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.)

Losers

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