Monday, February 01, 2010

News of the Weird/Pro Edition
"You're Still Not Cynical Enough"

February 1, 2010
Exceptionally Inexplicable Dispatches from Last Week
(datelines January 23-January 30) (links correct as of February 1)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Proudly Insipid Meat, Plus Teen Taxidermist, Porn That Kills, and Aryan Hyperprocreation

One benefit of the "mad cow" panic of the 1990s is that the federal government banned the Scottish face-scrunching, taste-bud-numbing delicacy haggis from our shores. It's a boiled bag of sheep innards, oatmeal, suet, and pepper, and substituting beef innards just didn't work out for expatriate Scots. The Department of Agriculture announced that it would soon lift the ban. The Guardian (London)

Pastor Fred Munger Armfield, 60, of Greenwood, S.C., was arrested just after an encounter with a prostitute, and according to police, confessed. Six days later, he changed his mind and denied that any such "transaction" took place. His legal analysis is that "cash" can't be used to prove a violation of law, citing a court case that he says invalidates "Federal Reserve Notes." (Bonus: The "cash" involved in this transaction was apparently five one-dollar bills.) More from Armfield's petition: "[I am a] descendant of the original Moro-Pithecus Disoch, Kenyapithecus and Afro Pithecus, whose ancestors roamed from that point throughout the world. A living flesh and blood being with sovereign status. A femme couteur [CORRECTION: couleur] libre." (Second Bonus: The party of the second part, Melinda Robinson, is known around town as "Truck Stop.") The Index-Journal (Greenwood)

Another American original is Wolfie Blackheart, 18, of San Antonio, Tex., a self-described tail-wagging werewolf. She has Tourette's syndrome (which causes her to yip). She wears a harness and collar (because she "belongs" to someone). She happens to be an expert animal decapitator, on a career path to taxidermy. That means, though, that she's a perennial suspect any time neighborhood pets go missing. (She swears she only does roadkill.) Express-News (San Antonio)

(Update) April Gaede, the super-white mother whose teen spawn (Lynx and Lamb) made the news four years ago as the duo "Prussian Blue," singing neo-Nazi numbers [NOTW 930, 12-4-2005], is on to a new project. a no-fee matchmaking service for fertile Aryans, to increase their numbers. April said her one regret in life is "the many years that I lost in which I could have produced four to six more children with that ideal eugenic quality that [Lynx and Lamb] possess." The daughters, by the way, have apparently soured of life on the road with Mom. Southern Poverty Law Center blog

(Update) Great Moments in Schadenfreude: The U.S. Supreme Court turned down Paul Powell's death-sentence appeal in a case so legally complicated that it clearly got the best of him. Virginia prosecutors thought it was enough to qualify Powell for the needle if they proved he killed a woman and also raped her sister (i.e., the necessary "aggravated" circumstance). The Virginia Supreme Court eventually said no, that the "aggravated" act had to be committed against the actual murder victim. Powell was so overjoyed at his "victory" (meaning, life in prison instead of death) that he failed to read the case very closely and thought the death penalty was totally off the table because of "double jeopardy." He then wrote out a sneering, jeering tirade against the "stupid" cops, taunting them by smugly describing all the crimes he committed that fateful night, assuming that his sentence had already maxed out at life behind bars. Except . . that in his rant, he confessed to raping the murder victim, too, and not just her sister. Thus, the prosecutors had a new crime for the "aggravated" circumstance. No double jeopardy. D'oh! CNN

What happens later in life to unphony rebels like Holden Caulfield? From the New York Times obituary: "Mr. Salinger was controlling and sexually manipulative, [Joyce] Maynard wrote, and a health nut obsessed with homeopathic medicine and with his diet (frozen peas for breakfast, undercooked lamb burger for dinner). [His daughter] said that her father was pathologically self-centered and abusive toward her mother, and to the homeopathy and food fads she added a long list of other enthusiasms: Zen Buddhism, Vedanta Hinduism, Christian Science, Scientology, and acupuncture. Mr. Salinger drank his own urine, she wrote, and sat for hours in an orgone box [accumulating sexual and other energy]." New York Times

People Different From Us

Michael Colquitt, 32, Alcoa, Tenn., apparently a church slacker, filed for a restraining order against his dad, Pastor Joe Colquitt. The preacher was so angry at his son's poor attendance record that he threatened, at gunpoint, to kill Michael and his wife and kids. The Daily News (Maryville)

We Need a Better Class of Burglars: The cops' best guess was that whoever broke into the West Main Pharmacy in Medford, Ore., was looking for oxycodone. That's because he grabbed all the ready-to-pick-up prescriptions in the "O" section (somehow clueless that pharmacies file outgoing orders by the customer's name, not the drug's name). Mail Tribune (Medford)

Ms. Nancy "Sunny" Bostrom is up for election tomorrow to the Piedmont, Calif., City Council. It's a second act. A year ago, her mother was the woman whose mummified corpse was found sitting in a chair. At the time, Sunny denied she was a neglectful daughter and swore that she had recently visited with Mom. (Still, Sunny was not charged with any crime.) San Francisco Chronicle /// San Francisco Chronicle (February 2009)

Angst, Confusion, Crisis

Tribal violence erupted in Papua New Guinea's southern highlands, and two are already dead. It started when a young man from the Tapo clan sent a pornographic text message to a woman in the Pipi clan. Seriously. Australian Broadcasting Corp. News

The principal at Roy Kennedy elementary school in Ottawa, Ontario, has banned playing with balls in the yard because she thinks it's too dangerous. CTV.ca

Fr. Steven Poole, 41, of West City, Ill., was arrested after doing a shoplifting number at Wal-Mart. Police said he coveted a $60 sofa cover, a $3 tub of butter, and a $145 memory-foam mattress (whose bar code he had switched to read $31). Associated Press via New York Times

The attorney general of Fiji complained about the country's court system, which employs neither a professional court reporter nor a transcriber of recordings but just a lady writing out the courtroom dialogue by hand. That annoys the lawyers, who have to speak slowly, often have to repeat themselves, and frequently lose their train of thought. Agence France-Presse via Google News

More "Human Rights": A crazed immigrant from Iraq fatally stabbed two doctors in a British hospital in 1990 and has been locked away ever since. The government would love to deport him but can't because it's worried he can't or won't take his meds back home, which will re-render him a raving psychotic, which would be a violation of his rights (and the rights of his future murder victims). So, he's permanently Britain's problem. BBC News

Below The Fold

Ohio Trucker Was Watching Porn When Rig Struck Car, Killing Driver, Police Say Columbus Dispatch (Associated Press story)

Jim Bartek of Maple Heights Ends 524-Day Streak of Listening to Judas Priest Album "Nostradamus" Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

iGrow: Walmart of Weed Opens in Oakland San Francisco Chronicle

743 Pounds of Marijuana Found in Septic Tank Truck, Arizona Police Say CNN

Advert for "Reliable Workers" Banned as Discrimination By Jobcentre Plus BBC News

Someone With a Worse Sex Life Than You

Brisbane (Australia) Magistrates Court has actually ordered a home-improvement contractor to throw away his short-shorts. Female clients had complained, but he said he couldn't help it that his penis is so large that it protruded. He also couldn't help it that he had a penile rash that required him to apply cream while working. Australian Associated Press via Herald Sun (Melbourne)

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


Kurt Milner, 28, might just be an overenthusiastic Simpsons fan, and the fact that he had some pornographic drawings of the characters (including the underage characters) is not really evidence of possessing child "porn." Your call. Queensland Times

Steven Sheangshang, 32, and Danny Love, 24, accused of carjacking, present a bold issue of due process of law. Is it possible that there are jurors anywhere in the country who could believe that these guys are innocent? Cincinnati Enquirer

More Things To Worry About

Glenn Armstrong, 47, of Brisbane, Australia, tried out this explanation for taking pictures of young boys naked: He and his wife had been arguing over how prevalent circumcision is, and he was intense about proving that "uncut" was more popular. News.com.au

Louisiana has been trying to coax people into eating nutria meat, as a partial solution to these pests that have been stripping the state's wetlands of vegetation (nutrias: body of a beaver, tail of a rat, feet of a duck, nipples on the side). Another partial solution: Fashion designers Billy Reid and Oscar de la Renta have introduced nutria-fur coats. Discover Magazine blog

The security of the U.S. effort in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater is largely dependent on the wisdom and judgment of a man (Pakistani President Zardari) who arranges for a goat to be slaughtered at his home almost every day, to protect himself against black magic. The Guardian (London)

Only one thing for school officials to do if they learn that Merriam Webster's [Collegiate Dictionary] 10th Edition has a definition of "oral sex" in it: immediately remove the dictionary from all elementary schools in the district. The Menifee Union district in southern California has about 9,000 students. The number of offended parents who had demanded the ban was . . one. Press-Enterprise (Riverside)

And For Further Review . . .

"Hate" is such a grim emotion that it's almost a relief to see it practiced with such joie de vivre as displayed by Rev. Fred Phelps and his merry band of loathers who work out of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. They mainly hate homosexuals but direct their most pungent derision for gays' enablers (which, when you factor in the indifferent, includes just about everyone). Exhibits A and B of the joie: a "We Are The World" parody video ("God Hates The World") and now, a parody video of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" ("Whorish Face"), performed by cheerful granddaughter Megan Phelps.
God Hates the World [link goes to BoingBoing.net] /// Whorish Face [YouTube.com (video may present buffering problems)] /// Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends TV show episode with the Phelpses [link goes to SoJones.com]

Editor's Notes

Several readers have noticed the use of the phrase "News of the Weird" on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and, correctly guessing that I had nothing to do with the material, asked whether that isn't an illegal use of my trademark. Well, it is. On the other hand, I'm also sure it's not worth anything to The Daily Show and that if I wrote a cease-and-desist letter, they'd cheerfully comply . . by changing the title to "Weird News," which is not trademarked. And why would that be better? As it stands right now, maybe some newspaper and website editors watch The Daily Show, and the phrase "News of the Weird" will stick with them, and they will go on to mistakenly think my work is savvy enough for that show and that, maybe, they should host my real work in their newspaper or on their website! So, shhhh! Don't tell anyone that it's not the same thing, OK? Maybe I can get a steak or two out of this. Maybe some haggis?

Newsrangers: Sam Gaines, Stephen Taylor, Jim Weiss, Peter Trobridge, Jesper Weber, Bob Pert, Sarah Rosenzweig, and Charles Smaistrla, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors