Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday’s Creme de la Weird
Can’t Possibly Be True (I): Among this month’s college graduates are not two Duke original-Class of ‘08 lacrosse players (Reade Seligman and Colin Finnerty, for reasons you may recall), but, yes, Ms. Crystal Mangum, the crack-addled, relentlessly-lying woman who ruined last year for them. (Bonus: Her North Carolina Central University degree is in Police Psychology.)

Can’t Possibly Be True (II): In 55 of Alabama’s 67 counties, sheriffs are still governed by a 1920s state law that allots them $1.75/day to feed their prisoners. The legislature gave sheriffs the difference if they could feed ‘em for less, and in the 1920s, sheriffs made money on the deal. Today, though . . . actually, they’re still making money. (Adjusted for inflation, $1.75 then is $21 today; $1.75 today was 15 cents then.)

McGonnagall! A selection of original 19th-century poems of William Topaz McGonnagall brought in £6,600 ($13.2k) at an auction in Edinburgh, notable because McGonnagall is widely reputed to be the worst prominent poet of all-time. His work endures “[d]espite his ability to massacre poetic metaphor, his taste for banality, a weak vocabulary, and his tortuous rhymes,” said one book specialist. Wall Street Journal: “In an autobiography, he said he was visited by a vision of a ‘hand holding a quill pen’ and a voice that cried out to him, ‘Write, Write, Write!’"

In Your Face: The elected Court Clerk in the next county up from Weird Central makes $136k/yr but rarely shows up for work and doesn’t care if you know that because he’s researched it, and state law says there’s nothing anyone can do unless he misses 44 straight days (State law would then allow a judge to appoint a replacement), which means he can show up just 8 times a year if he wants (8x44 equals 352, with 13 days counting toward next year).

New Champion! A record was apparently set by a discovery last week in Zagreb, Croatia, when a woman’s mummified body was found: The last live sighting by any neighbor was 1973 (in one news report, 1966). Actually, it’s another success of capitalism! Her apartment house is now a co-op, and her neighbors wanted the flat. Until recently, the gov’t owned everything.

Questionable Assignment: A 6th-grade teacher in Jackson, Miss., is in trouble for her thinking-outside-the-box motivation exercise: She had the class vote on who among them is most likely to die by age 18, to go to jail, and most important, to get pregnant before graduation. Then, she posted the results. A dad whose daughter showed up on the last category was livid (even though 4 girls finished ahead of her).

Looks Fabulous: A Burger King in N’awlins was robbed last week, by a drag queen who climbed through the take-out window. [There’s video!] An expert commentator told WDSU-TV that it was definitely a cross-dresser and not just a man in disguise: His necklace matched the dress; his nails were painted; and the wig was well-made. “[H]e’s pretty.”

Canadians in Love: Twice last week came reports of tragedies from sex games. Crystal Boarder, 31, pleaded guilty in Guelph in the asphyxiation of her husband. First you hang me, then I’ll hang you, the Toronto Star described it. She misread the signals, despite apparently much experience. Earlier, a 25-yr-old woman in Winnipeg got a 3-yr sentence after one of her and her boyfriend’s “sex and carving” sessions went bad. He had asked her to carve another heart in his chest during sex and then to press harder; she accidentally punctured his left ventricle (but he survived).

Lovelorn Lawyer: Lance Stelzer, 58, does not take being dumped. He filed a lawsuit against the woman and demands in the “discovery” phase:
* Each and every page of your ‘journal’ which mentions, references, or contains the name Lance B. Stelzer.
* Copies of all photographs . . . which portray you dressed (fully or partially) in red negligee.
* The full name and current address of your mother, sister, and new boyfriend’s mother.
He also wanted answers to such questions as, “What was the last date upon which you loved Lance Stelzer? (Note: If you cannot give an exact date, please state your best approximation)” Miami New Times

Phobia: Rebecca Maykish, 17, has a phobia and receives compensatory education funds under Pennsylvania law. Her phobia is “school.” Been going on since 4th grade. She uses up the district’s entire comp fund, but very little goes for tutors, and as a result she seems weak in skills that most 17-yr-old students have. On the other hand, her spending seems perfectly in line with contemporary education theory, in that mom says it’s for improving Rebecca’s self-esteem (summer camp, modeling school, subscriptions to teen magazines). Morning Call (Allentown)

We're Screwed: The federal gov’t’s official balance sheet at the end of 2007 showed that we were $162 billion in the hole. But everyone knows the gov’t makes its own rules about how to figure that number. What if the gov’t were forced to calculate the number just like large, publicly-held corporations do, under generally accepted accounting principles? Uh, $57.3 trillion in the hole, said a USA Today analysis this morning. [Ed.: Ah, but that’s misleading because it includes Social Security and Medicare that all you 20-somethings are now accruing . . . and you know damn well you’re not going to get it all, anyway, so you can cut that $57.3 trillion figure down a whole lot!]

The Human Condition Today
Great Art: Among the big winners at last week’s Sotheby’s NYC auction was sculptor Takashi Murakami’s “My Lonesome Cowboy,” which pulled in $15.2m (keywords: nude, turgid, ejaculate-as-lasso) . . . . . A 20-year-old man in Roseville, Minn., tried to take The Only Way Out as painfully as he possibly could and dived into a wood-chipper, but that didn’t go right either . . . . . He wasn’t listening to his iPod or talking on the phone when the train hit him (after a long horn blast): He was concentrating on scratching off that lottery ticket he had just bought.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
The general manager of the Fox TV station in Tampa, Robert Linger, 49, was busted in a dirty-movie house Friday night participating in a circle jerk. (Seriously)

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Robert Gnade, 42, Troy, Mo., sexual assault

Brian Loncar, one of Texas’s most ubiquitous TV-ad trial lawyers (“When you’re hurt in a car wreck, you need someone on your side”) failed to yield to a siren-blaring fire truck and is in critical condition (and his '08 Bentley was killed) (and who to sue, well, maybe the guy who started the fire) . . . . . A kids’ baseball league in Freetown, Mass., administered the ultimate punishment for a mom who didn’t show up for her concession-stand duty: They benched her kid two games . . . . . Our changing world: Ikea has opened a store in Siberia, and Wal-Mart is paying a guy to think about it, too.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
One guy’s idea of the 21 best mugshots ever. Well, a few of ‘em might be. [Link from]

Newsrangers: Joe Littrell, Michelle Schmarder, Lee Strickler, Jessica McRorie, Bob Pert, Paul Music, Stephen Taylor, Beth McGee
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.