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.