Monday, October 04, 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
October 4, 2010
(datelines September 25-October 2) (links correct as of October 4)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Brain Surgeons Frolicking, Plus Gypsy Rights and Dowsing for Mugabe

★ ★ ★ ★!

Who Thinks These Things Up? Brain surgery is always a hassle for doctors, what with having to remove the top of the skull and set it aside while they operate. Wouldn't it be simpler to get into the brain via . . your eye socket? Aiiggggghhhhhh! Actually, it was foregone that they'd come up with this . . after a previous short cut to the brain through the nose! Unhhhhhhh! [ed.: They're just playing with us, aren't they?] Science Daily

Watch Jane Watch Squirrels, for 2,000 Hours: We know (famously) that male Cape ground squirrels masturbate. Researcher Jane Waterman wanted more. Went to Namibia, put in 2,000 hours, concluded that they did not yank it for typical reasons (e.g., excessive horniness, or to push fresh sperm to front of the queue). After thinking long and hard, she hypothesizes that they do it mainly to clean the organ from potential STDs.

Backyard Etiquette: Two service workers in suburban St. Louis got a dressing down because they nonchalantly grabbed a roll of toilet paper and took a dump beside a shed in the back yard of the customer, who was aghast. Their supervisor apologized, but the dumpers' nonchalance was startling, i.e., is this normal for yard workers? (Bonus: Austin Purifoy, 19, got probation in Las Cruces, N.Mex., for using a car's interior as a crapper and then expressed shock when caught by the car's owner, i.e., you mean, he said, this is not Desiree's car?) (Double Bonus: Reporter Ashley Meeks apparently was not the least bit curious why it might be normal to poop in one's girlfriend's car.) KSDK-TV (St. Louis) /// Las Cruces Sun-News

Who Says California Isn't Governable? True, the pitiful legislature can't pass a budget, and soon, literally, the state'll be out of money (IOUs for salaries!), but the senators and Assembly members recently brought to vote: (1) naming a cusswords-free week, (2) voting a "Motorcycle Awareness Month," and (3) banning non-California cows from California promotional materials. One senator's big, big issue: For God's sake, we need to change the state rock (a "big" issue guaranteed to make absolutely no Californian's life better). Wall Street Journal

The Continued Attempt to Make British Society Perfect: The Equality Act, expanding the good and the righteous, now includes such things as rights for gypsies, atheists, and vegans, plus the right to sue a company any time you're offended while on company property, plus special fire-department attention to poor neighborhoods on account of their property's probably being less sturdy than rich people's property. (Bonus: The council in the London borough of Barnet has officially discouraged mother-in-law jokes and other expressions of disrespect for seniors and parents.) Daily Mail /// Daily Telegraph

And Still More Things To Worry About

Las Vegas Death Ray: The new, futuristic Vdara Hotel has an architectural problem--its south-facing windows reflect (and focus) the sun onto a 10-foot-by-15-foot moving zone across the pool deck around noon-ish, and the "ray" can singe the hair on your head! Las Vegas Review-Journal

Sidney, N.Y. (between Bimghamton and Oneonta) has been for years authorizing a Muslim cemetery to do business there, but in the wake of the "Ground Zero mosque," it has suddenly discovered that Muslims are buried in Sidney! No-o-o-o! Not in our town! Dig them up! Huffington Post

Problem: The contemporary British outdoor sport of dogging (i.e., public sex with strangers) annoys neighbors of a park area in Surrey County. One suggestion by the Surrey Council: Scare those horny rascals away by bringing in some bulls to graze. (Alas, the Sobering Truth, said one councillor: "It will probably make [the doggers] even more excited.") Daily Telegraph

(Recurring Theme) Gene Cranick's house burned down in Obion County, Tenn., as firefighters looked on, idly. They were on the scene only to prevent its spread to Cranick's neighbor's house. The neighbor had already paid the optional $75 firefighting tax, but Cranick had been too smart for that. WPSD-TV (Paducah, Ky.)

(Recurring Theme) Tex-Ass Justice: Stephen Brodie, a deaf man intimidated by police in Richardson, Tex., into confessing to a sexual assault in 1991, was freed, as it finally became clear to everyone (and not just reasonable people) that someone else had done the crime. Actually, Brodie had already served the time but had been re-arrested for refusing to register as a sex offender. [ed.: This is another win for Dallas DA Craig Watkins, who has run an assembly line correcting wrongful convictions but who faces voters in November, challenged by someone more inclined to let sleeping convictions lie.] Associated Press via Beaumont Enterprise


David Winkelman was picked up by police in Davenport, Iowa, on an extremely minor warrant, but then here's his mug shot. Winkelman got famous in 2000 for having his forehead tattooed with a promo for KORB-FM radio 93.5 to win the station's "$100,000-plus" payout prize. When he showed up to collect, the jocks informed him the whole thing was a joke. The Smoking Gun

Un-compelling Explanation: Raymond Roberts, 25, picked up in a traffic stop in Manatee County, Fla., had a baggie of marijuana stuck up his woo-hoo. He admitted to that, but the other baggie of rock cocaine up there--well, that's not his. Bradenton Herald

Things People Believe: There is a guy in Sydney who gave up (Aus)$50,000, along with his wife's honor (lie down naked for three men and have sex with them), because he believed it was the only way she could get rid of some curse the men said she had. Daily Telegraph (Sydney) via Courier Mail (Brisbane)

Here's how desperate Mugabe and his people are: They fell for Ms. Nomatter Tagarira's bamboozle in which she convinced them that she could produce a fountain of pre-refined diesel fuel by chanting into a boulder (actually: an assistant in the bushes was shooting out oil gushers). Her take from Mugabe: £1.7 million ($2.685 million), plus a farm, food, and a 50-vehicle convoy. Last week, she was sent to prison for three years. The Australian

The Pervo-American Community

Gregory Streater, 26, broke into his ex-mother-in-law's house wearing heels and pantyhose. Oh, him, said the woman. "That's why he's my ex-son-in-law." KOTV (Oklahoma City)

Glenn Armstrong, 48, tried to weasel out of evidence that he was taking photos of male toddlers' penises, including one brazenly in a rest room as a diaper was being changed. According to a certain shrink, anyway, Armstrong is not aroused by this but does it just for anatomical curiosity--a fascination with circumcision. (Sydney)

Thai Police Pounce on Prolific Panty Perv. (There is not much to this story except for the alliteration in the headline and a fabulous photo of a mound of panties.) Phuket Gazette

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

Tammie Sue Benson-Whitehead, 48, may be guilty of failing to register as a sex offender when moving to Oregon. Maybe she's innocent, though. The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Mary Pat Telstad, 43, maybe, possibly, tried to smother her husband with a pillow--after succeeding (according to him) in fatally smothering her mother. But perhaps the husband is lying. Your call. WTKR-TV (Hampton Roads, Va.)

Below The Fold

To be joined in holy matrimony later this month in Moorhead, Minn.: Ms. Tara Wang and Mr. Austin DeCock. Fargo Forum

Girl's Mother Located Nearby in National Forest. (She had left the 2-year-old alone in a truck while she went "hiking." Later on, she made a stinging self-assessment of her parenting: "I suck.") KMGH-TV (Denver)

Florida Man Drowns While Attempting Birthday Bet. (All he had to do was swim across a canal behind his house, but Alcohol Was Involved.) South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Teenage Girl Can Only Control Rare Brain Condition by Digesting Her Own Spinal Fluid. (Another Daily Mail medical marvel!) Daily Mail (London)

(Readers' Choice) Segway Chief Dies in Segway Crash. Associated Press via New York Times

Editor's Notes

Once again: Weird 2.0 Tuesday morning.

A list of the winners of Thursday's Ig Nobel awards (including three who were contemporary enough that they had actually made News of the Weird). Associated Press via Boston Globe

Want to be scared? Try Time magazine's investigation, The Secret World of Militias. Two real fears: (1) No matter how tough-sounding or radical these armed groups are, there are always a couple of guys in the back of the room who think the rest of the members are too soft. (2) Amid today's political paranoia, facts are a luxury. If you believe in your heart that Obama's coming to get ya, then you're sure that the time to start firing is right now! Time

Newsrangers: Leisa Zigman, Christopher Nalty, Rick Bari, Garry Swaffar, Bill Givens, Grant Barton, Peter Hine, Jeff Powell, Jeremy Hamilton, Ken Wilder, Tracy Hammond, Peter Swank, Roger Leduc, Tom Weitnauer, and Ellen Hicks, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors