Monday, November 29, 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
November 29, 2010
(datelines November 20-November 27) (links correct as of November 29)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Battling the Porno Goblin, Plus Corpse-Fishing, Rat-Blowing, and Snake-Launching

★ ★ ★ ★!

Scared Senseless: The primary-school principal in England who last year famously banned parents from taking photos during school events on the off-chance that kids' pictures would somehow wind up in online pornography has struck again. For a class yearbook for 4-year-olds, so petrified of pornography was she that parents received customized books with only their own kids' photos unaltered. The rest of the photos in the yearbook have black bars over the kids' eyes. (Bonus: Elsewhere in The Country Afraid of Everything, a contractor that runs public swimming pools has prohibited the use of water floats recreationally because one kid somehow choked on one.) Daily Mail /// Daily Telegraph

Entrepreneurship in China: BBC profiled Wei Xinpeng, 55, a boatman in a village near industrial Lanzhou, who collects bodies (the murdered, the suiciders, the accidental drowners) and offers them to grieving relatives. He charges a look-see fee for the distraught to check his inventory and has wound up selling about 40 of his 500 collected corpses (over seven years) for up to the equivalent of $500 each. BBC News

Something Else DARPA Wants to Know: You knew that snakes can fly--or at least one breed, and if not "fly" then certainly stay airborne way longer than you'd imagine. The cleverly-named "Asian flying snakes" propel themselves off of treetops, then do some major slithering through the air until they reach their destination treetop, which can be, easily, 700 feet away. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency thinks it can learn something. Washington Post

Surreality TV: Here's surveillance tape from Sword Furs in Westlake, Ohio, showing (allegedly) Nakita Norman, 44, shoplifting a whole fur coat . . by stuffing it down her generous-sized panties. (Actually, they say she had two of 'em way down in no-man's land.) WEWS-TV (Cleveland)

And Still More Things To Worry About

Sounds Looks Like a Joke: The crack law-enforcement establishment in Fort Bend County, Tex., seeking the Halloween-masked guy who fatally shot a 53-year-old man, earnestly issued this artist's rendition of the shooter. Houston Chronicle

Thanksgiving Anthropopathy: The homeless people of Austin, Tex., probably got special Thanksgiving meals--probably--but so did 2,700 homeless dogs and cats, courtesy of a local pet food company. (Bonus: The pets' meals were all-natural, with turkey, sweet potato pie, and cranberry treats.) KVUE-TV (Austin)

Elsewhere among the Texas homeless, the Salvation Army in Fort Worth launched a campaign to improve nutrition in meals for homeless humans, with recipes and demonstrations. (Bonus concession by SA case manager: "Obviously, when you are homeless, it is hard to cook since you don't have a kitchen.") Star-Telegram

"Held [it] up, lifted its tail, then blew a soft, warm breath on its hindquarters." New air-travelers' protocol from the Transportation Security Administration? Actually, just an animal rescue specialist trying to warm up one of the thousand rats that had been transported from a house shown on the "Hoarders" TV show. (Plus, you have to lift up the tail to see whether it's a boy or not because rats must be sex-segregated, y'know, like people in Saudi Arabia.) San Jose Mercury News

South Africa solidified its claim as the Rape Capital of the World with this study reporting that 37 percent of men in Johannesburg's province admit to raping. Only 25 percent of women said they'd been raped, but authorities have long estimated that fewer than 10 percent of attacks are reported. Associated Press via CBS News

"Value of a Chinese College Degree: $44" (per year over what migrant workers make). Thus, China, too, learns an ultimate truth: Everyone is not above average (or, in the American iteration, Everyone can't "get ahead.") Sooner or later, no matter how much learnin' you have, society will run out of jobs requiring learnin'. Wall Street Journal


Embarrassing: Burglarize a house, get into the basement, get stuck in a stairway, have to be rescued by the fire department. Youngstown (Ohio) Vindicator

More Embarrassing: As a thief tried to break open the donation box at St. Benno Church in Munich, Saint Antonius (obviously guarding the box) whacked him on the noggin, drawing blood and sending him off empty-handed. (Antonius, currently a statue, had somehow fallen over on top of the perp.) The Local (Berlin)

The Pervo-American Community

A writer discovered an Internet bulletin board for down-market exhibitionists, Seriously. It's not just for trumpeting your exploits. There are tips on how to avoid getting caught, plus defensive moralizing–plus misogyny running wild.

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

Most of these ladies look guilty of street prostitution (and of scaring religious fundamentalists, who fear the ladies' impact on heterosexuality). WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

Below The Fold

No Longer Weird: (1) It's Christmas-time, and here come the stories from Spain on statuettes of famous people taking dumps ("caganers"). (2) If you're not careful when robbing a store, you might pick up the wrong bag (here, pizza dough rather than pizza proceeds). (3) Is it a bug or a feature? Store sells electronic device with pre-loaded porn. (4) She's suing McD's because she fell off the toilet in the rest room. Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News /// Boston Globe /// WXYZ-TV (Detroit) /// Southeast Texas Record (Beaumont)

A new dimension to the "sinus headache": Next week surgeons finally take out that open safety pin that this South Carolina 6-year-old stuck up her nose (unopened) years ago. (Bonus: Her mom's most worried about the side effect called "brain drip," which WYFF-TV is uninterested in explaining.) WYFF-TV (Greenville)

Six Billion People on This Planet: In India and Japan and China, lots of 'em play competitive "kabaddi," which "involves teams joining hands, holding their breath, and raiding opponents, chanting 'kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi' as they do so." As a bonus, players live longer and healthier lives! Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Samaritan Nate Hill of Brooklyn, N.Y., trying to help his fellow citizens relieve stress, dresses as a well-padded, friendly panda and walks the streets, inviting anyone who needs to to punch him. A penny a punch. He gets hit about 100 times a day that he's working. Wall Street Journal

Fredrik Hjelmqvist, owner of an audio-equipment shop in Sweden, became undoubtedly the first person to ever play recorded music ("YMCA," "I Will Survive") from inside his stomach. He swallowed a tiny audio hookup, then, using a stethoscope, detected the Village People in his belly. [Sorry, we don't know why Fredrik thought this was a good idea.] The Local (Stockholm)

Newsrangers: Sandy Pearlman, Christopher Nalty, and D.L. Moore, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, November 22, 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
November 22, 2010
(datelines November 13-November 20) (links correct as of November 22)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

NOTE to blog and e-mail readers: Because of the holiday week in the U.S., i.e., November 26th being Black Friday/Materialist's Day, next Monday's Pro Edition will be downsized. Begin lowering your expectations.

Britain's National Health Service Jumps the Shark, Plus Shebbaberbebebshhhhhee and One Level-Headed Guy

★ ★ ★ ★!

British Health Care Once Again Imitates Monty Python: Doctors say they don't like to do this, but something is better than nothing, and a shortage of lungs for transplant means needy patients are being offered . . lungs from smokers. Seriously. Daily Mail

Iran's Emerging Tourist Bonanza: The Khalid Nabi cemetery near the border with Turkmenistan, accessible now only by dirt road, features an array of tombstones shaped either like, er, penises, or, more obtusely, breasts. Who was this Khalid guy? He was a Christian who heroically converted to Islam after his daughter dropped in on the Prophet Muhammad. [Beyond that, I can't comment without my property insurance rates going up.] Global Post

Putting the "Lame" in Lame Duck: The F State governor, Charlie Crist, whose term is up and who got Tea-Partied on his way to a U.S. Senate seat and thus now presides over an empty plate, plans to go out with a bang by pardoning the late front man of The Doors, Jim Morrison, who was busted for waving his weenie on a Miami stage in 1969. Crusader Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel points out that Crist has for years rejected demands to help seriously innocent people who were convicted based on an "expert" dog-handler who swore in court that his excitable dog could match defendants to crime scenes. (Two independently challenged in court and prevailed; several other cases languish.) Only when one judge finally demanded a courtroom test of the excitable dog was the ridiculousness exposed (but the previously convicted remain convicted). Orlando Sentinel /// News of the Weird M122 (8-9-2009)

The Arrangements Have Been Made (You Lost.) (continued): Louisiana has sold $5.9 billion in federally funded, Katrina-designated bonds since the 2005 hurricane. How much of the state's bond haul has gone to projects inside the city limits of N'awlins? 1% How much for the ground-zero/wiped-out Lower Ninth Ward? 0%. How much for the state's oil industry? 29%. Harper's Index (December 2010) [not free online] /// Newsweek (8-25-2010, by Ariella Cohen, the go-to writer on this issue)

Update--People Do Eventually Grow Up--even George Reiger, 56, who finally admitted that he's been a lonely loser all these years, forced to seek attention by tattooing every available inch of his body with Disney characters. He has evidently found true love and made arrangements to start the de-tatting process (to be paid for by the sale of his museum of Disney memorabilia). Philadelphia Inquirer

A Jubilee of Democracy: (1) Ukraine (where the feminist protesters are serious enough that tops quickly get dropped in public). (2) Italy (where Prime Minister Berlusconi doubled down again on his faltering morality by having a new penis installed on a historical statue in his office). (3) Argentina (where a female legislator, during a live broadcast of an Upper House meeting, slapped a male colleague right in the schnozz). (4) Switzerland (where a nativist political party, warning of the ugliness of immigrants, juxtaposed water-wading photos of young, naked hotties [i.e., us] with older, hijab-clad Muslim women [them]). (5) Denmark (where a similar nativist group theorizes that if an immigration-marketing film featured bare-breasted women sunbathing, fundamentalists would shun the country [ed.: but forgetting that one of the biggest horndogs of 2001 was Mohammad Atta]. (6) Spain (where a Young Socialist get-out-the-vote video featured a babe, umm, climaxing, as she cast her ballot. (1) Reuters via Yahoo News /// (2) Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News /// (3) Daily Telegraph (London) [nice video!] /// (4) [Warning: Not Safe For Work- -woo-hoo!] Daily Telegraph (London) /// (5) (Copenhagen) /// (6) BBC News [another nice video!]

And Still More Things To Worry About

Pete and Alisha Arnold swear it's not a hoax. They really are interested in their website's visitor vote on whether Alisha should abort her urchin before the December 10th date on which her doctor would become a criminal under Minnesota law. City Pages

How safe are we in this country if ya can get robbed while you're sitting on the commode? And by a guy wearing a clown mask? (Bonus: Based on the mugshot, he's better off with the mask.) WJW-TV (Akron, Ohio) via Los Angeles Times

You're on notice. This will get worse. TV's Science Guy Bill Nye collapsed on stage during a presentation, and concerned audience members rushed to his side merely snapped phone camera photos of a famous guy going down. New York Post

Fine Points of the Law: It looks like, if you're freed from wrongful conviction in Missouri because of DNA, you can apply for a handsome level of taxpayer compensation, but that if you're freed from wrongful conviction in Missouri because the prosecutor who nailed you was corrupt, you get bus fare. Reason

To keep the civil libertarians at bay, the government's body-scanner authorities have assured us that, while images may be hot and briefly invasive, they are immediately deleted--well, except these 35,000 images that the U.S. Marshals Service saved up. Gizmodo

Shebbaberbebebshhhhhee, OK? Evidently, this is a good word to remember if a demon attacks you in Trinidad and Tobago because the schoolgirls who recited it have recovered from their mass hysteria. The Guardian (Trinidad and Tobago)

Of course! (1) You break my car? I'll carve that tattoo of my name right out of your neck. (2) Police department expenses too high? Cut out the radio, and, from now on, text! The Smoking Gun /// Daily Mail (London)


Two momma's-boy lawyers filed small claims court lawsuits against the Seafood Peddler in San Rafael, Calif., because, well, they got squirted in the eye when they cut into their escargot. They wouldn't have sued, they said, if the restaurant had shown some remorse. It wasn't the meal, itself; that, they proceeded to finish promptly. "It was the indifference," said one. "It was the friggin' rudeness." Marin Independent Journal via Contra Costa Times

Add to the list of people who need to rethink their life of crime: Bonnie Usher, 43, charged with robbing a Rite-Aid pharmacy in Manchester, N.H., with her own vanity plate on the getaway car ("B-USHER"). And an unnamed guy who robbed a Duffin's Donuts in Vancouver, B.C., but stumbled on his way out of the store and fell on the knife. Associated Press via CBS News /// Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News

Undexterous: A man was hospitalized in Amherst, Mass., after attempting to scratch his nose with his BB gun and firing a shot up his nostril. Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton)

The Pervo-American Community

"Patients" complained that the Boise, Id., "doctor" who felt them up was not really Dr. Berlyn Aussieahshowna. No, she was actually Kristina Ross and not a doctor at all, and before 2004, she wasn't Kristina Ross--or even a female (Note: good makeover!) (Bonus: The victim-"patients" here submitted to the exams because "Dr. Aussieahshowna" talked them into it in a bar.) Idaho Statesman

Caught in his car, stopped at a red light, having a good old time with his pants open: the supervisor of sex-offender treatment at a LaGrange, Ky., prison. Herald-Leader (Lexington)

Caught with a humongous collection of 75,000 porn videos (including a few, unfortunately, of kids): Brainerd, Minn.,'s 2010 civic association Citizen of the Year. Associated Press via Marshall (Minn.) Independent

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

Ewwwww! Ewwwww! The unfortunate-looking Winford Guthrie, 74, was charged with an ewwwww! crime. Cincinnati Enquirer

Wait. Forget those ewwwww!'s. This is your ewwwww! item. Carlos Rodriguez was arrested in South Florida for burglary, dope possession, and soliciting a prostitute, and he looks pleasant enough, except . . .. Miami New Times

Below The Fold

Picture the teen girls' frenzy over that guy Justin Bieber or the snowboarder Shaun White or the teenage version of Andre Agassi. That's happening in China right now to Lin Dan, the country's foremost . . badminton player. Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Found: When fish that hang out along reefs need to power down yet remain protected against parasites latching onto them, they cover themselves with . . blankets of snot!

Thanks but no thanks, said one Idaho county treasurer to a local physician, who had suggested encouraging colonoscopies . . by sticking reminders in the annual mailings of tax notices. (Too much irony!) Associated Press via The Oregonian

At a design show in Brooklyn, N.Y., fur fashions made a comeback . . sort of. As long as it's the fur of the Louisiana pest-rat nutrias, they say, it's not politically incorrect. New York Times

The chief executive of Prince George's County, Md., which abuts the District of Calamity, was arrested week before last on pay-for-play corruption charges, supported by a wiretapped call to his wife to grab that $79,600 pile of cash at home (that supposedly came from a contractor) and stick it in her bra to hide it from the raiding FBI agents. The Washington Post is on the case and informs you: yes, yes, yes. You certainly could stuff 796 Benjamins in your bra if you were smart about using the straps. Washington Post

Newsrangers: James White, Larry Seltzer, Kevin Dean, Jacob Derksen, Charles Morgan, Joel Walz, Peter d'Errico, Kathryn Wood, Dave Shepardson, Thomas Wyman, and David Gardner, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, November 15, 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
November 15, 2010
(datelines November 6-November 13) (links correct as of November 15)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Woman's Best Friend, Plus Bunga-Bunga, Leg of Greyhound, and Dachshund Sausages

★ ★ ★ ★!

Dildonic Euphemisms: In this Illinois police report, it's known as a "rigid feminine pleasure device," but in Alabama, it's a "bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement" instrument (because if it's for "pleasure," it's illegal). And now, in Huntsville, Ala., you can buy it from the drive-thru window. The Smoking Gun [police report] /// Huntsville Times

"'Bunga-Bunga' Batters Berlusconi": [Nope, I don't know, either. He picked it up from Khaddafi. Something like an "orgy." Something to do with "Ruby The Heartbreaker." All I know is that a lot of Italians are embarrassed.] Newsweek

Don't Even Consider Seeing Someone Behind My Back!: (If she just thinks about doing it, even though she doesn't do it, he can legally have the marriage annulled.) Daily Telegraph (London)

Wrath of the Teaps: The wisdom of having a self-governing republic is being tested in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the Tea Party people are at war with the Fountain Hills Town Council over . . curbside trash pickup. The Teaps demand their own trash haulers--because, after all, any company with a ewwww! "government" contract could be monitoring your rubbish. Arizona Republic

Leading Economic Indicator: Jon "Neverdie" Jacobs, who has probably spent more hours in the Entropia Universe game than you've spent on any non-sleep activity, registered the sale of his make-believe resort on the make-believe asteroid Planet Calypso for $635,000 in make-believe dollars real U.S. dollars. He paid $100,000 for it in 2005. Apparently, word of our 2008 economy-collapse has yet to reach Planet Calypso.

Pick-Up Artist: Phillip Greaves, 47, flamed out after one hectic week with his e-book, The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child Lover's Code of Conduct," which shot up on Amazon from one sale to several thousand at $4.79 before Amazon yanked it down (after initially defending it as free speech). Surprisingly . . it turns out Greaves had some psychological issues growing up and as an adult--although he says the book is his contribution to child safety, in that he wants pedos to start acting responsibly when their libido overruns their governors. Greaves: "[T]he best advice I can give a pedophile is accept that masturbation is your best friend." The Smoking Gun

Wrong Bowen Slapped: "[W]hite bitch" teacher slapped a black fourth-grade boy, and Momma went nuts, litigiously speaking, demanding nearly forty pages' worth of precise reparations, plus $1.25 million cash. [Excuse me, Ms. Bowen, but could it be that you might be taking this a little too far?] "Kiss my entire black ass!!!!!! I haven't begun to go far enough!!!!!!!!" [OK, yes, ma'm, thank you.] (Bonus: The names "Curtis Bowen" [kid] and "Lisa Henry Bowen" [Momma] are Copyright 2010.) Pitch Weekly (Kansas City)

And Still More Things To Worry About

A Vietnamese biologist thought he discovered a previously-unknown species of lizard . . on a buffet table in Vung Tau province and notified American colleagues in California, one of whom began tingling so rapidly that he grabbed his doctoral-candidate son, flew to Hanoi, and then took a two-day motorcycle ride to Vung Tau. This is how reptile biologists are. (Bonus: A University of Derby scientist bestowed upon the "tuberous bushcricket" the award for largest testicles relative to body weight of anything alive. [To compete, Yr Editor'd be lugging a pair of 11-pounders.]) CNN /// Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Here's an Illinois Prisoner Review Board member who showed up for a half-day orientation and promptly went on sick leave, where he's been for the last 17 months, ensconced in his health insurance. "So what's the [big] deal?" he asked. "These bills and stuff are just astronomical." Chicago Tribune

"Do Not Drink Water from Toilets or Urinals": (There's no trust at all out there in Chandler, Ariz., because that sign is in the restrooms at City Hall.) (Bonus: There's a valid explanation.) Arizona Republic

Tex-Ass Justice (another one): Claude Jones is no longer with us, thanks to the lethal-injection facilities in Huntsville, but it turns out that the crucial, key, slam-dunk piece of evidence tying him (as opposed to his partner) to the murder--an inch-long piece of "his" hair--was misassessed by one of those Texas trial "experts." Jones could still have been the killer (and was a loathesome scuzz even if his partner was the one who killed that particular guy), but when the prosecutor demands the death penalty based on an inch-long strand of hair, and then spends the rest of his life trying to destroy that strand so DNA testing could never be done, well, that's Tex-ass Justice. (Bonus: It was the victim's own hair.) Time

Whew! Alabama's not just for drive-thru dildo shops. It's also OK with state law if teachers paddle students--for poor academic performance. WHNT-TV (Huntsville)

"Dog Meat Now Promoted at UK Farmers Markets" It's "organic" "free-range," "corn-fed," but still, at the end of the day, the dogs go to slaughterhouses, where they're slaughtered. Among the catchy marketing slogans: Labrador steaks, leg of Greyhound, Afghan burgers, Dachshund sausages, Beagle chops, Chihuahua poppers. [Oct. 28]

The 52-year-old financial manager who plowed into a bike-riding physician in Eagle, Colo., in July, and drove off, was initially charged with a felony--but, then, do you realize how career-gutting a "felony" would be when he has to disclosure it to his super-wealthy clients? So, now hit-and-run is a misdemeanor. Vail Daily


He murdered a man (allegedly) and fled the city (New York), but he couldn't stay away from the NBA (Charlotte Bobcats) or the arena's JumboTron big screen. He was ID'd off the screen during the first game, and cops were waiting for him when he showed up again. New York Daily News

New Jersey, grappling with guilt feelings: In a leniency-in-exchange-for-giving-up program in Somerset County, N.J., more than 3,000 fugitives surrendered--along with 550 or so who thought they were wanted but who weren't. Awkward. (Super Awkward: A hospital pharmacy manager was summoned to a security-system meeting and figured they had caught him setting up that camera in the ladies' room. So he confessed . . just as they were about to describe something unrelated, which was the purpose of the meeting.) Star-Ledger (Newark) [Nov. 8] /// Star-Ledger [Nov. 11]

He tried to buy two brand-new Bentleys using a check from the "Federal Reserve" for "$500,000." The Fed doesn't work in checks. (Bonus: To make it look good, he had brought his own notary public to the Bentley showroom.) Houston Chronicle

Francisco Hernandez, 22, was picked up, distraught, in Whittier, Calif., after making an elaborate marriage proposal, getting rejected, and then trying to run down the ungrateful little wench. (Bonus: Then two of his tires went flat.) Los Angeles Times

The Pervo-American Community

Noah Smith, 31, Seneca, S.C., going nuts on the cops (maybe high on magic-grade mushrooms), was naked, Taser-proof, pepper-spray-proof . . and with a "mouse" lodged in his you-know-where, with its "tail" hanging out (but cops explained only later that . . it was a computer mouse). WCSC-TV (Charleston) /// The Smoking Gun

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

Mark Siebenmorgen, 46, charged with criminal mischief, assault, menacing. [For textbook illustration of what "criminal mischief" and "menacing" mean, see mugshot.] KPTV (Portland, Ore.)

John Patrick Barton, Denton, Tex., repeat drunk driver? [Spoiler Alert: guilty, life in prison] Associated Press via KTXA-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Below The Fold

No Longer Weird?: Remote Surgery (UK doctors removed a tumor the size of a penny from a brain by running tiny pliers through the patient's nose). And Theodore Davenport Jr. robbed the same PNC Bank in Harrisburg, Pa., twice, then returned to check his balance. And another cigarette-smoking chimp ("Omega," in the Lebanon Zoo). And another jurisdiction with faulty blood-alcohol machines (or else it's another guy who ought to be dead, since he scored .546 and .586). And Road Rage again (bringing yogurt to a gunfight). The Sun /// Patriot-News (Harrisburg) /// Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon) [Oct. 15] /// WEHT-TV (Evansville, Ind.) /// WRC-TV (Washington, D.C.)

John Gilliand in Gainesville, Fla., filed for restraining orders against the three people who evidently annoy him the most--President Obama, Jesus Christ, and quarterback Tim Tebow. Orlando Sentinel

Redneck Chronicles: Harvey Westmoreland, Lawrenceburg, Ky., , in a dispute with two men over the righteousness of his sale price for his truck, lost. Result, said Harvey: "[T]hey cut my beard and forced me to eat it." WLWT-TV (Cincinnati)

Another Medical Marvel: [Where does the Daily Mail find these? It's Pulitzer-quality journalism!] Sharon Wilson of Doncaster, Yorkshire, has Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome, and it's ugly (up to 140 times a day). "[A]fter eight years of constant tests and brain scans, she was finally diagnosed with CVS." [Eight? Perhaps Britain's best doctors are not in Doncaster.] Daily Mail

News That Sounds Like a Joke: "10-Year Hurricane Forecasts Are On The Way" So reported New Scientist. [I don't mean no harm, but we residents of the F State know that it's about 50-50 that meteorologists can do a 10-week forecast right.] New Scientist

Editor's Notes

"10 Unusual Fetishes With Massive Online Followings": Now you have fancy names for armpit-odor lovers, for those who love mannequins more than people, for biters and the bitten, and seven more. "Massive" must be a filter, with the rhinotillexomaniacs and the apotemnophiliacs laying low these days. Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Newsrangers: Steve Harrell, Bob Stewart, Neil Gimon, Kathryn Wood, Brian Sleeper, Sandy Pearlman, Eddie Earles, and Barry Rein, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, November 08, 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
November 8, 2010
(datelines October 30-November 6) (links correct as of November 8)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Return of Ohio's No. 1 Problem, Plus Dainty Elephants and the World's Ugliest Woman

★ ★ ★ ★!

"Golden" Oldie: Alan Patton, 59, the Dublin, Ohio, guy with a thing for young boys' urine, was arrested again. What he does is put Saran Wrap at the bottom of urinals so that he can go collect the puddle after a boy tinkles. He had to do 60 days last time they caught him, and this time he'll have to answer to the since-enacted Alan Patton Law [I just made up the name, but it was indeed aimed specifically at him.]. Columbus Dispatch

One Day, Vengeance Will Be Theirs: That Safari World park near Bangkok (the one that has featured orangutans in trunks kickboxing) has outdone itself: elephants tightrope-walking. (Bonus: They're pretty good at it--plus, because of encroaching rural development, the job market for elephants is in severe decline, and they're actually lucky to get any gig.) Daily Mail (London)

Thank God We Kicked British Butt at Yorktown: Otherwise, we'd have to put up with wimpiness like this. Ya see, because somebody complained, British officials decided last week that Army cadets (ages 12-18) can't show their precision rifle-drill skills on Remembrance Day because it's unseemly for kids to be seen in public handling guns. Daily Mail

Talk About Your "Crime Against Nature": In a motel in Jackson County, W.Va., Melissa Williams was arrested for brandishing a knife at her ex- and another man in her room after they balked at performing, umm, orally on her. The police report stated that one of the men "became overwhelmed by the horrible vaginal odor emitting from" poor Melissa. /// [excerpt of police report]

Banks Get Serious About Their Foreclosure Errors: scoured the help-wanted ads to check the hiring of people to work on correcting the foreclosure paperwork. For almost all: It's a high-school grad/GED position--except for the one that offered $10-$12 an hour for "Foreclosure Department Supervisor." ProPublica

Have You Done the New TSA Airport Rule on Belts? You must remove yours. Everyone. No exceptions. [Why?] Because belts may interfere with the full-body scan machine. [What if our airport doesn't even have scan machines?] What part of "no exceptions" is giving you trouble? Salon

And Still More Things To Worry About

Dodge Truck Sales Booming in Manteca, Calif.! Unfortunately, that's in part because the Cabral Chrysler dealership is glad to sell this guy a truck even though he was a dementia patient wearing pajamas and slippers and in a wheelchair. (He signed the papers, took the keys, hopped in, led police on a high-speed chase, and dropped dead shortly after.) KXTV (Sacramento)

Treatments for Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Lucentis ($2,000 an injection) or the equally effective Avastin (off-label: $50). Problems: (a) Lucentis thus costs Medicare (i.e., you) a bargeload of money. (b) Both drugs are made by the same company. (c) That company, somehow, for some odd reason, prefers that patients use Lucentis and therefore offers a "promotion program" (i.e., bribes) for doctors to prescribe it. (Bonus: The bribes are legal.) New York Times

A literal "armed robbery" in Cleveland: Three shoplifters were confronted by a store employee, but one of the perps rolled up her sleeve and thrust her arm toward the man, pointing out that he should stand back because she is infected with the bad-news MRSA bacteria. The three fled. News-Herald (Willoughby, Ohio)

Scotland's Western Isles Council, looking to economize a bit on helping an autistic, special-ed, 18-year-old, built him a "safe outdoor play area." (It's a cage.) (It could be a dog run if you had a very small dog and didn't much like him.) STV (Aberdeen, Scotland)

According to her, she was in the OR only for removal of a small piece of skin on her vulva, but just as she was going under, the doctor whispered in her ear that he was gonna take out her clit, too. Then, lights out. She's been stewing ever since but finally came up with the gonads ovaries to file charges. The doctor said he saved her life, leading to a play on the old one-liner ("Yeah, but if you don't have a clitoris . . ..") Australian Associated Press via The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

Somewhat Extreme: The debt collection agency Unicredit got smacked down (civil lawsuit by the Pennsylvania Attorney General) for setting up an elaborate fake courtroom, with fake judge and fake sheriff's deputies, to intimidate debtors. Associated Press via Bloomberg Business Week


Michael Price, 40, has left the building, after a very, very unsuccessful home invasion in Tacoma, Wash., during which the resident, and Michael and his accomplice, had a gunfight, with Michael losing. (Bonus: killed in crossfire by his partner). Seattle Times

Recurring Theme: The bank robbery went OK until the robber's getaway waddle was foiled by too-saggy pants, delaying him just enough that the dye pack exploded while he was still in the bank. He dropped the money and fled. Columbus Dispatch

Karen Remsing was arrested in the Pittsburgh, Pa., hospital room of her terminally ill child, where she had just tapped into his IV line to get some of his pain meds. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

More Redneck Chronicles: In South Brunswick, N.J., a toddler's caregiver, who is, for heaven's sake, 38 years old, was caught on surveillance camera just climbing up and urinating in the kitchen sink . . three times. Star-Ledger (Newark)


Recurring Theme: What is it with Washington state bestio-pervs? This guy's main squeeze was a goat. (Bonus: He's an avid FarmVille player--though crop-farming, not livestock.) Seattle Weekly

Inadequate pharmacological warning: "Do not consume alcohol when taking this medication." Better: "If you consume alcohol with these drugs, you might uncontrollably unzip and whack off in public and have utterly no recollection of it later." Awkward. Irish Examiner (Dublin)

The well-known perv (e.g., named his favorite yacht Tits), Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei (the Sultan's bro'), is so rich that his sexual proclivities never reach courtrooms, but . . that was before he stiffed his own lawyer. The lawyer wants Jefri's four life-sized, personally commissioned statues on his New York estate to be considered as part of his wealth available to pay the lawyer's bill. The statues are of Jefri, his main squeeze, and the two of them having sex. New York Post

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

District Attorney Myrl Serra denied the charges, but it's not his call; it's yours. Guilty of pressuring his subordinates for (manual) sex? Denver Post

Juan Reyes-Santiago, 39, either a camera-wielding restroom perv or a father genuinely concerned about who was stealing his musician-son's drumsticks. WKMG-TV (Orlando)

Joseph DiVanna, 47, arrested in Ocean City, Md., on trick-or-treat night cussing loudly at kids while wearing a baby diaper (but he may have been unjustly persecuted). Sarasota Herald Tribune /// The Weekly Vice

They say Robert Gray might be guilty of probation violation and failure to register as a sex offender, but don't be judging him just because he thinks he's a vampire, sleeps in a coffin, drives a hearse, and has dental-implant fangs. KSAZ-TV (Phoenix) [video]

Below The Fold

An arts dispute arose in Salisbury, N.C., between an antique dealer who was making a point by clothing a statue in underwear, and the local arts council head, who said she was grossed out by that and who thus snatched the drawers. (Bonus: She said she went to the dealer's home to discuss the matter first but then was "attacked" by his chickens.) Salisbury Post

Recurring Theme: And how, exactly, do you swallow (whole) a pair of scissors? (Bonus story: A guy in China swallowed a chopstick 28 years ago, and they're just now getting the last vestiges out of him.) BBC News /// Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

What would the 71-year-old woman in British Columbia want with an industrial incinerator? The seller asked; she answered (specifically, to burn up her husband). She's now on trial. Vancouver Sun

In Cumbria, England, Anne Woods, 63, won the World "Gurnng" Championship for the 27th consecutive year, further entrenching her (when she wants to be) as the planet's ugliest woman. ("Gurning" appears to be a British term for contorting your face.) Daily Telegraph

Editor's Notes

Update: NOTW/Pro reported [6-21-2010] that Ozzy Osbourne had commissioned a complete full genome workup, both because he can afford it and because he's now a "health" columnist for London's Sunday Times. Turns out there's less than meets the eye. What really needs to happen is to compare it to the workup of a person of Ozzy's demographic except for the lifetime of substance abuses. Then, we could see which of Ozzy's genes are responsible for his world-class indestructability. Scientific American

A Real Editor's Note/Reminder: Last week, I had a couple of errors in the original post (corrected same day), but because I'm lazy much too busy, I correct them only online on the blog and the blog; I do not mail the corrections to the Google Groups list of those who receive the post by e-mail. I regret the laziness frenzy of my workday.

Newsrangers: Steve Ringley, Christopher Nalty, Alan Magid, Graham Rankin, and Brad Gray, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, November 01, 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
November 1, 2010
(datelines October 23-October 30) (links correct as of November 1)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

The Joy of Fluff-Plucking, Plus Toddler Robs Cradle and The Punishment ['s]Not Fair

★ ★ ★ ★!

The Frightening Life of the Introvert: We only know about Graham Barker that he's 45 and a librarian in Perth, Australia, . . and that since age 19 he's been collecting navel lint . . displaying it in labeled jars . . and that Graham for some reason does not mind your knowing all this. [The word "recoil" comes to mind, no?] Daily Mail (London)

Mmmmm!: A "cocktail consultancy" in Toronto has produced a cheeseburger rum drink (with recipe). (Bonus: There are also PB&J, BLT, and duck sandwich cocktails.) New York Daily News

People of a Certain Age: Well, anyway, people of Yr Editor's age . . will be dreamily transported back to the late 1960s on learning that, among the probable candidates for mayor of Chicago next year, will be the one and only Ms. Cynthia Plaster Caster, the famous caster of the great Jimi Hendrix's motherboard. WBBM-TV

Americans, Desperate for Cash: An 87-year-old woman was run down on a New York City sidewalk by a 4-year-old on a training-wheeled bicycle, and she died soon afterward. Two years later, a judge has ruled that, yes, the woman's estate can sue the little brat (along with her casually-supervising mother). (Bonus Adolescent Headline: In Syria, a 5-year-old boy is said to have proposed, nuptially, to a 3-year-old girl. Double Bonus: Her parents say she "consent[ed].") New York Times /// Gulf News (Dubai)

OK, But Why? Mukesh Ambani's brand-new, 27-story, $1 billion home for his family of five is right down the road from a wretched, million-resident Mumbai slum, but Ambani seems mainly preoccupied with whether he's doing better than his brother. (Bonus: At least the brothers worked hard for their money. They were industrious enough to arrange, even before their conception, to have their personal chromosomes carried by the filthy-rich textile-exporter Dhirubhai Ambani instead of by some dalit caste loser.) New York Times

Underregarded Japanese Creativity: A 59-year-old teacher at Ogi Elementary School in Iruma, Japan, is in trouble, it says here, for his completely random method for parceling out "punishment" to pupils. When discipline is needed, he rolls his homemade dice, whose sides are hand-marked with such outcomes as "kiss," "hug," "forgiven," and "snot." (Yep, sometimes kids need to feel a good hock.)

And Still More Things To Worry About

A former McDonald's manager in Brazil who gained 65 pounds on the job sued the company, claiming that the quality control ethic made him obsessive about sampling the products [except, y'know, the salads]. He won. Associated Press via Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News

Life Imitates About 50 Sci-Fi Movies: A "never-before-detected strain of virus" that wiped out part of a monkey colony has "jumped" ("cross-species transmission") to a human scientist studying it, so said a University of California, San Francisco researcher. USA Today

At least Trevor Case stays on top of the news. He was arrested in Lincoln, Neb., for domestic abuse on a girlfriend he suspected of infidelity. Police say he waterboarded her. Associated Press via Omaha World-Herald

In a first for Japan, a layman judge in Tokyo authorized the death penalty. (Bonus: The murder victim worked at an ear-cleaning salon.) Mainichi Daily News

District of Calamity: Investigators using GPS records have pretty much concluded that an ambulance crew that was supposed to be first responder to the worst mass shooting in Washington, D.C., history on March 30 just basically hid out so that other crews would do the dirty work. Officials are still trying to determine if any of the four dead people could have been saved by a timely arrival. WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.)

Things People Believe: (1) In Versailles, France, 11 people in an apartment house spotted a naked man with a crying baby and, naturally, jumped out a window--because a man like that is obviously the devil. (Fortunately, it was only a second-story window.) (2) In Lakewood, Wash., three cosmetic "surgeons" were arrested after, in effect, proving that there are still people out there who feel safe receiving cosmetic "surgery" in their own living rooms, performed by itinerants. Agence France-Presse via (Sydney) /// Seattle Post-Intelligencer


Mugger Rufus Bowman, 16, looking for a street victim (specialty: transsexuals transvestites) in Cincinnati, picked poorly. Joshua Bumpus is indeed a tranny TV prostitute, but, said the prosecutor, later: "[Bumpus] beat the [probably "shit," possibly "crap"] out of him." Cincinnati Enquirer [mug shot]

Recurring Theme: Timothy West was arrested for raping the woman whose house he allegedly broke into. She said he hung around talking, then raped her again, then resumed chatting. He finally left, but then the text messages kept coming. When she didn't answer, he texted, "Mad at me?" (She and the cops finally arranged a meeting with him.) (Bonus: West's compassion did not extend to telling his lawyer to go easy on her on cross-examination.) New York Daily News

Redneck Chronicles: (1) In a Tampa Bay community, two men sitting on a porch, dressed as beer bottles, were drawn into conversation by two passersby, who of course beat them up. (That's a Law of Nature.) (2) Five jailers in Gregg County, Tex., were fired . . for intramural Taser fighting. Bay News 9 /// KLTV (Tyler)

He brought a jar of salad dressing to a gunfight. (Bonus: He's a college student.) Orlando Sentinel

The Pervo-American Community

Timothy Clark's ingenious defense to the charge of indecent exposure: The complaining witnesses really didn't know what they saw because my junk is too small. Toowoomba Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

The super-prolific Mr. William Wright, 54, has been busy. Police in St. Petersburg, Fla., caught him shooting upskirt pictures and confiscated his "portraits" of 2,300 women. St. Petersburg Times

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

If Ronald McCawley, 71, is guilty, shame, shame on him. As the story goes, an elderly neighbor tried to help Ronald after a fire in their building, but when she took him in, he turned all pervert on her. (Bonus: Ronald's street name: "Rooster.") WDRB-TV (Louisville, Ky.)

Erin Denny, 52, was charged with beating up her 2-year-old son a 2-year-old kid she was babysitting whom she was chasing playfully until she hurt her hip and wrist during the chase and, blaming that on the kid, retaliated. Herald News (Joliet, Ill.)

Dog groomers are used to be scratched and bitten on the job, but not by the dog's owner. Kathleen Minneker was arrested. WBBH-TV (Fort Myers, Fla.)

Below The Fold

No Longer Weird: Another public semen-splasher. Another robber prematurely de-masking (like, right in front of the surveillance camera). Another episode of "Deer 1, Hunter 0" (a fatal fall from his tree stand). Another electricity-disrespecting copper-wire thief. Another fire truck catches on fire in the station. WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.) /// Daily Mail (London) /// WBAL-TV (Baltimore) /// CNN /// Minneapolis Star Tribune

Our Animal Overlords Emerge: (1) Dolphins "walking" on water. (2) A blind dog that doesn't fully appreciate his disability. (3) Damn, another one. Daily Telegraph (London) /// SWNS (London) /// Daily Mail (London)

Renaissance: Ontario officers charged a 24-year-old driver with carelessly wandering all over the highway in his Pontiac G5 at night, with the interior light on and a book propped on the steering wheel. Agence France-Presse via Google News

A Tampa Bay-area nudist camp is about to kick out one of its full-time residents. Its version: He doesn't get naked enough. His version: I'm disabled, and they only want "beautiful people." [Pasco County, just north of Tampa, is the nudist-camp capital of the world, with such a variety of camps that they can be described on a number of axes, such as the Redneck Axis (on which this particular facility tacks far right).] St. Petersburg Times

Editor's Notes

Actor Randy Quaid and his lovely wife Evi have allegedly gone nuts and are in Canada, asking for asylum from those unnamed Hollywood people who have put hits on them. asks and answers, Can one spouse with psychosis drive the other one to it? (Answer: Of course. A no-brainer. Jim Jones, of the 1978 Guyana Kool-Aid self-massacre, did it to 900 people.) Slate

It's dawning on many people these days that their student loans were not good investments, especially when they realize the law cuts them no real slack on repayment. Paul Hupp didn't like it a bit and filed this petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit back in June. This is what you call burning your bridges. Language NSFW™ Kevin Underhill blog [link from]

Newsrangers: Sandy Pearlman, Rob Snyder, Carl Hayden, Marty Braun, Roy Henock, and Ivan Katz, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors