Monday, June 28, 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
June 28, 2010
datelines June 19-26) (links correct as of June 28)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Where 5th-Graders Get Laid, Plus Tasering Granny, Maple Syrup Pee, and Birth Tourism

★ ★ ★ ★ ★!

Condoms for All: The Provincetown, Mass., School Committee voted, obstinately, to give out free condoms, but of course only for high sch– . . no, wait, for any student who wants one. Said one supporter, "It's very possible that a fifth- or sixth-grader would be getting involved in sexual activity." As official policy, parental objections are deemed useless. "The intent is to protect kids," said the superintendent. Boston Globe

Because We're Lawyers and We Can–That's Why: In July, Loyola Law School of Los Angeles will jack up all students' grade-point averages by 0.333 for the sole announced purpose of making the grades look better to future employers. At least 10 other law schools are also attacking the "competitiveness" thing through the back door, by strategically softening grades. Said a Duke professor who studies grade-inflation, "If somebody's paying $150,000 for a law school degree, you don't want to call them a loser at the end." New York Times

You're Ugly, But Not to Worry: The dating site for us cuties (BeautifulPeople.com, 600,000 members worldwide) has started up fertility banks for sperm 'n' eggs, and in a fit of egalitarianism are opening it up to all you uglies. Explained founder Robert Hintze, "Initially, we hesitated to widen the offering to non-beautiful people. But everyone–including ugly people–would like to bring good looking children into the world, and we can't be selfish with our attractive gene pool." Newsweek

The Food Chain, Re-Established: The owner of the Mesa, Ariz., restaurant Il Vinaio got all upset that people were questioning his decision to sell burgers made with lion meat. CNN Money

Primary Locus of Weird: the Medial Prefrontal Cortex: Researchers writing in the Journal of Neuroscience have anticipated the behavior of people better than the people, themselves, anticipated it–simply by looking at which parts of the brain juice up during a thought. This means that "self-awareness" is tied to the MPC and that our category of PFOTs (People Full Of Themselves) actually consists of people who have weak relationships with their MPCs. Reuters via ABC News

. . . And in the PFOT Trial of the Century
: The leading surreal moment (so far) in the Rod Blagojevich trial: Last Thursday, the courtroom heard a wiretap from December 5, 2008 (enabled by a trusted Blago associate who flipped on Rod), in which Blago is doubting that that trusted associate would ever flip on him. Key wiretapped Blago quote: "[There is] scrutiny going on and lawyers to pay. How in the hell am I going to send my kid to college?" Chicago Tribune

Losers

One of the "world's most dangerous" drug lords, Jamaican Dudus Coke, is now in New York City lockdown in part because of the failure of his ingenious disguise ("dork with bad 'do"). Daily Mail (London)

A: "Yes." Q: "If we [Aussie] blokes shoot each other in the butt, do ya think it would it hurt?" Daily Telegraph (London)

A gas station is usually a good place to pull into if your vehicle is in distress. But not so much if the distress is that it's on fire (though the driver here lucked out). Saugus (Mass.) Advertiser

Peter Wann cost his team $1.2 million. They were DQ'd from a blue marlin tournament in Morehead City, N.C., because crew man Peter hadn't gotten his $30 fishing license yet (and had lied to the captain about it). They forfeited $318,000 for the first marlin caught and $912,000 for the overall championship. (Bonus Fact: There are people who will give you $1.2 million for catching a few fish.) Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)

Courtenea Bradley, 21, was charged with child neglect after beating on her male companion as he was driving (with her baby in the back seat). She had also given serious attitude to the cops who pulled the swerving car over: "My [expletives deleted by the reporter] family is one of the richest around, and we will have y'all's [expletive] jobs." Northwest Florida Daily News [with smiling mug shot]

Strange World

Britain's safety nannies reached a new pinnacle: No crosses will be allowed at the Ebdon Road Cemetery in Weston-super-Mare (too dangerous, since the other headstones are flat). Bath Chronicle [link from Nothing To Do With Abroath]

No papers have been filed in court yet, but the North Korean government has demanded that the U.S. compensate it for everything that's gone wrong in the country since 1950. They estimate that they can get back on their feet for maybe $75 trillion. (Bonus: K.Jay, himself, is blamed, though gently, of course, for his country's 7-0 loss to Portugal in the World Cup, in that the coach is seen in now-historic photographs receiving tactical soccer instructions from the Dear Leader over "mobile phones that are not visible to the naked eye." Seriously.) Agence France-Presse via Australian Broadcasting Corp. /// United Press International

UK women apparently need warnings by cosmetic surgeons 'lest they rush to get "dimpleplasty"(to look like cute Brit singer Cheryl Cole). The artificial dimple is fixed in place (but could shift over time) and thus looks stupid with most any facial movements, but try telling that to women who want to become cute. News.com.au (Sydney)

Beyond the World Cup: Olivia Grange, the sports minister of Jamaica, says she hopes to successfully lobby international Olympics officials to include what the country really excels at: dominoes. BBC News

"This is a quiet street where families live," said a distraught neighbor of one of Britain's most notorious hard-core dominatrixes, who moved in next door a while back. "[W]e reached our limit when she started holding sado-masochistic sessions in her garden. [M]y four-year-old daughter saw things she should never have seen." ("Mistress Lucrezia" is being investigated because one of her recent clients expired during a session.) Daily Telegraph

That's Messed Up

Poor Dustin Dibble's dream has turned sour. For 18 months he has been counting on the $2.3 million a jury awarded him after a New York City subway car took his leg off. An appeals court turned him down last week. After all, Dibble had been drunk and fallen onto the tracks all by himself, and right in front of the incoming train, and no, said the appeals court, train operators cannot recognize hazards in "1.0" seconds (as the original jury had expected). New York Post

Lona Varner, 86, and her grandson sued the city of El Reno, Okla., because ten police officers, checking up on a verbally aggressive, bedridden Varner, didn't like her attitude. According to the lawsuit, two of them Tasered her, and one deliberately stepped on her oxygen hose. The town, about 30 miles from Oklahoma City, doesn't appear to have a budget large enough to accommodate the coming payout. Courthouse News Service

Laith Sharma, 49, admitted that he was stalking and harassing that 14-year-old girl in Windsor, Ontario, but the medical professionals won him probation. Sharma suffers from "maple syrup urine disease," they said. The urine supposedly is a marker for certain brain damage preventing impulse control. Canwest News Service via Calgary Herald

Chutzpah! Raytown, Mo., farmer David Jungerman posted a big public sign on his property opining that "Democrats" are the "Party of Parasites," meaning they facilitate handouts for the down-and-out by taxing the treasures earned by hard-working producers (like David Jungerman). There's certainly merit to that point. The less-meritorious Jungerman point, though, is what the Kansas City Star revealed: Jungerman has been given (as in handouts) more than $1 million since 1995 in "federal crop subsidies" (i.e., money he didn't earn) (i.e., the government let him suckle money when he was, temporarily, down and out due to low farm prices). (No, no, Jungerman said; that's totally different!) Kansas City Star

It's tough growing up these days. Ranay Collins, 49, was arrested in Las Vegas for beating her 16-year-old daughter nearly unconscious with a cane. Collins defiantly explained to cops when they arrested her, "That [expletive deleted by the reporter] owes me $50 for rent." (Complicating factor: The kid's developing her own handsome set of pathologies.) KTNV-TV (Las Vegas)

Readers' Choice: There was a brawl in Victorville, Calif., of parents upset by something that happened during graduation exercises . . at a kindergarten. Victorville Daily Press

Human rights lawyer Peter Erlinder, 62, back in the U.S. after 21 days in jail in Rwanda for agitating for, y'know, human rights, was robbed one night last week in front of his home in St. Paul, Minn. At gunpoint, Erlinder reached in his wallet and tossed to the ground all the money he had, and the robber grabbed it and fled (Bonus: Rwandan currency). Star Tribune

The Pervo-American Community

The "rotund" man with the "violent temper [and] dictatorial, commanding attitude" toward the masseuse, acted like a "crazed sex poodle." He jumped on top of her, pinning her to the bed (leading her to yell, "Get off me, you big lummox"). [ed.: Several weeks before this incident was reported in the press, the rotund man and his wife had announced their separation, and one report at that time quoted the wife's friends as saying the husband's fondness for masseuses was a major factor.] The Oregonian /// The Oregonian Editorial Board /// The Smoking Gun /// National Enquirer

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


Nicolas Cocaign, 39, just cannot be guilty of the charge because then you'd have to believe that immediately after killing a man, he sliced open his chest with a razor blade, removed a rib that was in the way, grabbed his heart, and ate a piece of it raw ("to take his soul," he supposedly said). (Bonus: Turns out he misidentified what was actually a lung.) Daily Telegraph (London)

Douglas Matthews looks like a real sweetheart, right? He couldn't be guilty of sexual assault on a teenage boy. The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

From The Smoking Gun's weekly mugshot collection: (1) the Jabba-like alleged probation violator, and (2) the alleged aggressive panhandler.

Updates & Recurring Themes

Recurring: Once again, a driver ran over himself in his own car, fatally, and once again, a man was run over by his own truck, which was being operated by his own dog. WKYC-TV (Cleveland) /// Associated Press via Arizona Republic

Update: Gulf News [ed.: which tries to be legitimate but has been busted before] reported one group of Saudi women seeking to exploit the hell out of that breastfeeding fatwa [NOTW/Pro, 6-14-2010]. They are women who want to drive cars all by themselves and promise that if they don't get their way, they will merely breastfeed their families' drivers, thus becoming the drivers' "mothers" and thus be allowed out on the town with them. Gulf News

And for Further Review . . .

[ed. This seems important enough but has received little news coverage.] New York City's upscale Marmara Manhattan hotel leads the hospitality industry in several innovative areas, not the least of which is the recently announced Birth Tourism package. Pay the hotel about $35,000, and they'll give an expectant mother from abroad a super-deluxe suite for the week she's supposed to drop, plus furnish a doctor and take care of all medical expenses associated with a normal delivery. The big payoff, of course, comes from Amendment XIV of the U.S. Constitution, which makes that urchin a U.S. citizen no matter what (and, as a matter of U.S. Immigration policy, the urchin becomes an "anchor baby" that may ultimately enable the legal entry of beaucoup relatives "in order to keep the family together"). [ed.: Considering the Immigration agency bureaucracy and U.S. immigration lawyers, 35 grand of upfront grease is actually a reasonable investment.] About 15 packages have been sold, according to a June 10th report on the British travel industry website BreakingTravelNews.com.

Editor's Notes

Your Editor missed this Bonus fact from last week's story on the lightning strike from heaven that burned up the 62-foot-high Jesus statue near Monroe, Ohio. Right across the street from the statue, untouched by any lightning bolts, is a large sign for a Hustler Hollywood porn shop. Springfield (Ohio) News-Sun

Speaking of "crazed sex poodles," if there's anyone who's still not down with National Enquirer as a substantive professional news source, it has to be because you were asleep during the O.J. Simpson trial, and asleep during the Monica Lewinsky mess, and asleep during the John Edwards affair. Hell, even though it was a different company at the time, you must have been asleep in 1992 when the Star played and transcribed Gennifer Flowers's answering-machine tapes, during which Gov. Bill Clinton gave her long, careful discourses on how to fudge and spin that-there entirely malleable concept called "truth." It's been certain for almost 20 years that the so-called supermarket tabloid press has employed two standards. For exposing celebrities (for whom publicity is life-giving oxygen almost without regard to whether it is positive or negative), the tabs cut corners and go minimum on evidence. For exposing politicians, the publishers most of all seek mainstream credibility and are thus relentless on the evidence.

Your Editor will also post tomorrow (Tuesday, June 29) a selection of Weird 2.0 stories from last week.

Newsrangers: Tim Allen, John Ellwood, Hal Dunham, Peter Hine, Pierre Langenegger, Tim Trewhella, Peter Wardley, Kathryn Wood, Gil Nelson, and Jack Whittaker, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors