Friday, February 01, 2008

Things To Worry About On Friday
Staring at the long necks / The mellow arsonist / Churches, no; sports bars, yes / Eleven accidental shots fired at cops / Freedom still a hard sell in Afghanistan / Practice makes perfect for expert on domestic abuse / And more!

Civilization in Decline
Pope Benedict said human dignity has been "shattered" by science work such as embryonic stem-cell research, cloning, and artificial insemination, but, whoa, Sweet Jesus, is he ever going to hate this: Researchers at Newcastle upon Tyne Univ. say they’re about to start work on turning human bone marrow into sperm cells (up to this point: only with mice) . . . . . LAPD figures it cost only about $25k for the elaborate deployment (24 cops, chopper, EMTs) to get Britney Spears to the hospital, past the paparazzi (It was "a shame," said the deputy chief, that crime-fighting resources had to be diverted) . . . . . The Australian newspaper ran a promotion of its overseas news coverage, specifically, a poignant, insightful photo from a tense neighborhood in Beirut featuring a woman who was incidentally smoking from a water pipe, but the gov’t’s Health Dept. is on the verge of quashing the ad because, after all, she’s smoking . . . . . A San Carlos, Calif., man says he's a good environmental soldier and recycles nearly everything and thus canceled his trash pick-up service, but now the city's suing him because ya gotta pay for trash pick-up . . . . . That "freedom" thing is a slow sell in Afghanistan, as a journalist faces the death penalty for, uh, downloading something from the Internet on how Arab women might conceivably be oppressed . . . . . What a country! China announced that it has made progress in preventing rain in Beijing this coming August 8 for the Olympics opening ceremony . . . . . The employee-benefit manager, Reserve Solutions, is now marketing an ATM card that you can use to borrow until your 40l(k) is dry.

The Human Condition Today
Tough room: Ernest Simmons was found guilty of attempted murder when the jury declined his defense that the 11 shots he fired at two cops from two guns was, er, an "accident" . . . . . Behold the civic-minded Ms. Pat Dykstra, Fox Lake, Wis., who took to heart her boyfriend’s observation that she was drunk, telephoned police from her car to request backup to follow her home in case she was too drunk to make it (and insisted to the incredulous dispatcher than she needed to hang up because it was unsafe to drive while on the phone) . . . . . Judge Douglas in Barrie, Ontario, got hysterical that there was an actual HIV-positive man in his courtroom, and so moved the trial to a bigger one so the man would be further away from him, made him wear a mask, ordered up rubber gloves for handling the man’s documents (Bonus: The judge’s first name is Jon-Jo) . . . . . A prominent TV domestic violence "expert" (on Dr. Phil’s and Nancy Grace’s shows), Dean Tong, 51, was arrested at his home near Tampa for domestic violence . . . . . Police in Austin, Tex., said the volunteer host of the "Mellow Down Easy" jazz program on a community radio station, uh, set fire to the station when his playlist got ignored . . . . . An Air Canada flight from Toronto to London made it to Ireland before the co-pilot went certifiably nuts, and passengers had to help take him down (He swore, demanded to "speak to God," and advised "It’s OK, you can text me, you can e-mail me.") (Bonus: The passengers had to wait 7 hours for another crew to fly them from Shannon to London)

Your Daily Loser
Andrew Scullen, 36, honorably served a tour in Iraq with the Minnesota Nat’l Guard, but look at what a catastrophe he brought on four days before he shipped out: In his considered wisdom, he chose to marry this woman named Kimberly, and gave her a power of attorney, and by the time he got back, she had filed for divorce, spent basically all his money, and ruined his credit history by running up debt, all for four days of conjugal bliss. He’s suing.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Takahiro Fujinuma, 37, was arrested in Tokyo as the man who has called directory assistance from 2,500 to 10,000 times because he goes "into ecstasy when a lady scold[s] me."

On the runway this week in NYC (before the annual Fashion Week), models strutted in estimated-$3k, famous-name outfits made of "sustainable materials" (from, oh, pineapple, banana leaves, soybeans, paper), but so far few have picked up on the conflict between "sustainable" and "you gotta buy new fashions every year" . . . . . News Built for Punchlines: Japanese researchers implanted a teensy-tiny camera (3mm by 2.3mm by 2.4mm) inside a mouse’s brain to check whether it was trying to remember something) . . . . . Here’s Mr. Robert Morin of Lewiston, Maine, arrested for domestic assault, which implies that he found someone to be domestic with, which seems like a stretch.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Corey Deen Saunders, 26, accused sexual predator

Things That Seem Wrong
The NFL has gotten particularly nasty this yr, enforcing its Super Bowl TV copyright against churches doing outreach by hosting big-screen parties. Federal law says the only ones who can put the game on big screens are, er, sports bars. (Seriously)

Those Burmese women who wear the heavy neck rings to make themselves look like storks [NOTW 541, 6-19-1998] (3 tribes’ worth, who had escaped Burma and set up camp in Thailand) have been invited to emigrate to Finland and New Zealand, but the Thais won’t let them go, as long as tourists are paying the equivalent of $8 each to come stare at them. But the UN, decrying such a "human zoo," is on the case! [Ed.: UN, on the case, a-hahahahahaha! A-hahahahaha!]

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe next time.™

NOTW, The Blog’s media critic, Editor-at-Large Jack Shafer, Wednesday castigated,, and for spritzing too much weird news (things you see here, plus tabloidy stories) all over their sites amongst the hard stuff, and he’s right on target, of course. But then, as "media critic," he made one worthwhile conflict disclosure to his readers (a permanent one, that is owned by the Washington Post) but strangely, not another: In 1988, Shafer, as editor of Washington City Paper, decided to create a piece of knee-slapping, silly, tabloidy kudzu for his rich, front-news vegetation, staining (some would say) the only real alternative journalism at that time in the nation’s capital. That journalistic kudzu was a column called News of the Weird.

Newsrangers: Steve Miller, Bob Pert, Ginger Katz, Mike Cisneros, Stephen Taylor, Neil Gimon, H.Thompson, Tom Barker, Perry Levin
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.