Monday, August 02, 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
August 2, 2010
(datelines July 24-July 31) (links correct as of August 2)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Scuzzy Brits Get Do-Overs, Plus Momma's Gone, Penile Electrosurgery, and a Violent Buddhist

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

It's Fabulous to Be a British Criminal: Here's how it goes down for a British pedophile child-killer: If the "justice" system says he's "paid his debt to society" for his crime, he has a right to a quiet, uneventful life, and if he's so notorious that he can't have it, the government pays for a new identity (estimated cost: £250,000) plus continuing "privacy" protection (estimated cost: £1,000,000 a year). Jon Venables "paid his debt" for killing that two-year-old boy, and then he "paid his debt" for being a serial child-porn-downloader, and he's about to become a free (and expensive to keep) man. Daily Telegraph (July 23)

Garden of Eden "Too Polluted" for Baptisms: Friends of the Earth Middle East made the charge. Apparently, Jesus was baptized just in time, before the sewage and runoff into the Jordan River got too bad. Israel Today

World-Class Optimism: Here's Sgt. Jerry Goodin of the Indiana State Police, sincerely hoping that "victims" will come forward with evidence against counterfeiters he just arrested (and he thinks the most likely victims were local drug dealers): "What we are asking today is we want all the drug dealers to call us [if you might have accepted this counterfeit money]. Trust us. Call us." WAVE-TV (Indianapolis)

Those Hardy New York Firefighters: John Giuffrida, 42, retired on a disability pension of about $75,000 a year in 2003, based on asthma and other lung ailments from cleaning up the Sept. 11th Ground Zero. Two years later, he was a regular on the mixed-martial-arts circuit. (Bonus: Still got FDNY attitude! "It's completely different," he says, (a) beating the crap out of people and (b) "running into a building that is on fire with a smoke condition and toxins in the air.") New York Post

Life Imitates a Rodney Dangerfield Joke: An unusual 1922 law in British Columbia obligates adult children to support their parents in hard times, and times are now indeed hard for Shirley Anderson, 71, and she's suing, and there'll be a hearing this week in Vancouver. Shirley and her hard-drinking old man had five kids, and one day, they moved--without telling four of them. Gone for good. On their own. The four grew up OK, if emotionally scarred, and now they're doing much better than Shirley is, but Shirley has that law going for her. PostMedia News via Montreal Gazette

Losers

Note to Justin Johnson, 21: Bloomfield State Bank in Bloomfield, Ind., doesn't keep $1 million on the premises and couldn't cash your check even if it were real. Green County Daily World (Linton, Ind.)

Note to the 43-year-old man arrested in Vancouver, B.C., who tried to rob the Starbucks: No cutting in line to announce your holdup demand, especially if there are uniformed cops in the same line. Seattle Weekly

Dennis Hawkins, 48, managed to knock off the Citizens Bank in the Pittsburgh suburb of Swissvale, Pa., but the rest was a bust. He took a pre-crime stroll around the neighborhood in his robber uniform (blonde wig, fake breasts, clown pants), and when he left the bank, he tried to get rides, but drivers grabbed their keys and ran, and meanwhile, the red-dye pack exploded on him. Cops found him a couple of blocks from the bank, sitting in a car, counting the soon-not-to-be-his loot. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Applications of the Bigger Dick Principle: (1) In Portage, Ind., brothers Michael, 36, and Eric Perez, 28, getting ornerier by the minute after a night of drinking, hopped into their respective vehicles and just started ramming each other. (2) In Fort Yukon, Alaska, Jacob Savage beat the crap out of Alfred Peter because Alfred had shown Jacob up by speeding around him, which he felt compelled to do after Jacob had run a stop sign in front of Alfred. Alfred may lose sight in one eye (and on top of that, his dick's smaller than Jacob's!). The Times of Northwest Indiana (Munster) [with post-ramming mugshot] /// Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Strange World

Officials in Tokyo went to the home of Mr. Sogen Kato, reportedly the oldest man in the city, to congratulate him upon his reaching age 111 . . but found he had only reached about 80 or so before expiring about 30 years ago. They charged family members with fraud for not telling the government. BBC News

The Miss Universe pageant invites the contestants on stage for a group presentation of original gowns reflecting the culture of their home countries, and apparently there are no mirrors in Miss Australia's dressing room. Daily Telegraph (London)

In a scene recalling the golden era of George Steinbrenner, the North Korean soccer team, which flamed out in the first round of the World Cup, was marched into the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang and, for six whole hours, each player was officially reamed . Still, this represents progress. Just a few years ago, North Koreans who sucked that bad wouldn't be around long. (Bonus: The coach fears they'll eventually come for him.) Toronto Star

Buddhism is such a volatile, violent religion! Ram Bahadur Bomjan, the Nepalese "Buddha boy," punched out a group of locals who were disturbing his meditation session. BBC News

A team of surgeons in Taiwan, curious about how much "electrosurgery" could safely be performed on the penis, experimented on themselves. Answer: not much. Their paper, "Determination of Human Penile Electrical Resistance and Implication on Safety Electrosurgery of Penis" says the risk can't be overstated. News.com.au (Sydney)

That's Messed Up

Dad couldn't be prouder that his daughter had faced up to the barracuda, even though she had come away from it with a 51-stitch gash. Here's the photo he made her pose for before he'd drive her to the hospital. (She's less happy than he is, probably because she's . . bleeding.) Field and Stream

Kibbles 'n bits - 'n wafers: Anglican priest Marguerite Rea in Toronto, carried away with the moment in welcoming a new congregant (with his dog Trapper alongside), gave Trapper Communion, too. The local bishop said maybe that was wrong. Daily Telegraph (London, England)

Southwest Airlines, boarding in Las Vegas (and full), booted off a 5-foot-4, 115-lb. passenger because a late-arriving big-ol'-gal needed an extra seat. (The BOG had a regular ticket; the 5-4 woman was on standby.) (Bonus: The BOG? 14 years old.) Sacramento Bee

Mr. Henri Broadway, serving life for killing a cop in Louisiana, is mustering an appeal on several grounds, including that the foreman at his 1995 trial ran a betting pool on when the damn thing would be over. Associated Press via KFDM-TV (Beaumont, Tex.)

Former government war contractor (maker of body armor) David H. Brooks is before the jury this weekend after 70 witnesses painted a story of elegant, chutzpah-encrusted misuse of funds. (Bonus: He defended paying prostitutes with contract money as "motivat[ing]" his employees and "making them more productive.") He also worked seriously to locate an "anti-memory" drug, which he wanted to feed to his chief financial officer, who he feared was the one person who could bring the whole scheme to a crashing thud. New York Times

Michael Green, 44, another of those fine misconvicted Texas "criminals," was scheduled to be freed over the weekend. He served 27 years for kidnaping and sexual assault, but now everyone knows he didn't do it. Authorities delayed his release, though--afraid he'd go off on them as he walked out the door. Gave him a little more chill time. KRIV-TV (Houston)

Brittany Labberton, 21, has already been convicted of starving her first kid, and her second was taken away from her, too, and she's about to squeeze out her third. Prosecutors in Seattle tried for a court order requiring the hospital to confiscate little number 3 upon his exit, but the judge said no, that state Child Protective Services will handle things. (CPS: Well, somebody'll have to call us; we don't have jurisdiction until the baby pops.) Seattle Times

The Pervo-American Community

Matthew Navaie, 22, was busted in the act of taking upskirt photos in a Sherwood, Ore., Target store. (Bonus: surveillance video of Matthew in action, bending to get a good shot.) KPTV (Portland)

He Loved the Ladies: Michael Lyons was sentenced to 10 years for having taken advantage of women sexually while ministering to them spiritually. For the prosecution: 12 women who testified that he's a creep. For the defense: 50 who testified that he was heaven-sent. BBC News

Update: Free-lance researcher Larry Bottone is unchastened by a two-year prison stretch and is back at it. He was a coach / teacher / tutor in Norwalk, Conn., and we had him pleading guilty in 1996 [NOTW 477, 3-28-1997] to whipping and hot-oiling nude teenage boys but only as the famed Yale researcher, Prof. Stanley Milgram, might have designed it: Bottone said he was just measuring how much pain they were willing to endure on the say-so of an authority figure. He's been charged again in Westchester County, N.Y. The Journal News (White Plains) [sl-o-o-ow loading two days straight]

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


Randy Humple, 27, Westminster, Md., might have been the one who swiped the spider display at the local library (with actual spider!). WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.)

Frank Souza, 31, stands accused of stabbing that drunk driver to death, and, true, the driver was a menace, but still, Frank could show a little remorse, y'know? San Francisco Chronicle

And Bonnie Moore just ought to be a little happier, even though she's charged with doing bad things with a 13-year-old girl. KTHV-TV (Little Rock, Ark.)

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.


GAO periodically tests the passport office at the State Department by submitting bogus applications to see if they can sneak anything past the cagey protectors of border integrity. Latest: 7 fake applications filed; caught two right away; caught two more later on; got completely suckered on the other three (43%). Associated Press via New York Times

One in five Californians say they need mental health care, concluded UCLA researchers (whose grant money goes up the worse that things get). [ed. And anyway, we're pretty sure that that's low for California. But really, all you need in order to be included, according to the UCLA folks, is to claim that you've recently felt "sad, anxious, or nervous" about stuff. Much quicker to count the people who haven't.] Los Angeles Times

According to ProPublica's Bailout Tracker, Citigroup got $45 billion from the federal government and is still sitting on $11 billion of it. On another matter, Citigroup is being investigated by the SEC for lying to investors in 2007, claiming that it was exposed to a max of only $13 billion on those ultra-risky CDOs written on subprime mortgages and the like (when it knew damn well it was exposed up to $40 billion, i.e., Citigroup stock should have been lower-priced to reflect the humongous risk). Citigroup solution: Hey, let's offer the SEC a money settlement to make the whole "lying" thing go away . . say, $75 million. SEC: "Cool!" "Let's do it!" So Citigroup takes $75 million from the $11 billion bailout money and sends it to the SEC. [ed.: Your Editor always strives to be fair, so here's the Citigroup defense: No, no, we're paying the $75 million with different money, money we earned, not bailout money! It's different . . it's from another account . . it's paid by . . a different-colored check . . it's . . it's . . different, that's all. It's not bailout money! It's not! La-la-la-la-la I can't hear you la-la-la-la-la not bailout money la-la-la.] ProPublica.org

Newsrangers: Gil Nelson, Laura Colclough, Bill Alexander, Eric Wainwright, Scott Spitler-Adair, Jeff Morin, Tim Beeber, Gerald Sacks, Christopher Nalty, Kathryn Wood, Brian Bjolin, Paul Kusmierski, and Aaron Gray, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors