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