Monday, July 12, 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
July 10, 2010
(datelines July 3-July 10) (links correct as of July 12)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Florida's Limited Imagination About Sex, Plus Skinhead Remorse and Relatives Move Back Home

★ ★ ★ ★ ★!

Fine Points of F State Law: One might assume it illegal to be sitting in your car outside a convenience store while ostentatiously licking and slurping a big dildo a few feet away from a passing child--while, out of plain view, playing your lap piccolo. However, a Florida appeals court acquitted David Lowe, noting that state law requires penetration of "another person" in order to be doing "sexual activity" in public. [ed.: with mugshot, demonstrating that David's finding "another person" will be unlikely]. WKMG-TV (Orlando)

Fine Points of Texas Law: Murderer-rapist Irving Davis, 27, has challenged his conviction on the ground that the jury improperly considered his religious devoutness during deliberations--improper because Irving is a Satanist. (Appeals judge: "You've got to be kidding me!") No one knew about Davis's religion . . until he insisted that jailers bring him a gong, candles, chalice, black robes, and a vial of blood. Austin American-Statesman

American Ingenuity Will Get Us Out of the Recession: Alvin Greene is that South Carolina Senate candidate that no one ever heard of but who won the Democratic primary. As if to demonstrate his unfitness for public life, he agreed to sit, overmatched, for an interview with a reporter from London's wise-ass Guardian. From his Sanford & Son campaign home-office, he volunteered his economic platform: "Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays. Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an army uniform, air force uniform, and me in my suit. [That idea]'s not something a typical person would bring up.") The Guardian

Recurring Theme, Except--: Jean Stevens, 91, is the latest to be caught living with room-temperatured relatives. She's different, though, because she actually had to go dig up her (then-recently-buried) husband and sister (instead of just leaving them in place when they expired), and also, according to this sympathetic report, she seems to really enjoy the (admittedly one-sided) conversations they still have. (Bonus: The authorities said she could keep the bodies at home if she builds 'em a crypt.) Associated Press via Hartford Courant

Losers

Skinhead Daniel Cowart, 21, from Jackson, Tenn., fell flat in his 2008 big-time plot to kill 99 black people and then Sen. Obama, and will be sentenced soon to serious time but is already begging jailers: Please, could someone please get these (swastika, iron cross) tattoos off me? (In the Big House, you only get one chance to make a first impression.) (Bonus: Yes, real skinheads don't beg, but Cowart was a probationary skinhead.) Jackson Sun

A man was killed in Houston, Tex., while smashing his big rig into a freeway pillar. He had an insurance scam going and was just trying to make it look real. (Bonus: His pal had been scheduled to drive, but chickened out, calling the plan too dangerous, so the now-late partner fearlessly took the wheel.) KTRK-TV (Houston)

Carlos Medina-Bailon, 30, jailed on a drug charge in El Paso, Tex., cleverly escaped, hiding inside the jail's trash pickup, and enjoyed an hour's freedom or so until he was fatally buried in a landfill. KVIA-TV (El Paso)

Kurt Johnson and Dale Heineman were accused a while back of running mortgage scams (back before mortgage scams were cool), making maybe $3 million with their nifty, foolproof legal dance-step that made homeowners think they were debt-free. Johnson and Heineman also employed nifty, foolproof legal dance-steps at trial, acting as their own lawyers and doing stupid things to build a case of "incompetent counsel" that they could use as the basis for appeal. Appeals court (last week): "The record clearly shows that the defendants are fools, but that is not the same thing as being incompetent." (Bonus: 20 years!) San Francisco Chronicle

Strange World

An Associated Press stringer in Zimbabwe found that locals use U.S. $1s and $5s so often (and store them in their underwear) that they turn putrid long before they disintegrate. Thus, they hand-wash the bills (and "wealthier" people use their washing machines). Associated Press via MSNBC

Researchers working out of a Falkland Islands facility has finally answered the question of how deep-sea squids (as opposed to shallow-water squids) mate. The shallows have kinda puny equipment but have evolved a special tentacle to clear a path to the ovaries, but in the darkness, it's harder for a deep-sea squid to do that, and there seems to be no designated tentacle at work. However, now they know: Deep-sea squid have evolved lo-o-o-ong penii (almost as long as their entire bodies when erect) and just plunge directly at the female, breaking through her "protective" architecture. (Bonus: Before this, speculation was that deep-sea squid must somehow use jet-propulsion to fire their sperm packets past the architecture.) (Double Bonus: There is an academic publication called Journal of Molluscan Studies.) BBC News

A female lawyer in her mid-30s in Puri, Orissa, India, decided to do a sex change--purely, she said, to avoid the arranged marriage being set up for her by her parents. The Times of India

As a kinda public service, a shopping mall in Shenyang, China, set up a recreation room with furniture and knick-knacks that shoppers who get angry can soothe themselves in, i.e., they can scream, beat things, throw things, break things. One restriction: women only. The Shanghaiist [citing People's Daily]

England mourned the death of a smoking-hot 30-year-old nanny who passed away of sudden heart arrhythmia . . while working out with her vibrator and a porn video on her laptop. (Seriously.) Daily Mail

That's Messed Up

If Convicted, A Special Rung of Hell: Terry Hyder was arrested in Orlando and charged with grand theft in a modus operandi based on attending dementia support groups, befriending vulnerable women, and selling them bogus tax certificates (thus cleaning them out). Associated Press via Miami Herald

The Pervo-American Community

Longtime (formerly-) respected North Carolina D.A. Joel Brewer got probation for basically being icky with a string of women going way back. (Bonus: He had a gold badge engraved with his name and title and used it to stop cars driven by women and hit on them.) Associated Press via Winston-Salem Journal

Brian Kluck, 34, was charged with peeping into windows and taking pictures of women naked (but pointed out that the camera he was carrying had no such photos on it). On the other hand, police did find a list of women he had seen naked and a to-do list of others, including showering times. Appleton Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wis.)

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


Dane Eisenman, 57, was arrested in Fairfield, Conn., after he had explained to a private gun-seller why he wanted the 30-06 rifle: to kill aliens! "[E]very 36,000 years, aliens who live under the sun come to Earth to kill humans [but they're not getting Dane]." [ed.: Oh, yeah, "jury duty" . . . the prosecutor said Dane's a felon and thus can't buy that gun.] Hartford Courant

From Central Casting, trying out for the part of "guilty": Jason Chad, Birmingham, Ala., accused of trafficking in MDMA and LSD. Raleigh News & Observer

And from The Smoking Gun's weekly pastiche of men's hairstyling, here's one man charged with assault and another with aggravated battery.

Updates & Recurring Themes

Recurring: If there's a bizarre medical condition somewhere in the world, London's Daily Mail is on it. Last week: (1) a photo spread on a Chinese woman who finally had corrective surgery for a 15-year-old auto accident that left her legs facing the wrong way. [Ewwwww!] (2) the "world's smallest mother," bringing three babies into the world while afflicted with Osteogenisis Imperfecta that has stunted her to 2-foot-4 (and the husband who enables her, from their lovely Dry Ridge, Ky., home). Daily Mail /// Daily Mail

Update: It's worse than it was last year [NOTW M113, 6-7-2009] for thin and average-weighted women in Mauritania, as the military leaders' pressure for "traditional" values means more girls are getting fattened up as the model of beauty, and also means there are now "professional force-feeders," whom parents pay $200 per tough-loved fat-camp daughter. Last year's report emphasized the role of the blubber in making the girl marriage material, but this report in Marie Claire sorta emphasizes how it, um, arouses men generally. (Bonus: The ultimate sign of beauty: stretch marks!) Marie Claire via Yahoo New Zealand

Alert the Daily Mail! A six-legged calf in North Carolina! A two-headed calf in Egypt! WGHP-TV (Greensboro) /// Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle

Weird 2.0
"To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle"—George Orwell
"That's close enough for government work"—unknown
"Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns"—Rome Daily Inquirer, 7-18-64A.D.


Paul the prognosticating octopus certainly got "human interest" news coverage last week as Germany marched toward the World Cup. Paul "predicted" every German result, including its last loss. So Animal Whisperer Michelle Childerley was in her element, attributing all sorts of wisdom to Paul. Also in his element, sadly, was CNN reporter Paul Armstrong (no relation), who interviewed Michelle, treating her with the deference he might show Stephen Hawking. "Can an octopus really be psychic?" he asked Michelle. Of course!, she said, and there you have it. CNN [link from BoingBoing.net]

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy is showing us how legal immigration is supposed to work--that it's far superior to that illegal immigration mess. Working with a home state developer, he helped arrange conditional green cards for 250 investors from 43 countries who are ponying up $500,000 each for a Vermont ski resort. Associated Press via ABC News

This is normal in America, yet-- . . .: The jury in the Ira Hatch trial for theft and racketeering in Vero Beach, Fla., began deliberating on Friday, after listening to the judge read to them . . 100 pages of jury instructions. And if the judge doesn't do it right, it's a certain basis for appeal for the trial's loser. If a juror misunderstands anything, well, that's "justice." [ed.: Granted--it's far-fetched that an average juror would misunderstand any item of legal mumbo jumbo in 100 pages, but still--, hypothetically . ..] TCPalm.com

Illinois just enacted a law requiring that all police "rape kits" be tested, in that 80 percent over the last 15 years had never been. (For those who don't watch TV, rape kits, taken at the hospital following a rape, in most cases contain evidence for finding the perp and then actually persuading a jury to convict the guy.) Shrugging off rape-kit testing is apparently a problem in other states, too. It's kinda expensive. Thus, it must be that in Illinois, and the other states, every single dollar must already be being spent on things more important than catching and convicting rapists. (Imagined victim response: "Excuse me? I was raped . . and I summoned the courage to report it . . and go through this degrading rape-kit procedure . . and you never tested? Excuse me?) New York Times

Newsrangers: Ivan Katz, Steve Dunn, Richard Schultz, Esteban Bazan, and Perry Levin, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors