Monday, August 10, 2009

News of the Weird / Pro Edition
August 10, 2009 (news from August 1-8)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2009 by Chuck Shepherd

Iran, North Korea Emergencies Overshadowed by International Sonar Crisis
All week long in Glasgow: the International Piping Live! festival, with 200 bagpipe bands from 16 countries among the 16,000 performers, building up to the actual World Pipe Band Championships on Saturday. Sound waves probably will not make it across the Atlantic, but you might keep your windows closed, just in case. The Herald (Glasgow)

More Tex-Ass Justice . . from Ohio
Derris Lewis only had to spend a mere 18 months in a Columbus jail (awaiting trial for killing his twin brother) before the gov't decided to test out its "evidence." The bloody "palm print" (a one-inch by one-inch smudge) said to match Derris's wasn't bloody after all, and it could have been placed on the wall of his family home at any time. Eighteen months. Columbus Dispatch

Yr Governments in Action!
(1) Remodeling of the Port of Seattle terminal was put on hold because the contractor built a trench, for an important crane cable, to a width of 2.50 inches. Shoulda been 2.52 inches. $200k for the re-do, maybe $800k in lost fees in delaying the terminal's opening. (2) Heath, Ohio (pop. 8,500), concluded it might have overreached, in that its new, six-intersection traffic camera ticketing system wrote 10,000 citations in the first 4 weeks. (3) Hey, no hard feelings toward the two construction companies being sued for contributing to that Interstate 35 bridge collapse in Minnesota in 2007 (killing 13 motorists). Between 'em, the companies have won $50m in new contracts since then. Seattle Times /// Columbus Dispatch /// Minnesota Public Radio News

Critters
(1) This first one's probably make-believe, but who knows, 'cause it's Mongolia. But the Gobi dwellers widely fear the Mongolian death worm (known locally only as the "intestine worm"), which is reputed to be almost five feet long and to spew either (a) deadly acid or (b) lightning . . er . . from its rectum. A New Zealand TV crew is on location. (2) Legit, though, is a 3-ft-long, log-like thingy that washed up on a shore in Wales, consisting of hundreds of writhing snake-like strips. Scientists say, Oh, that! That's just "goose barnacles," nothing special, but they usually hang out in the deep, and this one got carried away. But it underscores the reality that if we could know about everything that was deep in the oceans, we'd be messing up our pants. Courier-Mail (Brisbane) via Herald Sun (Melbourne) /// Daily Mail (London) [yucky photos]

Sometimes Ya Know Who's Officially Mentally Ill, and Sometimes Ya Don't
Last week in Minneapolis, doctors and patients attended the annual conference of the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation. Supply your own jokes (e.g., Restroom lavatories were tied up all day because the hand-washers wouldn't leave). Also, it's likely that Chinese bride Lin Rong hasn't been diagnosed with anything, even though she thought she had to have a wedding dress that was 1.3 miles long (rolled up). Also, maybe Terence Loyd, 32, Mansfield, La., was just high on drugs when he rolled around on all fours in the mud, barking, then alternately eating mud and vomiting it. Also, we don't know about Daniel Phelan, 27, who apparently drove around with a pile of rocks in the passenger seat, in case he had occasion to become road-raged. And finally, we know Walter Paulson is a loony, but he's our loony, or rather, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors's loony, getting up at open-mic time at almost every Board meeting in the last four yrs and crooning a brief song parody about the Supervisors' issues of the day. Associated Press via MSNBC [Obsessive-Compulsive] /// BBC News [wedding gown] /// Associated Press via Houston Chronicle [Loyd] /// Chicago Sun-Times via WBBM [Phelan] /// San Francisco Chronicle [Paulson]

People With Worse Sex Lives Than You
The fella with the week's worst sex life, of course, is that mass/spree murderer George Sodini, 48, who killed three women and himself in the dance class because he hadn't been laid in 19 yrs and had no prospects. However, here are three other guys, in Greensboro, N.C., and six more in the Winston-Salem area, who were so desperate for studliness that they bought themselves direct penile-enhancement injections. Said a local director of public health, "Don't trust individuals who are going to inject things in you from out of a car." ABC News [dance-class killer] /// Greensboro News & Record [injections]

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Keith Griffin, 48, Jensen Beach, Fla., might possibly be guilty of downloading child porn, but maybe he's innocent—that it was, as he says, his cat's fault, in that Keith left his computer on, and the cat probably jumped on the keyboard, somehow clicking 1,000 pictures onto his hard drive. WPBF-TV (West Palm Beach)

And then there's this fellow, from The Smoking Gun collection, crime unknown, who looks like he has almost completely made the transition from Cro-Magnon. The Smoking Gun

More Angst & Confusion from Last Week

Two men from Tampa drowned in separate incidents to kick off lobster-hunting season in the Florida Keys. A sheriff's spokesman said 10 to 15 divers drown every year hunting lobsters. [Yes, that's 10 to 15 . . dead . . each year . . because they wanted to catch lobsters instead of buying them.] Tampa Tribune

A woman bought up every seat in business class on an El Al flight from Paris to Tel Aviv just so her dog could sit next to her instead of with the cargo. (Bonus: It's a full-grown boxer.) United Press International via USA Today

A Brazilian environmental group, SOS Mata Atlantica, is running a TV ad campaign encouraging water conservation, claiming a household could save 4,000 gallons a yr if only the family all peed in the shower instead of the toilet. Associated Press via Discover Magazine

Least Competent Cops: Spain's Supreme Court overturned an assault conviction and 10-yr sentence because the police lineup might have been unfair: asking the victim to pick out the black man who attacked her from among a lineup in which the other stooges were white. Reuters

More Sub-Prime Americans

A 20-yr-old woman was injured in Boulder, Colo., when she fell from a 5th-floor window, right beside which was the bed she was sleeping in. Alcohol Was Involved, and there's a good chance she just rolled out the window. Colorado Daily

After finally paying off a $45k state income tax lien covering 1998-2005, Jeanette Jamieson of Toccoa, Ga., finds herself charged again, for ignoring her state taxes for 2006 and 2007. (Bonus: Jamieson is a professional tax preparer.) (Double Bonus: She was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives all that time.) Toccoa Record

Christopher Anson, 23, allegedly robbed the White Rock Bank (Cannon Falls, Minn.) and drove away with $2,600, but was caught speeding nearby. The officer copied down all Anson's info but said he'd have to mail him the ticket since his radio just then blared out, ordering him to go investigate a robbery of the White Rock Bank. The cop later realized the robber in the bank's video was the guy he needed to mail the ticket to. Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.)

Six motorcycle cops, escorting funeral-goers to the cemetery for burial of a prominent Florida Harley-Davidson dealer, crashed into each other, sprawling out in the road. Associated Press via Miami Herald

Houston police failed, too, following the arrest of George Vera, 25, who weighs nearly 600 lbs. Vera managed to make it past three jail checkpoints, still carrying his 9-mm handgun . . which was tucked inside one of his belly rolls. KPRC-TV (Houston)

Ella Orko of Chicago remains spry at 86. She was busted last week for shoplifting from a grocery store (including wrinkle cream). (Bonus: It was arrest number 61 for her.) Chicago Tribune

Readers' Choice: What happens when a wife discovers that her husband has three side squeezes, and when notified, each side squeeze professes to be the main squeeze? They work out some payback. The man gets tricked into a motel room, where all four descend, slap him around, and apply Krazy Glue to a sensitive part of his anatomy. They are under arrest. ABC News [mugshots]

Newsrangers: Kathryn Wood, Gerald Croll, Sam Gaines, Barry Rose, Bruce Leiserowitz, Steve Nicoulin, Megan Tracy, Charles Smaistrla, Kenneth Camp, Jeff Hagge, Tom Barker, Stephen Taylor, Heather Forsyth, and Dave Pierson, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors