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

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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 MarriageBed.com

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). Luxist.com (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). KansasCity.com

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.