers used to say in school, but those teachers never met the member of the local planning commission of Canton Township, Mich., who resigned after it got out (during debate over a permit for a new Hindu temple) that she had asked if peeing in public is a Hindu ritual . . . . . Gimme That Ol’ Time Religion: Utah inmate Michael Polk filed a lawsuit because he now thinks the religion of Asatru is The One Way, The Shining Path, The Road to the Good Life, etc., and that the prison won’t let him have the accoutrements of Asatru (which worships Nordic gods like Odin, Thor, Tyr, and Heimdal, and which requires Thor’s Hammer, a Mead Horn to drink Wassail from, a drum, a sword, and a rune staff, among other things) . . . . . F State World-Record Attempts: In Lakeland, Fla., sheriff's deputies called to a trailer home where Great Danes were being hoarded, found feces 10 inches deep in places (Bonus: Video!).

Your Daily Losers
In a small-town F State feud, a woman, 81, who doesn’t pick all the fruit off her fruit trees in her back yard is breathing fire against her next-door neighbor, 80, who habitually wanders across the property line and picks it, himself. Said she, "I [wouldn’t] mind seeing his butt in a sling." (Bonus: photo of her, in rollers)


People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
A 24-yr-old man was arrested for choking the turkey in a changing room at a Kmart in Melbourne, Australia, an incident his lawyer said was brought on by "exam stress." The changing room was, of course, open at the bottom for all to see, and the man’s preferred wanking position is, apparently, on the floor.

Things That Seem Wrong
John Mack, the CEO of Morgan Stanley, announced with apparent great humility and magnanimity that he would actually forgo his bonus this yr (after his company posted its first quarterly loss in history following its writing down of $9.4B in mortgage-related losses). Mack is nothing if not a poster boy for the superstar CEO’s who suck up tens of millions of dollars a yr in compensation because, they all say, you need to pay big money to get people of their brilliance (but not brilliant enough, somehow, to understand the then-looming mortgage-market collapse, which was perpetuated by CEOs’ lack of independent thinking about why in the world, over the longer term, housing price increases should be expected to rise so much higher than income increases).

NOTW Lite
Cities Not Ready for Prime Time: Bangalore, whose attempt to join the world circuit for marathons was marred by the race's having to come to a halt twice to let car traffic thin out and by one stretch where barking dogs chased the leaders down the street (but maybe that made 'em run faster!) . . . . . Money Quote: Vicki Combs, one of the residents of Santa Clarita, Calif., who had their baby Jesus statues temporarily swiped in a vandalism wave, suggesting to a reporter what she’ll do to minimize the chances of its being taken again: "I think I’ll nail it down"


Updates
(1) Yr Editor doesn’t know where this came from, exactly (maybe a legitimate news organization, but maybe just from a summary by someone watching it on YouTube), but it’s blue-skinned Paul Karason, so colored because he fell for the ol’ "colloidal silver" scam, sold to earnest libertarian types [NOTW 732, 2-17-2002] who are certain that the Food and Drug Administration, et al, are totally corrupt. Apparently, if you just take colloidal silver supplements, they’ll merely be ineffective. But if you want tangible results, rub it on your skin!
[Remember, though: I don’t know where this story came from]
(2) From NOTW M003, 4-29-07:

Anthony Perone, 20, pleaded guilty in March in Connecticut in connection with two stalking letters he admitted mailing to a woman he had fallen for in the third grade but who apparently had spurned him. The rambling, incoherent letters explicitly threatened death, and Perone had intended to send them anonymously, in that he wrote no return address on the envelopes. However, he lived with his mother and had given each envelope to her to mail, and, unknown to him, she had thoughtfully added his name and address before posting them.
The NY Times yesterday had a follow-up, in more detail.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Herewith, the 20 Gnarliest Torture Devices of All Time, and no, waterboarding isn’t on it because real men water-torture by running water into a tube down your nasal passage (bypassing your obstinate mouth), to directly bloat the stomach, which the captors then stomp on, ripping your stomach lining. This was allegedly a favorite of Japanese guards in World War II.

NOTW, The Blog
Erroror (of sorts): If you get your weekly NOTW from Google Groups, there’s no error, but if this story now sounds familiar, it might be because you read it in NOTW Daily last month [11-19-2007], and thus you will need the correction. In any event, some versions of the NOTW column dated December 23, 2007 [M037] can’t be corrected in time, so let’s set it straight.
From NOTW Daily, 11-19-2007 (and some versions of the NOTW column debuting this coming Sunday):
The Army Corps of Engineers announced with great fanfare in June that its repairs and upgrades of levees in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina, would allow the system to hold back a future storm’s flood waters even if the level rose more than five feet beyond the Katrina level. However, in November, the Corps announced that because of a
mistake in calculation (an engineer had used a "minus" sign when a "plus" sign was called for), the expensive levee repairs would actually protect against flooding only six inches above the Katrina level.

Now, a few days later, the Corps corrected its correction and now says they had it right the first time [which is, itself, weird, but anyway . . ..].


Newsrangers: Bob Pert, Geoff Egan, Peter Hine, Sam Gaines, Ken Casarsa, Rahul Bhattacharya, Eliot Specht, Emory Kimbrough
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Civilization in Decline
One of the Things You Don’t Want to Be: an albino in Tanzania, ‘cause they’re cursed, of course . . . . . A former student punked a notorious school for special-ed kids by a prank phone call, which was taken seriously by school personnel, who then dutifully administered 106 electrical shocks to two current students (each 2 seconds long, but still . .) . . . . . A children’s DVD on sale in England’s rabble-rousing West Yorkshire county included one music video of a Muslim mommy carefully packing up her dynamite, off to blow herself up . . . . . Japanese Taunt Greens: While greens are fuming over Japanese fishermen’s slaughter of humpback whales, an aquarium on Yokahama Island oozed love by dressing up its visitor-friendly belugas with Santa caps . . . . . It could only happen in Philadel—wait, it was Rio de Janeiro: A helicopter taking Santa to a party got shot at (well, a drug gang might have thought it was police) . . . . . A kid associated with some of the July 21, 2005, London bombers is on trial now, claiming that, no, that wasn’t terrorist training he was doing out in the woods in Scotland, but just he and his buds out looking for the Loch Ness monster.

The Human Condition Today
Masaru Hori, 100, is a terrible driver, apparently banging into things all the time, but he won’t give it up, since "driving helps me from going senile because it keeps me alert" . . . . . Egyptian women show Islamic piousness by wearing hijabs, and now men have a conspicuous symbol of pride: a rough patch of skin on their foreheads (a "raisin"), from praying so much . . . . . Just what the world needs: a teacher encouraging middle-school boys to be more middle-schoolish (vandalizing a Christmas display by putting the reindeer in sexual positions) . . . . . Memo to EMT’s: At an auto crash, always look under the airbag; there may be another body (but don’t be too eager to finalize your report, because she might not be dead yet) [scroll down]

Your Daily Loser
Alfonzo Gomez, 26, is actually a winner, kinda. He fell six floors down a trash chute after climbing in to retrieve his hat. By all rights, he should have been quickly and totally compacted, but he wasn’t.

NOTW Lite
A Maryland man has discovered that he’s the king of the Isle of Man (the British territory off the coast) and is lookin’ for some fun . . . . . Another science study: College students, and monkeys, can distinguish larger amounts from smaller amounts (Bonus: The researchers named their macaques Boxer and Feinstein) . . . . . Life imitates The Shawshank Redemption: Inmates escape through holes in the wall, covered up by pinup photos . . . . . Speaking of photos, a surgical resident in Phoenix is in big-time trouble for taking a snapshot of his patient's stuff during gall bladder surgery because the guy had a tattoo on it ("Hot Rod") [Ed.: But this is precisely what cell-phone cameras are for] . . . . . Readers’ Choice: A mall Santa in Danbury, Conn., pressed charges against a lady for allegedly feeling him up during a photo op, but she said, No way.

Updates
(1) Bishop Thomas Weeks, awaiting trial for choking and stomping his wife [NOTW M028, 10-21-07] in an Atlanta parking lot (she's televangelist Juanita Bynum) in August, announced his church would commence a domestic-violence project [presumably coming out against it, but the story didn’t say], with a conference in February.
(2) Episode 2007-71 (or is it 2007-72, or 2007-70; I forget) of Yr
Editor’s failing memory happened last week when NY Times columnist Gail Collins brought this NOTW story back into focus for me [NOTW 986, 12-31-2006]:
Fine Points of the Law
In November, Arkansas’s outgoing Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife, who have been happily married for 32 years, nonetheless set up a wedding registry at two department stores because it was apparently the easiest way for them to receive going-away gifts. Arkansas law prohibits gifts to public officials of more than $100, with a few exceptions, such as wedding gifts.
Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

Newsrangers: Joe Littrell, Scott Langill, Jenny Beatty, Scott Schrier, Sam Gaines, Mark Neunder, Frank Trocchia, Allison Dederer
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

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).

NOTW Lite
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.

Updates
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.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

NOTE: Yes, it's true that Yr Editor normally posts on Saturday, but this has been a rough week, and consequently, it won't happen today. Please join me again on Monday and/or visit the three bazillion pages of archives. Thank you. (And of course, a new weekly News of the Weird column loads tomorrow at this address.)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday’s 5-Star Special
There might have been one out there, but Yr Editor’s not all here today.

Civilization in Decline
Retired star pro athletes Jim Brown and Larry Johnson are endorsers of a new line of products pitched to the, er, "inner city," branded for wannabe thugs ("Thug Chips," "Atomic Dogg" drink) . . . . . A Russian website will introduce in February a software program that will make it easier for men to rip off women seeking online romance, by auto-dialog flirting with as many as 10 people at once (but it’s only available in Russian).

The Human Condition Today
A married woman intending to have an online romance got her mother, 71, to shoot the cuckold in the back of the head for her (but the caliber was so small that the bullet never penetrated the skull) (Bonus: When the cops cornered her, mom tried to take The Only Way Out, with the same gun, but again, the gun was too weak) (Double bonus: mug shots!) . . . . . "Just speed it up [Judge LaBuda] because you are really boring me," said Mr. Lance Majors, who was having the book thrown at him by LaBuda for yet another DUI on top of a long rap sheet . . . . . What Goes Around, Comes Around: If you brag too much around southern India about the powers you have in your "holy leg," somebody’s gonna get the bright idea to take the leg for himself (with a carving knife) . . . . . The (Al) Gore Effect at Australia’s annual Tunarama festival: They’ll start using carefully-crafted artificial tunas for the tuna-tossing contest.

Your Daily Loser
According to Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman (who’s not the Loser), a local cop at the 2nd Police Precinct Station not only would not lift a finger to help a snowbound busload of seniors returning from a casino at midnight, even though it was right down the street (because, he said, it was the casino’s job, despite the fact that the casino was 30 miles away) but when the hardiest of the bus passengers then borrowed a police shovel to go dig the bus out herself, the cop wrote her up a citation. ["Gotta nip it! Nip it in the bud!"]

NOTW Lite
Damned awesome: A motorist drove off the 7th floor of a parking garage in Atlanta and got caught by the safety wires, but the car was completely dangling over the side, and emergency workers got him out! . . . . . The editor of Australia’s Canberra Times was in big trouble this week for publishing a photograph of outgoing prime minister John Howard chatting up Member of Parliament Maxine McKew, because she was seated, and short-skirted, in a position resembling Sharon Stone’s magic moment.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Here’s another evergreen for your reading pleasure. It’s a clearinghouse of news about items stuck up the wazoo, including the classic 1986 medical-journal inventory of items doctors have supposedly removed over the years. You can learn a lot from this. What Yr Editor learned was to never buy Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, ever (though in the summary on this link, only "bottles" is listed).

NOTW, The Blog
One of the great stories that graced the first News of the Weird paperback in 1988 (by Yr Editor and John J. Kohut and Roland Sweet, and now out of print) was the saga of the Brit so afraid of being arrested for something or other that he hid mostly under the floorboards of his home for years (not emerging at all for over two yrs and then only very carefully after that). The man’s hometown news site WiganToday.net reprised the story today, in honor of that wimp John Darwin, who’s been all over the papers for two weeks now after being busted for faking his death. [Link from Fark.com]

Newsrangers: Mindy Cohen, Stephen Taylor, John Ellwood, Peter Brauer, Daniel Jensen, Ben Janis, Raul Stone-Cousley
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday’s 5-Star Special
South Koreans have out-innovated all our high-priced American political consultants: Supporters of the presidential front-runner, Lee Myung-Bak, are reported to have been secretly spraying a "slightly cloying scent" over campaign audiences and plan to release the same scent at the polls next week, to trigger autonomic voting. [Yr Editor is too lazy to research this today, but I’m pretty sure there’s a sound basis for thinking this will bring in a few votes, or at least work as well as most other campaign "tactics."]

Civilization in Decline
Wal-Mart has been selling panties with "Who Needs Credit Cards" on the front panel and "When You Have Santa" on the butt, in the juniors department (but no longer).

The Human Condition Today
The annual "wacky warning label" contest winners were announced: "Do not iron while wearing shirt" (for a shirt), "Caution: Safety goggles recommended" (for a letter-opener); "The Vanishing Fabric Marker should not be used as a writing instrument for signing checks or any legal documents" . . . . . Christian and Muslim clerics agree (or at least one of each, in Australia, agree): Global Warming was caused by immorality and secularism . . . . . There must be more to the stories than the papers reported: (1) In West Valley City, Utah, police said a woman was beaten by her boyfriend and chained to a "motor" inside their apartment for nearly three weeks; (2) A Washington state man was arrested for allegedly punching away at his girlfriend in bed because he awoke believing that there was another man in the room (who might possibly exist) queuing up to have sex with her.

Your Daily Losers
Three guys from St. Cloud, Fla., drove up to the Big City, er, Gainesville, to rob the Capital City Bank. Three problems: They arrived, all full of energy and verve, 50 minutes after the bank closed for the day; plus, the 911 calls on the attempt were received during police shift-change (result: twice as many cops out looking for ‘em); plus, it was evening rush hour, especially on their road of choice for getting in and out of town. They're now toast.

NOTW Lite
Cutting-Edge Science: an explanation of why cow-tipping might work, yet baby-on-board-tipping, not so much . . . . . Corrective boots for elephants with foot pain (Bonus: The pain started, for one, following a maybe-Kama-Sutra-like sex accident).

Things That Seem Wrong
Once again, here are these ridiculous federal agriculture subsidies, which originated from the need to prevent the "family farm" from dying out, and which now go mainly to big corporations and people so rich that "incentive to farm" is a laughable concept. Yr Editor loved Green Acres, but c’mon, there are 500 Manhattan residents drawing these "incentives," including, er, David Rockefeller, who, thank God, I guess, was finally able to afford to trade in his old clunker of a car when the feds paid him that $29k (in 2005).

Update
In July, NOTW visited the issue of a hospital’s denying a patient a donated kidney on the ground that it was a gift from a stranger, who is a follower of a small religious group (in other words, cult, specifically "Jesus Christians") [NOTW M016, 7-29-2007]. The Wall Street Journal is all over that this morning. However, the major question is still unanswered, as usual: Who is crazier, (a) the Founder, super-confident that the secret to life is to regard him as the prophet, or (b) anybody who hands over his life savings to such a "prophet"?

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

NOTW, The Blog
Errorors: Yr Editor is even more geography-challenged than he let on yesterday: The diamond mine park is near Murfreesboro, Arkansas, not Tennessee. (People who think I made that mistake on purpose, for irony, give me wa-a-a-ay too much credit, although I appreciate the compliment.) . . . . . Also, the first version of yesterday’s post (the one that went out by Google Groups mail) had a link wrong (since corrected). For those who get the Google Groups e-mail, the thing to do is check the web page, which is http://NewsoftheWeird.blogspot.com, which might have the correction already posted. I will not send a second Google Groups e-mail with any corrections, though—not because it’s any trouble to me, because it isn’t—but because my pledge to subscribers is not to load their e-mailbox with more than one message a day.

Newsrangers: Casey Burns, Mark Neunder, Roger Gulbransen, John Ellwood
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday’s 5-Star Special
Ms. Veneta Popow is obviously a very sensible woman, since (according to what she told a reporter in 2006) she warned her adventurous husband not to go kite-surfing in the rough Long Island Sound in the dead of winter. (He wouldn’t listen, though, and consequently, he’s no longer with us.) But all of Mrs. Popow’s sense disappeared when she met up with lawyer Mario Biaggi, who has somehow convinced her that the whole thing was the fault of the city of Stratford, Conn., [LINK CORRECTED] because it didn’t put up do-not-kitesurf signs on the beach and didn’t have lifeguards on duty in January.


Civilization in Decline
What boys in London learn from Islamic terrorists: In a burqa, nobody knows that you’re up to no good . . . . . According to the late Det. Lennie Briscoe, the Rikers Island lockup is so awful that it humbles even NYC’s thuggiest, but not diva singer Foxy Brown, who’s serving a year for violating probation on an assault charge: She ain't takin’ nothin’ from nobody . . . . . Apparently there’s a sports club in Aberdeen, Scotland, that’s not much into restroom hygiene: This guy says he was accidentally locked in for four days . . . . . In your next trip to Ahmadabad, India, don’t miss lunch at the New Lucky Restaurant, which was built on top of a Muslim graveyard, with some of the tombstones preserved up through the floor (and decorated nicely each day with a flower).


The Human Condition Today
The lawyers’ rule of thumb for whether an accused criminal is insane or not is to wonder whether he’d have committed the same crime with a cop standing right beside him, and behold Anthony Williams, who doesn’t otherwise appear nuts except that when a motorist stopped and got out to ask a cop a question, Williams jumped in and zoomed past both of 'em . . . . . Yr Editor heard that things like this might work in Newfoundland, but this was Ontario: Cops infiltrated the clique of a suspected murderer and his friends, by posing as a black-magic priest and doing some stunts for them, and they bought it (and opened up for him) . . . . . The NY Times reported on the fraternity of men trying to fly without benefit of parachutes ("All of this is technically possible," said one probably-difficult-to-insure guy). As you would predict, the body wings they wear work pretty well in the air, but the problem is landing.

Your Daily Loser

A former county councilman from Daytona Beach was picked up on a DUI charge, but cops couldn’t cuff him until he’d finished drinking that bottle of suntan lotion.

NOTW Lite

Sounds Like a Groucho Joke: Researchers found that gay fruit flies are actually of whatever orientation they need to be in order to get 'em some . . . . . An admission from Yr (geography-challenged) Editor: total ignorance that there is a public park in Tennessee [CORRECTION: Arkansas] where you can dig for diamonds, and one guy just found the park’s number 1,000 . . . . . Former major-league pitcher Mark Littell is proud of his space-age "cup" (i.e., jewels protection), and his video, of a guy perched on a bench with legs spread taking a fast fall from a pitching machine, is making the Internet rounds.

Good Enough for Gov’t Work

This is from a Hillary Clinton stump speech (but it’s just been vetted as "true" by the St. Petersburg Times-Congressional Quarterly’s "PolitiFact" department): "A ham and cheese sandwich on one slice of bread is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects manufacturers daily, but a ham and cheese sandwich on two slices of bread is the responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration, which inspects manufacturers about once every five years."

Updates

That disgusting math genius Alexis Lemaire, who calculated the 13th root of a 200-digit random number, in his head, in 72.4 seconds [NOTW Daily, 11-19-2007] was showing off again: He did another one, in 70.2.

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


Newsrangers: Rob Hough, Bob Pert, Peter Timmins, John Brewer, Stefan Creaser, Mark Neunder
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

NOTE: It appears that Yr Editor, after a very bad time at the Fight Club last night, will be unable to publish today (but, obviously, I can't tak about it). Let me get cleaned up and have my wounds dressed, and I'll be back on duty tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday’s 5-Star Special
Nobelist James Watson, the DNA pioneer who recently resigned after publicly concluding that it’s just not in Africans’ genes ever to be as smart as Westerners, had previously published his own genome for research purposes, and a new work-up reveals that he has, er, 16x the number of African genes as the typical European, which is thought to be predictive of having at least a black great-grandparent. [Of course, that fact itself doesn’t really call his statement into question, but an awful lot of people are slapping their knees right now.]

Civilization in Decline
Relax, Americans! Oslo’s airport screeners are worse than ours.

The Human Condition Today
On the cutting edge of politically correct kudos: Tony Deifell’s classes teaching photography to the blind . . . . . Michigan nun/principal Kathy Avery sternly admonished her 5th- to 8th-graders not to cuss by going way beyond George Carlin with her own list of exactly which words she means (plus "stupid" and "boring") . . . . . But she couldn’t be as vile as the purported major league baseball artifact from 1898 instructing players not to cuss on the field (offered last week by a New Jersey auction house), which includes "you c—sucking son of a bitch," "you c—lapping dog," and "a dog must have f----d your mother when she made you" . . . . . City councilwoman Sandra Tucker of Dacono, Colo., has resigned rather than give in and remove a racially-insensitive joke of hers from a community weblog (Bonus: It almost couldn’t be lamer) . . . . . Parents in Mt. Lebanon, Pa., went nuts when they found out that a fun-fun-fun Christian youth group did a skit (that kids seemed to all enjoy) in which boys put on adult diapers/bibs/bonnets, hopped into girls’ laps, and got spoon-fed apple sauce and baby bottles of soda, with the first boy to finish declared the winner (Bonus: In a previous version, the boys had to eat chocolate pudding out of diapers).

Your Daily Loser
Unclear on the Concept: Jason Brooks, 24, applied to the Oakland, Calif., police dept., even though in the previous six months, he had been arrested for, er, 18 armed robberies.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
A Chicago man was invited by a former lover to Sheboygan, Wis., finally, to be introduced to the daughter he fathered 18 yrs ago, whereupon police say he tried to rape the girl (although his story is she pounced on him while he was asleep).

NOTW Lite
After a five-month investigation, prosecutors in Warsaw decided maybe it’s not against the law to call the president a potato.

Things That Seem Wrong
The U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad kicked project manager James Golden out of the country this yr when it became apparent that Golden's under-construction U.S. embassy was looking shoddy and that questionable contracting might be involved, but now the State Dept. admits that Golden is still running the project, from Kuwait . . . . . The waiting time on appeals from denials of Social Security disability benefits is now, on average, 500 days (and these are people who, by definition, can’t do anything to help themselves during the wait, and in some cases are forced into bankruptcy before the appeal is decided) (Bonus: When those appeals are finally decided, claimants win 2/3 of the time).

Good Enough for Gov’t Work
Bad, that Minnesota’s Carver County (pop. 70,000) made a data-entry error (valuing a small vacant lot at $189m); worse, that artificially bumped up projected tax collections by $2.5m, which is huge for such a small county; worse, still, nobody noticed, and they actually planned out how they were going to spend it.

Update
Now Mike Huckabee is in trouble for his decision, while Arkansas governor in 1996, to trust vicious-rapist Wayne DuMond for parole, probably because DuMond said all the born-again-Christian things (and then of course DuMond, when released, murdered a woman and went back to prison, where he died in 2005). But DuMond put some spring in News of the Weird’s step in the early years because DuMond had wound up neutered after the rape, and an Arkansas sheriff had actually commandeered the testicles, kept them in a jar on his desk, and taken them around to civic groups for show-and-tell’s on how tough the sheriff’s office is. Things got weirder when DuMond sued the sheriff and won $150k for emotional distress for the sheriff’s punking him like that. (Either vigilantes had tracked DuMond down and fixed him, which is DuMond’s story, or he did it to himself and blamed vigilantes, which he thought might help in his then-pending trial.) The NOTW stories are probably not available anywhere on line, but Yr Editor was on the job! [NOTW 35, 11-4-1988] [NOTW 455, 10-25-1996]

Professor Music’s Weird Links
You thought it was bizarre to see a lady pushing her little doggy in his own stroller, but it turns out she had a tough time shopping for it because you can pay up to $400 for them, in several styles and colors, including all-terrain and SUV models, and a double-decker.

Newsrangers: Mark Neunder, Emory Kimbrough, Karl Olson, Perry Levin, Paul Music
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Saturday’s 5-Star Special
somehow has not yet come to my attention, so what can a guy do?

Civilization in Decline
The "head table" at Quality Pork Processors is so named because that’s where workers blow compressed air into hogs’ noggins to blast their brains out, and—who knew?—pig brain mist is probably bad for you . . . . . Judge Sunil Kumar Singh in Dhanbad, India, is getting desperate to solve a 1987 land ownership case and has taken to placing newspaper ads demanding that gods Ram and Hanuman report to his courtroom promptly, to help settle it.

The Human Condition Today
Some Virginia Tech people found out (via Facebook) that a couple of Penn State students’ Halloween costumes were VT t-shirts with bullet holes, and yikes! . . . . . Cops think they’re living in good times, thanks to cellphone cameras: "If you give someone a camera-phone, it’s an inviolable rule of nature that they will take a picture with it," said a crim-law professor, and that certainly includes perps proud of their crimes, reported the Wall Street Journal (Nashua, N.H.: "40 or 50 times a year" such photos help them out).

Your Daily Losers
(1) A burglar worked hard to tunnel underneath Steele’s tire store in Coquille, Ore., but he wound up in the semi-truck tire room, which is still locked off from the rest of the store, and he couldn’t even steal any tires because the hole he dug wasn’t big enough to get ‘em out. (2) F-Stater Kevin Shelton was busted for robbing the M&I Bank, largely because he cut short his getaway after a half a block and ducked into a salon to get hair extensions.

NOTW Lite
Laid off! For having bad breath! In New York City! [which hasn’t smelled "fresh" since the days of Peter Stuyvesant]

Things That Seem Wrong
Ol’ Mike Ditka, who’d been blustering for several yrs that the NFL Players Ass’n wasn’t taking care of old-timers, started a charity in 2004 to do it himself, and the results are in: $1.3m collected, er, $57k distributed. It’s the old-timers’ fault, he said, because they’re "afraid" of filling out the disbursal forms. But the actual problem, it appears, is Ditka’s fondness for schmoozing-type fundraisers that cost, well, nearly 13x as much money as he’s passed out.

Update
Heidi Erickson of Boston, one of the most aggressive and obnoxious cat ladies of recent years [NOTW 897, 4-17-2005, NOTW 799, 6-1-2003], and who has two cruelty convictions on her record, is entitled to get four police-seized cat carcasses back, said Massachusetts’s highest court. Erickson had challenged a judge’s ruling that she could have them back only if she proved that she’d dispose of them properly, but she appealed, saying that she might just want to keep them around . . and she wins!

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

Newsrangers: Sam Varshavchik, John Ellwood, Mark Neunder, Paul Vogt
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday’s 5-Star Special
Nope, no 5-stars today.

Civilization in Decline
Suspicions Confirmed: The BBC is spending the equivalent of about $1m to send 17,000 staff members through a two-hour seminar on how important it is to their audiences that they report true things and not untrue things (Seriously).

The Human Condition Today
Police bought the story that it was a 2-yr-old who pulled the trigger of the gun lying on a table, killing a man in Brunswick, Ga., even though it was obviously a 2-yr-old with perfect aim . . . . . Buffalo, N.Y., high school students raised $2k for the homeless with a sympathetic outdoor 18-degree night in boxes, but, well, it sure seems like a soft "outdoor" night . . . . . Sounds Like a Joke: A musician, performing at a federal penitentiary in Florida, had his instruments stolen from his van . . . . . Baby Doctor: Virginia Beach pediatrician Margaret McIntyre thought she should be exempt from jury duty, went nuts on a clerk, was hauled before a judge, and went nuts on him . . . . . In Jackson County, Ga., a husband said he didn’t want to press charges against his wife, who had knocked him unconscious on Thanksgiving morning by hitting him with a potato . . . . . Fella named Gene Sehrt was charged in Milwaukee this week with disorderly conduct for harassing a public library employee, and he moved to dismiss with one of those "you can’t charge Gene Sehrt because I own the trademark to Gene Sehrt, and I didn’t give you permission to use it" defenses (Bonus: Sehrt is dean of the local paranoid community in Milwaukee; among other quirks, he has refused for several years to pick up over $600k waiting in a local bank in his name, ostensibly because he doesn’t want to confirm to IRS that he’s really Gene Sehrt). [Ed. note: According to the paranoids’ name-trademark theory, I now owe $2.5m ($500k/per) to Gene Sehrt . . D’Ohh! $3m now]

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
That would be an unidentified man in his 40s in Greater Manchester, England, and the thing for men to know is if they have an accident while copulating with a pipe, doctors know how to take care of that at the Royal Wigan Infirmary.

Updates
The 23-yr-old terrorist poet gal with a thing for beheadings [NOTW Daily, 11-12-2007] was given a suspended sentence because, after all, writing odes to blood-thirsty mujahadeen is just a thought crime . . . . . A scammer got 4 yrs in prison for convincing people that his "CIA agent" wife could get them medically diagnosed by passing satellites [NOTW M000, 4-1-2007] (Bonus: and convincing them that therapeutic drugs would be administered stealthily while they slept, by other agents) [Hey, it was Monroe, La.]

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

Newsrangers: Peter Smagorinsky, Joel Walz, Tom Barker, Matt Mirapaul, Cristina Taylor, Stefan Creaser
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday’s 5-Star Special
For the day's best news story, see Updates, below . . . but do it quickly.

Civilization in Decline

Canada’s passport office’s online application form until a few days ago was so secure that all you had to do to read other people’s private data was alter one character in the URL assigned to your own application. The office said it fixed the problem immediately upon being notified. (Bonus: It didn’t.)

The Human Condition Today
Yet another person No Longer With Us because he was poor at multi-tasking (i.e., talking on phone plus crossing railroad tracks) . . . . . In the course of a story on a failed drive-up-window bank robbery, the reporter found that 78 drive-ups were among the 7,272 bank robberies in 2006 and that a few actually worked . . . . . About $570m in U.S. lottery winnings went unclaimed last yr, and at this minute, 100 tickets of $100k or more, including 12 of $1m or more, are still out, with deadlines approaching (all-time record loss: a $51.7m ticket from 2002) . . . . . A 24-yr-old man stopped a motorist on the side of the road to pretend to be an FBI agent and lecture him about something, but unfortunately, the "agent" was himself not on the "side of" the road; he was in the right lane and was creamed by a dumptruck . . . . . Mary Gates was arrested for trying to hire a hit man to kill her husband (Bonus: Mary’s mugshot, suggesting that her husband might ought to have thought seriously about killing himself) . . . . . The U.S. Court of Appeals gets its "Jennifer Aniston" on: A Wisconsin inmate can’t hang a mailed-in photo of her on his wall, but can tear out a magazine shot, the judges seem to declare, as a matter of law . . . . . Yr Editor lives in the F State and is maybe unaware that this sort of thing happens in Quebec all the time, but a 43-yr-old man and a 72-yr-old woman got into a little Laurel-and-Hardy-type duel, with snowblowers, until the man choked her and threw her to the ground.

NOTW Lite
Microsoft has shut down the automated, artificial-intelligence-run instant-messenger service that allows people to interact with Santa’s elves, because of a problem in the software, i.e., it was too easy to trick the elf into mentioning "oral sex."

Updates

(1) Our old friends the Phelpses of Westboro Baptist Church have produced a creepy, yet surprisingly untacky, five-minute music video send-up of We Are the World, specifically, God Hates the World, which you can access here, as of about 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, but beware, websites may take this down all over the place because of copyright problems [link from WarrenEllis.com]. It is well known that Fred Phelps’s anti-homosexual projects are so wretched that he hardly (if ever) attracts participants outside of his own extended family, and the choral group on the video jibes in size with what has been reported as that family. (Also, there appears to be some music talent in the Phelps genes!) The Phelps phenomenon presents the News of the Weird equation in its purest form: Readers are absolutely certain that the people in the news story are nuts, and the people in the news story are absolutely certain that it’s everybody else who’s nuts. Ah, equilibrium! (2) Yr Editor mentioned [NOTW Daily, 10-13-2007] that Greenpeace had started to tout kangaroo meat as a way to save the planet from cow methane, but now a gov’t-sponsored scientist in Australia goes a step further: start transferring to cows that special stomach bacteria that kangaroos have that limit their farts. (3) A professional hunter in Zimbabwe was arrested for, basically, taunting the gov’t, which has the world’s most ridiculous inflation, as Yr Editor has mentioned several times. The hunter took formerly-valuable bank notes, stamped his contact information on them, and passed them out internationally as business cards.


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

NOTW, The Blog
Artist Uri Fischer opened his work at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York City, with "work" consisting of a massive hole in the ground (38 ft x 30 ft x 8 ft deep), which is self-explanatorily titled You. (That was a joke.) The best part of this news is the review by Jerry Saitz in New York magazine, 11-26-2007, in which Jerry tells you in luscious prose all the dozens of complex ways that this installation has touched his senses. (It has always been true that a fine line separates "art criticism" from clinically-diagnosable delusion, and it's really tough to decide which side Jerry is on.) Now, NOTW Daily readers with sharp memories will recall that there’s yet another 2007 art installation, in London, that is basically a huge hole in the ground [NOTW Daily, 10-13-2007]. When Yr Editor was tipped this week to a hole-in-the-ground art installation, I initially dismissed it, failing to advert to the fact that, well, there might be two of these at the same time on the same planet. This was a lapse by Yr Editor, and if there were a rehab camp for replenishing one’s sense of the possibilities of absurdity, I’d be doing 30 days right now. Sigh.

Newsrangers:
Don Schwartz, Harry Farkas, Paul Di Filippo, James Wicht, Tim Farley, Matt Mirapaul, Eli Christman, Bill Schoenbart, Brad Gray
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wednesday’s 5-Star Special
A Chicago Sun-Times project (which probably could be replicated anywhere, actually) revealed that the ice in almost half the restaurants surveyed in the area had bigger traces of ca-ca in it than toilet water from the Sun-Times restrooms. (This resembles the 7th-grade science project a kid from Tampa did last year [NOTW 944, 3-12-2006] that created nat’l buzz.)

Civilization in Decline
For some reason, Bulgaria’s National Electricity Company has agreed to build a nuclear reactor near an active earthquake fault, in fact 15 km from the site of a 120-victim 1977 quake (but they need juice, fast!).

The Human Condition Today
A 77-yr-old member of Kirkham Street Sports and Social Club in Paignton, England, was ordered from now on (based on numerous complaints) to sit by the front door and walk outside whenever he needs to break wind (He agreed to comply: "I am a loud farter, but there is no smell.") . . . . . Who knew? (1) Bird flu in Europe has caused a critical, emotional shortage of goose fat; (2) The Philadelphia Phillies’ minor league team in Allentown, Pa., the IronPigs, was forced to change its mascot’s name because "Pork Chop" is such a well-known and deep-seated slur on Hispanics; (3) The Sikh community in Meerut, India, was super-perturbed by this phone company joke of the day ("What is the difference between a [Sikh] and a donkey? Answer: a tail")

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Kazuo Oshitani, 48, escalated from just wearing and collecting girls’ underwear; he scattered pieces around his neighborhood, prompting 170 complaints (and was arrested for littering). "I found it sexually arousing to imagine how shocked people would get when spotting the underwear," he said (in an obviously persnickety version of the translation).

NOTW Lite
A court clerk in Italy mistakenly wrote out, on an official lawsuit witness list, not the appropriate Disney company executives (in a trademark infringement case) but the local names for Mickey, Donald, and Daisy.

Updates
Authorities in Kansas City say the toad-lickers that surfaced there recently [NOTW Daily, 11-15-2007] have moved on, to smoking the dried bufotenine for their highs, perhaps because, er, licking a frog is pretty desperate . . . . . Tampa’s own top-of-the-line sexed-up schoolteacher, Debra LaFave [NOTW Daily, 10-27-2006, 3-22-2006, 3-9-2006], was busted this week for a nit-free probation violation (nit-free, in that the authorities appear to have picked 'em all).

Professor Music’s Weird Links
This is an ultra-weird concept that didn’t need to be taken too far, but it was, and is therefore Not Safe For Work. A clothing designer wants you to see his rat fashions, which are garments with actual rat fur and in some cases actual rat heads. But then apparently the only people he could get to model the things are pre-op transsexuals.

Newsrangers: Paul Di Filippo, Salim Virji, John Nicholson, David Johnson, Caroline Lawler
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.