Monday, August 03, 2009

News of the Weird / Pro Edition
August 3, 2009 (news from July 25-Aug 1)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2009 by Chuck Shepherd

This Is Not a Stephen Glass Story
A New York Times Magazine writer spent some time in Japan with a live-chick repellant named "Nisan," 37, accompanying him on a "date" with his new girl, "part of a thriving subculture [called otaku] of men and women in Japan who indulge in real relationships with imaginary characters." "The less extreme might have a hidden collection of figurines based on anime characters that they go on 'dates' with during off hours. A more serious 2-D [obsessed with two-dimensionals] lover, like Nisan, actually believes that a lumpy pillow with a drawing of a prepubescent anime character on it is his girlfriend." "He takes her out on the weekends to sing karaoke." One of the more wistful 2-D's admitted he wanted to get married to a 3-D, "but look at me. How can someone who carries this [gal] around get married? People are probably wondering what psychiatric ward I escaped from. I would think the same thing if I saw me." OK, so . . is there a defense to all this? Try this out: "If, as some researchers suggest, romantic love can be broken down into electrical impulses in the brain, then why not train the mind to simulate those signals while looking at an inanimate character?" New York Times Magazine [URL carries a dateline of 7-21-09, but it appeared in print 7-26-09]

Next to Nisan, Jerry Lowery Is Normal
Jerry's obsession is . . eyewear. He was arrested in Milwaukee on three counts of armed robbery of designer eyeglass frames and is a recidivist. He said he's had this "problem" for 15 yrs. Typically, he said, he ogles himself in the mirror when he gets home and decides which frames to keep or trash or give to his friends. Journal Sentinel

Things You Never Thought Would Happen
(1) "Multiple [Connecticut] law enforcement agencies" busted a gambling ring based on fighting songbirds (canaries, saffron finches). (2) An outfit in Brazil has supposedly created an anatomically correct "love doll" (i.e., it has an aperture) . . for dogs. CNN /// DogMagazine.net

The Crown Vs. Theresa Winters's Uterus
The 36-yr-old in Luton, England, has had 13 kids and has done a bad job raising them, according to the Luton gov't, which has spent "millions" of £ in assistance. One died, one is blind, one has cerebral palsy, and three have something called Pheo Syndrome. She and her fellow-welfare-sucking boyfriend Toney, 36 (who would "love" to go to work, he said, but only for "the right reasons"), are mad that social workers have taken all her kids away, and now she vows to keep having babies until she gets to keep one. The Sun

NOTW Goes Tabloid
Phil Spector, in major lockdown at Corcoran State Prison in Los Angeles, supposedly got a note from Charlie Manson, who's housed in an adjacent hospital down the road, suggesting why don't they make some music? One tale has it that Manson wrote two songs in the 1960s that the Beach Boys recorded. [Ed. You'll have to research that one yourself.] ABC News said the note probably didn't happen. More credible is the Nat'l Enquirer stringer's sitdown with Shelley Duvall, who moved to tiny, dusty Blanco, Tex., in 1994 after the California Northridge earthquake opened up the ground to alien creatures. Turns out that maybe Jack Torrance drove Mrs. Torrance nuts, too, 'cause Shelley is a talk-to-herself loner who sends messages to extraterrestrials by blinking her headlights and is still covering up portals in her yard that aliens can come out of. On the other hand, she's never looked better [Ed. well, in a photo in the print edition; not online]. ABC News /// Nat'l Enquirer

People With Worse Sex Lives Than You
Not only was Leon Schiavi, 74, wearing a miniskirt and lady's wig into a Yorktown, N.Y., building (looking for a "shoe store," he said), but the miniskirt didn't fit, being too short to cover his low-hanging stuff. The Journal News (White Plains)

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Once again, we don't know what this guy was accused of, but it's likely that he's not cooperating with the police. The Smoking Gun [Not Safe For Work, maybe]

Recurring Themes

Every Day Is Safety Day in Britain: (1) Essex's Dagenham Swimming Pool is very popular. New Rule: To make it easier for lifeguards, swimmers can no longer do "lengths" but rather just "widths." (2) The UK's bigfoot department store Marks and Spencer enforced its age-25 policy on a woman who tried to buy a pizza-cutter (because it has a blade; 25-and-older only). Daily Telegraph /// Derby Evening Telegraph

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

The Therapeutic Glories of Physician Ownership: August 2005: Urological Associates on Iowa-Ill. border ordered 9 patient CT scans. October-November-December 2005: 121 CT scans. Intervening variable: In September 2005, it purchased its own CT scanner. Washington Post

More Angst & Confusion from Last Week

Greg McKinnon (one of those Asperger's geniuses) lost his extradition case and will be shipped to the U.S. from Britain to stand trial for big-time hacking of NASA and DoD computers, but he says he deserves praise, not lockup. He's pretty sure that extraterrestrials have come with the secrets of clean fuel, but that the U.S. is covering it all up, and he tried to get to The Truth. And, Chrissie Hynde is on his side! (The fuel problem in Zimbabwe was resolved, momentarily, anyway, when a "medicine woman" named Rotina Mavhunga convinced Mugabe that she could produce unlimited gasoline for a $1m bounty (U.S. dollars only, none of that Zimbabwean stuff). She showed a "task force" a big rock out somewhere that was spewing refined diesel fuel. Last week she and her henchmen were convicted. No telling what fate befell the super-gullible "task force" members.) CBS News via WBBM (Chicago) /// South African Press Association via News24.com (Cape Town)

Good News: An ordinary blue food dye may have a tricky chemical component that can cure spinal cord injuries. Bad News: Patients may turn blue. (The lab rats did, but only for a week, but humans metabolize more slowly than rats.) Los Angeles Times

Close Enough for Gov't Work: The Nat'l Institute of Standards and Technology, testing out some ideas about "dirty bombs," had a boo-boo, but it announced last week not to worry, that it had recovered "86%" of the plutonium it spilled. Denver Post

"Accidental Rape": That's the claim by stripper Linda Naggs at a bachelor party in Melbourne, Australia, now on trial for penetrating the best man's wazoo against his will. The dildo just slipped, she said. On the other hand, asked the stripper's lawyer, what would cause the best man "to place himself in proximity to the dildo?" The Age

Squatters 1; Landlords 1: (1) In Kenai, Alaska, a conscienceless squatter won three preliminary rounds to stay put, despite dotted-i/crossed-t proof of ownership by the resident. (Fine Point of Alaskan Law: If the squatter just makes up a "lease," not signed by the "landlord," the sheriff has to regard it as valid until a court rules otherwise.) (2) Leslie Smith III, 62, Raleigh, N.C., did not have that problem. Smith (to 911): "I shot this girl who been living in my house. She won't get out. So I shot her." (Dispatcher: "Is she beyond help?") Smith: "She should be. I shot her point blank in the chest." Peninsula Clarion (Kenai) /// Raleigh News & Observer

Christine Speliotis, 42, Salem, Mass., is being sued for her role in Brandon Pereira's auto-crash injuries. The role: She failed to avoid being hit head-on by Pereira's speeding cousin (with Brandon as his passenger). Ya see, if Christine had sorta olé'd out of the way as the cousin barreled straight at her, no one would have gotten hurt. Christine was hampered by the fact that she was traveling 50 mph slower, i.e., the "speed limit," than Pereira's cousin was. Salem News

Ah, Democracy! For the Afghan elections on August 20th, the gov't plans to use 3,100 donkeys to transport ballots to the far regions that aren't accessible by trucks or even helicopters. Associated Press via Washington Post

More Sub-Prime Americans

How to tell if you need professional help: You managed to sneak a little meth powder into the cell when you were arrested, and the surveillance video shows that when it fell on the floor, you got down on all fours and licked it up. Associated Press via Houston Chronicle

Terrance Dancy, 20, and Cortez Richardson, 28, were arrested in East St. Louis, Ill., after a home invasion that turned into an 11-victim hostage crisis. Using a little Stockholm Syndrome thinking, the victims suggested the perps exchange clothes with two better-dressed victims so they wouldn't look so much like perps, and then they'd all walk out together and tell the cops that the perps had already escaped. Movies arrange clever escapes like that (Inside Man, The Professional, Albino Alligator), and maybe the perps thought, "Cool!" So they all walk out together . . at which point the victims merely pointed at the perps, and cops arrested 'em. Belleville News Democrat

Jeffersonville, Ind., is quite a town. In June, Yr Editor reported that the principal city attorney was discovered with his head inside an overturned trash can, sleeping off a bender. Now we get Mr. Stephen Thompson, a night-shift janitor at the county gov't building, caught on video peeing (not peeping, peeing) directly onto workers' chairs . . five times. WLKY-TV (Louisville, Ky.)

Readers' Choice: Nicholas Sparks, 25, multitasking (holding one phone to talk, steering with his other hand, texting with his other two hands) in his flatbed tow truck in Lockport, N.Y. (towing two vehicles and carrying two others), sideswiped a car, injuring two, crashed through a fence, then into a house, then into a swimming pool. Witnesses said he was full speed all the way, right up to the splash. Buffalo News

More Things to Worry About

An official in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg was outraged about brothels' recession-fighting "all-you-can-screw" pricing (but not about the name of that bar?) . . . . . In Saudi Arabia, where they lash people for sex outside marriage, Mazen Abdul Jawad went on a TV talk show and bragged about what an alpha dog he is . . . . . Essex University in England graduated a woman with a Ph.D in figure skating . . . . . The Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation put up a big highway sign in which every word, except "exit," was misspelled [photo] . . . . . In Britain's Chelmsford Crown Court, the changing-room-stall voyeur's defense (that he had a toothache and was forced to place his cheek on the floor under the stall to ease the pain) was unsuccessful. The Times (London) /// BBC News /// University of Essex press release /// Wausau Daily Herald /// Gazette-News (Colchester)

Newsrangers: James Ord, Louise Elsea, Noah Collins, Craig Dillon, Gil Nelson, Sam Gaines, Michael Ravnitzky, and Kathryn Wood, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors. And by the way, there were an awful lot of delicious stories last week, leaving Yr Editor conflicted and exhausted. Thanks to all the other Newsrangers, too.