Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday’s Creme de la Weird
Crimestopper: The concerned driver in Seattle punched 911 on his phone to report a danger he encountered on the road. Dispatcher: “What are you reporting?” Driver: “I just don’t know if I’m safe to be driving . . . I’m pretty drunk. I don’t feel good.” He gave directions to where he was. KCPQ-TV (Seattle)

Too Good To Be True? It says here that a 16-yr-old kid in Waterloo, Ont., has solved one of the world’s most vexing environmental problems. So, either this’ll be all over the papers soon, or he’ll be busted. The kid isolated and ID’d bacteria that can rapidly break down polyethelene plastic bags (y’know, 500 billion produced a yr, takes 1,000 yrs to decompose). He says one has been previously ID’d as breaking down polystyrene, but if it has a helper to mate with, it works on polyethelene. Yr Editor doesn’t know jack about this, but reporter from The Record (Kitchener, Ont.) goes step by patient step, and the kid just won top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa, raking in (Cdn)$30k. The Record

Makes His Dipstick Moist: Channel Five in Britain is working on a documentary about mechaphilia and has located a guy from Washington state who’s either a grand fake or beyond help because he goes on and on about how he only romances cars, currently his main gal Vanilla (a VW Beetle). “I’m a romantic. I write poetry about cars, I sing to them and talk to them just like a girlfriend. I know what’s in my heart, and I have no desire to change.” Edward Smith is 57, says he first had sex “with” a car when he was 15, and hasn’t had sex with a human in years. The “global community” of “car lovers” allegedly numbers 500, or so they say in “Internet forums.” Yr Editor may troll these forums over the weekend, and I’ll let you know what I find. After all, it’s my job. Daily Telegraph (London)

Loving Family: In redneck Ocala, Fla., Brenda Hecht, 45, fed up with the laziness of son Chamborg, 18, got into it with him, and finally she grabbed a meat cleaver (and didn’t cleave him, just hit him several times). “I popped him in the head with the wrong thing. It was just there.” But, he said, she did threaten to cut off my head and my junk. Said she, “He talks about it too much anyway; there’s more to life than that.” Ocala Star-Banner

Larry Craig Bobblehead: Baseball’s St. Paul Saints will hand out 2,500 bobblehead souvenirs at Sunday’s game, but not of a player. It’s of a restroom stall with two lower legs and feet, and one of the feet bobbles (“taps,” which the team says with a stiff lip is in honor of Nat’l Tap Dance Day). It was at Minneapolis/St.Paul Int’l Airport that U.S. Sen. Larry Craig set up his famous wide-stance toe tap. Star Tribune

Thoughtless Suicidals: The Japanese kill themselves so frequently that it’s surprising they don’t more often accidentally take other people with them (as when one jumps off a building and inadvertently lands on a pedestrian [NOTW M007, 5-27-2007]). The 34-yr-old farmer in Kumamoto took The Only Way Out by ingesting chloropicrin, which has so much chlorine that when he later vomited at the hospital, 54 people got sick from the fumes. Mainichi Daily News

You Will Trust Me: Zurich Univ. scientists announced preliminary success with a nasal spray that upped the oxytocin level so that it reduced hyperactivity in the amygdala area of the brain, such hyperactivity being associated with excessive fear of people. Oxy-sprayed people proved more gullible (er, trusting) in tests than placebo-sprayed people. Yr Editor is certain that this work will be used only to bring “social phobia” sufferers up to normal levels and not for any other negative or dangerous or scary purpose at all. BBC News

And also . . .
Sycamore, Ill., where parking meters take pennies, raises its overstaying fine to $1 . . . . . An action-movie-type fight inside the cab of a big-rig (after the driver siphoned gasoline from the other guy’s tank) . . . . . Vindication months later for a wrongly-accused ambulance attendant who was merely trying to calm down the drug-crazed female masturbatrix . . . . . The Australian estranged wife who can’t seem to survive on A$800k/yr . . . . . An underappreciated suburban Chicago man who thought buying a personal fire truck would endear him to the neighbors . . . . . Experts from 10 countries spent time finally, officially defining (after review of all 100 studies over 65 yrs) just what constitutes “premature ejaculation.”

NOTW, The Blog
(1) Don't fret, dear readers. I'm just tinkering a bit with the format. Not ready to switch everything around just yet. I'll change some things back on Tuesday (when I return after the Monday U.S. holiday). (2) FYI, “5 Bullsh** Stories the Whole Internet Fell For” from Gawker.com. You didn’t read any of them on NOTW. By the way, there’s much more to the 4th item on Yalie Aliza Shvarts, which involved not strictly bs but Drudge and others jumping to conclusions (that she might well have wanted jumped to) based on her perhaps carefully chosen words.

Newsrangers: Harry Farkas, Joe Littrell, James Hanes, Christine Umayam, Bruce Leiserowitz, Raul Stone-Cousley, Tim Kennedy.
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday’s Creme de la Weird
Federal Budget Stewardess: Trapped in one of those free mortgages that were handed out like candy over the last few yrs (er, well, no upfront, out-of-pocket): U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson of California (who also got the seller to front her closing costs), and a reporter found that she just walked away from the house in March, owing all $535k plus $40k in accumulated interest. Capitol Weekly via Los Angeles Times

Hell Will Have Cable TV: A USA Today roundup lists some school districts that have instituted minimum “50" scores for class instead of “0.” Pro: Well, the other letter grades only have a 10-point range (A is 100 to 90) so an F should, too (59 to 50). Con, of course: half-credit for no work.

Brave New Pooch: California’s BioArts International has partnered with a South Korean firm and will auction off, on June 18, the rights to clone five dogs, with suggested opening bids of $100k. BioArts cloned three dogs last yr from “Missy,” who died in 2002. The Korean firm is the one with fraudster Hwang Woo Suk in it, but BioArts said, Oh, well, that was with his human embryo work, and this is dog stuff. (Under-realized fact: A clone of your loving Fritzy will still be a total stranger.)

No Religion Left Behind: A Penn State researcher’s survey of high-school science teachers revealed that about a fourth spend time on something they’d call “creation” science and that half of them (12 percent of all science teachers) teach creationism as a “valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species.”

Update: Undaunted by their earlier defeat in Austria’s Supreme Court to have a chimpanzee declared a “person,” a Vienna-based animal-rights organization has convinced the European Court of Human Rights to consider the case. (Backstory: A sanctuary in Austria has gone bankrupt, and activists fear that its existing chimps will be sold into research outside Austria, where animal abuse laws are more lax. Donations for chimps’ upkeep cannot reliably be handled without a legal guardian, the activists say. [NOTW M010, 6-17-2007])

Civilization in Decline
Handy Road-Rage Kit: In Butler, Mo. (about an hour south of Kansas City), a car dealer offers a premium of either $250 in gas or a semi-automatic handgun (and 80 percent choose the heat) . . . . . Several people have been fired as a result of a Chinese travel magazine’s decision to shoot a photo spread, using scantily-clad women, from around the earthquake sites.

NOTW Lite
Washington state’s Health Dept. did as ordered and suggested a specific amount of medical marijuana allowed as a “60-day” supply under the law, but it was almost 2 pounds’ worth, and the governor said go think harder . . . . . A man was arrested for abusing the 911 line in Waco, Tex., by calling 15 times because he was tired of waiting for a taxi (the perp: Mr. Kevin Waits) . . . . . A North Carolina high school bus driver is accused of, uh, letting her daughter give a tattoo to one of her riders during the trip . . . . . The Zappos shoe company apparently does many things right, according to a Harvard Business School blog, especially the part about training you for a week, then offering you $1,000 to quit the company (about 10 percent take it, by definition, the meeee! people) [Link from Fark.com]

Updates
Waddah “Martin” Mustapha’s case, before Canada’s Supreme Court, is scheduled to be decided today; he’ll find out whether the Cdn$341k he won at trial in 2005 was enough to compensate him for the great trauma of seeing a fly in his water bottle (actually, a fly's big blue butt, he said) [NOTW Daily, 3-21-2008]. [Update of Update: He lost, 9-0. No money.]

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

Newsrangers: Neil Gimon, Mark Neunder, Ed Duval, Christine Malone, Tom Barker
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday’s Creme de la Weird
Can’t Possibly Be True: Police said Darrell Walker, 30, Bartlesville, Okla., routinely disciplines his son, 8, and daughter, 7, by shooting them with his BB gun (except that the girl said, once, when he ran out of BB’s, he just bopped her in the head with the gun). (This is a step down toward hell from the May 5 [NOTW Daily, 5-5-2008] maternal BB-winging of a little girl, which was just over the woman’s desire to win a $1 bet with her boyfriend.)

Wives 2, Husbands 0: After 7 weeks of marital bliss, Nevada Assemblywoman Francis Allen was charged with stabbing her husband in the arm in a fight and then, when he asked for help, telling him to call his mother (but both tried to change the story later). And when F-Stater Adam Ward fell behind in his marriage-dissolution payments, the estranged missus commandeered his computer to encourage him to pay up, but then he reported the blatant extortion to the police, who later found Adam’s child pornography on it.

District of Calamity: The Washington, D.C., police chief re-hired 17 officers who had been fired for blatant misconduct but only because the department had not made final disposition of each case within “55 days,” as personnel rules require. The department said that, at the time of firing, people viewed “55" as just a guideline. (The Washington Post had revealed that between 1991-1993, the more-than-200 suspended or fired cops had been reinstated by the courts based on the 55-day rule.)

Freedom of the Press: A Court of the something-something in Brussels, interpreting the “free press” part of Belgium’s Constitution, found that it applies only to “writers” and not to an “illustrator” whose cartoon equated a Belgian businessman with Congo’s former dictator Mobutu. And don’t even try to claim “free press” if you’re TV or the Internet! (On the other hand, the Court figured the businessman was hurt only 1 euro’s worth.)

Legislature in Action: Maine last had a nuclear plant in 1997, but it continues to have a nuclear safety advisor and a nuclear safety inspector, with a total budget of $276k. Turns out the legislature’d like to eliminate them, but the current advisor is a former state senate big shot, so that job stays, and to make that not look too obvious, they kept the other job, too.

The Human Condition Today
A Miami (Ohio) Univ. student died of his injuries suffered 3 weeks ago when he fell out of bed at a frat house (it was a loft bed, but still . .) . . . . . Police in LaCrosse, Wis., notifying a 17-yr-old boy about a complaint that he had posted nude photos of an underage girl on his MySpace page and giving him a chance to take them down, was charged, anyway, when he allegedly responded, “[expletive] that. I am keeping them up.”

Your Daily Loser
Cops still don’t know his name, but he’d been running a fraudulent credit-card scam in central Florida, until a convenience store clerk alerted police, who descended on the store, causing Our Man to flee, except that he ran full speed into the front door (Bonus: mug shot reflects souvenirs of the door’s decisive victory)

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Zachary Rodriguez, 18, scheduled to graduate from high school last Saturday morning, stands accused of a break-in theft Friday night (Bonus: and a vial of cocaine in his rectum)

NOTW Lite
Now, even the Gotti mob family’s suffering from sour mortgage loans: “Sal” squeezed and squeezed, and finally “persuaded” the faltering company to pay up, but now the feds are suing Sal for collecting his marker more efficiently than the bankruptcy trustee can collect his own markers on behalf of the company’s other creditors . . . . . An F-State mom and son were able to spend quality time when their hearings were called before the same judge in the same afternoon (he, rape; she, probation violation).

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

NOTW, The Blog
(1) The baby survived, so this wouldn’t qualify for Yr Editor’s “middle-name-Wayne murderers” list, anyway, but, charged with child abuse in Gastonia, N.C.: Sharena Waynette Bess . . . . . (2) Yr Editor’s Fine Whinery: Yr Editor dutifully reported to you [NOTW Daily, 5-6-2008] the case of the middle-school teacher supposedly sacked because his in-class magic trick was termed, he said, “wizardry” by his superiors. I told you at the time that there was more to the story (he had several transgressions on his record that dwarfed any religious text), and in fact, there had to be more because not even an F State school board would do that, if only because there are far more acceptable, bulletproof words and phrases one could use to accomplish the same religious-based firing. A follow-up by the St. Petersburg Times on Sunday put the story into perspective. It’s quite clear that the teacher made up the “w” word simply to attract attention, and it worked (except he’s still fired). The poor school board member got death threats from afar after Keith Olbermann (among many others) trashed her, based upon completely slurping up the original, uncritical use of the teacher’s word “wizardry.” And that’s what “news” has become these days on the Internet and on cable and local TV. Run with the sensational because the Internet audience, and the cable and local TV audience, are all about now; current; quick; first; pizzazz; outrage; boom! Left behind is what used to be “news,” and that includes, too often, Yr Editor, who is forced to discard three or four otherwise-fabulous, but poorly-“reported,” stories every day that popular Internet news aggregators salivate over. End of rant. Thankya, thankyaverrmuch.

Newsrangers: Karl Olson, Jeff Berg, John DeJong, Don Tyler, Harry Farkas
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday’s Creme de la Weird
Buffy Studies: You can still make arrangements to attend the academic conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer studies, in Arkadelphia, Ark., June 5-8. It’s not a fan convention; it’s one of those boring panels ‘n’ papers events, because only so much research around the show can be published in the field’s leading journal, Watcher Junior, edited by Prof. Lynne Edwards of Ursinus College. AP via Yahoo

It’s What’s Next: Pet Angel Memorial Center opened its third full-service pet funeral home (need a minister? procession? choice of caskets? body viewing?), near Weird Central. (And the veterinarians’ association recommended at a Congressional hearing last week that pet food list the calories right there on the package, even though calorie-listing for humans has coincided with increasing obesity.)

Yummmm: There’s an 11-state, E.coli beef recall in effect now, involving a Chicago company that packages “Boneless Clods,” “Gooseneck Rounds,” and “Knuckle,” among other things, which brings to mind this recent ForbesTraveler.com piece describing how fancy chefs are charging fancy prices for fancy dishes of out-of-the-way parts (lamb’s tongue, duck hearts, and the delicious rooster comb [simmered with red wine and porcini mushrooms until fork-tender, according to the head chef at NYC’s Casa Mono]). “I really enjoy cooking a pig’s head . . . then taking the liquid it was cooked in and turning it into gelatin . . . a beautiful terrine.” One chef’s website is OffalGood.com.

The Human Condition Today
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and his family vacationed in the F State last week, and we’re glad to have the revenue, but the week before that, he issued a formal proclamation telling Kentuckians to vacation in Kentucky this year . . . . . Another high-GPA student is no longer with us, having done a swan dive onto a moving car in Granite City, Ill., and falling off on his head . . . . . A mother was hospitalized in Wichita, Kan., after trying to demonstrate to her nearly-grown daughters that a person cannot get hurt stepping out of a car that was going only 10 mph . . . . . Karma Rules: Three men steal a canoe and head out, two come back (after it capsized) (“He’s not here no more,” said a friend).

Your Daily Loser
Paul Baldwin, 48, Portsmouth, N.H., 152 arrests, 75 citations, etc. (and he told Judge Gardner, “I don’t need a lawyer. I’ve been in this court more than you have”)

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Brendan Kelly, 32, and George Zaleski, 23, charged [remember now, “presumption of innocence”; how many times do I have to tell you?] with roughing up that police officer

NOTW Lite
Hard to picture this, or to be sure it’s real, but it’s gettin’ the press: a dual-combat video game for the urinal, for men with strong, accurate streams . . . . . An English major, rollin’ in money (well, she won $67k for a portfolio of essays and, yes, poems) . . . . . Chardon Township, Ohio, voted to turn down $10k in federal disaster money after a bad snowstorm; it was just a snowstorm, the town trustees said . . . . . A Washington Post reporter tracked pro wrestler Great Khali (63-inch chest) to his native India on vacation, found him revered as a celebrity god but, just like U.S. pro wrestlers, challenged as inauthentic, er, by traditional village mud wrestlers.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Brilliant art made entirely from chewed-up bubble gum!

Newsrangers: Carl McGlore, Dan Bennett, Rick Fink, Eric Gibbs
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

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

NOTW Lite
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 Fark.com]

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.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday’s Creme de la Weird
The news is painful again today. About 150 seniors amassed in downtown Melbourne, Australia, to protest the gov’t's insufficient attention to them, budgetwise, and in the spirit of some third-world cultures, a few expressed their displeasure by stripping, including “a couple of lively ladies” “parad[ing] in their bras.” The Agence France-Presse report has a photo of one, but Yr Editor warns that it’s Not Safe. Not safe at all.

Detroit’s African-American mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is under siege after being caught, dead to right, lying under oath in order to protect his secret lover (that everyone knew about, anyway). He recently played the race card, claiming that he’s been called that N word more times in the last month than “any time in my entire life.” Detroit’s weekly Metro Times newspaper wondered about that (since the mayor is always isolated from the ordinary ol’ public), citing the thousands of text messages between the lovers that the Detroit Free Press had revealed, in which the couple playfully and frequently called each other that (including His Honor’s charming term of endearment for her, uh, “nigette”).

My, my, a Reuters reporter caught wind of the well-known (but not to him, or his editors) Icelandic Phallological Museum and has treated us all to his “cover.” The only update from the last go-round is that the Museum’s collection of penii still lacks a human’s (other than the personal one of curator Sigudur Hjartarson). [Contains a photo, but it's Safe For Work, unless you really, really have a problem.] [NOTW 607, 9-24-1999 (based on another Reuters story from 5-20-1999)]

In a tight “reality” job market, the Wall Street Journal reports, lots of young people are working this summer virtually, by enterprising it up on Second Life, either scavenging the virtual world for things to resell to players or creating their own products. “On a typical day, Second Life players spend close to $1.5m [fully convertible by the game’s operator] on virtual clothes, jewelry, homes, cars, and real estate.” “Research firm Gartner Media estimates that by 2011, 80 percent of Internet users worldwide will have an avatar [a fictional alter-ego in some online game or other].” And you may recall that sweatshops in China hire people to pore over World of Warcraft to salvage gold from vanquished warriors, for resale. [NOTW M021, 9-2-2007] [New York Times magazine, 6-17-2007]

The Human Condition Today
Theresa Bailey won £5,000 after a sexual harassment trial in Ashford, England, for a lot of “laddish” behavior, such as that the boss frequently “lifted his right cheek” and let one rip in her direction.

Your Daily Loser
Mark Baxter, 19, thought it through part-way, at least. According to police, he did great on the box-switch at Circuit City, coming away with a new Sony VAIO and leaving his old Gateway notebook in the Sony VAIO box. But Circuit City had his credit card number on file, and besides, when the cops checked the Sony, they found some child porn Baxter had just downloaded.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Cheyenne Blanton, 17, and her almost equally delightful old man, Joseph Nagle, 16, charged with assault (and don’t let Cheyenne’s 17 previous juvenile court cases influence your judgment)

NOTW Lite
Least ambitious burglar: He hid in a Kohl’s department store until closing, then had the run of the place, and as near as they can figure, he left with two wallets, a belt, and a tie . . . . . A substitute middle-school teacher showed up for class stewed to the gills, but he said his vanity license plate IMBLZT was intended to mean “I am blessed” rather than “I am blitzed” . . . . . Two trucks street- raced through Huntsville, Ala., at 75 mph in a 50 mph zone, and an ensuing smashup sent a 3-yr-old girl to critical-care, and by the way, both were company trucks of beloved Comcast.

The F State
Dena Patterson, 79, of Brooksville, heard that somebody got paid $28,000 for a grilled-cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary on it, and so she needs money and is willing to part with that rock she found in 1996 with Virg’s likeness. “I expect to get a lot of money,” she said.

Updates
Yr Editor’s been keeping you up periodically on the latest rate of inflation in Zimbabwe, and it’s now up to 165,000 percent annually, and the gov’t just issued currency of the denomination 500,000,000 Zimbabwe dollars [US$2] . . . . . South Carolina’s 7-ft-tall, Sasquatch-like “Lizard Man,” according to DNA from a recent sighting, was (well, people exaggerate) just a big dog. There’ve been sightings since 1988, though, so maybe a real 7-footer is still out there. (Now, don’t confuse this Lizard Man with Erik Sprague, who body-modified himself to become a sideshow Lizard Man [forked tongue, “scale” tattoos, bumpy implants on his forehead].) [NOTW 622, 1-7-2000] [TheLizardman.com]

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe Monday.™

Newsrangers: Kent Cooper, Roger Gulbransen, Steve Miller, Sam Gaines, Kathryn Wood
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday’s Creme de la Weird
Turns out Gregory Pillow, who’s been running around Nashville since 1995, off and on,.giving fire-safety talks as a member of the local fire department, isn’t and never was. But all reports are that he does a fine job. Said a Nashville Fire spokeswoman, "[I]t’s a little odd." Same with the 36-year-old "Drug Enforcement Administration agent," "on loan" to the police in the town of Gerald, near St. Louis, helping kick down doors in raids for several months and being really savvy about everything. Said the disappointed mayor, "He was everything you’d think a federal [officer] would be."

Triumph International, the worldwide women’s undies maker, likes fun almost as much as money, and it captured the Weird Press this week with a solar-powered bra (yeah, yeah, you have to wear part of it showing, of course, which is a bug), but in theory it will generate enough juice to run your iPod or cell phone. And here’s a golden-oldie collection of Triumph’s most ridiculous bras.

John Tyler Hammons, 19, is proud to be an Okie from Muskogee (the title of Merle Haggard’s 1969 anti-antiwar, anti-hippie song), especially proud now that he’s been elected mayor of the city. (Bonus: His big issue was restoring trust in gov’t [Ed.: What, can’t trust anyone over 20?]) (Double Bonus: Mayoring a city of 70,000 is apparently an extra-curricular activity, as His Honor still expects to keep up with his classes in Norman, about 130 miles away).

Coaches Out of Control: Coach Poppy Vincent, 74, Bracken Christian School (Bulverde, Tex.) , was fired after his arrest in a San Antonio park, holding a Bible while flashing passersby with his floral panties and bra. Coach Sanford Kaplan, 57, Lincoln (Neb.) Northeast High School’s soccer coach, was arrested on charges that he had taken "numerous" boys over the years and bound, gagged, and blindfolded them, and then dangled ‘em from the rafters of his garage and did some sexual stuff.

Ah, everybody knows ya got a right to counsel at trial, even if ya can’t afford it, but Minnesota judge James Florey zapped that right, for William Lehman, anyway, and this week an appeals court agreed. So in Minnesota you have a right to counsel at trial unless you beat the holy hell out of your lawyer, in open court in front of the judge, splattering blood all over the floor and the defense table. Do that, and you’re on your own.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Much worse. Brit David Aston, 32, is on trial this week in Oxford Crown Court for messing around with a kid and having child porn, but what really brings him to attention is laying a towel down on the ground (to keep from sullying his trousers), pulling ‘em down, getting on all fours, and having teenage girls kick him in the nuts until he can’t take it anymore.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Nathan Michael Grant, whom "Air Force One" had just dropped off on the runway at Dallas/Fort Worth Int’l

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Here, linked from Living the Scientific Life blog, are photos of the ancient Chinese practice of foot-binding women, except it’s not so ancient, still, in some places. [Warning: one shot, especially, is not safe for tender stomachs] The theory was that tiny feet were so-o-o beautiful, and the way to get those was to bind the feet of young girls so tightly that the bones would break and then reset themselves within the small, bound area (thus compressing the foot’s architecture). Yikes.

NOTW, The Blog
Thanks to the several people already who checked in on the "Comments" issue Yr Editor raised yesterday, especially those who warned that Blogger makes Comments a hassle. I am aware that I’ll have to move to a new platform for that, which involves a monthly fee, and I first have to decide whether the revenue will exceed the fee. But thank you for the comments on Comments, and please feel free to write; I read everything with my own two eyes.

Newsrangers: Wendy Palm, Emory Kimbrough, Joe Littrell, Dan Bennett, Rob Snyder
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday’s Creme de la Weird
Sometimes, the news is painful. The official clothing for this summer’s Republican Nat’l Convention in Minneapolis will include Zubaz. They’re not yet offered at the online store, but the Star Tribune ran the convention’s photo-opp yesterday, and there they are!


NOTW, The Blog
Yr Editor’s tinkering with the format here a bit because several people savvier than I have been glumly informing me that a certain percentage of Internetters do like to comment on stories, or offer additional information, and that I, almost alone among all "bloggers," have a format particularly unfriendly to that. So, I’m doing two things. This week, I’m transitioning to individual stories (but only the Creme) (if there’s no Creme that day, I’ll try hard not to force it), but with a roundup, in familiar style, after that. Step two, which is a harder step to take, is to actually open the page for Comments. That’s risky because, of course, I might find out that absolutely nobody gives a bloody hell about anything I write. Hence, I might not do that right away. (I’m so sensitive.) (Maybe if some of y’all volunteered to Comment for a while, whether you wanted to or not, I’d go easier on the Xanax.)


Creme de la Weird
Are you a $50m artist like Mark Rothko? What you do, see, is you get a yellow rectangular canvas, kinda dull yellow, and you put lots of red paint on it so that it covers most of the area, but with the sides all fluffy and the red inconsistent, and you don’t go all the way down with the red but rather double-coat the yellow at the bottom so that it mismatches, and then you put two broken horizontal lines in about the middle of the red so that the yellow shows through, and there’s your $50.4m, right there. N.Y. Times


"It means pets are even more a part of family life as they can enjoy a beer, too," said a guy from the British company importing a Dutch non-alcoholic, steak-flavored, nutrient-enriched, malt-barley-flavored beverage for dogs ("tail-wagging beer" in Dutch, "Dog Beer" in Britain). (About $3.85 for a bottle of about 12 fl. oz.) The Dutch original Kwispelbier got a big news splash in January 2007, and this is the British-import splash. Daily Mail (London)


Gee, you wouldn’t think that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents would have the personal discretion to detain a non-terrorism-related traveler from Italy, in secrecy, on a "hunch" that he came here to work illegally and then resist every attempt over 10 days for loved ones in the U.S. to challenge the "hunch" (including U.S. Sen. John Warner, who is not a loved one but apparently had no stroke with Customs). You may think all that’s fanciful, but you would be wrong, according to this morning’s NY Times. Hunches are powerful things at Customs.


How is the $300B farm bill Congress has put together, to give your tax dollars to well-off farmers, so nonsensical? The Wall Street Journal counts the ways. Several heads-they-win, tails-you-lose provisions remain, such as the "historical planting average" calculation, which pays farmers who "haven’t planted a seed in years" (or who are just rich people who bought farms to diversify investments). And you’re not a "rich farmer" until your income hits $750k (but not really, because you just sign up your spouse and get around it, along with other little tricks).


The GreenfieldNOW.com website, which is affiliated with the Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee, Wis., reports from the suburbs that a mother and her sister were cited for supplying tobacco for a minor after a 2-yr-old kid was seen in a Ponderosa restaurant with a cigarette in his mouth, to the giggling delight of the ladies. When the child said "smoke, smoke," it meant he wanted one (unlit, but when the mother said "light, light," the kid knew to hand her a lighter). Then, this:
The aunt said the mother keeps a rolled-up dollar bill in the bedroom, which the child plays with. Any time the boy has the dollar bill he hold [sic] it up to his nose and says, "fix, fix" over and over again.
Er, and the story basically ends right there. Excuse me?


Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Y’all can actually be useful, because the prosecutor here in Weird Central has not charged this man yet with a grisly murder spree because he’s still hospitalized, treated for some drug condition or other, but he was found hiding at the murder scene, which was his girlfriend’s house. Charge him? Edward Allen Covington.


The Human Condition Today
Their Votes Count Same as Yours in November: (1) Jorge Espinal, 44, reached for the first thing he could find to scratch his back, which was a revolver, and . . of course! (2) A 20-year-old man was fried, in critical condition, after scaling a power substation fence and tower, probably to steal eggs from a nest to resell to a pet store. (3) Hazmat officials were sent to Port Salerno, Fla., after a boater pumped 100 gallons of gasoline mistakenly into the hole where you stick your fishing rods (and on into the cellar, er, bilge, and the water).


NOTW Lite
Call me naive, but if I were thinking that having a gay rodeo would undermine those noxious sexual stereotypes, I don’t know whether I’d have a "goat dressing" event, "in which pairs of contestants try to put hot-pink underwear on the hind quarters of an uncooperative goat in the shortest time" (according to a Reuters report) . . . . . Julie Landry’s teaching career is apparently over after one year, following the decision to make that 7-yr-old kid unclog the toilet with his hands . . . . . Marijuana may raise your heart-attack and stroke risk, according to this research, provided that you cooperate with the findings’ parameters and smoke from 11 to 50 joints every single day.


Professor Music’s Weird Links
NOTE: Prof. Music’s been working, and Yr Editor’s been collecting, but this format-transition is getting in the way, temporarily.


Newsrangers: Bob Pert, Christopher Nalty, and a whole slew of people who would use something else to scratch their backs
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday’s Creme de la Weird
Whew! It’s rough out there, two days in a row! The feds in Kansas City have indicted a man and his ex-girlfriend for training her daughter, then 14, to be a “dominatrix,” but it’s unclear whether that was for Internet customers or in person in Blue Springs, Mo. As soon as photos are posted, Yr Editor will direct you to ‘em, y’know, so you can determine whether they’re guilty.

Civilization in Decline
The Airliner as Jungle: Mr. Gokhan Mutlu has sued JetBlue for $2m because the lion-king pilot made him sit for 3 hours in the plane’s toilet (even during turbulence; no airbag needed). (Back story: Mutlu got the last seat, but only on a freebie “buddy” ticket, but an employee riding free, who had first accepted the cockpit jump seat, decided after take-off that she wanted to sit in the cabin.)

The Human Condition Today
Approaching the record for fastest remorse: A Japanese man was said to have immediately left the convenience store he heisted and gone directly to the police station (5 minutes away) . . . . . If inmates need twigs to celebrate their deities, they’ll get them, in Britain, anyway . . . . . And if outgoing Nepalese king Gyanendra needs to kill a buffalo and a duck (and more) to get goddess Kali to pay attention to him, consider it done.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
A man from Padua, Italy, was arrested in Venice with one of those shopping bags with a camera lens peeking out (and DVD’s containing 3,000 images); he was a butt man, by the way.

NOTW Lite
Chinese agriculture researchers in Guandong proudly showed off their 2-ft-long cucumbers and other humongous vegetables [photo: big-ass pumpkin] that were grown partly in zero gravity, supposedly one remedy for the world’s food shortage.

Updates
Mainstream Media catch up to News of the Weird: (1) ABC News medic’ed up that Sheyla Hershey/big-breast obsession [NOTW Daily, 5-9-2008], telling her from afar that she’s probably already filled the silicone tank as full as Texas state law will allow. (2) The NY Times this morning caught up with the euthanasia of the Victimless Leather art exhibit [NOTW Daily, 5-5-2008]. (3) The Times did value-add this morning on the significance in Saudi Arabia of “milk siblings,” which are unrelated males and females who were breastfed by the same woman (and therefore, those males are allowed to mingle with those females and see them unveiled). NOTW’s take was somewhat different [NOTW Daily, 5-23-2007]:
An Egyptian scholar, Ezzat Atiya, combing the fine print in the Quran [NOTE: The Times says the practice predates Islam], came up with a way in which an unmarried man and woman actually can be alone with each other. The way to do that, see, is for her to symbolically breastfeed him five times (presumably, in the presence of a male relative of hers). That way, said Ezzat, everyone can be assured that if the man and woman then go off alone, nothing immoral could possibly happen because the Quran says a man could never do bad things with a woman who has breastfed him (presumably meaning his mom, but perhaps the Prophet Mohammad could have been clearer about that). Ezzat has been suspended from his teaching post.
Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

Newsrangers: Michael Lawlor, Scott Langill, John Holsinger
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday’s Creme de la Weird
There were some arrests a few yrs ago around Tyler, Tex., for a little number they liked to call the Mineola Swingers’ Club, and Yr Editor completely missed it, asleep at the wheel, but now the trials are underway. Four grown-ups (maybe others) taught kids (up to age 10) to give full sexual performances. What’s even more confusing about this (more than, WTF?) is that the first two adults actually chose to go to trial on this, before a jury, in east Texas. (Jury “deliberation”: 4 minutes each!) (Bonus: still ahead is the trial of “Booger Red” Kelly)

Civilization in Decline
Super-Progressive Greens: (1) In Estonia, of all places, they boldly tax farmers on their flatulence, er, well, you know what I mean, and (2) It’s legal now only in MN and NH, two states that offer not only burial and cremation, but the dissolve-and-flush method of eternal disposal . . . . . Speaking of cremation, the Pentagon announced it would no longer use the services of a certain Delaware crematorium that does pets in an adjacent facility (though “they say” there was never any commingling) . . . . . “Kids Who Skip School in Baltimore Likely to Be Shot” (well, a lot likelier than if you stay in class) . . . . . From the Washington Post: “At crime scenes, FBI and ATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives) agents have threatened to arrest one another and battled over jurisdiction and key evidence. The ATF inadvertently bought counterfeit cigarettes from the FBI–the gov’t selling to the gov’t–because the agencies are running parallel investigations of tobacco smuggling.” (Bonus: Both agencies have the same boss [the Att’y Gen’l]) . . . . . Another British judge sympathetic to an adult railroaded into sex by a hussy 11-yr-old . . . . . Most depressing news: You can make a half-million bucks a yr with a website devoted to helping moms dress their toddlers in the same outfits stars dress their toddlers in.

The Human Condition Today
There was another woman-left-on-toilet story, in Wisconsin, unlike the Kansas one, in that this time she was dead, but this one involved an apparent two-person religion, with the “bishop” telling the “nun” to just leave her there on the throne because God had told him He’d bring her back . . . . . And how, exactly, do so many musicians manage to misplace their ultra-expensive instruments [story has links to examples] . . . . . People Whose Vote in November Counts as Much as Yours: 16 people in South Carolina are under rabies quarantine, some of whom got that way for kissing a [he’s so adorable yes he is] raccoon . . . . . “I am so stupid. This is what I get for trying to run from the police,” said the man, as doctors carefully removed the cactus spikes from all over his body (Bonus: pretty good mug shot, too).

Your Daily Loser
Ishak Boutros, 31, had a doctored-up, “winning” New Jersey scratch-off ticket, which they weren’t stupid enough to accept at the deli or the gas station, so he figured he’d try . . the state Lottery Commission.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Lavon Rowells, who must be presumed innocent of grossly ignoring his toddlers (“When you play video games, you get focused on that”)

NOTW Lite
Sounds Like a Joke: Herve Phillippe, a biochemistry professor at the Universite de Montreal, concluded that while the average American produces 20 tons of carbon dioxide a yr, he, being a researcher, produces 44 [and back in Yr Editor’s professoring day, whoa, baby, that’s what we needed: a green reason to be lazy] . . . . . A woman outsmarted her laptop’s alleged thief, Edmon Shahikian, by logging into it remotely and taking a picture of him.

The F State
You will address me as “reverend,” and you will not refer to it as “marijuana”; it’s “cannabis,” and it is “the holy sacrament,” the “tree of life,” the “oil” that will nourish you so that “you will need no other food.” That would be Steven Swalick, not very contrite about being busted with 100 plants in Palm Bay.

Updates
Kansas’s Creekstone Farms is still fighting the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture over its policy to test all its animals for mad-cow [NOTW 850, 5-23-2004]. USDA says that’s too expensive; Creekstone says, no problem; USDA says, Yeah, but that’ll show up Big Agriculture, which doesn’t want to do it; Creekstone says, Yeah, but it’ll help us sell meat to Japan, because they don’t trust U.S. Big Ag. It’s now before the Court of Appeals for decision.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
The Mark of the [whip’s] Lash, “dedicated to those who wear their stripes with pride”

Newsrangers: Raul Stone-Cousley, Karl Olson, Justin Warner, Mark Whybird, Scott Langill, Matt Mirapaul, Mindy Cohen, Mark Neunder, Paul Di Filippo, Paul Music, Kathryn Wood, Jan Wolitzky, Steve Miller, James Wicht
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Things To Worry About On Thursday
Who’s texting? The Pope / The dry-cleaning lawsuit guy, back in the saddle / Latest in Sino tech / You allowed me to run over your dog / And more!

Creme de la Weird
From the Thousand Oaks, Calif., Acorn: “Last week, Michael Avery decided what college he’s going to attend [Univ. of Kentucky, full-basketball scholarship]. Now all he has to do is choose a high school” since he’s now in the 8th grade (Bonus: He’s white).

Civilization in Decline
Last month, Yr Editor noted a soldier shocked to learn that he’d been deployed back to Iraq despite (1) his service term having ended except for the emergency “Ready Reserve” and (2) war-time injuries, including complete loss of hearing in one ear, but USA Today this morning says these things are de rigueur during the rigors of this war (43,000 assigned for deployment off the medically-unfit list, though some are for, y’know, headaches) . . . . . In July, cigarette taxes in NYC will constitute almost half of the nearly-45-cent price of a single cigarette, which everybody but smokers seems to love, including organized crime and Middle East terrorists, who’ve opened a grand black market . . . . . An alleged UK drug dealer will get to keep his £1.5m seizable assets because legal aid lawyers are on a sorta slow-down strike for more money, and no one’ll represent him (Bonus for the gov't: If he gets his money back, he won't qualify for legal aid) . . . . . Stephanie Grissom of Columbia, Md., has already escaped indictment for causing a traffic-scene cop’s death even though she was speeding and not particularly paying attention, so this week’s other-shoe falling is just icing (3 points on her license, $310 fine).

The Human Condition Today
Fr. Vincent Inametti, 48, who was having sex with the lady-inmates while chaplain at a women’s prison, got a four-year sentence, so it looks like he’ll soon be having sex with the gentleman-inmates . . . . . Nikki Munthe’s miniature pinscher ran past her, out the door and into the street, and was killed by a fellow dog-owner driving by, which saddened him, but on the other hand, there’s that damage to his car (and he filed a $1,100 small-claims lawsuit) . . . . . A magistrate in Cabell County, W.Va., who is 78, is running for re-election despite recent lapses (such as sleeping in his office for five straight days without benefit of bathing).

Your Daily Loser
Mayor Becky Miller of a Dallas, Tex., suburb is going toe-to-toe with the Dallas Morning News over details of her biography. So far, the News is kicking butt: It’s caught several lies/exaggerations, and when she tries to lie her way out of those, it catches her again.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
A four-bagger, of Kokomo, Ind., “adults” with child-abuse charges, with the actual mother appearing [mugshot only, now!] to be the least guilty

NOTW Lite
There’s a Catholic Youth Day coming up in July in Australia, and it says here the Pope will be texting inspirational messages to kids (OMG, LMAO, etc.) . . . . . News you might use, some day: Authorities in China are worried about a proliferation of devices that beat traffic cameras by remotely rotating license plates.

The F State
Even in the F State, half the people think they’re better than the other half (and want there to be two, er, Floridas) . . . . . Floridians traditionally don’t do well on science tests, so there’s not much concern so far that 3,500 acres of Lake Okeechobee are on fire (but wait til they find out that water’s not supposed to burn!).

Updates
Washington, D.C.’s dry-cleaning-lawsuit obsessive has just filed another, against the District of Calamity gov’t for firing him as an administrative law judge (D.C.’s att’y general: “He needs to stop filing lawsuits”) . . . . . Tony Zirkle, the candidate Yr Editor mentioned on Saturday [NOTW Daily, 5-3-2008], who was worried about black male porn stars gettin' more than he'll ever get, lost his Congressional primary this week, by a larger margin than in his last race.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

Newsrangers: Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Sam Gaines, Pete Randall, Vikki Williams, Mark Neunder, Keith Grossman
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

NOTE: Yr Editor's not able to post today. (Bonus: Low dopamine level not the reason!)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Things To Worry About On Tuesday
Jesus Malverde and St. Tranny in the news / Administering acupuncture to Portland / A bookburner who needs a name change / Hey, who isn’t in love with Uma Thurman? / And more!

Creme de la Weird
Authorities removed 330 cats from a home in Sacramento, Calif., notable only in that 300 of them were frozen stiff in three freezers, meaning probably that additional freezers had been specially purchased to store the accumulating carcasses.

Civilization in Decline
Malaysia’s gov’t said it would start requiring lone women to get written permission to travel overseas (Yep, women’s groups went nuts), and there’s at least a plausible good intention . . . . . At least one travel agency in Rio is in trouble for offering hands-on-mingling visits with drug gangs in the slums [Ed.: “And here’s a picture I took of Thelma with Carlo the hit man while Edson shows her how he cuts coke”], but that guy says other agencies do it, too.

The Human Condition Today
Your typical angry suburban mom/bookburning story, except that it’s not the public library where the scandalous volumes are, but, um, Urban Outfitters (Bonus: Soon, every male on the Internet will be aware of the mom’s last name) (Perplexed female readers may ask Yr Editor) . . . . . Uma Thurman’s 3-yr relationship with her stalker is being jury-deliberated as we speak; the guy tried to make it seem only unrequited love (“He doesn’t think like most of us,” his lawyer told the jurors. “Think about the stupid things you have done [for love].”) . . . . . Meet Prof. Priya Venkatesan, who has threatened to file a lawsuit against either Dartmouth or her students (not clear) for the “hostile work environment” she was subjected to on “gender” grounds because students were not properly sharing her view that “science” is less about “science” than about male domination [Warning: Link goes to politically-leaning piece instead of the usual mainstream newspaper source; also, tell me if it doesn't work because the Wall Street Journal has been accepting Yr Editor's links even though content is pay-per-view] . . . . . Adam Kuby has already planted one acupuncture-like stake into the city of Portland, Ore., 23-ft high, and is looking for more spots, which he said will improve the city’s chi, even though Portland is already one of the chi-est cities in America.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Michael Younge, 17, who told the arresting officer that he “wanted to look thug-like in his picture”

NOTW Lite
At Brunton Theatre in Scotland, an actor collapsed on stage just as his character was having a heart attack [There oughta be a slick phrase to describe that] . . . . . Roman Catholic officials are in a tizzy on two fronts: They don’t much like that Jesus Malverde is celebrated in Mexico this time of year by drug dealers, who have modified his credentials a bit to regard him as the “Narco Saint,” and they don’t much like that some churches in the Philippines allow cross-dressing gay men to portray female saints in church dramas . . . . .A major dilemma, for those of you who believe in the rule of “law” (as opposed to, y’know, just asking people what they want to happen, in a CNN poll, which is the direction it looks like we’re all headed): Literally billions of dollars has been awarded in eight yrs by U.S. patent judges who were appointed to office in a slam-dunk-unconstitutional manner, and do not expect the losers in all those billion-dollar cases now to say, hey, no prob.

The F State
A substitute teacher just up the road from Weird Central said he got canned for showing a magic trick in class, which was reported by someone to be “wizardry” (but Yr Editor thinks there’s more to come on this).

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Your own alien-abduction-prevention kit

NOTW, The Blog
London’s Daily Mail had a cheap take-out on a few green-preaching celebrities (y’know, DeCaprio, Streisand, Sting), and it does raise the question (to be asked of Mr. Gore as well) of how much of our “carbon footprints” we should be reducing. If an environmental apocalypse is upon us, should a celebrity-noodge be allowed, say, a 10-times-larger footprint than the average American’s, or 20-, or what? (No way should he be limited to just the average, because, after all, he’s not average; he’s . . a celebrity.) The Daily Mail, using no original research, says Madonna’s is more than 100x, and Chris Martin’s (Coldplay) is 250x. Looks like the others in the story are in that range. [NOTWD ombudsman Buddy: So, Chuck, is this about skepticism over climate change?] Just my longstanding love of celebrity fatuousness; if celebrities just went out and celebbed instead of doing all that noodging . . ..

Newsrangers: Rob Snyder, Mark Neunder, David Oldridge, Steve Miller, Emory Kimbrough, Steve Wall
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Things To Worry About On Monday
The Guantanamo Bay resort / The constitution-protected dignity of plants / Woman needs $1, badly / People act up in Kitsap County, Wash., again / And more!

Creme de la Weird
Martin Turner pleaded to four counts of harassment in Blackpool, England, owing to his love of having workmen wearing big boots walk on him, having phoned and texted them way too incessantly to come stand on his face and his stuff. His lawyer tried to say that big, tough guys couldn’t be too upset at something like this, but still . . ..

Civilization in Decline
Whew! Not just Americans! In Austria, too, the tacky, downscale gawkers are lining up in droves, in this case outside the Fritzl family hearth in Amstetten to get a glimpse of the building where Josef kept his daughter in the cellar for 24 yrs.

The Human Condition Today
Jessica Vasquez, 19, beat the crap out of an 81-yr-old woman who allegedly cut her off in traffic, but according to Jessica, it was self-defense pummeling . . . . . No longer with us: Professor of molecular and cell biology and licensed pilot, but no good at checking the gas gauge on his plane (whose tank ran dry 10 minutes after take-off) . . . . . Great photo shoot from the Sydney Morning Herald [via Fark.com]: top photo of the A$400k Ferrari ripped apart in the collision; underneath, the driver/son on the phone at the scene, presumably breaking the news to the owner/dad . . . . . No photos of this one: The skateboarder who apparently raced the train to the crossing near St. Louis.

Your Daily Loser
Two drug-store shoplifters make a break for it and precipitate a frantic police chase by commandeering the nearest vehicle (but it’s a Good Humor ice cream truck).

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Your (almost daily) Kitsap County, Wash., Police Blotter: She’s stink-faced. She wakes her husband up for sex. He all of a sudden turns “good Christian” on her and says, from now on, no more smoking, drinking, swearing, or kinky sex. She severely disturbs the peace.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Angelique Vandeberg, 28 (and this is a good test because it’s a she said/she said with her daughter, and the question is, Does Angelique look like the kind of gal who would shoot her own daughter in the leg with a B-B gun just to win $1 from her boyfriend? I ask you . . .)

NOTW Lite
Evidently there’s a Guantanamo Bay "resort," where people can enjoy a cheap, beachside R&R at $42 a night (as long as you’re not an enemy combatant, of course); “[V]isitors can windsurf, take boat trips, and go fishing for grouper” and buy cute t-shirts and coffee mugs at the souvenir shop [Ed.: Warning! The (London) Daily Mail reporter on this thing is quite hostile to the concept. Imagine.] . . . . . Perfect storm, gerontologically speaking: You’re sick, you’re old, your memory’s shot (including your recollection that no way could that document you signed a while back have said pull the plug).

The F State
Say hello to my leetle friend the Taser, no, no, my leetle friend the pink-painted rifle, or the other stuff Miami banger Manuel Balbin used to torture a colleague he thought stole his PS2 (Bonus: Balbin works blood for a living, as a phlebotomist, and furthermore, his street name is “Insane”) . . . . . Palm Beach cop Molly Olson definitely does not get her job back, even after a formal hearing, because of that video thing where she druggily denied the obvious a couple of times, and also relevant maybe was the fact that she had showed up for roll call that day wearing pink flip-flops.

Updates
Here’s more information on the Swiss constitution’s fascination with vegetation rights that Yr Editor tipped you to [NOTW Daily, 4-15-2008]: Humans can’t claim “absolute” ownership of plants; plants have dignity and “inherent worth,” watch what you’re stepping on, etc. . . . . . Last year [NOTW M013, 7-8-2007], Yr Editor reported on Australia-based artists grossed out by killing cows for leather and so want to make everybody happy by growing leather from cells in the lab:
University of Western Australia artists Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr blend art with science, extracting living cells from animals and growing them on top of biodegradable scaffolds so that when the scaffolds disappear, a living entity remains, in the shape of the scaffold. At the Israeli Center for Digital Art in Holon, Israel, in April [2007], they unveiled “Victimless Leather,” or actual animal skin cells that grew into leather without harming an animal, but their previous work has included growing steak from lamb muscle cells and the preparation for growing wings on a pig (though, in the final stage of that project, they were turned down by the exhibitor, who was apparently grossed out).
Well, their Victimless Leather thing, showing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, just, er, died. Said a MoMA curator, “I’ve always been pro-choice and all of a sudden I’m here not sleeping at night about killing a coat.”

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

Newsrangers: Emory Kimbrough, Mike Mendenhall, Larry Ellis Reed, Michael Zierdt, Paul Music, Gary Davidson, David Swanson
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Things To Worry About On Saturday
Various sexually dysfunctional animals, and various victims of the iron laws of irony, and various doomsday scenarios, but other than that . . .

Creme de la Weird
A French literary renaissance this week! A Dr. Saldmann let rip with a health-centered book advising readers to maximize their bodily emissions, no matter how bad that makes the French look, and now comes the mom of mother-hating novelist Michel Houellenbecq (an iconoclast who has written naughtily about everyone therapeutically nailing everyone else), who returns fire with her own book (rough translation of the two-word title: “It’s All Your Fault, You Miserable Suck”) and adds that she’ll “knock his teeth out” with her walking stick.

Civilization in Decline
An F State TV station placed an actress, age 8, on a bench at the front door of a popular mall, alongside a made-up poster of the girl as “missing,” to see if anyone would help; answer: 2 (with the few who claimed to have noticed admitting later they were afraid of being foolishly wrong, or of being arrested or sued) . . . . . The U.S. gov’t will evidently devote a few days’ equivalent of Iraq money toward the distraction of having to feed the world’s hungry for the whole year, i.e., the amount of blood money the U.S. has to pay starving people not to start wars will go up as food becomes more expensive . . . . . The New Jihad 2.0: Two former self-described Islamic terrorists picked up $10k with a public speech at Univ. Of Colorado this week, “Why We Want to Kill You” (helpful hint: “Terrorism starts politically, financially, then it goes to blowing up themselves. Terrorism is like drug addiction. . . . Wake up and smell the hummus.")

The Human Condition Today
Another breakaway religious cult is in play in the Southwest (ex-Seven Day Adventist), the Lord of Our Righteous Church, indignant that anyone would accuse them of sex with children (whom they refer to as “seed”); they got one thing wrong (their doomsday of 10-31-2007) and one thing right (“the media” are all screwed up), and you can learn more on the Nat’l Geographic Channel on May 7 (“Inside a Cult”) . . . . . Nancy Warren has decided that she’s not getting sidetracked from her all-out, no-holds-barred feud with her neighbor just because she’s an elected member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives . . . . . And Mike Krusee decided Wednesday that he was gonna drive home sh*tfaced even though it was his legislation that upped the DUI fines (when he was [and still is, by the way] a member of the Texas House) . . . . . An extremely hard-to-satisfy municipal bureaucrat in Japan was suspended, being caught porn-browsing three hours every day for three months (780,000 images) . . . . . Jeff Peckman is mighty worried that “if you’re driving down the highway and you saw a crash of a small spaceship and a car or bus full of kids, you really wouldn’t know what to do. Do you wait for the hazardous materials experts to show up because of potential contaminants from another solar system?” (Peckman, 54, who “is single and lives with his parents,” has persuaded the Denver City Council to discuss the problem) . . . . . The helpless, Hawking-like Michael Phillips of Tampa will be featured on This American Life on Showtime tomorrow because he’s a feisty character despite his immobility; he needs 60/24/7 care but is annoyed that his mother controls his life, and he’s considering reconciling with the newspaper reporter who romanced him but whom he “dumped” . . . . . Tony Zirkle, running for Congress from Indiana, sports a resumé with Georgetown, the Naval Academy, and prosecuting attorney, but then his platform is to halt the genocide against whites, especially that committed by “a small army of black male porn stars” who cycle through “five, ten, fifteen thousand [white] women.”

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Angela Csader, 25, one of those teacher-pupil sex things

NOTW Lite
Not much going on in zoology these days so a major journal reported extensively on an Antarctic seal trying to rape a penguin (and captured on video), even though the seal had, y’know, E.D. and couldn’t go the distance (in fact showing less palpable excitement than that of the zoologists, who sound orgasmic at having witnessed a rare interspecies mating attempt) . . . . . And speaking of which, the Japanese owners of the 2002 Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem, who paid the big bucks for something beyond a nice riding horse, are dismayed that he may be suffering from some, y’know, sexual-identity confusion, since he is quite picky about mares and apparently gulps Viagra like Tic Tacs.

Updates
As you readers might have predicted, another day passed, and indeed, Gil Duff was arrested again, number 4 in 9 days; NOTW Daily’s Duff-tracker, Kurt Knochel, says he’s not sending me another report until Duff hits double figures . . . . . Another fact about our man Josef Fritzl (the Austrian cellar kidnaping father): His elaborate basement structure (depicted in this Daily Mail story) was built using gov’t nuclear-shelter money handed out in the 1970s.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe Monday.™

Newsrangers: Steve Miller, Stefan Palys, Mark Neunder, Karl Olson, Todd Grandstaff, John Holsinger, Pete Randall, Emory Kimbrough, Paul Di Filippo, Dvora Mathews, Carl Heine, Joel Curtis
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.