Monday, October 18, 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 18, 2010
(datelines October 9-October 16) (links correct as of October 18)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Greek Health Care Reform, Plus Island of the Dolls and Stir-Fried Tarantula

★ ★ ★ ★!

Death Amputation Panels: Greece's largest government health insurance provider has crossed the Rubicon. Even though we can't afford to treat your diabetic foot anymore, we will pay to chop it off, OK? To Vima (Athens) via

(Update) They Call This Event a "Festival": It comes every year in Thailand, and variations happen annually elsewhere, but it's in NOTW again because we need to be reminded periodically . . that there are 6,300,000,000 people on this planet and that 6,299,999,998 , i.e., everybody except you and me, are fercockta. These happen to be people who aren't happy unless they turn themselves into kabobs. Metro (London)

Key to Everlasting Life: Thanks to New York City artist Sally Davies, we know that we can improve our chances at immortality . . by eating more Big Macs and fries. Sally photographs her April 2010 Happy Meal, which sits on a shelf, every day and tells us that so far, it hasn't even begun to decompose. Daily Mail (London) /// [Sept. 2010]

Organ of Steel: So, little girl, were there any identifying marks on David Parkhurst's body that would tend to corroborate your story that he's been molesting you? (Little girl: Just that "Superman-shaped shield" implant on his penis) WKMG-TV (Orlando)

U-S-A! U-S-A! According to a science journal article, our electrical grid is not particularly susceptible to terrorist attack. However, that's just because it's so poorly organized. Thank God we don't spend all that much money on infrastructure! Science Daily [link from]

People Different From Us: A Wall Street Journal-Nielsen Co. examination of cell phone bills reveals that the average (median) teenager sends/receives 3,339 text messages a month, i.e., half of teenagers do more than that. Christian Science Monitor

Is There Anything Urine Can't Do? Scientists at the University of Leicester believe prehistoric animals' tinkle teaches a lot about climate change. (The interesting thing is how they learned this. The lead researcher happens to be a rock-climber, so he found places in super-dry Namibia and Botswana where prehistoric "rock hyrax" roamed. Then he had to trust that the rocks contained urine deposits worth studying, and then he had to cut them open one by one with an angle grinder. This is all up a ways from Bill Nye the Science Guy.)

And Still More Things To Worry About

Swiss artist Gianni Motti is now showing (at a Zurich gallery) a bar of soap that he says was made with liposuctioned fat from Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi. (Bern)

At the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, N.Z., pregnant women are being urged to stay away from a Maori Indian exhibit, lest their babies-to-be become cursed by the spirits exuded by tribal artifacts. (Bonus: Somehow, the warning also applies if you're menstruating.) Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Procuring a bride by kidnaping (made famous by Borat's pursuit of Pamela Anderson) is an even worse problem in Kyrgyzstan than Kazakhstan--accounting for about a third of all betrothals--but some women are down with it because it makes them feel, y'know, special. Global Post

Icons of U.S. Business, Fallen on Hard Times: The daily newspaper . . Detroit automakers . . the Los Angeles porn economy (due to one actor's positive HIV test). (Somebody's in trouble with OSHA!) Los Angeles Times

In a questionable fundraising event for the charity "Brain Injury New Zealand," they're staging a "Zombie Walk" in the town of Rotorua. (Y'know, br-ai-ai-ai-ains! But some brain-damaged people just have no sense of humor.) Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Nashville high school algebra teacher Donald Woods apparently had a total meltdown in class on October 8th. One minute, normal. Next: "I have the absolute power!" "Do you know who started the fire?!" Then, chair through the window, followed by students inching toward the exits. WTVF-TV (Nashville)

As the rescue finale approached in Chile, Evangelical, Adventist, and Catholic clerics scrambled to take credit. Each said that God had told him personally that his sect was The Way (though not so much The Way for the initial drill pokes that missed the holding area and delayed the rescue--that must have been some other god). The Guardian (London)


Not Ready for Prime Time: He did the convenience store robbery all right, but his "disguise" (a clear plastic bag) caused him "airflow" problems, forcing him to yank the bag off in haste right in front of the surveillance camera. Arizona Republic

Didn't Get the Job: Applied to the Washington State Patrol. Arrived for the interview and polygraph. Out in the parking lot, a trooper had noticed a visitor's car with a book in the front seat, How To Beat a Lie Detector Test. Associated Press via Yahoo News

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

How would you like it if you came back from lunch to find Curtis Halberstadt, 57 (and a total stranger) sitting at your desk and surfing Internet porn? The Oklahoman

Hard to say who has the stroke among this power couple (Keyes Pierce, 28, and mother Lisa Pierce, 52), but they had a bunch of child porn on their computer. WAPT-TV (Jackson, Miss.)

Below The Fold

No Longer Weird: Man Bites Dog (in West Haven, Conn., perp high on drugs chomped on a police dog). Gets Driver's License, Accidentally Crashes into DMV (Collier, Pa.). Chick in Anger-Management Class Angrily Stabs Fellow Classmate (Bellevue, Wash.). Walks Out of Prison, Robs First Bank He Sees (New York City) (Bonus: It wasn't even a real bank.) WTNH-TV (New Haven) /// Pittsburgh Tribune-Review /// Seattle Times /// New York Post

Wheeeee! A sewer worker on the job in Raymore, Mo., accidentally fell in and was swept through the 24-inch pipe for more than a mile . . but is OK. Kansas City Star

The World's Tastiest Dishes–oops, read that wrong, that's an "N," not a "T": Photographer Neil Setchfield's world tour of grossness, including spleens, cod sperm, raw duck blood soup, Korean penis fish, sea urchin (ovaries). Said Setchfield, "I'm Welsh, so we'll eat anything." Indeed. AOL News

America's least gay-friendly rabbi, Yahuda Levin, who had inspired New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino's anti-gay rants, was grossed out when Paladino backtracked last week. Levin told reporters that he was eating a sandwich when the news came over the TV. "I almost choked on the salami." New York Times

The 3-year-old Chinese baby is maybe toilet-trained but not yet dinner-table-trained, i.e., 150 lbs., and now they won't allow him around dinner plates or anything else breakable. Daily Mail (London)

Chilean miner Yonni Barrios resolved his dilemma as he was ready to be hauled to the surface: His wife of 28 years and his mistress of five were originally waiting for him, but he made clear that the mistress would get the VIP seat (except that, umm, they're both basically 2's or 1's, no matter how delicious their arroz con pollo). (Bonus Breaking News: Yonni also has a younger side squeeze, but Mistress Susana supposedly has barred her from ringside.) Daily Mail (London) /// New York Daily News

Embarrassing: Gregory Liascos was arrested for burglary of a museum devoted to rocks and minerals . . while dressed in full ghillie suit camouflage (twigs, leaves, brush). The Smoking Gun

Mexico's creepiest tourist destination must be the Island of the Dolls (in canals south of Mexico City), whose only inhabitant, Don Julian Santana, might have believed the place was haunted by a dead girl and so has strung up dolls on trees everywhere–dolls now just moldy and unsettling. [link from]

And finally, if you missed it, the now-world-famous Amanda Hess Correction, covering an entry on the hyperlocal Washington, D.C., area news site

Newsrangers: Colin Baker, Eric Jay Toll, Christopher Nalty, Brian Rogers, and Mark Montague, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors