Monday, August 17, 2009

News of the Weird / Pro Edition
August 17, 2009 (news from August 8-15)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2009 by Chuck Shepherd

Diaper Man Is Legal
'Twas a Fine Point of the Law, indeed, that the Brevard County (Fla.) sheriff couldn't arrest the 40-something man after he tricked a woman into changing his diaper for three weeks. His gig: pretending to need total baby care. Her gig: needing to make $600/week by caring for the supposedly disabled man with no bladder control and a mental age of five. Because he paid her in full, and she agreed to the tasks, there was no crime. And Sacha Baron Cohen would be proud because diaper man never broke character. Florida Today

Joie de Mort
Elsie Poncher is looking to sell a cemetery crypt space she owns, with bids starting at $500k. Her husband's in it now, but a lower-rent neighborhood is in his future, since Elsie's behind on her home mortgage. The space once belonged to Joltin' Joe D., and it's right above the space now holding Joe's ex-wife, Marilyn. When Richard Poncher originally bought into the crypt, he made Elsie promise that for all eternity he would be lying face-down above Marilyn Monroe's body. Los Angeles Times

Lawyers with Big Balls
(You wouldn't have the guts to make these claims.) (1) The Stamford (Conn.) Marriott Hotel is being sued by a woman who was raped in its "unsafe" parking garage. Nonetheless, the Hotel's lawyer said, the victim was careless, and that's why she was raped. (2) Mrs. Achumba decided to take the kids for a spin in her Honda right after hearing an ominous announcement about tornados in the area. Sure enough, one twister zapped the car, lifted it up, carried it a few feet, and dropped it, with the only damage being a blown-out side window that cut everybody. Honda should've made a more-tornado-proof car, the Achumbas' lawyer said. $10 million, please. Hartford Courant /// Courthouse News Service

Discussion Question: How has inmate Michelle Kosilek avoided being shanked? She was convicted of killing her wife in 1990 when she was Robert Kosilek, and sent to the male prison in Norfolk, Mass. Shortly after that, she announced she would be, hereinafter, "Michelle" and that she wanted gender surgery (paid for by the state, of course). Neither has happened, and this year, she's demanding (free) electrolysis. (Wife-killers sometimes get shanked just on gen'l principle.) Boston Herald

Another Discussion Question: Is ol' George Sodini (the date-deprived man who killed three and wounded nine in the Pennsylvania dance class before killing himself) in heaven now? Pastors at Sodini's Tetelestai Church are split. Of course not, said one. Once saved, always saved, said another. Deacon Jack Rickard split the difference: Sodini's in heaven, "but he won't have any rewards." Associated Press via

Your Moment of Weird-News Wisdom
Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky of Kiev, Ukraine (whose governing style varies from somewhat-unorthodox to what several opponents called "crazy"): "The thing is, crazy are the people who don't understand that the future belongs to those who are not standard." New York Times

People With Worse Sex Lives Than You
Danny Brawner, 46, Albuquerque, was indicted for indecent exposure. Witnesses observed him with his pants down, humping the trunk of his car. (Bonus: He was screaming, arms akimbo, just like he was gettin' the real thing.) KOB-TV

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Here's Edward Pretzer, 59, who is either nuts (calling 911 to report an unbelievably horrible, bloody plane crash) or, as he said, just a guy with sleep problems who dreamed the crash but dialed 911 in his stupor, thinking he was talking to a relative. Durango (Colo.) Herald

Recurring Themes

It's the oldest stunt in the Least-Competent-Criminals book: Jarell Arnold, 34, robbing the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union but showing his ID to a teller first (he wanted to know his balance) and then jotting down a holdup note. (New Bonus Twist: Arnold is a recidivist, having robbed the same credit union a few yrs back, and he was a customer then, too.) Anchorage Daily News

For at least the third time in this decade, geography-challenged people bought airline tickets for their Australian vacation but failed to notice (until they landed in "Sydney") that the tickets took them to Sydney, Nova Scotia. (Although . . perhaps it has happened other times, but the travelers, rather than acknowledge that they're as dumb as crowbars, decide, whoa, sure, Nova Scotia was what we had in mind all along.) Daily Mail (London)

Humans possess only a nanoparticle of all knowledge, but at least we know (thanks to yet another batch of scholarly research) (1) that female sand goby fish are fickle (their preference in mates varies) and (2) why flamingos stand on one leg (to conserve body heat). Australian Broadcasting Corp. News /// BBC News

Another deformed baby (4 arms, 4 legs) was born in India (well, this time, Nepal), thus splitting neighbors and family members as to whether the little tyke is cursed . . or is the rebirth of the multi-limbed god Ganesh. The Guardian (London)

More Angst & Confusion from Last Week

Coming Soon to a Network Near You: The host of a TV crime-fighting show in Brazil is suspected of masterminding the murders of five more-or-less scumbags, in part so that his reporters would get exclusives. Associated Press via New York Daily News

Instant karma: (1) Arguing with his girlfriend in front of a store in London, he pushed her into the window, launching both of them through it, cutting her but yuckily killing him (carotid impaled on a large shard). (2) Motorcyclist (a 57-yr-old Californian), spittin' mad for some unknown reason [frightened about Obama's place of birth? pissed about death panels?] passed an RV while shouting and finger-saluting, then pulled ahead of it, then purposely slowed down, apparently believing that that would surely show his existential superiority to the RV driver. But, he slowed down too much. Unavoidably, the RV gobbled him up, dragging the biker about 75 ft. Daily Telegraph /// Ventura County Star

Update on that alpha-dog pick-up artist Mazen Abdul Jawad, who went on TV in Saudi Arabia to brag about his conquests (including showing which sex toys he employs): The TV station is now officially out of business. (And speaking of Saudis and sex toys, the week before that, a businessman in Jeddah commissioned a solid gold penis enlarger, with diamonds and rubies, from a Canadian medical device manufacturer, for $47k [US]. He said he was counting on the "medical device" label to get it into his country.] CNN /// Agence France-Presse via Yahoo

Visit the lovely central Philippines highland . . and ya might get a glimpse of a new species of carnivorous pitcher plant just discovered . . and so large that it eats rats. BBC News

Girls Sure Are Different from Boys: Britain's first eyelash transplant was performed, for a reconstructive medical purpose. The U.S. has done them for a while now, increasingly for cosmetic reasons. [That's correct: four-hour microsurgery on the edge of your eyeballs just so your lashes will be longer!] Besides, gals in the U.S. can use the Rx drug Latisse ($120/month), which the FDA says will bulk up lashes. The Independent (London) /// New York Times Magazine

Good to Know: A Phoenix-area substance abuse counselor told KNXV-TV that parents need to be aware of their kids' creative drug delivery systems, e.g., "snorting vodka shots," "soaking tampons in vodka," and . . "anal beer bongs." KNXV-TV

More Sub-Prime Americans

Why would the 22-yr-old guy in Kitsap, Wash., start tossing rocks at a group of people? Simple. He is preparing to enter the Ultimate Fighting Championship but hadn't ever been in a fight before and said he wanted the experience of getting beat up. Kitsap Sun

In Severn, Md., David Perticone, 46, was charged with burglary of his neighbor's house when, a few days later, he ran a yard sale with the loot he scored. WJZ-TV (Baltimore)

Fred Hiestand of Sacramento is the big dog of California tort reform, railing against class actions and especially against the unique state law that allows enterprising individuals to sue small businesses over trivial law violations and then demand four-figure settlements not to go to trial. Hiestand's car got towed by a small business with a city contract. Solution: class-action lawsuit! The Recorder (San Francisco)

Readers' Choice: John William Moyer, 60, was convicted of misdemeanor battery for groping Minnie Mouse at Orlando's Disney World. The judge spared him jail, ordering community service plus a mental evaluation and an apology to the woman playing Minnie (which will be difficult for John, since he sounds still totally in denial). Minnie said he was all over her breasts, laughing, but she couldn't scream because it's against Disney rules to break character. Orlando Sentinel

Eyewitness News

You are there, two weeks ago, as the Dalai Lama grapples with swine flu.

Newsrangers: Catherine Georg, Chris Wray, Eric James, Gil Nelson, Jon Lindstrom, Frank Smith, Mark Zogas, Eric Swanson, Bekah Waltuch, Lyle Mariam, Tom Sullivan, Kathryn Wood, Sam Gaines, Dana Richter, Peter Swank, Jenny Aus, Mike Mendenhall, Perry Levin, Ken Vermette, Joseph Erickson, and Luke Roan, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors