Monday, March 15, 2010

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

Exceptionally Inexplicable Dispatches from Last Week
March 15, 2010
(datelines March 6-March 13) (links correct as of March 15)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Snail-Mucus Worshipers, Plus Cosmetic Caulking, the Wages of Bullying, and Fun with Door Locks

More Uncomplicated Americans
Guru Charles Stewart, 48, was arrested in Miami for smuggling in Giant African Snails, which if caressed by the sick could, according to his preaching, heal (provided that the afflicted believe). However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture knows for sure that the snails carry bacteria in their mucus that provoke violent vomiting. Nonetheless, it's a lifestyle choice. WFOR-TV (Miami)

Shhhhhh, Don't Tell the Jury!
The truck driver took his family with him on a day-plus hauling job, but at a rest stop, he accidentally ran over his little daughter, who now probably needs total care for the rest of her life. Since the driver was "on the job," his company's insurance must pay $24 million. But the judge never told the jurors that it was not any old company driver, but the girl's own ridiculously careless daddy who ran her over. The judge didn't want to "prejudice" the jury. They didn't find out about daddy until they got home and saw it on the news. Sacramento Bee

More "Texas Justice"
More evidence that Texas simply does not accept the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment: 60 years in prison for possession of 1.3 grams of crack (about half the weight of a U.S. dime). 35 years for possession of 4.6 ounces of marijuana (lenient; the prosecutor had demanded 99). Houston Press /// Tyler Morning News

The Vatican Is Not Safe, Says Its Chief Exorcist
Satan is in the house! Father Gabriele Amorth has done 70,000 exorcisms (batting average undisclosed) and so should know better than anyone where the devil hangs out. The Times (London)

Only in the Netherlands
The NU'91 union feels the need to organize a public campaign in support of nurses, who fear their job descriptions are in immediate danger of being expanded to include providing onanistic assistance to disabled patients. Suppository-insertion still OK. Reuters

Could Be True (After all, it was on the Internet!): According to the News & Star of Carlisle, England, bureaucrats for the Department of Work and Pensions, feeling overwhelmed, were instructed by supervisors that, during the heaviest call-in time (noon-2 p.m.), they should answer the phones by pretending to speak automated messages telling the caller to ring back later. News & Star

Meanwhile, Over on the Left Tail of the Bell Curve . . .

Customers in a drive-thru lane at the Sun Trust Bank branch in Brunswick, Ga., were pretty sure that Eugene Palmer, 40, meant to rob it and so called 911. They observed Palmer approach a door, then pull down his ski mask, and try to get in. The door was locked, and Palmer fled. After nabbing him, the police said Palmer didn't seem to realize that the door is always locked because it's a drive-thru. Florida Times-Union

Suspected car burglar Travis Neeley, 19, caught inside a stranger's vehicle in Lake City, Fla., tried to escape, but every time he'd reach to open a door, the owner, standing alongside with the remote control key, re-locked it. Neeley finally gave up and quietly awaited the police. United Press International

Recurring Theme: Residential dope farmers continue to be numb to the powerful smell, though the odor is quite distinct to passersby, including police passersby. Philadelphia Inquirer

Below The Fold

What kind of architect designs a fabulous new school gymnasium and yet leaves outside-viewable space between the locker area and the shower room? The architect pointed out the efficiency of the design, but, said a school board member, "The first time a person looks in there and sees a naked kid, we're going to have a problem." Buffalo News

China: When you have 1.3 billion people, at least one of them is bound to have a horn growing out of her forehead. Daily Mail (London)

The Federal Stimulus: $71,000, to fund a researcher at Wake Forest studying the brains of cocaine-addicted monkeys, and $147,000, to pay part of the salaries for six other Demon Deacons studying whether yoga and similar therapies can alleviate menopausal hot flashes. News & Observer (Raleigh)

Ralph Conone, 68, was jailed in Columbus, Ohio, on $150,000 bond, accused after a series of shopping trips to Wal-Mart, during which he randomly punched little kids in the back of the head simply because he felt like it. Seriously. Columbus Dispatch

In the old days, being a target of bullies didn't pay well, but here is a school district in Michigan that will shell out $800,000 to Dane Patterson for emotional abuse the boy suffered off and on from the sixth grade up. Detroit Free Press

Nothing gets past the cagey cops in Holiday, Fla. They arrested Rebekah Tracht-Kader, 21, for possession of pot, based primarily on finding a small box of pot in her room, labeled "Rebekah's Pot." St. Petersburg Times

Who knew that mouse-sized tree shrews are actually toilet-trained? Not "trained," exactly, but they have figured out that they can symbiotically score some cool nectar if they drop down inside the large Philippine pitcher plant to take dumps, in that the pitcher thrives on shrew-doo. (Bonus dumping news from the week before: A spa in Santa Fe, N.M., got some buzz for its facials made with Japanese nightingale poo [$115 basic, $159 deluxe].) BBC News /// Respectful Insolence blog

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

Shane Tinsman looks innocent enough, but he might be the "naked burglar" who "ma[de] himself at home in Columbia County" WJXT-TV (Jacksonville, Fla.)

More Things To Worry About

Maybe it hasn't been such a terrific day for you, but at least, when you were out on your morning walk, you didn't get attacked by a wild, rabid otter, like this guy. Sarasota Herald-Tribune

President Obama Expecting a Fight Over School Reform: According to this Federal Business Opportunities solicitation, the U.S. Department of Education needs to buy 27 short-barreled shotguns. (They didn't say.) Federal Business Opportunities

Some rooster-fight promoters, citing rising expenses, have switched over to six-inch-long saffron finches, instead, which are much more convenient. Downside: They must be enticed to fight, by placing a hot babe finch nearby, which causes the male finches to battle to the finish. USA Today

Six women reported to hospitals in New Jersey after getting buttocks-enhancement injections with industrial (not medical) silicone, i.e., bathtub caulk. Cosmetic surgeons say that even medical-grade silicone is particularly poor at "enhancing" that body part upon which one sits. Newark Star-Ledger

And For Further Review . . .

Just in time for Easter, consider this well done annotated list of the 10 best relics of Christianity still on display (and/or tour) and which are still able to induce devotional trances in the believers. The big 10 run the gamut from Jesus's swaddling clothes to the actual "holy nails" used in the crucifixion, to Mary's breast milk, and to little Jesus's foreskin (citing Luke 2:21 for proof of circumcision).

Newsrangers: Suzanne Jordan, Peter Hine, Mary McAninch, Larry Seltzer, Neil Garland, and Brennan Diettrick, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors