Monday, July 27, 2009

News of the Weird / Pro Edition
by Chuck Shepherd
July 27, 2009 (news from July 18-25)
© 2009 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Rhode Island's Youth Employment Program
According to state law (or, rather, the lack of it), flabbergasted cops were unable to run a strip-club owner in for that 16-yr-old dancer. She's legal. Under-18s in RI can't work with power saws or do excavation jobs, or buy porn, for that matter, but they can work the pole. Providence Journal

The Mean Streets of Beaumont
Alex Fowler, 26, was arrested for an attempted robbery in Beaumont, Tex., and it's good they got this vicious, cold-blooded gang-banger off the street. He's a CRIP, with "Crip for Life" tattooed on his neck, carrying a gun, bandanna across his face. Tough guy. However, the robbery went wrong, and the 87-yr-old victim chased Alex from her home with a can of Raid. Seriously. Beaumont Enterprise

Nothing Gets Past Those Wise Ol' Illinois Tax Examiners
Finally, George Michael's Church of Spiritual Humanism was ruled a fake, and he'll now have to pay the $80k/yr property tax bill on his mansion, for which he had won preliminary approval for an exemption as a church, helped by submitting an image of the house but with a cross on an outer wall (even though George had just Magic-Markered the cross onto the photo). (He later put up a real cross, but it didn't help.) Chicago Tribune

Zebras in the News
(1) The economically and physically decimated Marah zoo in Gaza has a handsome zebra that enchants the kids who have only seen pictures of them, but having a real zebra is expensive. That's why the Marah's zebra is really a donkey, painted with hair dye. Seems to work. They've also got house cats posing as wild cats. (2) Pittsburg State (Kan.) linebacker Joe Windscheffel is out for the season. That's not saying he would have made the team anyway, since a linebacker ordinarily should be tough enough not to get knocked on his ass by a zebra while doing farm work. Slate /// Associated Press via Kansas City Star

I See London, I See France . . .
Belgian artist Jan Bucquoy opened an underpants museum in Brussels, with some artists' actual drawers under glass but also with photos of people who had declined to contribute their knickers (Margaret Thatcher, etc). Bucquoy might actually be onto something: "If I had portrayed Hitler in his underpants, there would not have been a war." "If you are scared of someone, just imagine them in their underpants. The hierarchy will fall . . .." Bucquoy's holy grail? The Papal skivvies. Reuters

People Who Were Reported Being Nuts Last Week But Don't Yet Know They're Nuts
(1) David Shayler used to be a controversial MI5 British intel agent, but things happened, and he sorta went downhill. He's now "Delores Kane" aka the Messiah, on a mission to save humanity by 2012, through legalized hemp and bringing to justice the Americans who staged 9-11. (2) Zimbabwean twins Patience and Memory Neuhe grew up well-off, educated abroad, but returned home under the spell of Seventh-Day Adventists and now walk around all day in only their underwear, tending their garden, waiting for the Apocalypse. Their elderly parents are beside themselves. Irish Independent /// Daily Mail [photos of Delores] /// Zimbabwe Guardian

Gateway to Waterboarding
Mr. Olayinka Alege is an assistant principal at Tampa's King High School (in whose inaugural year Yr Editor almost attended as a 10th-grader), and he solemnly deals with underachievers by having them remove a shoe and sock so he can bend back one of their toes ("toe-popping"). He warns them that if they don't start cracking the books, he'll toe-pop 'em again. He's had to toe-pop one guy 20 times. Tampa Tribune

Important Update!
Yr Editor hates it when this happens, but once in a blue moon . . .. John Wayne Peck, who made our Classic Middle Name list upon his arrest in February 2007, was found not guilty of murder last week in Fredericksburg, Va. Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

People With Worse Sex Lives Than You
Christopher Monks, 24, is on trial in Preston (England) Crown Court, with the evidence looking like this: Monks wanted two things in life: his parents dead and his dick bitten off. So he found a member of the dick-eating community and struck a deal. Lancashire Evening Post

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Things don't look good for Edward Harper, 63, accused of child molesting, because the FBI has had him on its Most Wanted list for 15 yrs now and finally arrested him last week. That alone doesn't mean anything; fairness requires that the mug shot be examined. CNN

More Angst & Confusion from Last Week

The water company told a couple in Barnsley, England, that there's nothing it could do, since their water tested perfectly safe . . even though they acknowledged that "white snot" was coming out of the tap. BBC News

New York's Albany County and the Albany County Medical Center agreed to pay a suspected drug perp $125k after he was forcibly colonoscoped to see if he had swallowed any inventory. Times Union

Can't Possibly Be True: (1) Gareth Morgan is a "badger whisperer." Around him, badgers act like puppy dogs. (2) There's a BP gas station in Memphis that sells quality sushi prepared by an on-site chef. Gourmet magazine says so. Daily Mail (London) /// Commercial Appeal (Memphis)

An exhibit at a gallery in Glasgow, "Made in God's Image," displays a Bible and invites unrestricted comments. "If you feel you've been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it." The result is just what you'd expect: enflaming, vile, blasphemous. Fatwa dead ahead—, oh, wait, wrong religion. Australian Associated Press via

Sounds Like a Joke: A show tortoise escaped from the Zerbini Family Circus during a performance in Madison, Wis., and for some reason, they couldn't catch up to it for six days, when it showed up at a golf course two miles away. And "Terri" won the official World Snail Racing Championship in Congham, England, turning in a blistering 2:49 heat over the 13-inch course. Associated Press via Journal Sentinel /// The Sun

More Sub-Prime Americans

Sean Roberts, 19, Riverview, Fla., alleged burglar, sports a cheek tattoo of the outline of his home state. The Smoking Gun

Tina Lober, Chattanooga, Tenn., was charged with shooting her ex-husband in the groin, twice, because (according to her diary) she needed to create some "portals of exit" for his demons. The Tennessean

What happens when a judge at a beauty contest for trannies votes the wrong way? Unanswered question: If the perp lost the contest, how did he/she wind up with the trophy that was used to beat down the judge with? Chicago Sun-Times

Someone needs to tell Benjamin Hunt, 32, Westmoreland, N.Y., to man up, that there's no crying in DUI mugshots. WKTV (Utica)

Eyewitness News

The owner of Plants & Planters in Richardson, Tex., went to the surveillance video to find out who had made off with 30-some-odd plants overnight. Answer: one of those "assistance monkeys." A monkey was seen scooping up the plants and grabbing a few accessories and handing them to someone on the other side of a fence. WFAA-TV (Dallas)

Recurring Theme: What you really want to see is U.S. Rep. Barney Frank Stooge-slapping U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, but you'll have to settle for this brawl on the floor of the South Korean parliament, where every year or two, push comes to shove over some issue or other. The Guardian (London)

Bonus Non-News Story (that you really ought to know about, anyway, though it's seriously Not Safe For Work): the "ancient art" of, um, vaginal calligraphy.

Newsrangers: Sam Gaines, Charley Butterfield, Jason Kingston, Steve Dunn, Stephen Taylor, Daniel Whalen, John Golan, Peter Swank, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

News of the Weird / Pro Edition
July 20, 2009 (News from July 11-18)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2009 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

The Law Gives It to Frank Hatley Up the Wazoo
He was finally released from jail Wednesday, so at least he has that going for him. He'd been there a year, for falling short in paying off a dumb child-support order. He's not the daddy. He conscientiously made payments for 13 years after he and the momma split, sometimes at great hardship since he was homeless. In 2000, a court said he could stop paying, but it didn't cover the amount he was behind on. Given all the genuine deadbeat fathers still roaming free and rutting, Georgia chose to tighten the screws on Hatley, tossing him in jail last year. So Hatley earnestly paid thousands of dollars that he really didn't have, over 13 yrs, for the child of a ho who couldn't keep track of her inseminators. CNN

The Incarceration Would've Been Interesting
In Canterbury Magistrates Court, former prison guard Gavin Paslow, 39, was sentenced to community service for ripping off the gov't on £3,500 ($5.7k) in benefit claims, which he used for body modifications to become . . the Diablo Defender. If he had gone to prison, he'd already be in trouble as a former guard, but then sooner or later, some inmate with the middle name Wayne would have noticed Gavin's two forehead-implanted horns and his surgically forked tongue. The Sun [Photo? Of course!]

We're Not Weird; You Are!
The St. Paul Pioneer-Press, located in America's ground zero for "New Age," reported the growing discontent of establishment New-Agers for fringe New-Agers. Who belongs? Pagans? Chiropractors? Channelers? Organic farmers? Pet psychics? One NA spiritual center owner: "I have customers who completely believe in fairies [but] will laugh at you if you believe in Bigfoot." (But we're told that "fairies" is not politically correct; it's "nature divas.") [NOTE: I'm told that the reporter probably heard "Nature Deva" and not "nature diva."] On the other hand, at least New-Agers don't have the baggage of believing in virgin birth, turning water into wine, and rising from the dead (much less celebrating it with bunny rabbits). Pioneer Press

Fine Points of the Law (Special "Boomers into Cardiac Arrest" Edition)
Several states [Yr Editor is too lazy to research] have "filial" statutes that track the common law that required adult kids to be responsible for the debts of their parents. A Philadelphia Inquirer columnist reports that several lawyers in Pennsylvania are pushing that state's law to the limit, on behalf of nursing homes and hospitals (but beyond that . . who knows?). And ya can't get out of paying by pointing out that your father deserted you years ago, or that your mom is a lunatic shopper who never took your advice about anything. Philadelphia Inquirer

The Closest America Can Come to This Is the "Inalienable Right" to the "Pursuit of Happiness"
Britain's Nat'l Health Service of Sheffield has released an official wellness-type brochure for students (y'know, fruit and vegetables, exercise, that kind of stuff), that proclaims, and I quote, "[A]n orgasm a day keeps the doctor away." One of the authors reasoned that if we expect kids to delay having intercourse, we oughta give 'em an alternative. Daily Telegraph

A Touch of Nostalgia: Recalling the 1980s' "Child-Molestation" Witch Hunts
Clyde Spencer was finally given a clean bill in Vancouver, Wash., but only after having spent 20 yrs in prison and five more as a registered sex offender for something that never happened. In 1985, his kids, ages 9 and 5, said, well, yeah, daddy violently raped us and our 4-year-old sister, over and over. Spencer got two life terms after pleading no-contest, which he did because he thought that was the only way to get an appeal going. His prison rehab record was awful, of course, because he stayed "in denial." The kids grew up and finally realized they had been manipulated by the grownups, and Spencer was released in 2004 when a court listened to evidence that the original prosecutor, a cretin named Sharon Krause, had not only badgered the kids with love and ice cream to get their "testimony" but also hidden evidence, and it was not until last week that the sex-offender tag was erased from his record. [Ed.: In Krause's defense, it must be said that the public in the 1980s wildly cheered her type, demanding a conviction and massive punishment for every stray accusation against any parent or day-care center.] The Columbian (Vancouver)

People With Worse Sex Lives Than You
Christopher Bjerkness, 31, was arrested in Duluth, Minn., after relapsing into his self-confessed "sexual urge" to slash large, inflatable exercise balls at gyms. He periodically breaks into these places at night and really messes things up for the next day's Pilates classes. Duluth News Tribune via City Pages (Minneapolis) [Photo? Yup.]

The boyfriend of Rachel Ferrara, of La Crosse, Wis., might qualify, as well. He endured a titanic beatdown and stabbing from the 23-yr-old woman when she caught him "cheating" on her by watching porn and polishing his piece. The Smoking Gun

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Jonathan Lowell, 49, Prunedale, Calif., was charged with the improbable crime of chasing his landlord around while nude, demanding oral sex from her. Your call. KSBW-TV (Monterey)

Of course Australia has the same innocence thingy. So here is the lovely Sarah Wallace, 27, busted for allegedly doubling over the speed limit, with her three kids in the car, on top of a bad driving record in general. In this photo, she appears to be denying guilt. The Mercury (Hobart, Australia)

The Way The Works Works (i.e., You Get Screwed)

How Bureaucrats Relax: (1) The U.S. Treasury Dept. concluded that its employees are way stressed-out and that one way to deal with it is to hire a cartoonist to come give some rollicking presentations to the staffers to loosen 'em up. Apparently it's so difficult to make bureaucrats laugh that ya have to contract out big bucks to get it done. (2) Nearly 700 Social Security Admin "executives" partied down for 3 days at a plush Phoenix resort because of stress, e.g., hey, some of our employees had received death threats, so we need to party! Bloomberg News via New York Times /// ABC News

More Angst & Confusion from Last Week

Here's a reminder of the ol' urban legend actually come to life about the cops tricking the dumb perp into confessing by hooking him up to the Xerox-brand "lie detector" (a copier with a sheet of "He's lying" in the output tray). It actually worked at least once, in Bucks County, Pa., in the 1980s (reported in the first News of the Weird paperback), causing the judge to toss out the confession. The rules may be different in Tel Aviv. This time it was a "memory machine." The alleged perp said he was too drunk that night to remember how the murder victim died in Yahud, Israel, but after an EKG, the detective "read" the squiggles and said they show that the guy damn well does remember, at which point he confessed. Israel National News

Good to Know: British researchers found that subjects could endure more pain, longer, if allowed to cuss than by, y'know, using Mormon-safe language. It's not clear exactly which filthy words were used. Some British expletives translate into American, but some don't. Reuters

Also in Britain, (1) a 42-yr-old father was arrested and jailed because he played soccer with his kids on the Woodmansterne Recreation Grounds in Banstead, Surrey, which ya can't do unless you've submitted to a police background check, and (2) a group of prominent, respected authors of children's books had their volunteer reading tour of libraries canceled because they were indignant at having to submit to police background checks. Daily Mail /// The Independent

Food safety officials in Vietnam had to destroy nearly 1.5 tons of contaminated goat penis imported from Australia. (Buried lede: A company actually amassed a ton and a half of goat penises.) Thanh Nien News (Ho Chi Minh City)

Jim Collins won the "World" peashooting championship in Witcham, Cambridgeshire, but it looks like all the contestants were Brits. He used a "traditional" peashooter, as George Hollis, 58, the "sport's reigning superstar," has moved on to a high-tech shooter, with "gyroscopic balancing mechanism and a hyper-accurate laser sight." Daily Telegraph

More Sub-Prime Americans

Cliche Come to Life: Zach Schultz's car burned up when he tossed a lighted cigarette butt out the window, and it blew back in. KMGH-TV (Denver, Colo.)

So a woman was killed crossing railroad tracks in Oakland, Calif., and now the family is doing some heavy lobbying to get a pedestrian bridge built over the tracks. Community activist Jose Ortiz said it was a good idea, that it would save "hundreds of lives" in the future. [Ed.: Ehh, OK, there's a lot of federal stimulus money out there, but still, perhaps Sr. Ortiz's mother and the victim's mother are the only mothers who failed to tell their kids to look both ways before crossing railroad tracks.] KTVU-TV (Oakland)

The Jesus-Mary World Tour: Evidently, playdates are getting hard to book for this tour because there was one last week in Bryan, Tex., with Mary visible in some birdshit on a truck mirror. And, yes, indeed, people are stopping by to pray to the birdshit. KBTX-TV (Bryan) via KWTX-TV (Waco)

Former NFL player Travis Henry was sentenced to 3 yrs in prison on drug charges plus a $4m fine, but the judge waived the fine in view of Henry's obligations to his 11 children by 10 mothers. Denver Post

Motorists Catherine Stotts, 62, couldn't be bothered with that repaving work going on on Highway 20 in Mendocino County, Calif., and so swerved over to the closed-off lane, sending workers scattering and clipping one of them as he headed for a guardrail. Stotts said the new asphalt on the open lane bothered her, which is why she switched to the old lane, and besides, the worker she hit could have helped himself by jumping out of the way faster than he did. Willits News (Ukiah)

Eyewitness News

Here are some nice photos of people gettin' down at the famous Mud Festival in the South Korean town of Byryeong. Wheeeeee! Daily Mail (London)

And here's Smokey, a 12-week-old chihuahua in Manchester, Ky., with a two-pronged meat fork sticking well into his little skull. (He survived.) WLKY-TV (Louisville) /// WNEW-TV (New York City) [better photo]

And once again, It's Good to Be a British Prisoner, if it was the Brinsford Young Offender's Institution near Wolverhampton, because that's where Ms. Amitjo Kajla, 27, worked until she was fired for being too friendly. As you can see from this photo, Amitjo don't belong in no prison. Damn. BBC News

Newsrangers: Stephen Taylor, David Gruber, Rhiannon Fraser, Jodie Johnson, Christine Rodrigue, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, July 20, 2009

NOTE FROM CHUCK: Ladies and gentlemen, due to unforeseen circumstances, I have to take the day off (well . . . and the day after this). News of the Weird / Pro Edition for July 20 will be posted Wednesday morning, July 22 (but will still be the post based on the news from July 11-18).

Monday, July 13, 2009

News of the Weird / Pro Edition
July 13, 2009 (news from July 4-11)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2009 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Retiring a News of the Weird Evergreen
Our old friend H. Beatty Chadwick, never convicted of doing anything wrong, has nonetheless been incarcerated near Philadelphia since the middle of President Clinton's first term, to encourage him to hand over money to his ex-wife in their divorce proceeding. At the time, he swore there was no money, that he had lost it all in investments. The judge didn't believe him, then or on any of the ensuing 5,200 days, but on Friday, the law finally said, 14 yrs, WTF? Some murderers in Pennsylvania are out way sooner than that. Philadelphia Inquirer

Economic Stimulus Is Working
Why, there's even a £50k ($80k) job opening for a witch, living the life, looking hag-like, cackling. It's for a tourist park that features a replica Dark Ages cave, which must have a witch on duty. BBC News

Nothing Is My Fault
(1) A well-to-do British doctor retired in 1991 and donated everything he owned to the Self Realization Meditation Healing Centre because he felt at one with its lady guru. It took 18 yrs for this highly educated man to work himself free of the fraud by that manipulative, 78-yr-old woman . . which means . . lawsuit! (2) A 15-yr-old girl in New York City fell into an open manhole, got a little skinned up and bruised, went to the hospital briefly, and maybe got an MRI to see if there was worse damage. That's a lawsuit, too! (Bonus: She fell in because she was distracted by texting.) Daily Telegraph /// New York Daily News

Barney and Gomer on Duty for Your Safety
When Yr Editor had business in federal buildings in Washington way before 9-11, it was jolly fun to try and game the "security" guards by flashing a true ID but then signing in under a completely different name, to see if they would notice. To my knowledge, no guard ever did. Obviously, security has improved since 9-11, in tha— . . . wait, it says here in this GAO report that things are worse. Secure buildings may have X-ray machines now, but if the Federal Protective Service officers ignore the monitors— . . which investigators found a high incidence of, they could sneak in bomb-making components at 10 sites, unbothered. . Washington Post

People Who Have Imaginary Friends But Are Not Yet Officially Mentally Ill
About 250 people from around the world showed up in Washington state in late June for the 9th annual Fairy and Human Relations Congress, which links imaginary people's flesh-and-blood brothers but lacks any of the gravitas of mainstream religious text. "Seeing fairies changes your reality," said a local oracle. Spokesman-Review (Spokane) via Seattle Post-Intelligencer

It's Good to Be a British Prisoner (continued)
According to British law-enforcement stats, almost 1,000 furloughed prisoners in the last 10 yrs have gone AWOL, including 19 convicted murderers. Reactions: Tory politicians' hair stood on end; Labour said, er, but that's only 1% of furloughs. BBC News

People With Worse Sex Lives Than You
Deborah Parker, 38, Houston, Tex., was charged with manslaughter after her common-law husband was shot to death in what Deborah called a tragic accident while the couple were playing their little "dirty cowboy" sex game. (No, sorry; still in the dark on the actual rules of that game, but that's why blogs have Comments sections.) Houston Chronicle

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
The charge? Running an unlicensed silicone-injection clinic for boobally-challenged women. And while you jurors are at it, you can rule once and for all exactly of which gender this perp is a member. (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Ya can help out, too, with the prosecution of John Yale Jr., 43, who may or may not (a) be the Devil and (b) have assaulted a man in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Stuart, Fla.)

Just to test your wits further: Take a look at this guy and try to guess how many times he's been arrested. The choices are (a) 1, (b) 2, (c) 120. St. Petersburg Times

The Way The World Works (i.e., You Get Screwed)
An economics research firm told USA Today that the only reason 45% of banks and credit unions were profitable last year was because of their overdraft fees (y'know, when you bounce a check, but the bank "lends" you money to cover it, at semi-Mafioso interest). (Bonus: Some banks refer to this overdraft-fee/anal intercourse as a "courtesy.") USA Today

More Angst & Confusion from Last Week

Not Your Father's Drug Cartel: The numero cinco Mexican drug gang, La Familia, does business differently. Ya can't drink, ya can't toke, ya can't inject, nuthin, and ya gotta read your Bible. They're into the same lines of work as the others, with a presence in dozens of U.S. cities, even, and their leader is known as El Mas Loco, but, still, individually, they smoke less than President Obama. The Guardian (London)

Employees at a Tokyo rail service will have to clock-in and smile-in for work every day: They grin into a scanner, which makes sure they look cheerful enough for duty. For the Japanese, this will take practice. Mainichi Daily News

March Madness for Kidney Surgeons: Johns Hopkins doctors led an eight-way kidney swap involving six men and 10 women in four states. Washington Post

Readers' Choice: A 29-yr-old worker died of . . chocolate . . at a plant in New Jersey. He fell into a yummy, creamy vat and was battered by the mixing blades. Philadelphia Inquirer

Lisa Wright, 17, made the tabs in Britain at age 14 when she moved in with a 46-yr-old whom she loved with all her heart, she said, but the Daily Mail catches up to her today, reporting that she's come to her senses. (Bonus: Nigel must be crying like a baby, seeing those sofa bolsters Lisa's grown in the last two years.) Daily Mail

Bright Idea: Jonathan Baltesz and his family came up with an obvious yet underutilized strategy for enticing its lost Labrador, Simon, back home. They all peed in containers and spritzed them around Bristol, laying out a trail that Simon could follow home. Bristol Evening Post

More Sub-Prime Americans

Two hardy frontiersmen from Bethesda, Md., set out into the Alaskan Bush for a 7-day wilderness adventure but had to whine in the rescuers . . after one day . . because of sunburn. Apparently, they overlooked the brochure about the long days. Anchorage Daily News

Crime Is My Profession: Roy Jenkins, 44, Alameda, Calif., was a felon in possession of an unregistered shotgun, which came to authorities' attention when he tried to transport it down his pants leg and blew his little toe off. Alameda Sun

Nuts, But With Panache: A 36-yr-old man was arrested in Destin, Fla., obstructing traffic, but before deputies were done with him, he had ID'd himself as (the late) John Quincy Adams, DOB July 4th, 1892, aka the "commissioner of police," and attempted to place the deputies under arrest, pretending to speak into an imaginary police radio, twice "calling" for backup. Finally, he settled as ID on as "commander chief 492," and a "special operative" of the FBI. Northwest Florida Daily News

Summer Special: A Review from the Recent Russian Press

Yeah, I agree: These don't nearly meet my authentication standards. But, everyone's entitled to a little guilty pleasure now and then. And ya never know. Russians are crazy. Just because we can't prove it, there's no good reason to assume they wouldn't do this stuff. (1) "Vladimir," 31, in a Moscow suburb, failed 3x in one day to kill himself (two hangings, a knife into the heart), but number four was a charm (wrist-slashing). (2) Alexi Roskov, 22, tanked on vodka, jumped out of his fifth-floor Moscow apartment window, but was not badly hurt, and went back upstairs, but a while later, jumped again (and survived again). Why'd you do it, the rescuers asked. Well, as to the first one, Alexei didn't know, but when he got back upstairs, his wife nagged him so much about the first jump that he thought he had to go again. (3) A wife's recurring gift to her husband: a sixth annual hymenoplasty, which will once again improve his insertionary experience for the ensuing 364 days (when she gets out of the hospital, that is). (4) A less-enthralled lover, Kira, got back at her wandering man by attaching several firecrackers to his penis while he slept and setting them off. (5) Tatiata Kozhevnikova, 42, broke the record for having the world's strongest vagina (measured by, I guess, the ability to expel heavy balls) (Plus, there's a photo gallery, which is actually Safe For Work).
(1) Moscow News (2) The Week (3) Moscow News (4) Moscow News (5) Moscow News (6)

Eyewitness News

Yachtsman Arthur Manning is reputed to be pretty damn good at racing, but he admits he made a bad decision on a turn in the Royal Channel Island Yacht Club's 14th Waller Harris two-handed triangle race (as you can see). Daily Telegraph

Newsrangers: Alice Sullivan, Pete Randall, Tom Barker, Bruce Raby, David Whitten, Kathryn Wood, Stephen Taylor, Michael Ravnitzky, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, July 06, 2009

News of the Weird / Pro Edition
July 6, 2009 (news from June 27-July 4)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2009 by Chuck Shepherd

Turkish TV, Livin' on the Edge
A station in Turkey is working on a show for September launch in which 10 certified atheists get hit on relentlessly (well, spiritually, anyway) by an imam, a priest, a rabbi, and a monk, all trying to flip them. Not sure yet of the rules, but whichever of the 10 "wins" gets an expense-paid trip to the victorious religion's theme park (Mecca, Vatican, Jerusalem, Tibet). This oughta turn out fine. BBC News

Not One Damn Thing About MRIs or Antivirals in the Good Book
Therefore, some Pentecostals and Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Scientists (plus some ridiculous recent start-ups) accept only the salve of prayer. About 30 U.S. states have laws protecting believers' right to refuse medical treatment on religious grounds, but they were mostly passed 30 yrs ago, and experience now tells us (according to a children's activist group) that at least 274 kids have died since then due to parents' inept prayers. Associated Press via CBS News

Ants Rule
Biologists believe that one strain of Argentine ants now occupies mega-colonies thousands of miles long on three continents (along the Mediterranean, in California, and in Japan). Biologists know this because the ants have similar chemical makeup, for instance not attacking MOTs but rather just rubbing antennas with them. Still, the colonies are smaller than the chemically-similar mega-colonies of stupid humans, who are found on six continents in huge numbers and dominate various sectors of our discourse. BBC News

Can't Possibly Be True
OK, the second thing about this is almost trivial compared to the first thing. The second thing is that Dr. Christopher Liu (of the Sussex Eye Hospital, Bristol, England) actually carried it out successfully (on a 42-yr-old man, who's absolutely tickled with it). It's the first thing about it that's amazing: how in the blue hell did Dr. Liu think this up to begin with? Martin Jones had been blind for 12 yrs. Dr. Liu figured out that if he took a tiny sliver of Jones's tooth, planted it in his eyeball, and put some of Jones's skin under the eyelid, why, a few short weeks later, Jones would be able to see again. WTF? Daily Mail (London)

Serious Failure of Imagination
So the Russian gas company Gazprom wants to partner up with the Nigerian gov't, which is OK, except nobody can think of a better name for the new venture than Nigaz. The Guardian (London)

Crime Is My Profession
(1) Gregory McCalium was just sentenced for an ordinary burglary last year in Botley, England, a routine crime except that the "victim" was a retired 72-yr-old prizefighter who still packs fists of thunder (as you can see here by Before and After photos of Gregory's face). (2) Lonnie Meckwood, 29, and Phillip Weeks, 51, were charged with robbing a gas station in Kirkwood, N.Y. Police caught 'em about a mile down the road, where their getaway car had run out of gas. (3) Recidivist Willie Jeter, 53, was arrested for snatching a $1,000 wristwatch off the x-ray-scanned tray as he and others, including a passel of sheriff's deputies, were entering a courthouse in Largo, Fla. Daily Mail /// Associated Press via Newsday /// St. Petersburg Times

It's Good to Be a British Criminal (continued)
A Freedom of Information Act request by the East Anglican Daily Times (Ipswich), to get a list of escapees from Hollesley Bay prison facility, was answered by the Ministry of Justice with an inventory of the crimes of the 39 runners but not their names because . . that would violate their right of privacy. Seriously. East Anglican Daily Times

People With Worse Sex Lives Than You
Thomas Schultz, 49, was charged in Cedar Grove, Wis., with the 2-yr stalking of his now-60-yr-old female neighbor, mostly to rifle through her underwear drawer from time to time and to sometimes urinate into her clothes hamper. Sheboygan Press [mug shot!]

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Don't know who this is, or what he's charged with, but he might possibly need to be locked up somewhere.

More Angst & Confusion from Last Week

The Kissimmee/Osceola County (Fla.) Chamber of Commerce decided to meet this coming Wednesday . . at the Cypress Cove Nudist Resort. (Bonus: Cypress Cove's bar is called Scuttlebutts.) Orlando Sentinel

Out of the Box Thinking: (1) Spring Airlines of China announced it's considering selling straphanger tickets so it can cram 40% more customers onto flights. Passengers would also be belted around the waist. (2) Passengers are notoriously reluctant to pay attention to those safety videos while waiting for takeoff so Air New Zealand's videos will feature naked flight attendants (well, wearing body paint made to resemble ANZ uniforms). MSNBC /// Seattle Times

There's no body paint involved in management consultant David Taylor's Naked Friday exercises, which he persuaded almost all the employees of the British firm OneBestWay to get down with. It's supposed to relieve those stresses ya feel dealing with all the yayholes you work with. Daily Telegraph (London)

"Forget extended warranties," writes Wired magazine. "A Shinto priest can protect your electronics from bad mojo." Shinto posits that nearly every object on Earth has a spiritual essence, which a priest can invoke with the right music when you approach the altar and turn a tree branch whichaway, and then bow twice and clap twice. The correspondent had his previously-cursed cell phone blessed. Wired

The Arts Council of Wales, using British nat'l lottery money, gave £20k to sculptor Sue Williams to create molds of various female butts to illustrate certain cultural observations ("[I]t is quite clear that the bottom is sacrosanct to the African man and woman"). The Times (London)

Awesome! A 43-yr-old woman in Queensland, Australia, blew a .413 blood-alcohol reading [ed.: textbook diagnosis: She's dead!], but the arresting officer swears the lady walked a straight line . . while wearing high heels! Courier Mail (Brisbane)

More Sub-Prime Americans

Anthony Benanati's lawsuit against the Burning Man organization was rejected by a California appeals court, even though he was badly fried. He acknowledged that, well, yeah, he did voluntarily walk up to the burning statue to throw something in to honor a friend, and he knew he coulda been burned, but, damn, somebody oughta have talked him out of it. KTVU-TV (Oakland)

Olathe, Colo., police officer Michael Percival was suspended after it got out that he regularly whip-spanked his girlfriend. She said she didn't like it but did feel she deserved it because she and Michael had contracts that governed her hygiene, behavior (especially sex), and clothing, and that penalties were clearly spelled out. For instance, on June 15th, she had asked Michael why she couldn't go on his fishing trip with him. Uh-oh. Michael said that's a 50-lasher. Montrose Daily Press (Montrose, Colo.)

Andrew Brunell, 24, was arrested in Fountain Hill, Pa., and charged with sending 72 obscene text messages to hearing-impaired people "because it was hilarious . . .." Morning Call (Allentown)

Update: Police say that former pro wrestler Brian Blair was the victim of a domestic brawl, rather than the aggressor (as reported here last week). His older son is apparently a twit, and it looks like B.Brian was just trying to hold him off and showed remarkable restraint, in that his welts and bruises were worse than his son's. Seriously. St. Petersburg Times

Eyewitness News

Here's a police interrogation video from Warren, Ohio, during which a woman nonchalantly removes, then re-places, a baby squirrel, in her cleavage. WEWS-TV (Cleveland) [if video doesn't work, try this WINK-TV (Fort Myers, Fla.) link]

The Raleigh (N.C.) sewer creature, on video! A camera captured several "pulsing sacs clinging to the crevices" inside a sewer pipe, identified as colonies of tubiflex worms that attach themselves to roots in the pipes. Alternatively, it's part of that "closet" scene in Poltergeist, or maybe an inrarectal shot as imagined by the director Rob Zombie. (Bonus: The authorities in Raleigh say all that mess poses no harm to water quality!) (Time-Warner Cable) [news story] /// YouTube via [prime video!]

Newsrangers: Pete Randall, Graham Wilson, Jon Farrow, Sam Gaines, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors