Monday, November 09, 2009

News of the Weird/Pro Edition
November 9, 2009
(juicy and/or disturbing news from October 31-November 7)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2009 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Weekly Gold

Attorney Lawrence Reich, 69, finally threw in the towel, giving back his lifetime New York government pension that he "earned" by working a loophole to claim full-time-employee status in five school districts — simultaneously — while also operating a private practice. Several lawyers had nibbled at the loophole, though Reich was the biggest biter, having one year clocked 1,271 days. ABA Journal

Hear the Scranton (Pa.) Catholic Diocese's confessions: First, Father Edward Lyman, during an early Mass, used his personal computer to display information on an upcoming charity drive . . and accidentally clicked on photos of four bare-chested young men posing provocatively. Then, the Diocese disavowed Father Virgil Tetherow's behavior for offering Mass at an off-message church in York and also too-aggressively protesting at a Planned Parenthood clinic, especially after he was discovered to have pleaded guilty 4½ years ago to an offense that was originally child porn possession but downgraded in a plea deal. And yet another Diocese priest, Father Robert Timchak, waived a preliminary hearing last week on charges of having child porn on his computer. Times-Tribune (Scranton) /// York Daily Record /// Pocono Record

Why "government" is unpopular: On the one hand, it can't manage to keep tabs on predatory mortgage lenders, or compile a useful no-fly list, or find Jaycee Dugard in sex offender Phillip Garrido's house. But the government does other things very well . . . like catching $200 tax cheats (in Detroit) and bringing its "A" game to the job of shutting down a massage parlor (in Harrisburg, Pa.). Detroit News /// Associated Press via CBS News

What does a sect do when the only person with a direct line to the Lord dies? The Church Universal and Triumphant of Bozeman, Mont., still has an executive board, but it has been busy disapproving would-be successors to the late Jesus-channeling Elizabeth Claire Prophet (finding the pretenders insufficiently omniscent). The Church still has "thousands" of followers, it says, despite the hit it took in 1990 when the world failed to end as Prophet warned. (The several well-stocked, concrete-and-steel shelters inside a mountain north of Yellowstone Park are still ready, just in case.) The most exciting work ahead for the board? Someone gets the "pleasure" of transcribing 22,000 hours of audio and video narratives that Prophet left behind. Associated Press via KTVB-TV (Boise)

Ouija Warriors: Which of these characters more deserves Absurdity Gold? The UK firm ATSC Ltd. is getting quite rich selling worthless dowsing rods that purportedly point to explosives (at up to $60,000 a rod, mostly to the underdeveloped countries' underdeveloped police forces). The other contestant is the Iraqi police commander, who loves the rods and ridicules the Pentagon for denouncing them — and is embarrassment-proof, in that when the device fails test after test before his very eyes, he attributes it to testers' lack of "training." The commander would ordinarily just be silly, but these magic wands are the first line of "protection" at 400 Baghdad checkpoints. Sniffer dogs would be much more effective, but the commander recoils at the thought of running a "zoo." (Physics sage Bob Park said the Pentagon, too, fell for the devices in the early 1990s but was spared public humiliation because the project was "classified.") New York Times

People With Worse Sex Lives Than You

Officer Alan Vigiard, 45, had full access to the evidence room in Adams, Mass., including the child porn, and he knew enough to know when nobody would bother him there, but he didn't know about the surveillance camera, which caught an "unidentified" seated man at the edge of the frame, hand flapping. The hand just happened to have the exact tattoo that Vigiard has. Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield)

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


Clinton Watkins, 23, may or may not have shot his girlfriend, as Chicago police charge, but it's beyond a reasonable doubt that he needs fashion advice. WLS-TV

Sub-Prime Americans

He couldn't see this coming? A Portage, Ind., motorist blew a blood-alcohol reading of about .30 but told the state trooper that that couldn't be right because, "Dude, I do this every night. I'm straight up." Arrested for DUI was Mr. Zachary Duis. ChicagoBreakingNews.com

Update: The Jericho, Ark., police department was already reeling, as you may recall [NOTW M130, 10-4-2009], for promiscuously ticketing motorists, including the local fire chief, who was then shot by a cop in the courtroom when the chief complained. The latest: One of its squad cars was repo'd for being behind on payments, and case evidence that shouldn't have been in the car went missing. WPTY-TV (Memphis) /// NOTW M130 (second story)

Least Competent Criminals: (1) Andrew Burwitz, 20, was arrested for a drive-by shooting that failed because Andrew forgot to roll down his window before firing. (2) Calvin Hoover, 21, is just the latest fellow to call 911 to report that his illegal marijuana was stolen (but it took a while for the dispatcher to understand anything because Calvin, possibly inebriated, kept putting her on hold while he vomited). Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wis.) /// Statesman Journal (Salem, Ore.)

Kane Kellett, 24, is facing multiple charges, which won't be addressed until Kane serves 170 more days in jail for contempt of court, which he received because he could not resist taking the witness oath in court by raising only the middle finger of his right hand. Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill.)

Angst, Confusion, Crisis

Update: The Large Hadron Collider, which basically will attempt to recreate the "big bang" (and destroy the universe, according to one theory), and which was shut down for further work last year but which is set to finally launch in December, will be delayed another few days . . . because a bird dropped a piece of bread through the LHC's outside grill. The Register (London) /// New York Times (10-13-2009)

Peter Koenig, 46, a Buddhist convicted of bank robbery in Werl, Germany, will not be permitted prison visits from his cat, officials ruled, despite the fact that the cat is actually his mother, reincarnated. Daily Telegraph (London)

The Austin American-Statesman reported that a local hospital official had warned an otherwise-healthy potential kidney donor that giving one up would risk his insurance coverage because it would leave him with a "pre-existing condition," i.e., only one kidney. Austin American-Statesman

Attempted rewrite of a law of physics fails: He didn't steal Beatles' music to sell online . . . because he's actually selling "different" music, which just sounds like Beatles' music, but which he recorded by "psycho-acoustic simulation" of the original. Hank Risan thought this was a brilliant strategy, and he paid lawyers to argue it with straight faces in court. The judge, after rubbing his eyes once or twice, ruled against him. Wired.com

And the week before last in Mount Airy, N.C., birthplace of Andy Griffith and the inspiration for Mayberry . . . there was a quadruple homicide. Associated Press via USA Today

Eyewitness News

In a Tampa jail, an inmate went nuts and attacked a lone guard on desk duty, and had him in a lethal choke hold, but the guard was well-liked, and five inmates beat down the attacker. Here is video of the attack and rescue . . . and alarming mugshots of the rescuers. Tampa Tribune

The next time you're tempted to complain about all this health-care mess, think instead of this cringe-inducing collection of surgical instruments of years gone by. Wired.com Raw File

More Things To Worry About

What's worse than temporary total amnesia brought on by sex (so that you don't even remember how good it was)? (It's called Transient Global Amnesia, and you can get it by any intense activity or injury. (Answer: Maybe this is worse: a woman who just got married and discovered that she's allergic to her husband's sperm. Burning, itching, swelling, blistering!). CNN /// Daily Telegraph (London)

Small-Town Police Records: (1) Findlay, Ohio ("A woman called the police early Saturday morning during an argument with her husband after he claimed that the woman's daughter performed oral sex on him, and the daughter was better at it"). (2) Steamboat Springs, Colo. ("Police were called to a report of a suspicious incident in the 2900 block of West Acres Drive where a woman reported that she found feces in her toilet that she did not think she put there.") (3) West Union, S.C. ("When the male victim went outside to avoid further assault, he told officers, a naked [Daria] Woods ran outside to attempt to attack him again, but ultimately grabbed his keys from him and walked back inside, where she began to touch herself with a jar of mayonnaise and a flashlight."). The Courier (Findlay) /// Steamboat Pilot (Steamboat Springs) (5:38 p.m.) /// Daily Journal/Messenger (Seneca, S.C.)

Ms. Cha Sa-soon, 68, finally passed the written exam for her driver's license in Jeonju, South Korea, on her 950th try. Now, it's on to the driving test! Agence France-Presse via Google News

Upon Further Review . . .

On sale now, for drivers tired of having to lean over the passenger seat to reach the keyboard, the Laptop Steering Wheel Desk. Amazon.com

Newsrangers: Sandy Pearlman, Rob Steiner, Tom Barker, Jerry Maple, Don Peck, Jennifer Norcross, Sam Gaines, Peter Hine, Paul Krause, Dave Melcher, Hal Dunham, Bruce Leiserowitz, Peter Wardley, Kathryn Wood, Jamie Wells, David Gregory, Lucien Jacquet, Lynn Berdan, Debra Taylor, Thomas Mills, and Cindy Hildebrand, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors