Friday, April 11, 2008

Things To Worry About On Friday
Prosecutors bring the D.C. Madam to her knees / England’s spitting vicar gets the door / The state of the poop-scooping business / Yr Editor’s gas-pedal, brake-pedal ethical dilemma / And more!

Creme de la Weird
A parenting dispute turns violent in Commerce City, Colo.: Mom wants one thing for their tot, estranged dad wants another. The issue: Should the kid wear the colors of her street gang, or his?

Your Daily Loser
Darryl Copeland: How to turn a court summons for a petty assault into 30 yrs for aggravated heroin trafficking.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Freddie Johnson, back at Riker’s Island after his 30th arrest for non-consensual sex (53rd overall) (preferred scene: frottage on a crowded No. 6 train).

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Careful, now: Bruce Mendenhall, 56, might be a serial killer

An excellent way to make the point about America’s excesses: a German production of Verdi’s A Masked Ball opera, with, er, 35 old people frolicking naked among the ruins of the World Trade Center, wearing Mickey Mouse masks . . . . . The Chicago Tribune catches us up on the state of the poop-scooping-service business (trade ass’n [APAWS], a McD’s-type franchiser [Pet Butler] with 100 outlets in 27 states, serving a pet-dog census that’s about one-fourth our human population) . . . . . This week’s trial of the D.C. Madam, Deborah Palfrey, featured a few Washington-B-list clients forced to testify (under immunity), along with some of the service-providers (SSP’s), to establish that Palfrey lies when she says it was a no-sex escort biz. The best SSP’s: suburban mom Fauzia Mack, 46, very persuasive that she thought it was merely a “social companionship” service for elderly men until her first client asked for a blow job (whereupon Palfrey fired her for refusing and called her a “nitwit”) and Rhona Reiss, Ph.D., age 63 (56 when she turned 100 tricks), who re-taught Palfrey attorney Preston Burton the classic trial-lawyer rule of “Don’t ask a witness a question you don’t already know the answer to.”

The best evidence that there is regular turnover in the journalism profession: Every year or so, a fresh-faced reporter and fresh-faced editor seem absolutely astonished to find out there is such a thing as Kopi Luwak (coffee from beans that have made it through the digestive tracts of Asian civet cats). Here’s this year’s story . . . . . Uppity Church of England vicar Tom Ambrose got written up here earlier because parishioners were quite upset that he gave his 2006 Christmas sermon on Microsoft PowerPoint [NOTW M024, 9-23-2007]. Well, he was just sacked for that and a range of other offenses, including twice spitting on parishioners.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Something else Yr Editor would have never thought of, much less have done with such passion: “The Sublime, Nihilistic Elegance of Assquatch Art,” y’know, fixing up dead deer butts.

NOTW, The Blog
(1) Among Yr Editor’s specialties is the growing parade of seniors who confuse the gas pedal for the brake, and wreak various versions of havoc, including death. This phenomenon strikes Yr Editor as odd for several reasons: (a) We as a society overlook that, per mile driven, seniors’ “accident” rates are higher than teenagers’ (depending on how one defines “senior”); (b) Gas-brake crashes happen in otherwise-low-profile places, such as parking lots (or even farmers’ markets), where potential victims aren’t so vigilant; (c) Society continues to unreasonably protect its seniors because (c-1) seniors notoriously vote, thus terrifying politicians and (c-2) society has bought the bogus argument that we must be fair to the few seniors who remain as sharp as tacks, and thus can’t impose restrictions unless we perfectly pre-identity all seniors who are not so sharp. But here’s a dilemma for Buddy, NOTWD’s new ombudsman: What if the senior tries to explain the boo-boo by claiming the accelerator “stuck” (Actually, mechanically, that almost never happens) or, in a story this week, blaming a new pair of shoes (“wider” than my old ones!). Can Yr Editor move past this b.s. and call it what it surely was: confusing the gas pedal with the brake? [Buddy: You have to stick with how the story was reported.] [Ed.: But the only witness to the actual cause is a confused coot! It’s not like the reporter observed the wide shoe getting tangled with the gas pedal.] [Buddy: Still . . ..] [Ed.: Ehh, we'll talk next week.] (2) Erroror: Thanks to readers who pointed out that “free reign” yesterday should have been “free rein.” [Ed.: So, Buddy, is that an error that I have go fix?] [Buddy: No; it’s just errors of fact in reportage that you have to fix. Leaving up bad word usage merely invites ridicule, and I figure you should be used to that by now.]

Newsrangers: John Whisenhunt, Bob Pert, Matt Mirapaul, Steve Miller, Perry Levin, Paul Di Filippo
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.