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) Politiken.com (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)

Losers

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! Wired.com

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