Tuesday, July 08, 2008

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]

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.