Monday, September 21, 2009

News of the Weird/Pro Edition
September 21, 2009
(juicy and/or disturbing news from September 12-19)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2009 by Chuck Shepherd. (All rights reserved. But please forward this issue to your pals.)

Has Anyone Composed The Ballad of Janet Jackson's Nipple Yet?
It has grown into a watershed moment for American culture: monumentally inexplicable and embarrassing yet almost perfectly representative of our roiled values: How in the world can we tolerate a several-billion-dollar annual hard-core porn industry yet flinch mightily at a micro-second's worth of aureola on a dark-skinned woman? We're now in Year Six of this saga (Year Seven of NYPD Blue's bare-buttness that was at least recognizable as a butt, and a quite attractive butt). (No, not Sipowitz's butt; that was different.) From the FCC to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court back to the Court of Appeals and now back to the FCC and surely back to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court again. Broadcasting & Cable

A Brand-New Paraphilia?
There's a guy who says his name is Dale, who hangs around Bonney Lake (Wash.) High School and seems taken with the athletes. For instance, he offered to help one with a term paper, but when the guy politely walked away, "['Dale'] jumped on the student's back and asked for a piggy back ride," according to police. Cops said they'd heard stories before about this "Dale." News Tribune (Tacoma)

Romell Broom Signs On as a Nurse's Assistant in Ohio
He couldn't have been more helpful to the medics, and what did he get for it? Why, they're gonna kill him this week. He was scheduled for a lethal injection last Tuesday, but no one could find a vein. Romell helped them in every way he could . . for two solid hours . . flexing his arm, changing positions, enduring so much pain that he needed a roll of toilet paper to wipe the tears. Finally, the governor stayed the execution . . for a week. Well, OK, he did rape and murder a teenager 25 yrs ago, but still ---. (Update: A federal court has extended him 10 more days.) Associated Press via Dayton Daily News

Real Lawsuit Over Make-Believe Sex Toys
SexGen, the makers of sex-accessory make-believe "products" (i.e., graphic symbols of products) used in the online game SecondLife, is suing Linden Lab (SL creator) for not somehow prohibiting other companies from making knock-off make-believe products, which include your usual array of sex toys, plus things like a make-believe "cuddle rug" and a make-believe coffin that's apparently good for having sex in . . if you're make-believe. Threat Level blog (

Tax Law Is Pretty Complicated, But Still . . .
New York lawyer William Halby was turned down by the U.S. Tax Court in his quest to deduct $100,000, as "medical expenses" in 2004 and 2005, for prostitutes and pornography. (Who knew? Halby had only been practicing tax law for 40 yrs. Besides, he was defiant: "It's a holistic approach to medicine," he told Forbes magazine.) Now, Prof. Robin Magee hasn't been at it for 40, but she does teach at Minnesota's Hamline Univ. law school, had a tax law practice, and did her own taxes — well, not really. According to prosecutors, she didn't file at all for several yrs and missed a lot of obvious stuff in the yrs she did file. So far, she has offered up only "severe attention deficit disorder" as an excuse. Forbes /// ABA Journal (9-10-2009)

Update on "Diaper Man"
Two weeks ago (NOTW M126, 9-6-2009), I reported the guy who appeared set for a free pass from police despite having tricked a woman into giving him near-total-care for three weeks on the false claim that he was disabled. Florida Today (Melbourne) had the police saying that, since the woman knew diaper-changing was part of the service, and since she agreed on the price, there was no crime. It turns out that either the police or Florida Today erred—that, in fact, the man had skipped out on the bill. Hence, Sean Kelly, 39, has been arrested and charged with "organized fraud." And there might be another victim, too. Florida Today

Things That Are Messed Up

A Toronto Star reporter instantly became a gov't-licensed P.I. and a gov't-licensed Security Guard ($80 each, with gov't-issued photo ID cards!). No experience necessary, or even a good purpose. That's the law. Toronto Star

Army Sgt. Michael Ferschke married legally, and had a kid, before he left for Iraq, where he was killed. His wife is a Japanese national. She can't now enter the U.S. because there's this law that says certain immigrants' marriages have to be "consummated" before Immigration recognizes them. Duh, they have a baby! No, they had a pre-marital consummation, and that doesn't count. Michael's parents are quite upset, but that's the law. Associated Press via MSNBC

Authorities in Washington state are on the lookout for a deeply mentally ill killer, Phillip Paul, who escaped . . while on an "outing" to the Spokane County fair (where 11 minders looked after 31 inmates). Don't ya love it when they say, But, oh, gee, nothing like that had ever happened before . . or . . why, Phillip seemed like he was improving? Officials said they'd review their policy. (Bonus Money-Quote from a shrink: "[Mr. Paul is] the only paranoid schizophrenic — I've seen hundreds, maybe thousands of them — that frightened me.") (Update: Caught him.) CNN /// Associated Press via KSDK-TV (St. Louis) (9-20-2009)

Eight states and the District of Columbia apparently make it OK for health insurance companies to deny coverage to abused spouses, as one of those awful "pre-existing conditions." Ya can reconcile with the batterer if ya want, but then you're uninsurable. (And another report said that under some companies' policies, you could be either uninsurable, or in a higher-premium bracket, if you've had acne, bunions, hermorrhoids, or varicose veins.) Huffington Post /// Washington Post

South Africa has a huge tuberculosis problem, and the gov't gives disability grants to the infectees. All ya have to do is spit in a cup, and if it's positive, the checks start coming. Upshot: raging black market in TB spit. The Guardian (London)

Elyse Mamino, 23, is set for trial in Belleville, Ill., for stuffing her newborn baby into a toilet last November, but then, two weeks after that, the Illinois Dept. of Children and Family Services gave the baby back to her. Seriously. (Later, they got around to charging her with attempted murder and took the kid back.) Belleville News-Democrat

People With Worse Sex Lives Than You

Robert Battle, 46, busted in Jordan, Utah, had claimed he was a "licensed" massage therapist who had just passed "medical board" exams and was hanging out at Lifetime Fitness center, trolling for clients. He persuaded two women that their bodies weren't "holding" the benefits of previous massages and that he needed to do "internal work" on their vaginal walls. (Except . . other clients of Battle, apparently "satisfied" with his work, have established a defense fund for him. So, actually, his sex life may not be all that bad.) Salt Lake Tribune

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]

The latest charge has been dropped against Henry McQueen, 64. After all, Henry has had the benefit of prison rehabilitation for the last 35 yrs, and the 54 inmate infractions on his record didn't seem to matter to the Corrections people when they released him, so maybe it's a new Henry McQueen we're looking at. Or . . maybe the prosecutor should not have dropped the charge. Greensboro News & Record

And though we don't have an actual person to go with this artist's conception of the man who burgled Jessica Ziakin's house, what if this is actually what he looks like? Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News (from 9-11-09)

American Sub-Prime

"I like to take big gulps of drink," said the 50-yr-old patient in Wilmington, N.C. "I don't know of any other ways of getting it in there." The man was referring to surgeons' discovery that he had a 1-inch piece of plastic in his . . lung . . with a Wendy's logo on it. ABC News

Daniel Taylor Jr., 33, answered the door in Elizabethton, Tenn., to discover a sheriff's deputy standing there. Taylor immediately turned his back and put his hands behind him to be cuffed. Deputy: Why'd you do that? Taylor: You're gonna arrest me on that warrant, aren't you? Deputy: Well, I, uh, now that you mention it ---. The deputy had come to investigate a domestic disturbance call but had the wrong house. Didn't help Taylor, though. Johnson City Press

Douglas Jones, 57, said he just wanted to honor deceased golfers. That's the reason why he tossed about 3,000 balls into various parts of Joshua Tree National Park over the past two years. (Bonus quote from Jones's father, 84: "It certainly sounds strange.") Los Angeles Times

Below The Fold

A well-dressed gentleman in his 70s was being sought by police after knocking off a San Diego Nat'l Bank branch . . while also lugging an oxygen tank supplying him via plastic tubing into his nose. XETV (San Diego)

The French take layoffs quite seriously, if the France Telecom situation is an indication. Since the company's first downsizing was announced in February 2008, there've been 23 suicides for depression and 13 more attempts. The Times (London)

Goats are not cooperating in Nepal's biggest Hindu festival of the year, Dashain, now going on in Kathmandu. The gov't's way short of the 6,000 it needs to sacrifice to properly honor the goddess Durga, and it was complaining about paying too much for the ones it did acquire. Agence France-Presse via Google

Mark Howard was fined for running a super-environmental bicycle shop in London. They tax on the amount of garbage tossed out, but Mark never has any. The charge for conscientiousness is £180. Daily Mail

An employment tribunal in Catalonia (Spain) ruled that the boss can't fire a worker just for calling him a son of a whore because, well, everybody gets called that. Agence France-Presse via Yahoo

Fannie May Confections said it will voluntarily recall 43,000 Milk Chocolate & Almonds candy bars because they left out a bunch of things on the ingredients label, including "almonds." Associated Press via Forbes

Same Old Same Old

Another guy (Dennis Lottig, 30, St. Albans, W.Va.) who still hasn't realized that even if you steal a bank's surveillance "camera," you're only stealing the lens, and that you probably already looked directly into it while you were removing it: Daily Mail (Charleston)

A 65-yr-old woman in Marion, Ill., became the most recent person whose loved ones, awaiting the outcome of surgery, received this news from the doctor: Sorry, we couldn't save her . . she caught fire in the O.R. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Eyewitness News

No telling what this snake's momma was sluttin' around with: It looks like a normal snake . . except for that foot sticking straight up out of its body. (The autopsy is pending.) Popular Science

The fabulous World of Body Art, last weekend in St. Petersburg, Russia! As usual with art, ya gotta think this stuff up before ya do it, and these designers are people who don't think like us. Daily Mail (London)

Readers' Choice

Bad enough that the couple, both age 44, couldn't find a better place to have sex except in a Dumpster, but then a guy and his pal came along, held 'em up with a knife, and stole shoes, jewelry, and a wallet. Wichita Eagle

Jonathan Parker, 19, couldn't resist using the resident's computer to check his Facebook page while he was burglarizing a house and swiping two diamond rings . . only he forgot to log out when he was done. Oops. The Journal (Martinsburg, W.Va.)

Yr Editor first noted German Gunther von Hagens's Body Worlds "plastinated" 3-D corpse exhibitions in 2001, when it was revolutionary, but it's since been all over the world and is almost a yawner. Churches still don't like it because the corpses lack the "soul" that they're certain real corpses have, and others don't like it because von Hagens might have bought corpses of executed Chinese prisoners. He's revolutionary again, though, because his latest show features corpses actually, y'know, hooking up, and now even the city of Cologne is banning part of that. Deutsche Welle (Bonn)


Sam Gaines, Red Williams, Laura Stemac, Hal Dunham, Barry Rose, Kathryn Wood, Paul Schweigert, Graham Rankin, Tom Barker, Craig Cryer, Tony Rose, Nedra Albrecht, Mike Odell, Ian Pert, Tim Allen, Gary Abbott, and Jerry Maple, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.