Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Weird Universe!
Effective tomorrow morning, you can read Yr Editor's daily column of news 'n' commentary at its new home, www.WeirdUniverse.net! My pals Alex Boese, creator of the Museum of Hoaxes, and Paul Di Filippo, the noted sci-fi story-teller, and I will do our best to keep you entertained, as well as, y'know, wary of your surroundings (because there's a awful lot of weirdness going on). "Chuck's Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News" will be available Monday through Saturday by 9 a.m. Eastern time, in just about the same form in which you've come to expect it. Hope you'll switch over to Weird Universe and enjoy all the other funny, disturbing, scary, ridiculous stuff we come up with. (News of the Weird Daily will remain up, but not updated.) You can still use the links on this page to subscribe to the Google Groups e-mail feeds of the weekly News of the Weird column and of Chuck's Hand-Picked Overnight ("DailyWeird") (although I warn you right now that there may be a glitch or two on the latter before we get it working on Weird Universe, and you should have patience). Problems, questions, etc.: WeirdNews at the domain Earthlink net.
Cheers!
NOTE: Today is the last day you can read fresh news on NOTW Daily. Tomorrow morning, you’ll have to go to Yr Editor’s new co-op blog. Details below, in NOTW, The Blog


Creme de la Weird

France’s gov’t-paid massage therapists face cutbacks
“The National Baths of Aix-les-Bains have been a symbol of France’s cushy health-care,” reports the Wall Street Journal. (Travel and accommodations at the spa are gov't-paid, too.) Now, the staff of 165 (who have no alternative job market) would be cut in half by President Sarkozy’s reforms. The physiotherapists are so upset at this that at least 27 have gone on generous medical leave for depression. More bureaucracy: France has 721 diplomats in Senegal vs. 271 in India. “Is that normal?” Sarkozy asked. Wall Street Journal

The “no straight bananas” rules are under attack in the European Union (but only by a few countries)
Most countries continue to insist that, for example, the 19 pages of regulations on the color of fruits and vegetables are crucial to consumer choice (and that it would be beside the point to just put the fruit out and let consumers actually judge the color for themselves). From the Washington Post:
Let’s consider the onion for a moment, and the E.U.’s ‘Regulation (EEC) No. 2213/83 of 28 July 1983 laying down quality standards for onions and witloof chicory.’ You would think that the 10 pages of standards and the 19 amendments and corrections made in the 25 years since the regulation’s enactment would leave little doubt about the required size, shape, and color of an onion, and the amount of peeling, bruising, staining, cracking, root tufting, and sprouting that is permissible. You would be wrong. In January 2007, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture issued a report in which it took 29 pages to explain ‘quality standards for onions,’ complete with 43 photographs.
Washington Post

“Ozone treatment” for pancreatic cancer gets dissed in an Australian Parliamentary committee
The patient died 36 days after treatment in 2003, and by “treatment,” we mean “vaginal blowing” of the ozone, during which she had to move up and down on the bed while saying “Oh, boy.” The purveyor of this therapy, a fella named Lupo Bitelco, is thought to be still practicing. The Advertiser (Adelaide)

Octopuses given Rubik’s Cube to find out if they have a favorite tentacle
Are they octidextrous, or do they have assigned tentacles for different things (eating, thinking, flirting, etc.)? If we knew, we could reduce the poor things’ stress levels, explained England’s Sea Life Centre. Daily Mail (London)

Last words of a Texas trucker
He was about to unload his haul of heavy pipes and started to loosen the safety straps, and a guy said, Better wait for the crane to do that. And the trucker said, “Don’t worry. I’ve got it.” Then a 4-ton pipe rolled off the truck. Houston Chronicle

Updates: It’s that time of the year when reporters discover things we weirdos have known for a while
Among the annual events that were weird when we first heard about them but by now zoom by blankly: (1) The Michigan cherry-pit spitting contest (won again by one of the hockin’ Krauses); (2) Finland’s wife-carrying championship (yep, pick her up and tote her); (3) The running of the bulls in Pamplona (and the bulls picking off, wildebeest-like, the slowest humans); (4) The several dozen people who under-respect July 4th fireworks; (5) Macon, Ga.,’s Redneck Games (highlight this year: a muddy wedding, which was shown last night on the CMT cable channel). Not really “annuals,” but recurring themes: (6) The German chess-boxing championship was decided (alternate 4 minutes of chess with 3 minutes of the sweet science, until one gets checkmated or his ass kicked); and (7) Another guy, like the legendary Larry Walters, took off (and landed safely) in a lawn chair held aloft by helium balloons.

Your Daily Loser
Awesome! An 18-yr-old man in a suburb of Detroit gave a rich lesson in how to turn a routine traffic stop into various felony charges in the space of just a few minutes. (Bonus: The shades he was offering the cop to let him go were, he claimed, worth $3,500!) Detroit Free Press

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Actually, this one isn't very challenging. Sorry. Ladies and gentlemen, straight from central casting, a 40-ish brother and sister charged with incest. [LINK CORRECTED] WCPO-TV (Cincinnati) [picture of brother on the far right]

NOTW Lite
It says here that the origin of the discomfort felt by the Holiday Inn employee was finally tracked down: She had a baby bat nesting in the bra she was wearing . . . . . A Lakewood, Colo., man tried to tell police that the gunshot that killed the Jack Russell terrier was fired by . . the dog (while noodling around with that loaded .357).

NOTW, The Blog
Tomorrow morning, Yr Editor and his pals will launch our new full-service blog o’ weirdness, and to get Yr Editor’s morning news feed from now on, you’ll have to make a habit of going there, not here (or subscribing via newsreader). We’re not quite finished yet, so I’m not going to post the address here until 2 p.m. Eastern time today and I’ll mail the address to the DailyWeird list at that time, as well. (As I moaned about yesterday, I can’t guarantee that the DailyWeird mailing changeover will be smooth; it might not operate for a few days. On the other hand, it might operate fine. If you suddenly don’t get the mailings, please come to the new blog to find out the status.)

Newsrangers: Matt Geis, Larry Seltzer, Stephen Taylor, Chris Doyle
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 07, 2008

NOTE: Stop the presses! Yr Editor is moving this-here base of operation. Read all about it below, in NOTW, The Blog

Monday’s Creme de la Weird

There are spas for everything in New York City, including this one specializing in hoo-hahs
A female gyno is set to open a “pelvic fitness” center whose signature service is tightening vaginal walls, but also offering other “pelvic health” integrations. Said another gyno, “The common practice in gynecology is we treat where there is a problem. It’ll be interesting to see if there are people who actually request these services.” New York Times // ThePerfectPhit.com

The $2,500 banana
Artist Michael Fernandes opened his, uh, installation on the street in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and offered it for sale when the show’s over. It’s a banana. Actually, a different banana each day. In progressively unripened states. Just lying on the sidewalk. But since he eats each one at the end of the day, what would the buyer get for $2,500? Answer: “The concept.” (Bonus: He has two takers so far.) The Globe and Mail

The most patriotic American of ‘em all
Immigrant Sam Bloomfield loves America even more than you love Ben & Jerry’s. He’s tattooed his face red, white, and blue, and under his left eye “God Bless America,” under his right “Land of the Free.” And those are just for starters. Seattle Post-Intelligencer

If you gave to a charity, like for missing kids, the only kids you just helped were the fundraising company’s employees’ kids
The Los Angeles Times did a major takedown yesterday of charities’ fundraising expenses, and it turns out that when they hire a company to do it, around 85 cents of the dollar (and often more than that) stays by contract with the fundraiser. In a few cases, there’s a negative return. (Yup, you give $100; the fundraiser keeps it all and charges the charity a fee, and all the charity gets is the name and address of the suck–uh . . contributor.) Los Angeles Times

Mommy’s little Lolita
A BBC documentary next week will chronicle unrequited model Jayne Pennington, 31, in her efforts to tart up her pre-pube daughter Sasha, 11, who has run herself out of child-modeling jobs because she no longer looks like a child, thanks to $600-a-month glamour treatments. But Sasha seems to “get it,” after all. How do you see yourself, she was asked by the interviewer. “Blonde, pretty, dumb. I don’t need brains.” (Mom “laughed her head off at this.”) Daily Mail [plenty of glamour shots of both babes]

Seniors who confuse the gas pedal and the brake, version 2.0
He was 75, swerved out of control in Niles, Ill., hit two kids, a man, and an elderly woman, and then, afterward, of course was clueless how it happened except that it was some sort of vehicle malfunction. Version 2.0: He’s a Shriner and was driving a go-cart in a parade. Chicago Sun-Times

Wannabe-Pundit Astrologers Handicap the Presidential Race
Seven of ‘em predicted Obama’s moon rising, “citing Saturn’s opposition to Uranus on Election Day as a celestial occurrence that pits a stodgy planet against one of rebellion, resulting in transformation and social upheaval,” reported ABC News. Others say the game will be changing drastically in August because there’ll be two eclipses, which will signal new directions for Hillary Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg (because his February birthday is the calendar opposite of one of the eclipse days). ABC News

Maryland Corrections Department (ROTFL)
A heavily-fortified van showed up to transport prisoners from jail to court, but one inmate was brought to the pickup point late, and a mixup in orders had him hopping into an ordinary Corrections van. No cage in back, no siren, no gun, no cuffs, no radio, no cell phone. Not surprisingly, at the first traffic light, he opened the door and climbed out, and they haven’t seen him since. Said the judge: “If I were a young enterprising criminal, I’d come to Baltimore to set up my practice. This is the place to be. This is the Promised Land.” Baltimore Sun

Update: Susan Sykes, the stripper with 40-lb. gazongas, returned to the zeitgeist by auditioning for America’s Got Talent (her art: crushing beer cans by you-know-what method)
In 1997, a strip-club customer named Bennie Casson sued Sykes (aka Busty Heart) for too much audience-performer interaction, i.e., she repeatedly slammed her sofa bolsters against his head, aggravating an old neck injury (but he eventually dropped the lawsuit and two yrs later, took The Only Way Out). In the latest episode, AGT judges Sharon Obsourne, Piers Morgan, and David Hasselhoff said, No thanks. Daily Mail (London) // NOTW 495 (8-1-1997), NOTW 577 (2-26-1999)

Update: The composition As Slow As Possible is progressing, um, slowly
They moved on to a new chord (the 6th, in 5 yrs) of John Cage’s composition, which is being “played,” or maybe just “dwelt on,” in Halberstadt, Germany. The sound of the chord will continue, probably for months, before the organ goes to number 7, and the whole thing will wrap up in the year 2640. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News // NOTW 785 (2-23-2003)

Update: That solid-gold bathroom in Hong Kong is, not surprisingly, being melted down
Jeweler Lam Sai-wing built the monument to excess when gold was $200-something an ounce, but now it’s more than 4x that, so piece by piece, he’s cashing out, except for the toilet (24-karat, fully functional, flushing toilet). “I don’t care if gold hits $10,000 an ounce. I’m not melting [that] down.” Wall Street Journal // NOTW 695 (6-3-2001)

The Human Condition Today
Hey, I may be a petty thief, he said, but we can’t let the terrorists win (so when he broke into a van, and saw gas cans, devices with wires, etc., he called the police, and lucky he did) . . . . . Poplar Bluff, Mo., police are looking for the guy who stuck a gun in Mr. Heath Chandler’s belly and demanded money, and when Chandler handed over his $25, the guy took it, gave him a big hug, and left . . . . . Woo, is James K. Pope ever a bad guy! (He was just sentenced, for sexual assault on two teenage girls, to, um, 4,060 consecutive yrs in prison, meaning his countdown calendar will be set to the year 3209 (A.D.) . . . . Like in the movies: Phillip Boucher floored his Buick LeSabre and tried to jump the rising drawbridge in St. Catharines, Ontario, and he almost made it [and I guess you know what that means].

Your Daily Loser
Lamont Cook, 22, Mr. Tough Guy. On the lam around Philadelphia for several violent crimes, he was arrested about 4 a.m. Thursday . . and promptly peed in his pants. Philadelphia Daily News

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Aussie Rodney McLagan, 48, indignantly told police that the only reason he had child porn was that it was incidentally acquired when he was busy downloading bestiality porn (including that stuff showing sex with .. an octopus). The Mercury

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
And Paul Franke, 43, indignantly told police that the only reason he had child porn on his computer was curiosity about how easy it was to get. (Answer: really easy, and he says he’s quite upset about that!) MetroWest Daily News

NOTW Lite
In one village in India, the gov’t’s giving people $1 a month to take dumps in a toilet, to keep streets clean . . . . . Reuters profiles a couple in Portugal who are the last of the world’s great ceramic-penis artists.

NOTW, The Blog
(1) Listen up. I have partnered with two other esteemed weirdo writers (Alex Boese, proprietor of MuseumofHoaxes.com, and Paul DiFilippo, renowned sci-fi writer (The Steampunk Trilogy), to form a full-service, 24/7, all-things-bizarre blog, launching on Wednesday, July 9th. We don’t quite have it ready yet, but I’ll give out the address starting tomorrow. We will blast off on Wednesday, and you’ll have to go there every day, six days a week, to read Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News. (Tomorrow, though, I’ll still be right here.) (2) My main task on the new blog is to do the same thing I’ve been doing here for two years, except, y’know, more seriously. (NOTW Daily will remain up, but inactive.) Since my pals are going all-out, I have to, also. Dazzling, nicely packaged, easy on the eyes, a must-read for those who realize that you need to keep an eye on . . those other people. We can help. (3) Just one problem: Those of you who get NOTW Daily by e-mail from Google Groups may not get them for a few days starting Wednesday. And then on the other hand, you may get ‘em just fine. Depends on the gods. If you don’t get yours on Wednesday, pleeeeze come to the new blog and read it, or subscribe to the RSS feed. (I’ll give ya the address tomorrow!) ‘Ta

Newsrangers: Steve Dunn, Stephen Taylor, Phillip Schiavone, Ladonna Weeks, Jessica McRorie, Paul Music, John Huizinga, Bob Pert, Alan Magid
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

NOTE TO READERS:
I'm not being sarcastic here (for once) (and this will be the only time!). Google AdSense may be posting some ads on this site soon. Do not click them. Seriously. Don't. I will be in big trouble if you do. Thank you. Come back Monday morning (7-7-2008) for an explanation.
Yr Editor

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wednesday’s Creme de la Weird

For part of this month, it’ll be illegal to “annoy” or “inconvenience” someone in downtown Sydney
Unfortunately, that’ll only be during the July 15-20 World Youth Day festival, when 200,000 Catholic pilgrims visit, but it could serve as a demonstration project! AP via Fox News

California hospitals commit about 100 “serious” errors a month
These are the ones they’re required to report (e.g., wrong-patient and wrong-site surgery, bedsores so serious that there’s rotting, items left in after surgery). Los Angeles Times

Can’t possibly be true: A college with a concierge desk, free snacks, live music in the cafeteria, and more
High Point (N.C.) University, and it has a “director of WOW!” (By the way, enrollment is up.) Chronicle of Higher Education // High Point Univ. website

Update: German banknote printer loses one of its most lucrative contracts (Zimbabwean dollars)
Until now, tons of paper arrive regularly in Harare because the incumbent multibillion-dollar notes go worthless every week or so, but the German gov’t has successfully leaned on the company. An official of Zimbabwe’s central bank [LOL!] said the country has a backup plan, but that it’s secret. Wall Street Journal

Update: Moe the chimp is missing in southern California
He’s the one adopted, toilet-trained, and otherwise humanized by the Davises of Covina (Moe slept in their bed, watched TV with them, was best man at their wedding), who fought the town to be able to keep him, but finally lost, then were forced to settle for daily visits at a local sanctuary, and it was there in 2005, taking Moe a birthday cake, that they were attacked by two other chimps, with Mr. Davis maimed (losing, among other appendages, his testicles and nose). The Davises are heartbroken that Moe has walked away, and they’re out looking for him in the nearby forest. AP via Charlotte Observer [contains a not-safe-for-stomachs photo of the noseless Mr. Davis]

Update: The story of that North Carolina politico in yesterday’s NOTW Daily (charged with rape, assault, Satanism) is much richer than initial reports indicated
She and her hubby were both sweethearts in their day jobs, but, man, oh, man, on their own time . . whew! According to police, their cults are things called Order of the Morning Star and Indigo Dawn. News & Observer (Raleigh) // WTVD-TV (Durham) // Indigo Dawn website

Update: The discovery last yr of potentially-live World War II bombs underneath an Orlando middle school was just the beginning
Homeowners in the area have found ‘em all over the place, and some people have been injured, and the Army Corps of Engineers has upgraded the search to a high priority, even though it’s not really sure it can find ‘em all. (Reassuring Army Corps quote: “Chances are, it’s not a problem.” [Yr Editor nominates this as official alternative to the ubiquitous “close enough for gov’t work”] CNN

Your Daily Loser
Police in Mesa, Ariz., called by neighbors to a loud domestic fight where a woman and a man were screaming at each other, arrested a 21-yr-old man who cops said was the only one there, alternating a high-pitched voice with a low-. Arizona Republic

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Mr. Nicodeme Petion, 41, who was arrested in Fort Pierce, Fla., sittin’ in his car with his pants down, porno magazines and condoms nearby, and a sock over his stuff (suspected of being “used,” if you get my drift). Fort Pierce Tribune

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
John Walsh, 69, arrested in Australia and charged with axe-murdering his wife and two grandchildren. Australian Broadcasting Corp. News

NOTW Lite
A policy study group has concluded that Denmark is the world’s happiest country (except maybe for the hard-core Muslims there, still fuming over those cartoons) (and Zimbabwe the least happy; U.S. 16th happiest) . . . . . The French military, desperately needing a victory to shore up its image, won a firefight in Carcassonne–oh, wait, it wasn’t a battle; it was a domestic military exhibition that accidentally used live ammo when shots were fired into the crowd (wounding 17) . . . . . Recurring: Yet another of those fatal “running down the hallway” stunts that did not end at the end of the hallway but, rather, out the window and four flights down (AWI, of course).

Updates
(1) San Francisco’s foreign policy of escorting Honduran drug-dealing, illegal-immigrant youth home every time they get arrested [NOTW Daily, 6-30-2008] has been changed, now that Mayor Newsom has decided he may run for governor (and the fallback position, of sending those kids to shelters in San Bernardino County, caused County officials to hit the ceiling) . . . . . (2) The Utah Supreme Court overturned the 2005 manslaughter conviction of the guy who blew away the fella who had just given him a turbo-wedgie, saying the killer might deserve a little understanding.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Yr Editor doesn’t read Turkish, but this appears to be the lovely Mrs. Ahmadinejad [link from Fark.com]

NOTW, The Blog
Yr Editor is now off-duty until Monday while Americans celebrate We Kicked England’s Ass Day.

Newsrangers: Brian Rogers, Pamela Lee, Diana Lelle
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tuesday’s Creme de la Weird

War-crippled Iraqis train for the Paralympics
Said one coach, “As a country that participated in many wars since 1980, we have many disabled people. Our Paralympic team is better than our Olympic team.” New York Times

Is moonlight the miracle cure?
London’s Independent sent a reporter to about an hour out of Tucson, Ariz., to the six-story-high Interstellar Light Collector, which magnifies lunar light and treatments of which, its advocates claim, have cured asthma, etc., and provided casino jackpots. (“Etc.” includes one woman’s husband’s hemorrhoids) The ILC’s most visible creation so far, it appears, is the on-site accessories store, selling pre-treated jewelry and crystals. The Independent (London)

Why the Brits are setting terrorists free
A Daily Mail columnist, writing in the Wall Street Journal today, explains that, if the gov’t thinks it can only prove relatively minor charges against known immigrant terrorists, it would rather just deport them, but it can’t do that because almost all are from countries that might possibly torture them when they land, and British judges in effect grant them humanitarian asylum. (Bonus: The terrorists’ families are thus entitled to welfare benefits!) (Double Bonus: All the international terrorist organizations know Britain does this!) Wall Street Journal

Update: Artist-extraordinaire Martin Creed is back at the Tate Britain
He made NOTW and lots of other places with his 2001 Turner Prize for, well, an empty room with a light bulb going on and off (and on and off, and on and off, until they finally kicked him out). Creed’s back, and this time, every 30 seconds, a runner will sprint through one of the galleries (Work No. 850). Tate Britain’s director, obviously using Artist Keyboard Macros, described the work as “compelling,” “it upsets,” “art space,” and “preconceived ideas,” among other assurances. (Actually, our last encounter with Creed was in 2006, when he released his “Sick Film,” consisting only of people throwing up on camera. He said he had planned to do a similar film, titled with another 4-letter word beginning in S, but it’s not clear that he ever got any movement on that.) Reuters // NOTW 732 (2-17-2002) // NOTW 968 (8-27-2006)

Update: Abu Dhabi, where people pay more for the proper license plate than for their luxury car
It has been No Longer Weird for a while that people with money to burn don’t mind paying a premium for a “lookee how rich I am” license plate, but Abu Dhabi’s ridiculous. “It’s not enough to just have a Ferrari anymore,” said the city’s license plate, er, auctioneer. Plate “1" went for $14m; “5" for $9m. Buying “430" for your Ferrari F430 (car price: $180k) was a steal: $120k. Wall Street Journal

The Human Condition Today
Mega-rich financier Jeffrey Epstein reported to prison to do 18 months on a sex-tourism guilty plea, and he’s both wistful and remorseful, in that he has organized (for when he gets out) what he called a “board of directors” to counsel him on his reckless behavior . . . . . A local politico in North Carolina resigned after being implicated in a kidnaping, rape, and assault that might have connections to a Satanic cult and to her day job as “past life reconstruction” consultant . . . . . The Colorado Springs Gazette interviews a joyous, intelligent, uninhibited panhandler who has scoped the demographics, chosen his site, and makes $25 an hour.

Your Daily Loser
A 14-yr-old kid in Falmouth, Mass., first just up and shoved a 71-yr-old man (fishing with his grandson) off the dock into the water because, he said, he “thought it would be funny.” Then, after his arrest, police gave him his phone call, and he rang up a buddy to “brag and laugh” about it, according to police. Cape Cod Times

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Alan Patton, 56, is already a registered sex offender, but that was then, and now he says there’s no personal contact with boys, just laying down Saran Wrap in toilet bowls, placing cups at the bottom of urinals, and collecting the gold. WBNS-TV (Columbus, Ohio)

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
David Gebhardt, 42, is facing a minor charge or two in Connecticut for walking along Interstate 291 wearing a thong, wig, and fake breasts. (No pedestrians allowed on Interstate highways!) Hartford Courant

Update
The New York Times catches us up on that “federal agent” who blew into tiny Gerald, Mo., and virtually took charge of local crime-fighting (for which the community was grateful) [NOTW Daily, 5-15-2008], but he’s been busted as a wannabe, creating several distinct questions, all beginning with the phrase “why would somebody.”

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Sako Kojima, the performance artist who tries as hard as she can to, er, be a hamster “because they don’t meditate, they aren’t thinking deep.” “[A]fter time, [my] works show a sense of irony, pain, and sadness of individual human experience.”

NOTW, The Blog
Yr Editor plans to publish tomorrow, July 2nd, but that'll be it until Monday, July 7th.

Newsrangers: Joe Weckbacher, Emmitt Dove, Mark Neunder, Michael Lawlor, Darryl McMiller, Eric Appellof, Scott Langill, Sam Gaines
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday’s Creme de la Weird

While the rest of the Middle East re-embraces Islam, Iran embraces . . . the New-Age motivational movement
Iran’s well-educated youth go ga-ga over feng shui, books like The Secret (now in its 10th printing in Farsi), and Tony-Robbins-type motivational speaker Alireza Azmandian. Who knew that peace with Iran would be achieved through our common infatuation with bull*hit? Wall Street Journal

They’re American, except in the Olympics
From Sunday’s Los Angeles Times: “Giovanni Lanaro was born in Los Angeles, grew up [in a suburb], attended Cal State Fullerton, and coaches and trains [at a local college]. Yet, when the torch is lighted during opening ceremonies this summer at the Beijing Olympics, the world’s sixth-ranked pole vaulter will be with Mexico, not the United States. ‘I will always compete for Mexico,’ said Lanaro, whose mother was born there. ‘I will never compete for any other country.’” Los Angeles Times

Bottled water, again
It’s almost No Longer Weird, but the Washington Post engineers a complete takedown this morning. Water sommeliers in Tokyo and Paris. Desalinated sea water from Hawaii, sold as “concentrate,” which means, er, you have to add water before you drink it. BlingH2O selling for $40 a bottle. Humanity spends trillions of dollars to make its tap water clean and cheap, and people buy bottled at markups of 1,000 percent and higher. All the while, third-worlders die daily from lack of access to clean water. Huge carbon footprint in transporting bottled water “from Place A to Place B, when an identical product is already available in Place B in a form that is typically much cheaper, rigorously tested and sometimes safer. And afterward, millions of plastic bottles end up in landfills.” Washington Post

San Francisco’s illegal-immigrant-sheltering policy now includes not only not prosecuting drug-running Honduran kids but buying them plane tickets home
It’s one thing to officially not cooperate with the feds in turning in illegal immigrants, but apparently now drug lords know that kids (or adults who look like kids) are the way to do it because San Fran, as a matter of policy, feels sorry for said kids being exploited. (Bonus: Supposedly, as soon as they land in Honduras, they’re headed back to San Fran). San Francisco Chronicle

Florida, like many states, has tax-relief provisions that people rip off with enthusiasm, including this guy, who’s the Supervisor of Elections in Tampa
You get a tax break if you’re a farmer, with cattle, so his renter has 11 head, and because of that, the S of E’s tax bill dropped from $10,856 to $2,820, which works out to state support of $987 per cow. Tampa Tribune

Civilization in Decline
It says here that an elementary school in Lund, Sweden, confiscated a kid’s birthday-party invitations because he failed to invite everybody (though the two he didn’t invite were one bully and one guy who hadn’t invited him to his own party) . . . . . And in Britain (the home of things like birthday-party anti-discrimination), the Daily Mail has counted six local councils that spend taxpayers’ money to buy salt-shakers, to be distributed through town, that have 5 holes instead of the current 17 or so, because that theoretically might reduce, y’know, blood pressure problems or diabetes.

The Human Condition Today
Australia’s Treasury Secretary: hard-core conservationist or just a wuss who can’t take the heat of a bad economy? (He’s taking 5 weeks off to go take care of 115 wombats) . . . . . Awesome! Teen taking The Only Way Out drives off top of Pikes Peak in a 1985 Nissan Maxima, falls the equivalent height of the Empire State Building before crashing, and he still failed in his mission . . . . . It’s good to see that there are still people unconcerned about the economy and world tensions, like Mr. Variable of New Mexico, who is spending time pressing his lawsuit to legally change his name to Fu*k Censorship [Yr Editor censored the first word, for e-mail filters] . . . . . A medical journal reported the case of a 10-yr-old boy with obsessive-compulsive disorder who had to step on a particular white mark in the road every day, and he forgot to do that on September 11, 2001, and now he feels terrible about what he caused . . . . . Juan Manuel Alvarez might get his wish, after all, if he was telling the truth about why he parked on the railroad tracks (suicide), causing a train wreck that killed 11 and wounded 180 in 2005; a jury convicted him of murder Thursday and meets this week to decide whether he gets the death penalty.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Donald Siegfried, 55, and his gal pal Diane Whalen, 54, were charged in Tulsa with multiple felonies for running a video business featuring Whalen doin’ it with three dogs (193 CDs and DVDs, 67 videotapes, and more). The dogs were also taken into custody and may be put down [Ed: which is messed up, giving the dogs the death penalty while Donald and Diane are just going to jail]. The Oklahoman

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
In fact, you’re invited to judge whether Donald and Diane (see previous item) are guilty or not. KTUL-TV (Tulsa)

NOTW Lite
The Texas Supreme Court ruled that a church’s exorcism, apparently no matter how sloppily carried out, is exempt from a lawsuit for injuries to the possessed . . . . . Yr Editor missed this earlier, but apparently Ireland has been trying for 2 yrs now to pass a law to deter people from setting off nuclear weapons in that great country, by threatening them with 12 months in jail and a €5,000 fine! A new version is being proposed.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Some photos of Macaca monkeys who have just let themselves go, hittin’ the Entenmann’s and Haagen-Dazs at the Ohama wildlife park in Sakai, Japan. Note to visitors: No enabling!

Newsrangers: Wes Jones, Frank Reynolds, Ron Phillips, H.Thompson, Mark Neunder, Bruce Leiserowitz, Linda Anderson, Steve Dunn, Pete Randall
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday’s Creme de la Weird

European Union stoogin’ up again: gotta toss out 5,000 kiwis because they’re 4g (1/4 oz.) too light
Apparently, it’s very important that Europeans be able to get exactly the same-looking produce every time they shop. (This is known as the “no straight bananas” rule.) Daily Mail (London)

Most prostitutes are street-wise, but then there’s Ms. Mercedes Green
It was an unmarked car, and the driver was wearing a suit, but his police radio was blaring away, and he had emergency lights on the dash, but she hopped right in. “You’re not the police, are you?” “What do you think,” he said. “I didn’t think so,” she screamed to be heard over the radio. “$100.” After the bust, “You wear glasses, and I didn’t think police could wear them.” Reno Gazette-Journal

Canada: where, if you heckle a stand-up comic, and he’s got a better comeback, you just go file a human-rights complaint against him
Oh, you Americans, Canadians say, and your obsession about that “free speech” thingy; what’s really important is, you can't hurt people’s feelings. National Post (Toronto)

The Human Condition Today
Drunk-driver not guilty in the death of the pedestrian—because the pedestrian was even drunker . . . . . Another F State female teacher in trouble for sex with a teen boy, but, um, she’s 60.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
They say Shawn Harmon raped a woman at knifepoint, possibly. WKRC-TV (Cincinnati)

NOTW Lite
Next week a smoking ban takes effect in Amsterdam coffee shops, but that’s only for tobacco; you can still light up inside if you’re just doing marijuana or hashish . . . . . Demolition derbies for the hardcore: farmers doing battle with their (two-story-high, 13-ton) combines . . . . . IBM and Mars Inc. announced a joint project of (for some people) humanitarian dimensions: mapping the cocoa tree genome to help assure a continuing supply of chocolate.

Updates
The New York Times catches us up on a country whose progressive, enlightened response to drug addictions puts the U.S. (mandatory-minimums for possession) to shame, and by “progressive” and “enlightened,” I can only be referring to, er, Iran [NOTW M059, 5-25-2008] . . . . . Dr. Jayant Patel, whose specialty apparently is “accidental mortality,” has finally agreed to be extradited to Australia to stand trial for maybe 17 patient-deaths in the two yrs he worked there (after being de-licensed in New York and Oregon) [NOTW Daily, 3-12-2008] (Favorite money quote from Patel, on hygiene: “Doctors’ hands don’t get dirty”).

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

Newsrangers: Bob Pert, Josh Levin, Terry McCarthy, Joe Weckbacher
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday’s Creme de la Weird

Supreme Court upholds the right to confront a witness against you, even if you might have killed her
He was on trial for murdering his ex-girlfriend, and the prosecutor wanted to present a damning statement she had supposedly made against him, but no can do because she’s not available for the defendant to cross-examine. USA Today

The Romanian senate passed a law requiring that half the reported news be happy, positive news
But let’s look on the bright side: It’s the only country in the world where, by force of law, half the news has to be negative. Agence France-Presse

Saudi “marriage official” rules that even 1-yr old girls can get nuptialated up
That’s just as long as there’s no sex, because 1-yr-olds aren’t ready for that. Age 9, now, that’s different. Fox News // Memri

Ozark doctor gets off the hook after punching his daughter in the head
He’s of African heritage, he told the judge, and the “konk” is a type of punishment common in his home country, and besides, it’s just a a little knuckle tap “to get the attention of a child.” Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader

“Did you see me take my thing out and urinate?”
That was Michael Hoppe, 56, acting as his own lawyer and cross-examining the cop who had ticketed him for relieving himself in public. “Did you test DNA [in the pee puddle] to see if it was my urine?” Verdict: Not guilty Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald

The Human Condition Today
His best friend was hospitalized with a gunshot wound, and Zachary Enloe, 20, explained that, well, they had been practicing their quick draws with empty guns, and he had simply forgotten that he had subsequently loaded his (a few minutes earlier) . . . . . People Different From Us: Yes, judge, I went to see my boyfriend in jail despite the stayaway order against him, but look, judge, we both assault each other all the time, she said (That night, in fact, “I picked him up three or four times and slammed him on the ground.”) . . . . . Yr Editor fears senior-moment gas-brake confusions, but on the other hand, Yr Editor never met Roberta McCain, the potential First Mother, who at age 96 still collects her share of speeding tickets . . . . . The Italian architect getting reams of publicity this week for his planned, super-challenging, 80-story revolving tower in Dubai says, Trust me, We can build this (even though he claims an honorary doctorate from Columbia University, which has officially never heard of him) . . . . . A teenager got a judicial restraining order against, er, the mayor of Greeley, Colo.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
These are suspects in a pretty gross murder in Richardson, Tex., so evaluate them very carefully in that they could get the needle. WFAA-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth)

NOTW Lite
The only clever criminals are smugglers: Brazilian inmates run drugs and cell phones via carrier pigeons (but with heavy loads, some birds were struggling to get airborne) . . . . . United Fire Casualty’s headquarters (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) is under three feet of water, and, guess what, they’ve got a little bit of flood insurance coverage, but not much . . . . . Quite a scene at the Eagle Trace Golf Course in Broomfield, Colo., what with scheduling that junior tournament (ages 7-12) to end about the start time of the charity tournament populated with dancers from a local strip club (“Mom, why is she only wearing underwear?”) . . . . . If you’re one of the 10,000 holders of North Carolina license plates containing the letter group “WTF,” you can swap it out because the state admits it was clueless in issuing them.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Admit it: You’re not surprised, are you, to find out that some artist paints using his nutsack as a brush (Safe for Work).

Newsrangers: Mark Neunder, Sam Gaines, Derek Costello, Rick Matz
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday’s Creme de la Weird

Class-action lawsuit as farce (Grand Theft Auto)
Coupla people were offended that they had gifted their kids a game with embedded sex scenes, and lawyers sniffed out a big payday, and finally, there's a settlement that stands to pay out less than $30k total to the victims but a requested $1.3m to their lawyers. And, for the most part, the victors had to endure with a straight face not being bothered by gifting their kids a game where killing cops is not as bad as watching sex. (Bonus: At least one was OK with killing but seemed puzzled that GTA also involved “stealing.”) New York Times

Dancing and breasts: the quest for powering up your iPod
UK cell-phone company Orange said it would test out this weekend a thingy to re-charge your phone while you’re dancing. That news hit the day after a Slate writer reported on the distinct possibilities of running an iPod by harnessing the energy of ordinary breast-jiggling. An exercise-science expert told Slate that breasts “move on three different axes: from side to side, front to back, and up and down. The most motion is generated on the vertical axis.” (Well, not, y’know, double-A’s, but D’s, in a low-support bra, move as much as 35 inches during a workout.) Reuters // Slate

New end-of-the-world date is sometime in 2012
“Thousands” in the Netherlands have signed on, even though they seem to be stocking up on supplies, which, well, y’know, if the world is ending, it’s ending. Anyway, one said, “I don’t like it here anymore. Take immigration, for example. They keep letting people in. And then we have to build more houses, which makes the Netherlands even heavier. The country will sink even lower, which will make the flooding worse.” United Press International via Fox News

Update: The N. Y. Times catches us up on those Albanian “sworn virgins” who live their lives as men
Said one of the 40 or so remaining: “Back then, it was better to be a man because before, a woman and an animal were considered the same thing.” “I think today it would be fun to be a woman.” New York Times // NOTW M028 (10-21-2007) // NOTW 456 (11-1-1996)

Update: And the Washington Post catches us up on Japan’s obsession with the smart toilet
“For hygiene-conscious Japanese, the romance with these toilets is equivalent to the American romance with the Hummer.” That’s because, though Japan has run circles around the rest of the industrialized world in going green, the one exception is these contraptions, which use about 4 percent of all household energy, mainly through keeping the water in the tank at just the correct warmth so that it’ll splash your butt comfortably when you’re done. (But they’re working on that; a smart thermostat will warm the water in cycles, provided that your throne visits stay on schedule.) Washington Post // NOTW 703 (7-11-2001) // NOTW 102 (1-19-1990)

At least 30 percent of those Ground Zero workers who filed money claims over 9-11 cleanup illnesses were likely exaggerating
As usual, it’s one thing when the headlines hit and another once ya actually get down to their individual medical records. New York Times

The Human Condition Today
A Salina, Kan., man, celebrating his pal’s victory in a barroom fight, evidently miscounted bullets [Ed.: news account is poorly written] and shot himself in the head with the “empty” gun (but not fatally; he could still breed) . . . . . A window cleaner in Australia survived a nine-story drop with only minor injuries, thanks to his harness (but on the other hand, he landed on the harness, which gave him, he said, a “big wedgie”).

Your Daily Loser
How embarrassing! Two guys in lockup in Alton, Tex., climbed up through the air-conditioner vent and crawled away, but the shaft broke open, and they landed on the floor of the police chief’s office. Associated Press via Alton (Ill.) Telegraph

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Are these the types of fellas who might run a meth lab out of a Colorado trailer home? Denver Post

Professor Music’s Weird Links
A nice collection of citations for out-of-the-box thinking on taking The Only Way Out (like, y’know, ramming a ball-point pen through your skull, or strangulation by tying four rubber bands together) [from A Good Poop blog, via ScienceBlogs.com]

NOTW, The Blog
(1) Yr Editor has been following Zimbabwe’s inflation rates for a couple of yrs, but this blogger "Josh" has more, having inferred the latest weekend rate (since the gov’t no longer publishes an official rate). The value of a U.S. dollar last Friday was Z$17 billion, and by Monday it had climbed to Z$35 billion. 100 percent in three days, which would be a progressive daily rate of 26 percent, which works out to an annual percentage of, er, 430 followed by 36 zeroes. (2) Mainichi Daily News announced that it has closed its notorious waiwai page, citing the number of straight news readers who were offended by the raunch. The waiwai page reported the juiciest of the weekly Japanese sex tabloids (but always carried a disclaimer about legitimacy), and since it came from the respected MDN, Yr Editor was often tipped to its stories. I’d make a perfunctory effort to find mainstream Japanese papers’ coverage of the same thing, but I never found a single one and had to let go of some really delightful stories, like the idea that there might be brothels in Tokyo where you rent inflatable dolls by the hour.

Newsrangers: Emory Kimbrough, Jeanette Curtis, Stephen Taylor, Steve Miller, Joe Littrell, Sam Gaines
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday’s Creme de la Weird

You’d think America’s about had enough of those no-money-down mortgages, but one enabler is still pushing them: the federal gov’t
The Federal Housing Administration still has a program to guarantee those loans, based on the seller’s laundering the down payment to the buyer through a nonprofit third party. Of course, if the buyer defaults, that’s FHA’s problem, not yours and mine! Wall Street Journal

Almost 20 percent of Christians say they pray in tongues
62% of Americans say at least some of their prayers have been answered. (Yr Editor’s doing something wrong.)
Washington Post

Scottish elementary schools ban “father’s day” so not to offend kids from “nontraditional” families
This isn’t the first such report from the UK. Yr Editor did one on a Welsh school banning mother’s day cards [NOTW Daily, 2-7-2008], but I seem to recall others, limited to individual schools. Daily Telegraph (London)

Update: The Gloucester Daily Times has fingered Time magazine as the one that first called that town’s high school mass pregnancies a “pact”
The real evidence so far is that several girls shared the same attitude about getting pregnant while in school, but it could just as well have been that they came to those decisions independently (or informally, following the leader). Gloucester Daily Times

Update: The “primitive, indigenous” tribe in Brazil that Yr Editor referred you to, with arrows pointed toward the photographer on the circling airplane, isn’t quite so primitive
The photographer exaggerated a bit, on behalf of a land-preservation campaign. The tribe may technically been been “noncontacted,” as the photographer told reporters, but it had been discovered previously, like, almost 100 yrs ago. The photographer knew exactly where to look to get a provocative photo. But they're still way-primitive. The Guardian (London) [Link via BoingBoing] // NOTW Daily, 6-2-2008

The Human Condition Today
Arrested in Tampa on coke-selling charges: Mr. God L. Howard (L is for Lucky) (Bonus: He stated that his occupation is “mortgage broker,” which is arguably more disreputable these days than “coke dealer”) . . . . . People Different From Us: Scott Sullivan, 35, was arrested in Van Buren, Ark., for allegedly kidnaping his mother and tying her up because he was angry that her dog killed his pet skunk.

Your Daily Loser
Briton James Milson, 21, was arrested four months ago for breaking into a car and swiping the navigation device; turns out it was a police bait car, and the hidden camera caught his face perfectly. Then, six weeks ago, he did it again. And it was another bait car, and another perfect photo. Last week, once more, another bait car, another perfect shot. Daily Telegraph (London)

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Jeffrey Barrier, 41, arrested for video peeping over the transom at a tanning booth, even though it looked for a while like the charges wouldn’t stick because cops couldn’t find a camera, but then they looked up his butt. Cincinnati Enquirer // TheSmokingGun.com

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
John Arthur Grawey, 53, accused of onanic behavior in front of a kid. Cheboygan (Mich.) Daily Tribune

NOTW Lite
How to find out whether a city has a drug problem: give it a urinalysis (testing its raw sewage) (and learning, for example, that Las Vegas has 5x the per capita meth use as Omaha, and that London’s a heroin king and Los Angeles does coke) . . . . . An F State lawyer, fighting his Pensacola client’s federal obscenity charges, said he’ll try to use Pensacola computers’ Google search results to show that “community standards” are actually pretty raunchy . . . . . Uh-Oh! TV producers have created Faith Off, a quiz show on religious trivia featuring teams of Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc., battling each other, in good fun, of course, of course (on the Islam Channel, available in 30 countries). Of course. Good fun.

Update
The great Mineola (Tex.) kiddie sex club trials continue down the road from Tyler, Tex., to bring justice to six adults who trained kids as young as 5 to stage sexual performances for about 100 grownups at a day care facility. Shauntel Mayo was convicted in May [NOTW Daily, 5-12-2008], as was Jamie Pittman (each after jury deliberations of five minutes or less). Still on the dock: four others, including, this week, Patrick “Booger Red” Kelly, 41. Tyler Morning Telegraph

Professor Music’s Weird Links
How the world’s 6 tiniest countries came to be

NOTW, The Blog
Yr Editor obsessively followed George Carlin’s career, even when he was just doing straight stand-up with short hair and narrow ties. Then, in 1990, he became the first really big shot to write me a fan letter, scrawling in his own pen that he loved News of the Weird in the weekly Los Angeles Reader. We even pen-palled a bit after that. Holy jeez, George Carlin wrote me a fan letter! George Carlin! [sigh] Damn.

Newsrangers: Tom Barker, Stephen Taylor, John Votel, Jerry Whittle, Bobby Straka, Wes Simpson, Bryce Jackson, Joe Littrell, Sam Gaines, Grant Crawford
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday’s Creme de la Weird

A ventilation problem last year at a Centers for Disease Control infectious research lab was remedied by, uh, putting duct tape around the door (and the tape’s still there!)
Oh, the public was never at risk, an official said; the duct tape is just an “enhancement.” Said a critic, “I do not believe the CDC would approve this arrangement in a laboratory other than their own.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Police in a Minneapolis suburb, trying to be helpful, walked into a home at 3 a.m., scaring the bejeezus out of the kids and the parents, just to tell them, Hey, be sure to lock your doors at night
St Paul Pioneer-Press

Can’t Possibly Be True: A high school honor student was suspended for 2 yrs for giving his teacher a playful noogie
On appeal, the school reduced it to 10 months. The teacher was well-known to playfully endure noogies. Classmates can’t believe this is happening. [Ed.: Neither can I; something’s missing here] WCBS-TV (New York City)

Caged boy “skinned, eaten by family”
It’s a story from the Czech Republic, but it’s being widely circulated, meaning lots of editors think it’ll stand up [and it looks good to Yr Editor]. A mother and her friend continually abused, sexually and otherwise, her two adolescent sons. They were forced to cut themselves. Then, the women munched on the flesh, all at the direction of the mysterious text-messager, “the Doctor.” When arrested, mom said she was brainwashed by the friend and the Doctor, as part of a cult called the Grail Movement. When the news broke, said Grail Movement said, Not us; it was a breakaway cult of Joseph Skria, whom we kicked out in 1996. (Bonus: Mom’s kinda cute, actually) (Double bonus: The abuse was exposed when the women set up a remote video feed so they could watch the kids suffer but didn’t encrypt the signal, and the next-door neighbor accidentally picked it up) Daily Mail (London) / Daily Telegraph (Sydney) [“kinda cute”] / message from Grail Movement

A delightfully complicated murder trial is underway in Atlanta
A Louisiana grocer from India asked a pal to find a hit man to get rid of the grocer’s black daughter-in-law in Atlanta so the son could find a nice Indian girl, instead. The pal engaged a broker, who found the hit man. It’ll be tough to pull off because the couple are always together, the hit man said. I could do the job easier if I killed both of them (a 2-for-1 special!). No, no, not the son, just the daughter-in-law. Hit man did the job, but had a witness with him. He trusted the witness because she made a “pinky promise” with him (hooking pinky fingers) not to squeal. The half-clever grocer and his broker are on tape: “Remember,” said the broker, “I did that murder for you.” “You did it for me,” said the grocer, “but the problem is [thinking on his feet, though it’s too late for that now] I don’t know anything about that. Am I right or wrong? I don’t know nothing about that.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cliche come to life: British town council actually outlaws use of the word “brainstorming” as offensive to epileptics
When people meet to think creatively, they’ll be having “thought showers” now. The epileptics’ association says, Seriously? Daily Mail (London)

When (and why) did junior high schools in Houston stop making boys strip naked for swimming class?
YMCAs were notorious for that as late as the 1950s, Yr Editor knows. A Houston Chronicle columnist posits that it started in the 19th century when swim suits were full-body and would shed fibers freely, clogging pool drains, and nobody bothered to change the policy until some time in the 1950s or later. Houston Chronicle

Modern jousting: like ultimate fighting but with horses, lances, and body armor
There are a couple hundred competitive jousters in the world, who take no prisoners (“It’s not about the prize you win. It’s about hearing your rivals’ wives weep”). This is altogether different from those renaissance-fair weekend revivals, which are for costumes and camaraderie. These cats are serious. Ya can get hurt here (and spend a lot of money). Wall Street Journal

The Human Condition Today
The 1980s Kansas City serial rapist-murderer was convicted on Thursday, and draw your own conclusions about why he turned bad, but maybe it was his inability to get a date, what with his real name being Mr. Shy Bland . . . . . This F State dentist has a 35-yr career and sparkling reputation–except for that one patient where the dentist accidentally dropped the screwdriver down his throat while putting in an implant, and then, when the patient went back for the job, six months later, the dentist accidentally dropped a torque wrench down his throat . . . . . Middle-school teacher-student sex in Jefferson County, Ala., which is unremarkable except it involves at least 8 boys, which might violate the state’s bag limit.

Your Daily Loser
He seeks police help in getting his car back after lending it to an acquaintance for an errand, and no, he didn’t quite get the actual name or address of the acquaintance, but he does know a guy who knows the acquaintance, and the guy said the acquaintance goes by “Weasel.” Las Cruces Sun-News

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Carol Blair, 63, and her daughter Brigit Moore, 36, were arrested in Rocklin, Calif., for lots o’ car vandalism in a neighborhood (though police said they were just trashing Blair’s ex-husband’s car and then did the others as cover. KOVR-TV (Sacramento)

NOTW Lite
Duke Univ. is a basketball powerhouse, but they really suck at football, and in fact, according to their lawyers, their football team is a lot lousier even than people think, which is why the school wins this lawsuit . . . . . Some say Bhutan has the world’s awfulest cuisine, but it’ll be showcased on the Washington, D.C., Mall this week at a Smithsonian festival (e.g., chili peppers in yak cheese, yak-butter tea, ferns boiled to slime)

Updates
The mayor of Gloucester, Mass., said the sourcing is mighty thin for that alleged pregnancy pact by those 17 high school girls [NOTW Daily, 6-20-2008], i.e., just the school principal’s word for it, based on someone’s telling him. Yr Editor guesses, then, that the story is back in play.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
WorldNetDaily.com has updated its Master List of female teachers caught fooling around with students (with details), but don’t go here unless you’ve got some time on your hands ‘cause, well, it’s a master list.

Newsrangers: Steve Miller, Joe Littrell, Paul Music, Alan Magid, Mark Neunder, Paul Bruesch, Scott Langill, Emory Kimbrough, Jeff Berg, Sam Gaines, Jenny Beatty
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday’s Creme de la Weird

TV news that Can’t Possibly Be True
Premiering on the G4 cable network on July 15th will be the reality show, uh, Hurl, which is as it appears: Contestants gorge themselves, then get strapped onto a big spinner, and the one to throw up last wins. Seriously. ABC News

With straight faces, the people of Zheleznovodsk, Russia, dedicated a town monument to the, er, enema
The region’s spas do big business including, apparently, mineral-water colonics, so here’s an 800-lb. syringe bulb, held aloft by three men. A banner reads “Let’s beat constipation.” Said a local artist, “This device is eternal. It will never change.” Associated Press via Yahoo

U.S. contractor in Afghanistan, being sued by GIs’ families for wrongful death, invokes Sharia law
Nat’l Transportation Safety Board said the deaths were the fault of the contractor (a sister corporation of those charming Blackwater folks), but Sharia holds only the individual employees liable. Raleigh News and Observer

“God willing” is becoming Egypt’s linguistic equivalent of “like” and “y’know”
It’s not just headscarves, or the “raisin” bumps on the head from enthusiastic praying [NOTW M042, 1-27-2008]. Now pious Egyptians toss “inshallah” around with their every word. ([What’s your name?] Fezzik, God willing. [Will you have onions on your sandwich?] Yes, God willing.) New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/20/world/middleeast/20inshallah.html?ref=world
[Ed.: Er, Blogger is acting funny right here, and I can't get the link to stick so if you want this story, you'll have to copy and paste]

Evidently, even the “seventh most genetically valuable horse in the North American breeding program” can be vasectomized if for the convenience of whichever zoo he’s being kept at
The zoo may have to house him with fillies who aren’t, y’know, qualified to receive his immortal sperm. Fortunately, vets can now do vasectomy-reversals on horses! Science Daily

Busy day at Washington’s National Press Club
First, a guy named Gary W. Sinclair rented a room Wednesday to publicize his unsubstantiated charge that he did sex ‘n’ cocaine with state senator Obama in 1999, which he’s had a tough time getting anyone to believe, since he’s got a long rap sheet for frauds, but then apparently some bloggers tipped police, and Sinclair was arrested at the scene based on a Delaware warrant he’s been running from, and it turns out Sinclair’s lawyer is our old friend Montgomery Blair Sibley, the attorney of last resort who brings instant discredit to any client (in those states where he hasn’t been disbarred). Sibley showed up Wednesday in a kilt. One reporter: “I don’t mean to be impudent, but why are you wearing a kilt?” Sibley: “It has to do with genitalia. If you are on the smaller side, then pants are not uncomfortable [sic].” Wired.com blog / Sydney Morning Herald

The Human Condition Today
Manuel Douglas set his house on fire when he fell asleep while deep-frying a pork chop (Bonus: “Douglas told investigators he kept [the] deep-fryer next to his sofa”) . . . . . They’re looking for Marcel Perrot in Edmonton, Alberta, for robbing a bank while test-driving a truck from a dealership (Bonus: The salesman was innocently waiting in the truck outside the bank the whole time) . . . . . Readers’ Choice: From Grand Prairie, Tex., the latest "used his waistband as a holster" mishap, and he won’t be doing that again, ever . . . . . It appears that 17 girls at Gloucester (Mass.) High made a pact to get pregnant by any means necessary because they were desperate to have someone to love them unconditionally.

Your Daily Loser
Gelando Olivieri, who was arrested after he got chased out of an F State liquor store by the clerk he was robbing (which he was trying to do by being armed with a palm frond) (but it was one with sharp leaves!) (Of course there’s a surveillance photo!) WKMG-TV (Orlando)

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
William Moser, 26 (who, technically, is a gunshot “victim,” but even his mom admits it’s just a matter of time before he perps up once again) Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand)

NOTW Lite
A high school in rural Thailand broke down and built a third-sex bathroom with a half-man, half-woman image on the door, dictated by the fact that almost 8 percent of the entire student body claim to be transvestites . . . . . It’s only fair: Chinese South Africans, who were “colored” under apartheid, have been officially classified now as “black” and entitled to all the anti-white gov’t bennies . . . . . It looks like a judge in Quebec has overruled one parent’s grounding of a 12-yr-old girl, which would be sorta big news, but from the reports Yr Editor can’t be sure the decision wasn’t simply based on the judge’s empowering the other parent (who didn’t ground her) (the parents are divorced).

Updates
(1) The problem’s worse than Yr Editor reported this week [NOTW M062, 6-15-2008]: 27,000 doctors, hospitals, and other Medicare providers owe more than $2B in back taxes, and the gov’t could be docking each Medicare reimbursement 15 percent to recoup taxes, but isn’t. (2) So now somebody punked out the people around Vancouver, B.C., by planting a washed-ashore shoe with a “foot” inside it! (So the total of real ones remains at 5.)

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

NOTW, The Blog
The Atlantic.com this week reminded us that the Phabulous Phelpses of Topeka, Kan., actually had a local history of representing blacks in civil rights challenges and only after that commenced their holy war against homosexuality.

Newsrangers: Bruce Townley, Bob Pert, Scott Schrier, Karl Olson, Maggie Morgan, Catherine May, Emory Kimbrough, and a lot of people on the enema and waistband and parental-grounding beats.
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday’s Creme de la Weird

A tic from his past haunts an F State candidate for sheriff
Current Sarasota Chief Deputy Larry Dunklee had this problem, 8 yrs ago, anyway, in that four female co-workers complains that he had roving hands, on their bodies and on his own. Of the latter, he explained that (according to a Herald-Tribune columnist) “touching himself [uh, down there, through his clothes] was a nervous habit he picked up as a kid, and said his mother had once sought medical advice to help him stop.” Well, maybe. But back then, when given the opportunity to apologize to one offended lady, he then ripped her a new one for noticing that particular area of his body and blamed her for embarrassing him. Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Recurring Theme: I got glued to the toilet seat at Wal-Mart
Haywood Rosales, 31, said he had to call his wife to come help him because the throne had some sort of adhesive, and he got cuts and abrasions when the seat was finally pulled off. (A similar November 2005 lawsuit against Home Depot was dismissed on the ground that the store had no way of knowing that one customer would try to punk another customer, but Rosales’s lawyer said stores should thereafter have been on the lookout for copycats.) [Actually, Yr Editor NLW’d the story in 2006 after, I recall, two more in-store pranks, the last of which I reported in NOTW 965 [8-6-2006] involving a Wal-Mart in North Salisbury, Md.] TheSmokingGun.com / AP via MSNBC (2005 lawsuit)

Man sics his pet snake on cops
Nothing happened. Bad snake! Connecticut Post

Child welfare officials threatened to take a diligent mother’s autistic child away because, uh, her teacher’s assistant’s psychic said the kid was being sexually abused
Seriously. City News (Toronto)

Virginia’s back-assward protection of sensitive data
Betty Ostergren campaigns to have the state cover up all those Social Security numbers it has incidentally left on Internet public records. State no-like criticism. Betty starts publishing the SSN’s, herself, to dramatize the problem. State now embarrassed. Legislature leaps into action. Result: State records still up, intact, but next month a law will kick in criminalizing Betty’s spreading the numbers around. PC World

British janitor sues the school for £50,000 because he fell off a stepladder, which was their fault for not “training” him
He told first-responders to the accident that it was his own fault but now disclaims that, saying, well, he was dazed at the time, being “in and out of consciousness.” Daily Telegraph (London)

Update: Our favorite semi-nude protester
Jennifer Moss was last seen on these pages upsetting some people in Ojai, Calif., by tooling around town in g-string and pasties [NOTW Daily, 4-29-2008] but has moved to Ashland, Ore., based on the town’s ordinance that prohibits only genital nudity (and not nipple nudity). She has announced she’ll do the 4th of July parade topless. Town officials said that’s a family affair and that she can parade topless the other 365 days this yr, but not then, please. Associated Press via Yahoo

Gangs of New York do formal “blessings” of their babies, like baptisms into gang life
“‘It’s like a christening,’ he said. ‘The [Episcopal] priest holds the baby, and we say our prayer at the same time. We have to have the window open and the baby pointed to the sun.’ Once blessed, the child is given yellow beads, the [Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation] gang’s color.” New York Daily News

F State man hates payday ‘cause he has to send his ex-wife alimony to support her current life as a man
“He says he doesn’t wish Julio [formerly, Julia] any ill will, but is afraid he might bump into his ex-wife in the men’s room someday.” WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

A British police department coughed up £100,000 worth of expense trying to find protective gear that would fit a Sikh cop over his turban
They couldn’t find anything so the cop immediately went on sick leave for stress. Daily Telegraph (London)

The Human Condition Today
In a fiery, three-vehicle crash in Dallas, one person was hospitalized, but the only death was a rubbernecker who got out to take pictures from the adjacent lane and was, well– . . . . . A schoolteacher in China’s earthquake area is being publicly pilloried because he apparently outran all of his students for cover when the quake hit (“I would only consider sacrificing my life for my daughter [and not] for anyone else, even my mother”) . . . . . Says here a guy in Genoa, Italy, kidnaped his ex-girlfriend and brought her home because some dishes needed washing and some ironing done.

Your Daily Losers
There was a stabbing at a house in Wichita, Kan., after a commotion started when two young men were arguing over which of them more deserved the nickname “C-Thug.” Wichita Eagle

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Is Betty Neumar your retired high school English teacher or a woman who has killed each of her five husbands? ABC News

NOTW Lite
Good to know: French scientists learn which part of the brain lights up when we look at porn . . . . . The Vatican has blessed the idea of a musical based on the Virgin Mary and are seeking a lyricist, having already selected the composer, whose credits include Pirhana Part 2: The Spawning and Black Orgasm . . . . . Sounds Like a Joke: France announced it was reducing its military by 54,000 jobs . . . . . Let’s see, gasoline, $4.09 a gallon, whoa, no way, crime, outrage, and Evian, $6.76 a gallon, yeah, well, uh, hey, wait a minute . . ..

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

NOTW, The Blog
Reminder: Yr Editor is tending to chores tomorrow and will post next on Friday.

Newsrangers: Paul Music, John Holsinger, Shawna-Lin Hamel, Jon Meccarello, Mindy Cohen, Matt Mirapaul, Ken Vermette, Josh Levin, Scott Langill, Justin Warner
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.