Monday, October 25, 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 25, 2010
(datelines October 16-October 23) (links correct as of October 25)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Go Forth and Profit-Maximize, Plus Brain-Dead Art and Booby-Trap Boo-boo

★ ★ ★ ★!

Prosperity Ministry: Shareholder James Solakian sued the board of directors of Bible.com, calling the URL a "goldmine" that is being underexploited, profit-wise--perhaps dragged down by that pesky business plan requiring it to be governed in accordance with Christian principles. Reuters via Yahoo News

He Manned Up: The pension benefits case for Alan Finch, 43, has been further tied up, in an Australian court. He says he's no longer employable because of a bad judgment in 1988, to wit, going under the knife to become a woman. That surgery was a bitch, but it was the 1996 do-over, back to "Alan," that he now says ruined his work ethic. Sydney Morning Herald

Fine Points of UAE Law: The chief justice of the highest court in United Arab Emirates dithered over the domestic-abuse case before reaching a statesmanlike compromise: True, in Sharia the husband has the "duty" to "discipline" his wife, even by force, but from now on, no beating that leaves bruises or other physical marks. TheNational.ae

Fine Points of Nebraska Law: Sheriff candidate Donnie Brennan, 57, is in lockup in Cass County, charged with voting where he doesn't legally live and for not disclosing his residence on his candidate filing form. (Actually, he is a legal Cass County resident, but his brand-new wife unfortunately had him listed as co-owner of her old residence in Iowa.) According to this report, Brennan's "crimes" could earn him, umm, 30 years in prison. KPTM-TV (Omaha)

Poor-Taste Art: In Tel Aviv, sculptor Noam Braslavsky debuted his life-size model of Israeli mega-hero Ariel Sharon addressing troops as a decorated army general conducting hard-line negotiations with Yassir Arafat lying comatose in his hospital bed, where he's been for nearly five years. Independent Television News (London)

And Still More Things To Worry About

Jason Carlsen, 25 and a paraplegic, filed a lawsuit in Redding, Calif., against the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and two of its members because, two years ago when Jason fell off a 200-foot cliff, and only the two ministry students were able to reach him, they proceeded to pray over him "for hours" before calling for help. (Bethel teaches its students to embrace their power.) Redding Record Searchlight

Bad: New York City's Middle School for Art and Philosophy doesn't issue textbooks for pupils. Worse: Principal Andrew Buck agrees with the policy. Worst: He sends out a ridiculous, 50-error explanatory e-mail to parents. New York Daily News

Things are so bad south of the border that at the 15th International Clown Convention in Mexico City, when the 700 attendees set out to break the world record for number of them laughing continuously, they could giggle for only 15 minutes, falling five minutes short. WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.)

Who's that driver motoring down the San Gabriel, Calif., street at 25 mph, dragging that woman along, half-in the window, legs dangling out? Oh, never mind. It's just the mayor. Los Angeles Times

Minds in the Gutter: (1) World-class U.S. sprinter LaShawn Merritt, after being caught on a doping test powering himself up with over-the-counter penis-enlargement pills: "[This matter] is extremely difficult to wrap my hands around." (2) "I'll meet you under the penis." (The 12-foot-tall biblical Adam, by Botero, in the Time Warner Center mall in midtown New York City is a traditional meet-up point for lunch.) (Bonus: It's a "maintenance" issue for the mall, in that passersby can't keep their hands off the you-know-what.) The Globe and Mail (Toronto) /// New York Times

Losers

Mr. Donald Zakrzewski, 42, his pockets stuffed with jewelry, being chased at night from a home burglary by police, scaled a fence and dashed through the grounds of a quarry . . but failed to see that oncoming "cliff," and is no longer with us. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Fired Groveland, Mass., cop Aaron Yeo was not off somewhere sleeping on the job, his lawyer said. The reason he failed to call in his locations was because he was in radio silence, watching for terrorists. WHDH-TV (Boston)

No, the Other Door: A 55-year-old woman fell out of a speeding motor home on Interstate 10 near Defuniak Springs, Fla., after pushing through the wrong door to get to the restroom. Northwest Florida Daily News

Rookie Mistakes: (1) While jailers searched his cell for contraband at the Green County lockup in Paragould, Ark., the inmate breezed past them and locked the guards in. (He didn't get far, but, still . . ..) (2) Two men, robbing the Waffle Shop in Akron, Ohio, herded everyone into the back and confiscated cell phones to prevent callouts. Then they put phones and the now-moneyless wallets into a sack, which they were going to graciously leave in a supply room. As both robbers dropped off the bag, hostages locked them in. (Bonus: According to the hostages, the men banged on the door and "demanded" to be let out.) Associated Press via MSNBC /// Akron Beacon Journal

In Levis, Quebec, a 75-year-old man is no longer with us after failing to remember that he had rigged a shotgun to a trip wire, to protect his home. Toronto Star

The Pervo-American Community

Chutzpah: Ralph Landers, 43, Denver, Colo., got 16½ years in prison for trying to buy child pornography . . with a stolen credit card . . while in possession of a well-stocked molester's toolbox. Denver Post

Update: Big-shot Canadian Air Force colonel Russell Williams (a mega-perv) was convicted of murdering two of his molestees [mentioned in NOTW Pro, 5-3-2010] and sentenced to life without parole (oh, he can apply in 2035). New York Times /// Daily Mail (London) [scroll down for a fetching shot of the comely Col. Williams in his finest Victoria's Secret]

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


Bryon Hearron, Wausau, Wis., caught lying in bed naked with the 9-year-old girl, explained that he was merely providing the humanitarian service of training the girl to be wary of men who desire to lie in bed naked with her. WSAU Radio

Melissa Urban, 43, said she thought the car she was stealing was just her boyfriend's, but police said it wasn't. Metrowest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.)

Marian [a man, though he spells like a girl] Wegiel is a guy you might not want living on your block . . if you own a horse. Greenwich Time

Below The Fold

No Longer Weird: (1) "Iranian Thief Sentenced to Have Hand Amputated" (2) "She died 10 months ago, and I didn't know what to do" (partial solution: baking soda) (Bonus: drove around with her in the back seat!). (3) "Officer, some lowlife stole my car . . while I was out, y'know, burglarizing those condos." (4) "Officer, can I get a ride?" (Cop: "Are you carrying contraband?") "Yeah . . um, wait . . no." (5) They still don't make toilet-proof cell phones, so it's doubly embarrassing if you get your arm stuck going in after one. (Bonus: video) BBC News /// Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle /// Associated Press via Yahoo News /// San Francisco Chronicle /// Independent Television News (London)

A Maryland man failed to respect roadside telephone poles when he leaned out a truck's window to wave to friends. He's no longer with us. Washington Post

One Cluttered Trunk: A police search of the car turned up the 29 grams of marijuana that Mark Fiasco, of Bradenton, Fla. ["Fiasco"? Heh-heh-heh], had just bought, but cops also dug out a bong that Mark thought had gone missing for seven years, ever since his roommate stole it. Glad to get it back, he said, umm, that is--. Bradenton Herald

An Albuquerque kindergarten mother clashed with another over what was the proper drive-thru zone to drop off her little buttercup in. Finally, it deteriorated into a little "KMA" here, and a "FO" there, until the original screamer bent over, pulled 'em down, and pointed the brown eye at the other. Said the other's daughter, "Gross, Mommy. What is she doing?" KRQE-TV (Albuquerque) via KXAN-TV (Austin, Tex.)

Editor's Notes

The De-Evolution of Journalism (continued): OK, websites abound with tacky photos of dogs outfitted in gaudy "Halloween" costumes. And OK, it's good that we humans are sensitive to whether dogs "feel" "shame" over something like that. However. The one-time-esteemed Houston Chronicle, (a) calls "animal psychics" "experts" and (b) pays even the slightest bit of attention to their analyses of dogs' "feelings." Correct Answer: The dogs' only "feeling" is, possibly, annoyance if the costume limits mobility (answer supplied by a veterinary professor but only way down in paragraph 18). (Bonus: a veterinary professor named Bonnie Beaver!) Houston Chronicle

Newsrangers: Kathryn Wood, Mike Pritt, Les Fields, Brett Denney, Steve Dunn, Jim Rehmann, Gerald Thomason, Peter Hine, Sean Murphy, Chris Campbell, Joey Warren, Scott Johnston, and Perry Levin, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

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 DailyCaller.com

(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) /// Salon.com [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 io9.com]

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.) EurekAlert.org

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. SwissInfo.ch (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)

Losers

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. Weburbanist.com [link from Rotten.com]

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 TBD.com: MediaBistro.com

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

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

News of the Weird/Pro Edition (II)
You're Still Not Cynical Enough

Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
October 12, 2010
(datelines October 2-October 9) (links correct as of October 11)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

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.


OK, this has gone far enough. It's one thing that the Pentagon ignores the problem of U.S. and Afghan contractors' hiring Taliban insurgents to "protect" NATO supply lines. It's quite another that "security" at NATO bases is being provided by Taliban insurgents. WTF? ABC News /// Geopolitical Monitor [insurgents "protect" supply lines]

The District of Calamity: The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics released its new online voting system for a week's trial run, inviting hackers to take their best shots. The Board surrendered quickly. Hackers, by a clean knockout. Washington Post

An NPR report suggests that Iraqi soldiers might not be ready for prime time. U.S. air power hit a grove in Diyala province, but it was up to Iraqis to clean up. For some reason, they marched in, single file, led by commanders, who were quickly picked off by snipers. "[A]s soon as the officers went down, the [Iraqi soldiers] went to ground. They didn't know what to do next." [ed.: It recalls the British redcoats, fighting in formation, that made it so easy for the American revolutionaries.] NPR

The Social Security Administration's inspector general failed to sugar-coat revelations about the 2009 stimulus program that sent $250 checks to everyone to speed up spending. It turns out that 72,000 checks did not achieve maximum punch, as they went to dead people. Associated Press via Washington Post

Chutzpah! Mexico's health ministry, in a study co-sponsored with the University of California, is complaining about the poor quality of U.S. health care for illegal immigrants. AHN News

A House Judiciary subcommittee has reached the conclusion that Congress promiscuously criminalizes behaviors they don't like and sometimes goes much too far. For instance, Abner Schoenwetter is just out of the slammer after six years because they got him on violating lobster-harvesting rules . . from harvesting in Honduras . . and covered by U.S. criminal law. McClatchy Newspapers via Miami Herald

Monday, October 11, 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 11, 2010
(datelines October 2-October 9) (links correct as of October 11)
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Grandpa Does What for a Living? Plus Doggers' Rights and More Blind Obedience to the GPS God

★ ★ ★ ★!

Japanese "Elder Porn": Shigeo Tokuda took up acting at age 71 and has become a movie star with a body of work numbering 350 (all adult films, including hard-core porn). He's 76 now and says he doesn't even need Viagra. He was discovered for the big screen when a producer saw him and decided he had "a pervert's face." Only recently did his family learn of his secret life. (Bonus: One of his films paired him with Ms. Fujiko Ito, 71.) Globe & Mail (Toronto)

What Year Is This? Mississippi state judge Talmadge Littlejohn put a lawyer in jail for criminal contempt of court because he declined to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Can't Possibly Be True (I): New York City court . . Juvenile counselor pleaded to three counts of rape of juvie girls . . Got probation . . One of the victims, "Ashley," age 15, who had been charged with lying to police, got a year's detention. New York Daily News

Can't Possibly Be True (II): In a village in India's Madhya Pradesh state, a lady found out that a bottom-caste Dalit woman had fed scraps of bread to her dog. Now the dog's in rehab (purgatory?) (touched by an untouchable!), and the lady has taken the Dalit woman to court. BBC News [Sept. 24]

Great Art!: Opening in June 2011 will be "Lullaby," a London theater production that presumes the audience will be rendered drowsy by the actors' soothing performances. Thus, the ticket price includes overnight lounging in the seats and a shower the next morning. Seriously. Wear your 'jammies. Reuters via Yahoo News

And Still More Things To Worry About

"Male Infertility Gene Discovered" (Wait, if it's genetic . . how'd that work--?) BBC News [Sept. 30]

Bright Ideas: Veteran British criminal John Raymond Searl, 74, wants you to know that he may be a scoundrel, but he's not a pedophile--no matter the rumors. His solution for getting in front of the issue? Go commit another crime, get caught, demand in court that his criminal record be read aloud, smugly point out that there's never been a pedophile offense. The Star (Sheffield)

Gangs of frisky women loose in Zimbabwe! Four men say they were accosted and "raped" (though in Zimbabwe law, only females can be rape victims). Police think it may be part of some ritual. Agence France-Presse via News.com.au (Sydney)

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland issued a modified Hate Crime Guidance Manual overly solicitous of our friends, the "doggers"--heterosexuals who meet anonymously for public sex. Doggers, bless their hearts, are vulnerable to being exploited, which can cause them post-traumatic stress disorder. Poor dears. [ed.: Actually, it's gays having public sex that cops want to be sensitive about; straights are just playing the nondiscrimination angle.] Daily Telegraph (London) /// New York Times [primer on dogging]

So your kids were playing in the yard and failed to graciously invite the neighbor's kids to join them. Then, better get set for two years of vicious feuding, topped off when your daughter, 7, died of Huntington's Disease, and the "shunned" neighbors basically danced on her grave. WJBK-TV (Detroit)

Great Art in Trouble: (1) In Milan, Italy, sculptor Maurizio Cattelan is showcasing the subtle L.O.V.E., which is a large hand with extended middle finger, but he declines to say who he's mad at. (2) "Critic" Kathleen Folden gave a poor review to part of Enrique Chagoya's artwork in The Misadventures of Romantic Cannibals on display in Loveland, Colo.--or at least that portion that features Jesus having sex with a man. Folden ripped up the prints. "How could anyone desecrate my Lord?" she said, as she was led away. BBC News /// The Coloradoan (Fort Collins)

Losers

For centuries, maps served civilization pretty well. Not everyone was an expert map reader, but it wasn't that hard, and there was always the back-up strategy of, y'know, asking directions. Now, there is GPS, and "SatNav." Week before last, a helicopter had to pull Robert Ziegler off a mountain ridge in Switzerland for excessively trusting the SatNav, and last week, a car had to be pulled out of a marsh in eastern Ontario, to which a woman had allegedly been directed by GPS, and a Spanish driver actually Became No More after his SatNav led his car into a reservoir. Daily Mail (London) /// Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News /// Daily Telegraph (London)

Brit Jason Williams was arrested after stealing his next-door-neighbor's curtains and installing them over his own windows (and not having an adequate explanation when the neighbor did a triple-take). Maidenhead Advertiser (Maidenhead, England) [mug shot!] [link from Nothing to Do with Arbroath]

While CNN's Rick Sanchez was getting canned stateside, newsreader Paul Henry was suspended from TVNZ in New Zealand for childishness--poking fun at a mixed-ethnic governor and even less maturely butchering the name of Indian official Sheila Dikshit ("dixit"). Herald Sun (Melbourne)

Xavier Ross, 19, wanted on a home invasion warrant, was discovered creating a disturbance in front of police headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Bonus: There was a display piano on the sidewalk, and Ross was playing, neverendingly, "Chopsticks.") WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids)

(No Longer Weird) Selma Elmore, 44, stopped the police cruiser in Lockland, Ohio. "There aren't any warrants out on me, are there?" (Outcome: Oh, you know the outcome.) Cincinnati Enquirer

Ryan Goethe, 25, went all Joe Pesci when arrested for smacking a teenage girl in Bradenton, Fla. Ryan (I): "I never hit a girl in my life." Later, Ryan (II): "[Once] I slapped a girl when I got kicked in the nuts." Later, Ryan (III): "Yeah, I hit that bitch." (Bonus Observations of Ryan: "If you don't slap a girl back for hitting you in the nuts, you ain't a real nigga [ed.: btw, Ryan is white.]. You are a punk ass bitch . . . You are a sorry ass bitch Oreo f***ing cop if you don't hit a girl back.") (Bonus case-resolution guidance from Ryan: "[My father is the] highest ranking lawyer in the state." My parents volunteer at a "soup kitchen." "My motherf***ing grandpa is a lawyer. You ain't s**t." Finally, Ryan describing the arresting officer: "F*** you cock motherf***ing f***ing prick. I hope you realized that you ain't nothing but a douche bag you f***ing motherf***ing prick.") The Smoking Gun

The Pervo-American Community

Cliches Come to Life: A pastor in Wales, answering a long-ago charge that he forced a 12-year-old girl to touch his pants crotch, shrugged, that, hey, sometimes I carry a banana in my pocket, and that was probably what she felt. Carmarthen Journal

Why is a convicted sex offender with no grandkids at an elementary school Grandparents' Day? And besides, why did he think it was a good idea to bring along his cross-dressing boyfriend? Chattanooga Times Free Press

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


Is Daniel Nichols lying, or can't he tell that the 14-year-old girl he had sex with wasn't 18? Press-Citizen (Iowa City)

Charles King might have set fire to his apartment, to retaliate against his landlord. Your call. Las Vegas Sun

Vampires in Chandler, Ariz.? A man said he was stabbed because he wouldn't hold still again so that another man and his girlfriend could resume sucking his blood. KSAZ-TV (Phoenix)

Defrauding the federal TARP program seems like a complicated undertaking. Does Charles Antonucci Sr. look like he's got it in him? Examiner.com

Below The Fold

"Low Blow Morales: Bolivian President Knees [Soccer] Opponent in Groin" (No Secret Service protection needed in La Paz.) The Guardian (London) [video!]

(Sounds Like a Joke) "Woman on [Mobility] Scooter Chases Husband Around Greensburg Wendy's" WPXI-TV (Pittsburgh)

(Recurring Themes) The American Postal Workers Union election in Washington, D.C., was delayed last week because ballots were lost in the mail. And a 22-year-old pedestrian in Macomb Township, Mich., was fatally struck by a hearse, so, y'know, just . . .. Fox News /// WDIV-TV (Detroit)

Editor's Notes

Finally, a couple of Yahoo! time-wasters: World's Strangest Vending Machines, and the Top 10 Weird Festivals. And once again, Weird 2.0 tomorrow. Cheers.

Newsrangers: Christopher Nalty and Kathryn Wood, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

News of the Weird/Pro Edition
You're Still Not Cynical Enough

Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week (Part II), Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
October 5, 2010
(datelines September 25-October 2) (links correct as of October 4)

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.


You say you want to keep costs down but you also wouldn't mind it if Medicare spent $93,000 on a designer drug that would keep you (a cancer patient) alive for four more months? Associated Press via Google News

"[I]f 25 percent were slashed from arts funding," said British artist Mark Wallinger, "the loss would be immeasurable." [Well, literally true, but the benefit to UK society of any particular arts budget is equally "immeasurable."] Wallinger's taken to re-creating a famous work but with "25%" of it defaced. BBC News

The federal No Child Left Behind program requires progress in each school. The problem now in Massachusetts is that some of the schools already graded out at 98 or 99, and it's almost impossible to improve on that. Consequently: No progress, and they're on the caca list! Boston Globe

For everyone sick of taxes, look at it this way. If your income was $34,000, and you paid $5,400 in federal tax, you paid, for example, $11.20 for the FBI, $192 for the military payroll, $28 for NASA, and so forth. No, taxes don't come a la carte, but maybe this project of the Third Way think tank will enrich the discourse. NPR

In America, we complain about the banks, but in Westbourne, England . . action! Fed up that Barclays (and other banks) resolutely failed to come through in any of his attempts to borrow money, Cameron Hope and some pals bricked up the front door of a Barclays branch. Since no money is getting out, no customers should get in. Daily Mail

Busted! Atheists rudely outscored people of faith on a knowledge test of rudimentary religion. However, people of faith continue to have faith that there are more important things to know than facts about religion. New York Times

A couple hundred FBI agents are being investigated for cheating on a mandatory test on national security and foreign intelligence procedures. Open book? Yes, that was OK. During-test consulting with colleagues? Not OK. Instructors teaching students only the exact test questions and answers? Not OK. (Bonus: Fidelity. Bravery. Integrity Irresponsibility.) TPM Muckraker

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. DiscoverMagazine.com

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

Losers

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. News.com.au (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