News of the Weird/Pro Edition
"You're Still Not Cynical Enough"
February 8, 2010
Exceptionally Inexplicable Dispatches from Last Week
(datelines January 30-February 6) (links correct as of February 8)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
Indiscriminate Anti-Discrimination, Plus Runaway Mojo, Neil Armstrong's Poop, and the Horror of Upside Down Faxes
A Cavalcade of Anti-Discrimination
(1) Near-Perfect Storm: Benjamin Grundy is challenging Garfield-Palouse High School in eastern Washington for illegal discrimination. He's gay, plus biracial, plus mentally challenged. Plus, he'd like to be on the cheerleading team. (2) The U.S. Dept. of Justice is trying to get in front of any discrimination complaints in its Civil Rights Division, with a job announcement for "experienced attorneys," in which the Department "encourages qualified applicants with targeted disabilities to apply." "Targeted disabilities" include the traditional (deafness, blindness) as well as "mental retardation." (3) Similarly, England's Portsmouth City Council tells aspirants for taxicab licenses that they can get applications in "another language [besides English]," in "large print," in "audio," and in "Braille." Seattle Weekly /// Department of Justice job notice (pdf) [link from The Volokh Conspiracy blog] /// Daily Telegraph
"Where Feet, Fist, and Faith Collide"
Pastor John Renken leads his flock in solemn prayer to the Heavenly Father and then, not an hour later in the back room of their meeting house, he's screaming at his parishioners: "Hard punches! Finish the fight! To the head! To the head!" It's Xtreme Ministries, of Memphis, where mixed martial arts is helping to re-masculinize the gospel (to correct, as another practitioner put it, having "raised a generation of little boys" as churches have catered mostly to women and children). New York Times
A Dog Chastity Belt – Seriously
It only sounds like a joke. Breeders like it because they can take charge of in-heat cycles without invasive surgery. (But don't tell anybody about that; show them this photo of the dog all harnessed up, and let them think this is just another shrink-wrapped dog toy on their supermarket shelf.) (Bonus: Desperately horny males ferociously gnaw at the straps, but so far haven't broken through.) San Francisco Chronicle /// Pet Anti-Breeding System
Teachers' Union Poster Child
Alan Rosenfeld, 64, a New York City lawyer and real estate entrepreneur with 12 properties, is also a schoolteacher, though he hasn't been in a classroom since 2002. He's one of those Rubber Room teachers, whose contract calls for full salary and benefits even though the chancellor thinks he's a sexual menace to his female students (proven only once, with wrist-slap punishment). Rosenfeld's salary is $100,000 a year plus health care plus retirement benefits (that would, if he retired today, get him $82,000 a year). New York Post
Free Judge Klein!
By now, everybody knows how the lawyers' class-action racket works. Lawyer digs up a Bad Guy and a Lead Plaintiff and some Victims. Judge certifies the "class." Lawyer and Bad Guy settle. Lead Plaintiff gets a nominal amount, Lawyer a big fat fee, Victims bupkis. Retired Los Angeles County judge Brett Klein got drafted back to duty to approve or reject the final terms of Windsor Fashions's class-action settlement for mistreating credit-card customers. Terms: Lead Plaintiff, $2,500, Victims, $10 gift vouchers, Lawyer, $125,000. Judge Klein said, Enough of this! I'll approve it only if the Lawyer also gets his $125,000 in $10 gift vouchers, too. Sweet! (Upshot: The legal establishment rebelled; the County bar association re-classified Klein as now permanently retired.) Los Angeles Times
Meanwhile, Over on the Left Tail of the Bell Curve . . .
Your Weekly "Hey, Watch This!" Moment: A guy in a Detroit suburb built a snow sled with a motorcycle muffler, a piece of pipe, gunpowder, match heads, and gasoline, to power himself down a hill, and had a pal light the wick. Result: hospital. He's 62; you'd think he'd know better, but Alcohol Was Involved. Detroit Free Press
Inexplicable: Mr. Chamil Guadarrama, 30, was arrested in Springfield, Mass., after a store security guard spotted him with 75 bottles of lotion stuffed down his pants legs, which made him look like the Michelin Man, silly and nearly immobile. Said a cop, "They could not fit Mr. Guadarrama into the cruiser because his pants were bursting at the seams and he could not bend over." The Republican (Springfield)
Craig Show, 49, filed a lawsuit against Idaho state police and the Bonner County sheriff because they searched a bag on his motorcycle when he was stopped for DUI last year. That bag had been blessed by a medicine woman in 1995 and had remained closed ever since, and when the cops opened it, the mojo got out, and now Show's life is ruined, he says. United Press International (citing Bonner County Daily Bee, Sandpoint, Idaho)
Lame: He's only in high school so maybe the quality of his excuses will improve. He was caught with 150 snapshots of clothed females' body parts, which may or may not have been illegal to take, but then he offered the rationale that he had to go extracurricular because the sex education at Lake Travis High School (Austin, Tex.) is so poor. KXAN-TV (Austin)
Recurring Themes: (1) Crooks continue to brag about their crimes on Facebook, which cops monitor. (Wrote a grateful cop, to assault suspect Christopher Crego: "It was due to your diligence in keeping us informed [on Facebook] that now you are under arrest.") (2) Some anger-management counselors can't even talk themselves out of going postal when the need arises. (3) Amateur counterfeiters continue to settle for "Ehhh, that's close enough." (4) Crooks continue to call on the police when they need help, as though cops don't ever receive "be on the lookout for" photos. Buffalo News /// Washington Post /// Associated Press via KHOU-TV (Houston, Tex.) /// Charlotte Observer
Angst, Confusion, Crisis
A few municipalities have made wearing saggy pants illegal, but now two Florida guys have earned a patent for pants that only look like they're falling down. Comply with the law and keep your cred. ABA Journal
Speaking of the Patent Office, its Chief Communications Officer confirmed last week that the agency absolutely does not accept faxes that arrive upside down. If they get even one upside down page, they'll send you back a "Notice of Document Faxed Upside Down" instructing you to resend all of your fax, no matter how many pages. BNet blog
Life Imitates Police Squad: South Bend, Ind., police officer A chased a car theft suspect on foot, soon joined by officer B and his K-9. However, K-9 veered off and attacked officer A. A pulled out his gun and shot at K-9 (missing). That ticked off officer B, who started swinging at A, and the two were on. Other officers arrived, caught the suspect, and pulled A and B apart. K-9 then attacked a couple of those officers. South Bend Tribune
Saugatuck Township, Mich., voters will go to the polls in May on a referendum to raise the property tax to pay for the increased expense incurred by the town to fight a lawsuit that claims its property taxes are too high. Seriously. Grand Rapids Press
The California State Historical Resources Commission laid claim to new property for its historical register, namely, the detritus left on the Moon by Apollo 11 astronauts (since so many of the items were products of California companies). Most of the items had been jettisoned to make the astronauts' return flight lighter, and included tools, a flag, food bags, and, yes, bags of human waste. San Francisco Chronicle
Akbar Zeb must be one of Pakistan's most valuable diplomatic aces because they keep floating his name as potential ambassador to United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, and now Saudi Arabia. All three countries have rejected him, though, because in their Arabic dictionaries, "akbar zeb" means "biggest dick." Foreign Policy (citing Arab News)
Below The Fold
"Menstruating Ghost" Film Stirs Controversy Herald Sun (Melbourne) (Australian Associated Press story)
Bike Riding After Midnight Leads to Clown Attack Beaumont Enterprise
Childcare, Chinese Style: Rickshaw Driver Chains 2-Year-Old Son to a Post While He's at Work Daily Mail (London)
Someone With a Worse Sex Life Than You
Ian Stafford, 59, was sentenced to two years in jail after pleading guilty to a spree of panty thefts committed while he was mayor of Preesall, England. It appears that a number of the raids also resulted in happy endings. (Bonus: beyond-reasonable-doubt mugshot) Lancashire Telegraph
Your Weekly Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
We don't know this guy's name, but he could be a "domestic batter[er]." The Smoking Gun
More Things To Worry About
Things You Thought Didn't Happen: New babies' DNA is routinely taken at hospitals for medical screenings. Did you know that several states keep that DNA, by name, on file forever? Is there a problem? CNN
News That Sounds Like a Joke: The lender will soon foreclose on the building in downtown Atlanta that's now a homeless shelter serving about 700 people, who will become, presumably, homeless homeless people. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The cursed Taliban shot down a supply helicopter en route to a British forward operating base in Afghanistan, leaving the cook with only with a cupboard full of Spam and no re-supply due for six weeks. Hence, sweet and sour Spam. Spam fritters. Spam carbonara. Spam stroganoff. Stir fried Spam. Daily Telegraph
And For Further Review . . .
A new book on Adolf Hitler is out, examining his medical history. Some popular legends were debunked, e.g., he wasn't missing a testicle, did not have syphilis, was not delusional. On the other hand, he had flatulence something awful. His officers were known to hold perfumed hankies over their noses when he entered their bunkers. His personal doctor (who may have been a quack) injected him with a primitive erectile-dysfunction drug made from the semen and prostate of young bulls. The researchers found that, in all, Hitler took 82 different medications with as many as 28 a day. Daily Mail (London)
Newsrangers: David Abdoo, Ron Corby, Peter Smagorinsky, Bex Zumbruski, Steve Dunn, Stephen Taylor, H.Thompson, Mike Mendenhall, Larry Seltzer, Gary Goldberg, Neil Gimon, Susan Holland, Brian McIntyre, Joe Harman, Jeremy Kitt, Chrys Rodrigue, and Stefan Creaser, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors