Monday, June 01, 2009

News of the Weird / Pro Edition
June 1, 2009 (news from May 23-30)
© 2009 by Chuck Shepherd

Britain's Manchester Museum has hired Mr. Ansuman Biswas as its "hermit in residence" this summer, to live in a tower and blog concerning one object a day from the Museum's stash, musing on its significance (or lack of). For some reason, Ansuman sounds thrilled to be doing this. And the BBC said it was sending Simon Armitage to Afghanistan to embed with troops. Armitage is a, uh, poet (actually, Poet Laureate short-lister). Combat poet. Speaking of poetry, here's this bit of marketing by the Planet Shikoku Rejuvenation Station massage parlor in Eden Prairie, Minn.:
Men are from Mars! / Women are from Venus
We understand that sometimes / It's all about the Penis!
But there's no unhappy endings [sic] here / Because we don't do anything wrong
We will stroke your ego / Not your ding dong!
The Guardian (Ansuman) /// The Guardian (Armitage) /// City Pages (Minneapolis)

Crime Is My Profession
(1) Brandon Hiser, 22, was arrested in Kansas City for trying to break into a bank using a screwdriver. Bonus: It was the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. (2) Ezedrick Jones, 18, was arrested in Memphis for trying to knock off the very KFC from which he had just been fired. Bonus: The manager recognized him through his mask's eye holes and throughout the robbery, addressed him by name. Kansas City Star /// United Press International

Gift Guide
"The most daring accessory you can wear," the mfgr says, available in an assortment of colors and Swarovski crystals: butt-plug bling! (Seriously. Chains hanging out of your sphincter.) /// [NSFW]

Fine Points of the Law
Pedophile Richard Balsavage, sentenced to 9 to 23 months in jail plus 3 yrs' probation for taking dirty pictures of a 2-yr-old boy, was annoyed that the judge didn't let him explain. The appeals court agreed with him, and a new judge had to listen this time. Result after listening (combined with one count of Balsavage's violating a previous term of release): 24 to 49 years in prison. Reading Eagle

The New District of Calamity
Longtime NOTW-philes recognize the grotesquely dysfunctional city gov't of Washington, D.C., as Yr Editor's "District of Calamity," but D.C. is improving, and it's about time to pass the torch of greatness . . to the Motor City. (1) Detroit announced that crime declined 24% last yr and that 400 fewer people are in jail. But the city is more crime-riddled than ever, say residents and cops interviewed by the Detroit Free Press. The problem, they say, is that cops just flat-ass don't arrest people. Crime victims don't even bother to call the police anymore. (2) City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, usually intense about Detroit's need for revenue, was outed by the Free Press because she owns a house in a 'hood where neighbors pay property tax of $2,000-$6,500 annually, and she pays $68 a yr. Tax Assessor: We thought it was a vacant lot! Watson: All I do is pay the bill that I get. Freep: You never noticed the amount was low? Watson: Oh, that. Well, a tornado damaged my roof once. Nat'l Weather Service: What tornado? Detroit Free Press /// Detroit Free Press

Good to Know
Jennie Noll is a pediatrics professor at the University of Cincinnati, Children's Hospital Medical Center, laboring hard and bringing forth this startling research revelation: If teenage girls present themselves provocatively online, they'll get more online hit-on's than if they present themselves more demurely. Whoa. HealthDay News via

People with Worse Sex Lives Than You
Larry Stephen Moore II, 42, was arrested near Andersonville, Tenn., when police tracked him from a burglary scene to an abandoned farm house and then scared him into jumping from a second-floor window. For some reason, Moore was naked except for a woman's thong. They don't know for how long that night Moore had been wearing only the thong. Knoxville News-Sentinel [Oh, yes, there's a mugshot!]

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Jacob Burrow, 26, just released from prison, was hanging out at a Denny's in Fresno, Calif., when police arrested him for harassing customers (eating stuff off their plates, etc.) and threatening to poke the manager's eyes out. Guilty? KGPE-TV (Fresno)

Jonathan Lee Riches, hands-down the most prolific nutcase litigant in America (see Wikipedia link), filed a lawsuit against the Guinness Book of World Records because its editors named him the most prolific litigant in America. Of course! Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) /// Wikipedia

Recurring Theme
Tex-ass Justice: The District Attorney in Dallas announced he was moving to release Jerry Lee Evans, 47, after a DNA test showed Evans wasn't the rapist and that he shouldn't have spent the last 22 yrs in prison. That makes 20 way-innocent people convicted in Dallas County. Dallas Morning News

More Angst & Confusion from Last Week

The fancy Nobu restaurant in London offers a bluefin tuna entree for £32 ($51) but is so environmentally whipped that, right there on the menu, they tell you not to order it ("Bluefin tuna is an environmentally threatened species—please ask your server for an alternative"). Daily Telegraph

Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand's hard sell: Buy a Triton compact truck for your farm . . . get a free goat. Courier-Mail (Brisbane)

The economy's causing so much stress in Japan that salarymen are suffering epic halitosis. Daily Telegraph (London)

The rebel group FARC just completed its 45th yr of unsuccessfully trying to persuade the good people of Colombia that a Castro-style socialist state is best. Hey, hombrecitos, Colombia's just not that into you! BBC News

They're looking for volunteers to go into Maine's North Woods and howl like a wolf, and then write down what happens. (a) If nothing happens, move on to the next location and repeat. (b) If your howl is seductive, and if indeed Eastern gray wolves have returned to the area, there may be a . . situation. Bangor Daily News

Suck it, said (well, basically, said) the governor-general of Canada (supposedly the Queen's official representative) to the European Union, on a ceremonial visit to fishermen in an Inuit community way up in the Arctic. She personally sliced a piece of heart out of a dead seal and ate it. (The EU's ban on seal products takes effect at the end of the year.) The Guardian

Lai Jiansheng's Crisis Help Line: Suiciders favor a certain bridge in Ghangzhou, China (12 attempts in the last 45 days), and each time, traffic crawls for hours while rescue crews try for saves. Mr. "Chen" was the latest man on the ledge, but he couldn't make up his mind. Exasperated motorist Lai Jiansheng ended the suspense by walking up to Chen and pushing him off (but he survived). Agence France-Presse via

It's Good To Be A British Prisoner (cont'd): Lisa Healey, serving life for torturing and killing an old man, had a baby behind bars after a 4-yr weekends-only affair she had while on unsupervised day release. Daily Mail

Since April 2006, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has transferred 90,000 inmates between facilities . . . by releasing them, unescorted, with bus tickets and an arrival date at the new lockup. BOP: We save money that way! Greyhound: WTF? BOP Press Office: Every year or so, a reporter discovers this and makes a lot of noise, but we keep doing it anyway. Las Vegas Sun via San Jose Mercury News

Here are a half-dozen al-Qaeda recruits whining to the L.A. Times that they went through hell to get to Pakistan, but when they arrived, the jihadists didn't give 'em any love (e.g., charging 'em $1,200 for their AK-47s and grenades!). It's evidence that unarmed Predator strikes have made the Pakistani mujahadeen seriously anxious and distrustful. "Brothers in arms" . . "Martyrs" . . Oh, that's so-o-o-o 2003! Los Angeles Times

More Sub-Prime Americans

Desmond Hatchett, 29, was in a child-support drama in a Knoxville, Tenn., courtroom (21 kids by 11 women). WLVT-TV (Knoxville)

Good Ol' Boys' Drug Delivery (Winder, Ga.): wireless doorbell on a tree in the yard, bucket lowered from 2nd-story window, money goes up, drugs come back down in the bucket. Associated Press via Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Judge Rules Jurors Too Dumb to Be Jurors: Plaintiff had gone into surgery for a kidney stone and emerged without her arms or legs, but the jury said . . yeah . . so? The judge booted them off and ordered a new trial. WFOR-TV (Miami)

How do these things keep happening, people? (1) His lawnmower flips over, naturally trapping him underneath, naturally catching on fire, killing him. (2) They got run over somehow by the actual car they were driving at the time. (3) He walked away from a car crash but was immediately killed by a train. Associated Press via /// Pocono Record /// Santa Monica Daily Press /// Associated Press via Sacramento Bee

Newsrangers: Mary Foo, Daniel Urban, Chris Chiu, Jessica Binns, Rick Matz, Tim McCall, Stephen Taylor, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors