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. TheSmokingGun.com

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!) News14.com (Time-Warner Cable) [news story] /// YouTube via Wired.com [prime video!]

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