Monday, May 31, 2010

It's like this: Oh, I could post-up today, if I wanted to. However, my syndicate's editors are taking the U.S. Memorial Day holiday today and won't be around until Tuesday morning. So this week, I'm posting Tuesday morning. They're also going to take off on Monday, July 5th (for U.S. Independence Day), Monday, September 6th (U.S. Labor Day), and probably Monday, October 11th (U.S. Columbus Day), so I'll be posting on Tuesday mornings those weeks, too. I, personally, don't observe "holidays"; they are an evil, idleness-encouraging, European-statist- and labor-union-induced drain on America. See you tomorrow!

Monday, May 24, 2010

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

Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
May 24, 2010
(datelines May 15-May 22) (links correct as of May 24)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

American Pigeons, Plus Jihadi Rap, Shiksa Anti-Defamation, and Roaring Virile Fire

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Mindless Nation: People oughta know better, but still– . . . The New Living Expo in San Francisco showcased $1,200 machines guaranteed to suck out your toxins, and a $249 silver amulet to protect you from deadly "cell phone radiation," and a $15,000 Turbo Sonic if your red blood cells need to be de-clumped. Meanwhile, a Canadian study found that 97% of people who admitted buying "anti-aging" products didn't think they'd work but nevertheless had a need for hope (like those who buy the $525 Euoko Y-30 Intense Lift Concentrate, derived from "viper venom." In other news, it turns out that that guy who flouted his own Social Security Number in order to sell his "LifeLock" identity-protection service has--duh!--had his identity stolen at least 13 times since he started advertising it, but still, customers keep coming, at $10-$15 a month. San Francisco Chronicle [link to story the previous week] /// Canwest News Service via Montreal Gazette /// Phoenix New Times via

War Is Hell: (1) Shouldn't the Army have realized before now that its standard-issue M4 rifles don't play well in Afghanistan because the enemy targets are often a half-mile away and not in much closer quarters, as in Iraq (and Vietnam)? (Army's solution: Nine people in every unit–not 10, not 20, not "all"–are equipped with M-110 longer-range rifles.) (2) A guy's Army Reserve unit got sent to Iraq, and his wife consequently went into a deep depression, including not keeping up with the mail or homeowners' association fees. The guy gets back to find his $300,000 home was sold by the association for $3,500, and he has only a slim chance of getting it back. Associated Press via ABC News /// WFAA-TV (Dallas-Ft. Worth)

The American Omar Hammami, now known in Somalia as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, has made five jihadist rap songs for your Internet streaming-audio pleasure (It all started out in Afghanistan / When we wiped the oppressors off the land / The Union crumbled, rumbled, and tumbled / Humbled, left them mumbled / Made a power withdraw and cower). (But if "rap" is "music," he'll need a protective fatwa because "music" is not permitted in radical Islam.) ABC News [contains links to the audio]

If you were a Saudi woman, this would be a watershed moment–maybe like America electing a black president or something: In the city of Al-Mubarraz, as a sex cop (i.e., the fabled Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) approached a young couple to demand the woman's ID, she kicked the cop's butt. Charges are pending, but women all over the country are getting ideas in their heads. The Jerusalem Post

Who knew? The District of Columbia government gives away condoms by the handful, but the men and boys of Washington are apparently such fussy préservatif connoisseurs that they're demanding Trojans, and especially Trojan Magnums, instead of standard-issue Durex. Washington Post

And who knew that there were super-randy Chinese couples at all, much less orgiasts? Well, computer science professor Ma Yaohai, 53 (screen name: Roaring Virile Fire) knew, and organized a swingers' club, but now he'll be serving 3½ years in prison for "group licentiousness" (but his fellow orgiasts avoided jail time). New York Times [NOTE: In case you're wondering, the domain RoaringVirileFire dot com is available!]

It's supposedly a common sight on the playing fields of Silicon Valley, and next month there's a world championship in Barbados. It's Segway polo! The probable favorite of the eight-nation tournament is the Barbados Flyin' Fish, but don't rule out Steve Wozniak's Silicon Valley Aftershocks. San Jose Mercury News

Strange World

The newest "protected class" in Canadian anti-discrimination law: "non-Jewish shiksas." National Post

British Health Care: For two years, doctors missed the fact that a 6-inch sliver of a brush was embedded, painfully, in the woman's buttock (the "buttock"–the fleshy part). Then, surgery went bad, and she's no longer with us. BBC News

For the equivalent of "up to $1,000" (reports Reuters), Japanese Michael-Jackson-obsessives who win a lottery can spend the night (10 hours) on the floor of the Neverland Collection at the Tokyo Tower on June 25th (the anniversary of his death), surrounded by loads of MJ memorabilia. Reuters

An amateur photography artist, using pictures from all over in an installation devoted to fatness, went too far, said the caretakers of the public space he was showing in: Nobody wants to see really fat people--especially if they're naked. BBC News /// [WARNING! DO NOT CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK! It features photos Not Safe For Stomachs. You will regret it.] [ed. Don't complain to me; I told you not to.]

In France, 95 percent of heteros who officially hooked up in 2009 opted for civil unions rather than marriage. [CORRECTION: The previous sentence should read, "In France, 95 percent of those choosing civil-union status in 2009 were heterosexuals."] (The unions are somewhat easier in, easier out, though with fewer benefits than marriage.) Meanwhile, of course, gays and lesbians are dyin' to get married. BBC News

Unique dining experience at the Beijing Zoo: First, watch the hippopotamuses at play, then step into the zoo's restaurant and dine on a tasty hippopotamus toe (or kangaroo tail, deer penis, ant soup, etc.). The Guardian (London)

The Japanese artist Arakawa died in New York at 73, and, jeez, that must have made him furious . . in that he had spent his entire career famously rejecting the concept of death. New York Times /// (Arakawa's website) /// New York Daily News [Bonus photo of a lovely Arakawa creation, which seems ridiculously "in Memory of Helen Keller," in that she, and Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, might actually be equipped to tolerate it]

That's Messed Up

Lawrenceville, Ga., is trying to balance its 2010 budget, and to do that, the town will need those bonuses back that it mistakenly paid city workers . . in 1994. Associated Press via WXIA-TV (Atlanta)

Nelson Derbigney's second wife Laura is an Hispanic Catholic, but the first wife has a court order that the son from that first marriage will be raised as an Orthodox Jew like her mother. That means that Laura better be down with all-things-kosher when the kid visits his dad. (Said Laura's lawyer, of the logical extension of the law: If Nelson were a Muslim, would Catholic Laura have to wear a burqa?) WMAQ-TV (Chicago)

Basic Sex Ed shouldn't shy away from teaching "sodomy" and the consequences of "penetration," and all you 5- and 6-year-olds at Llewellyn Elementary in Portland, Ore., need to pay attention to that. KPTV (Portland)

Would you fly safer if you were boxed up and sent FedEx? FedEx won't hire pilots with fewer than 1,500 hours in the air, but most regional airlines will taken them with 250. Buffalo News

He's in critical condition after bailing out of the moving car, but he obviously felt that he had to take that chance–anything to get away from his wife's incessant yapping. The Leaf Chronicle (Clarksville, Ky.)

Douglas Hughes, running for governor of California, stakes his candidacy on curing the child-rape epidemic: Send the convicted pedophiles to their own little devil's island 30 miles off Santa Barbara, Hughes says, and let them self-govern, build their own infrastructure, etc. The Daily Caller ///

On the Left Tail of the Bell Curve . . .

Perps' Rookie Mistakes: (1) If you choose a bank to rob that's only one block from a station house, cops can be there before you get out the door. (2) Count the money with one hand; if you lay your gun on the counter to free both hands, the vic will grab it and shoot you. (3) When you're poised to break-and-enter a house, carrying on a cell-phone conversation outside a window will tip off the resident ("I'm about to commit a crime," he was overheard saying). Birmingham News /// Associated Press via KFSM-TV (Fort Smith, Ark.) /// Northwest Florida Daily News

Stay Classy: A school bus driver in Milwaukee was fired for routinely taking dumps on her bus, into plastic bags, which she would toss out at her earliest convenience. WITI-TV (Milwaukee)

The Pervo-American Community

The prolific inseminator (at least 30 children) John Speights Jr., 45, better known around the bedrooms of Tampa as Poppa Love, was sentenced to life in prison. Several of his inseminatees were underage and related to him, but Poppa had his fans, too, and deputies had trouble controlling them when they heard the sentence. Said the judge, "This court is convinced, sir, that you are devoid of any moral values." St. Petersburg Times

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

We might have been able to presume innocence of these eight people on The Smoking Gun's weekly mugshot collection–except for those shirts they're wearing. These days, wearing those shirts'll get you 20-to-life. The Smoking Gun

Jerrod Wyatt, charged with . . ahhh, doesn't matter, does it? Times-Standard (Eureka, Calif.)

Paul Woodward was finally executed in Mississippi–friendless, familyless. That's what happens when you let yourself go. Clarion-Ledger (Jackson)

The exquisitely styled Allen Brown–one of the most magnificently coiffed people ever . . to be sentenced to 18 years in prison for pimping. The Jersey Journal (Jersey City, N.J.)

Updates & Recurring Themes

When this thing happens, it usually precedes a beating, as it did here, too: Police inadvertently threw their main witness to an attempted murder into the same cell with the attempted murderer. St. Paul Pioneer Press

It's for charity this time, but the animal rights people still cut them no slack. A veteran of the British sport of "ferret-legging" proposes an exhibition as a special fund-raiser. (Real British men do not get squeamish when a razor-toothed ferret is dropped down their baggy pants.) Alas, the ferrets are alleged to get all stressed at this. Daily Telegraph

Karma hit Anthony Hauser, the Minnesota dad who helped try to shield his son in 2009 from that wicked Satanic plot known as chemotherapy (for the kid's leukemia), in favor of homeopathic solutions. The state forced the kid into chemo, and he's now in remission, but guess who's got leukemia now? (Since he's an adult, the state doesn't care how he "treats" it.) Fox News

And For Further Review . . .

In the event you don't get around the Internet very much, here's last week's sensational "16 Products They Sell Only at Chinese Wal-Marts," raising a number of questions, for example, "How can 'anti-bacterial underwear' be such a big deal when the same store sells 'mixed meat,' animal ribcages, and pig faces for customers to grab right out of a barrel?"

Newsrangers: Kathryn Wood, Josh Harris, Gil Nelson, Bruce Leiserowitz, Phillip Choisser, Sandy Pearlman, and Hal Dunham, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, May 17, 2010

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

Exceptionally Inexplicable Dispatches from Last Week
May 17, 2010
(datelines May 8-May 15) (links correct as of May 17)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Five Stars!

Last Week in Texas . . .: (1) Veteran lawyer Carolyn Barnes, 53, was jailed for allegedly firing five shots toward a U.S. Census worker who didn't leave her property fast enough. (Exculpating offer: "I've been practicing law since 1984, and I haven't shot anybody yet . . ..") (2) Authorities in Austin found an elaborate cave system (up to 35 feet deep) underneath long-time resident Jose Del Rio's house. (Neighbors say that Del Rio "kept to himself.") (3) Justice finally caught up, somewhat, to Tony Davis, who has been freely peddling his expensive, ridiculous "discovery" of a technicality that he says voids all federal criminal convictions since 1948 (charging prisoners' families five-figure fees for legal papers to magically spring their loved ones). He's been doing this for five years, but last week a judge finally issued a temporary restraining order. Austin American-Statesman /// KVUE-TV (Austin) /// Austin American-Statesman

Sounds Like a Joke (I): Fifteen months after he was buried in the ground, Orville Richardson will be dug up and decapitated so that the Alcor Cryonics lab in Arizona can freeze the head, which Alcor says is what Richardson wanted. [ed.: I guess questioning the cryonic viability of a 15-month-old head is to tacitly acknowledge the cryonic viability of a fresh head?] Associated Press via Des Moines Register

The Most Generous Country in the World! Former illegal immigrant Cecil Harvey, 55, was deported to Barbados in 2007 after a tour in the U.S. distinguished mainly by acquisition of a long rap sheet. The New York Post revealed last week that New York City sent Cecil a departing gift in late 2009–$145,000–in settlement of his lawsuit over once having spent 28 days longer at Rikers Island lockup than he was supposed to. New York Post

Sounds Like a Joke (II): Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police, along with the police department in Calgary, Alberta, have notified the Bank of Montreal that the mortgage fraud case under investigation–reputed to be the biggest such fraud in the nation's history–will be dropped because the police lack the ability to work a crime of that magnitude. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News

John Chianelli may have backed down by now, but as of last week, he was patiently sticking with his program. He is the chief mental-health administrator of Milwaukee County, Wis., and has started housing males and females together in the same residential unit, on the ground that, well, the arrangement reduces male-on-male violence in the facility. Journal Sentinel

Deadly Combination: being a delusional obsessive and a law school graduate. She believes with all her heart that she's married to David Lee Roth (of Van Halen), and she has filed reams of court papers to divorce the poor guy because he's been wrecking her financially by stealing her identity. And she's juggling a slew of other, equally meritorious cases, as well. [ed.: You'll have to click the link to learn her name. I'm sure as hell not printing it, so she can use Google to tell her whom to sue next.] Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)


Kenneth Parkerson, 28, free-lancing with his video camera late at night on a stranger's patio, randomly chose the patio of a woman who, it turns out, is married to a mixed-martial arts champion, who happened to be home at the time. South Florida Sun-Sentinel [mug shot!]

A 22-year-old man was arrested at the Mystic Lake Casino in Scott County, Minn., while implementing his foolproof plan to launder his bank robbery money at the casino's cash-changing machines. Most of the money, of course, was red-stained, and attracted a bit of attention. Star Tribune

In the heart of Tennessee Bible country, star high school athlete Jacob Huff ostensibly "won" the dare to unzip and urinate on the baseball field during the pre-game National Anthem. Bristol Herald Courier

The Pervo-American Community

Jonathan Allen, 53, was arrested in Brookline, Mass., for indecent exposure in his car, but it may all have been a misunderstanding, he said. The air-conditioner at work is really cold, he said, and when he walks out, the hot air is so overwhelming that he usually takes off his pants for the drive home. And then he stops on the street somewhere and puts them back on, but first, there may be an itch that needs addressing. (Bonus: Also in his car: a woman's skirt, undies with the crotch cut out, binoculars, a travel book stuffed with pictures of naked women.) Brookline TAB

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

Brian Haney, 30 (charged with trespassing, since he was found naked in a stranger couple's back yard hot tub at midnight) (AWI) Naperville (Ill.) Sun

From The Smoking Gun's weekly mugs: Charged with "inducing panic" /// Charged with possession of narcotics

Not the t-shirt to be wearing if you're about to be arrested for meeting a "13-year-old girl" (i.e., cop) for sex. Log Cabin Democrat (Conway, Ark.)

Strange World

The Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi installed a vending machine that dispenses gold coins and small gold bars (1g, 5g, 10g) at whatever the world price is that day. Los Angeles Times [with Associated Press photos]

If you were just getting used to the fact that snipping away part of your eye can be a good thing (Lasik surgery), it'll be really tough to take the next big thing: peeling back the pupil and inserting a lens, in front of the iris. Daily Telegraph (London)

At Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences, surgeons removed a 4-inch-long splinter from an 11-year-old boy's eye . . two years after it stuck there when he fell on a stick. A rural hospital said they couldn't take it out so the kid just adjusted, going to school, playing, swimming–but then the pain got too great, and the parents took him to Delhi. Plus, the splinter had pierced the brain a bit. (Yes, there are photos and x-rays, dated 4-10-2010.) Daily Mail (London)

Britain's Home Office might soon not be doing things like this, but last week it granted Pagan police officers the right to priority days off for official festivals like the naked dancing and the festival of lactating sheep. The Times

Perhaps the mathematician and former two-term mayor of Bogota, Colombia, Antanas Mockus, has grown up and isn't much fun anymore, but he was fun in the 1990s, when he dropped trou to a bunch of unruly students and tried to shame traffic scofflaws by commissioning a mime troupe to patrol the streets. Now, he's a likely candidate for runoff in the country's presidential election in two weeks. New York Times

More Things To Worry About

Perfectly Legal: As many corporations do, Forest Laboratories of New York City routes its profits through a Bermuda subsidiary, whose total employees are 1 and whose corporate tax percentage is 0. So, Forest makes $2 billion a year profit from one product (the anti-depressant Lexapro), virtually all of which is earned in the US of A, all of which goes down on the books as earned in Bermuda. ABC News

A New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission judge (unnamed, as the supposed victim of a sex crime) insisted on sexual harassment charges against lawyer Cheecho Mertsaris, who allegedly grabbed her thigh in court. Problem: Everybody in the TLC community knows Mertsaris has cerebral palsy (he's confined to a wheelchair) and that his hands and arms move only involuntarily, and that that's what happened. However, the judge has insisted on prosecution. New York Daily News

It's Sports–We Need Rules: That's why the 2nd-place high school girls' track coach pounced on the fact that the other team's pole-vaulter, whose last vault won the meet . . . should be disqualified. She was wearing a string bracelet. No jewelry allowed, according to the rules. Penalty: The 2nd-place coach is now the championship coach. Said the dumbfounded bracelet girl's coach: "Coach, you really want it to come down to this?" ("Winning" coach: Weeee are the champions, my fri-ennnnnddd . . .!) Sports Illustrated

A jury in Port Angeles, Wash., acquitted Mark Seamands, who had crudely branded (not tattooed–branded) his three kids with SK (for "Seamands' [sic] kids"). (On two lesser charges, the jury deadlocked, causing a mistrial, but prosecutors might just let it go.) All three kids thought it was cool, and bonding-like, and couldn't see the problem (but two were underage, hence, the prosecution). Associated Press via CBS News

Memorable Last Words: (1) "Next time you pull out a pistol, why don't you use it?" (spoken by a man whose dog urinated on the lawn of extreme-lawn-obsessive Charles Clements, 69, in University Park, Ill.). (2) "There's nothing in it, watch" (spoken by Irish gang leader Philip Collopy, to reassure a lady friend that the gun he was carrying was not loaded). Chicago Tribune /// Irish Independent

Miami, Fla., elementary school principal Eva Ravelo, embroiled in a contentious feud with parents, instructed an assistant to sorta disregard a parent's request for a meeting: "Advise her to eat sh- - and die [dashes in the original]." At press time, Eva's still twisting in the wind. Miami Herald

Updates & Recurring Themes

The Iranian "boobquake" cleric, fresh from a semi-victory over a protester who challenged his April manifesto that immorality was creating all these earthquakes [NOTW/Pro, 4-26-2010], has now responded definitively as to why God permits us infidels to flaunt our sins so heavily and seemingly get away with it. God, said Kazem Sedighi, is playing rope-a-dope with us. He lets us sin and sin and sin so there'll eventually be no question that we belong in the "bottom of Hell." Associated Press via Yahoo News

F State attorney general and candidate for governor, the super-family-values Bill McCollum, revealed that he paid George Rekers [NOTW / Pro, 5-10-2010] a total of $120,000 to provide "expert" testimony defending the state's no-gay-adoption law when it was challenged in 2009. (The "testimony" was useless, rejected by the judge as mere moral opinion, as it was by an Arkansas judge in a similar case.) (The law was ruled unconstitutional but is on appeal to the state supreme court.) With state budgets in trouble, even "family values" voters are getting conscious about price tags. Miami Herald via St. Petersburg Times

Prahlad Jani, the 83-year-old yogi who claims not to have eaten or drunk anything for 70 years [NOTW / Pro, 5-3-2010], is finished with his 15 days' testing by Indian military doctors, who monitored him around the clock. They certify: Nothing went it, nothing came out. Agence France-Presse via Google News

Recurring: Run over by his own vehicle: A 63-year-old man in Spring Township, Pa., leaning out his SUV's door to pick up mail he had dropped, fell out and was dragged into a concrete wall, where the truck pinned him, killing him. WJAC-TV (Johnstown, Pa.)

Recurring: In Wichita, Kan., a 70-year-old man, lying in bed with his wife, took The Only Way Out with a gunshot to his head, but the bullet passed through and killed her, too. Wichita Eagle

Recurring: A local official in India has suggested another useful activity for eunuchs (rather than their usual "prostitution" and "collecting embarrassment money"): form a military regiment and assign them to border patrol. Perhaps Pakistanis will be as frightened of them as India's upper classes are. Agence France-Presse via Google News

And For Further Review . . .

Time magazine sees such a bright future for Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama that it named him one of the 100 most influential people on Earth two weeks ago, but his poll number at home recently hit 24%-67% against. Among his weaknesses, they say, are his inartful attempts to show how "of the people" he is when he really has no idea how the proletariat live. Exhibit A from last week: Leaving the suit and tie behind, good; wearing this shirt instead, not good. One blogger described it as "an item last seen whooping it up on the Arsenio Hall show." CNN

Newsrangers: H. Thompson, Sandy Pearlman, Amber Donges, Hal Dunham, Jon LaFalce, Michael Greer, Charlie Cummins, and Nathaniel Clark, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, May 10, 2010

Editor's Note

OK . . OK . . OK, It has become clear that I acted too quickly by committing myself to a third arrangement of weekly reporting so forget, for a while, all that stuff about Chuck's Weekly Intelligence Briefing. I'm back to the weekly News of the Weird column issuing on Sundays, and News of the Weird / Pro Edition issuing on Mondays. If you're signed up for either the old Google group ProWeird or the new ChucksWeeklyIntel group, you'll get Pro Edition on Mondays. If you're signed up for both groups, then, one, you should've canceled one or the other before this, and, two, if you don't cancel one or the other now, you'll just get two copies. I'll change the junk on the right-hand rail on the Blogspot blog sometime this week. Health status (thanks for asking): Better, but not a lot better. On to the news!

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

Exceptionally Inexplicable Dispatches from Last Week
May 10, 2010
(datelines May 1-May 8) (links correct as of May 10)

Doctors Recommend Pricks, Plus Chimp Flashers, A Piggyback Pervert, and a PhD in Dreaming


The American Academy of Pediatrics is trying to outthink those Africans and Asians now living in the U.S. who come from cultures that "require" de-clitorizing their daughters. The AAP is pushing physicians to advise the most-closed-minded of them to settle for jabbing the girls with a pinprick (equivalent to a pierced-ear) in the clitoral area rather than the much-worse organ-slicing. Some women's rights advocates disagree, e.g., do we teach husbands to settle for punching their wives once, rather than a full beatdown? New York Times /// press release of Equality Now

Britain's World of "Rights": On the one hand, there's no right to recite text from the Holy Bible if it's that part about homosexuality being an abomination, because that "incites public disorder." (A 42-year-old Baptist preacher in Workington, Cumbria, was arrested.) On the other hand, if a local council orders a teenager not to wear low-riding pants, you can bet that's a "human rights" violation. (A judge on the Bedford magistrates' court threw out part of a council's Anti-Social Behavior Order as "contrary to the Human Rights Act.") Daily Telegraph /// BBC News

Waiting for "Conceptual Art" to Jump the Shark: At the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, England, opinions were mixed about Susan Collis's "Since I Fell For You" installation, which is, literally, a room with pieces of lumber on the floor, a broom, and an empty laundry bag. Said one visitor, "Conceptual art is one thing, but this is just ridiculous." Collis said it was a serious work and took her a long time to think up and to prepare. Birmingham Mail

It turns out that "Christian" sex shops are somewhat similar to "ordinary people's" sex shops except for lack of porn (and the constant reminders that the products are for "married couples only"). On the other hand, for the less-frisky wife's initial foray into all this, here's an "anatomically correct Christian diagram that pinpoints . . . the exact location" of that elusive G-spot! The Guardian (London) /// [Not Safe for Work] The

Miami New Times outed prominent anti-gay activist George Rekers, who liked "long stroke" massages from escort "Lucien" (for real name, see the Miami Herald link). Unlike the fallen Ted Haggard, Rekers did not take offerings from followers, but he was an academic and major behind-the-scenes collaborator on the homosexuality-is-evil issue, most recently telling the Florida legislature of the dangers of letting gays adopt. That's all foreplay, though. The heart of these stories is watching this gent of conflicted principles twist and contort, in violation of Commandment 9, in full view of a hungry press, day after day, through the various stages toward self-acceptance. Late last week, he was past the "Sex? What sex?" and the "I didn't know Lucien was gay" stages and was on the "I knew he was gay, and I was using our two-week vacation in Europe to bring him to God" stage. Miami New Times (May 5) /// (May 6) /// (May 7) /// Miami Herald (May 8)

People With Issues

Clair Arthur Smith, 42, a man of incomparable self-confidence, thought he could doctor up a $10 refund check from Bank A and deposit to into his account in Bank B. If he tried to go from "$10" to "$100," maybe, and perhaps even to "$10,000." He tried "$269.951.00." Fort Myers News-Press

Another Poor Multitasker: Lora Hunt was convicted in Lake County, Ill., for plowing (without braking) into, and killing, a motorcyclist, on a red light at an intersection, but after all, she was engaged in a very challenging multitask: doing her nails. Photos of the splashes of, what, Peach Parfait, or Persimmon Perfection, were all over the dashboard. Chicago Tribune

Not Ready for Prime Time: There's no fainting in preliminary police interrogation, especially for just a burglary. John Campana, 18, was charged in Newberry, Fla. Gainesville Sun

Strange World

The governor of the Russian republic of Kalmykia came clean last week that, yes, he was in fact abducted from his apartment by space aliens (in front of three witnesses), who conversed with him telepathically (since their ears were hurting from inadequate oxygen). One member of Russia's parliament was alarmed–not that the governor is nuts but that while abducted, he may have given away government secrets. ABC News

Say Hello to My Leetle Friend with the Triad of Brilliant Stones Set in Perfect Harmony: Discovered in raids on Mexican drug boss Oscar Nava Valencia: 31 diamond-studded handguns, 7 diamond-studded assault weapons (one with a Ferrari logo). (AOL)

In Novara, Italy, a 26-year-old Muslim woman was fined €500 ($653) for the crime of wearing a burqa (eye-slit only), prompting her husband to moan that the government has backed him into a corner. Said he, I'm now forced to keep her inside all day. "I can't have other men looking at her." CNN

Saudi women, of course, find it difficult to take jobs outside the home, but on the other hand, men like Yusuf al-Harthy have full access to the marketplace–to open an academy offering a Ph.D. in dreaming. (Bonus: According to Yusuf, there is an actual "classic Islamic catalogue on dream interpretation.") Agence France-Presse via Google News

Apocalypse Alert: Researchers have concluded that male chimpanzees build "tools" not just for food but also to get sex. (First, they get aroused and open their legs; then they crinkle up dry leaves over and over to draw females' attention to their gleaming junk. Primatologist William McGrew says it works.) New York Times [citing recent issue of the journal Science]

[Hoax Level: Yellow] Julia Manihuari, 29, who lives outside Loreto, Peru, finally got subsidized breast-reduction surgery–35 pounds' worth. She had extreme Bilateral Gynecomastia (unrestrained mammary gland growth). [ed.: I won't publish any Hoax Level Reds because they're too obvious. Orange, maybe; I'll disclose what stinks about it. Yellows might well be authentic, but I can't find any reputable source, which often occurs simply because I don't read any other language well enough to detect subtleties of good journalism.] Daily Mail

The Pervo-American Community

Jason Hanson, 39, arrested in Oklahoma City (wearing panties, a leotard, and a girdle), was caught breaking into a home. His slick defense, according to police: "He met a man at a gas station who [sic] he did not know [but] who told him it was OK." KWTV (Oklahoma City)

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

They say Michelle Thomas, 26, of Hudson, Tex., tried to punish her common-law husband for failure to sexually satisfy–by stabbing him with a pair of scissors. The Smoking Gun

They say James Harris, who was at a party, tried to steal the host's Xbox (whereupon the guests dispensed spontaneous justice).

Brian Willner, 35, appears to be confused by the charges. How could it be that the director of a special-ed program could sexually assault one of his own students? Phoenix New Times

More Things To Worry About

Too Much Information: Elvis Presley's personal physician, who was with him when he died, now says cause of death was chronic constipation (exacerbating a heredity condition)–in that if he had been man enough to get a colostomy, he might still be with us. His colon was almost twice as long, and twice as large, as normal, and on death contained stool that was several months old. New York Daily News

Complaints came in to Mead Johnson company about its new baby formula that's spiked with chocolate. "What's next," asked one, "genetically modifying moms to produce chocolate breast milk?" Chicago Tribune

Again, they turn their back on Carl Fuermann of Boulder, Colo., who offered to stop the BP oil spill if only he could put together enough people to visualize the leaks and then meditate hard for them to stop (in line with a global project called the Intention Experiment). A mining expert contacted by Boulder's Daily Camera begged off, noting that while he is familiar with the laws of physics, he is "unfamiliar with the telekinetic potential of meditation." Daily Camera

Melanie Shaker drew back and kicked at her husband (Alcohol Was Involved) on the street in front of Fases Salon in Chicago, but missed, lost her balance, and stumbled backward through the front window. She's suing the salon because, with all the drunks on that stretch of Sheffield Avenue, they ought to have had safety glass (which wouldn't have cut her up so bad). WBBM Radio

Updates & Recurring Themes

The piggyback-riding pervert Sherwin Shayegan, 27, was arrested on a drug-related charge in Tualatin, Ore., resurrecting a petty-crime history and previous evidence that in Mt. Vernon, Wash., Shayegan (suspected of being "Dale") was known for befriending high-school boys with claims that he could help their athletic careers, and even offering money, and then when they stopped being polite and walked away, jumping on their backs and demanding piggyback rides. (Seriously.) Tigard Times (Tigard, Ore.) /// NOTW M131 (10-11-2009)

A 50-year-old man was accidentally run down in a crosswalk in Northampton, Mass., and suffered minor injuries. Calls himself: Lord Jesus Christ. Legal name: Lord Jesus Christ. The Republican (Springfield, Mass.)

Motorists and pedestrians near Jeonju, South Korea, better run for their lives! Ms. Cha Sa-soon, 69, now has her driver's license. She was 0-for-949 on the written test (taken almost daily since April 2005) before passing and then a measly 0-for-9 before passing the driving test. Associated Press via Google News

And For Further Review . . .

It's always great when a genuine news story (New York Times!) about a society trying to adapt better to the global market also offers multiple cheap-shot punchlines. Thus, we have the Shanghai Commission on the Management of Language Use, hard at work to encourage a reduction in the number of knee-slappingly ridiculous translations of Chinese into English, for the country's visitors. Examples (and explanations of the less obvious are in the story): fried enema, monolithic tree mushroom stem squid, lard bucket, Scat, urine district, Dongda Anus Hospital. On the other hand, Americans have actually embraced the literal Chinese phrase, long time, no see, and the U.S.'s "Keep Off the Grass" goes down better as the Chinese "The Little Grass Is Sleeping. Please Don't Disturb It." New York Times

Newsrangers: Paul Metzger, Jeremy Kitt, Brian Wilson, Trish Truett, Chris Hall, Pete Randall, Christopher Smith, and Russell Jernigan, and the News of the Weird Senior Advisors and Editorial Advisors.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Free-lance writers generally have a good life, but the thing is, there's no sick leave. If we go down, it's hard to produce. Over the last month, I've worked with more selections from the Merck Manual than from my Newza da Weird pile of candidates. It's been a slo-o-o-ow slog. It has finally caught up to me. There will be no Chuck's Weekly Intel tomorrow. Assuming an amazing recovery, I'll be better by next Monday and Tuesday. For the record, I've been struck by two painful muscular-skeletal disorders, one virus (possibly two), two adverse reactions to medications, and the threat (jury still out on it) of two invasive surgeries. The upshot is that even if I had a Lamborghini of a brain (harsh reality: most days, it's maybe a nicely-equipped Accord), lots of things could make it run like a 1978-or-so VW diesel. Anyway, I need to get back to work. What would really be sweet is if Congress passed one of those agricultural-support-type programs so that writers, and not just farmers, got paid for not producing things.
(editor of Chuck Shepherd's Nearly-Weekly Intelligence Briefing)