Monday, December 19, 2011

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
December 19, 2011
(datelines December 9-December 17) (links correct as of December 19)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

[NOTE: Yr Editor descends to his annual Holiday Stupor today and will not return with a fresh Pro Edition until Tuesday morning, January 3rd. Next Monday, I shall post the standard News of the Weird column of December 25th (with links enabled). You will have seen some of those stories previously in Pro Edition.]

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast, plus More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

Antidote to Our Frenzied World: A British outfit is planning a world championship for competitive watching-paint-dry. Send them a photo of yourself in "action." They'll pick a short list. There'll be a final wall-stare-down of the six most promising human slugs. Metro (London) /// LocalTraders.com

A woman doing the "Valsalva" Pilates maneuver [ed.: which sounds a lot like a potty-sitting maneuver of Yr Editor's if I've eaten too much cheese] looked down and realized one of her breast implants had disappeared. Actually, doctors reported later, it had migrated between her ribs and into the space between her lungs, which could only have happened because recent surgery had left the tissue vulnerable. Still, she reported zero pain. New England Journal of Medicine

The Hon. Marion Barry (unofficially, the king of Washington, District of Calamity; officially, city councilman) made it 9-for-12 (years he has failed to file U.S. or D.C. income tax returns and for which he always, always, receives a sentence of probation and a stern warning not to screw up again). As of 2007, he was down $195,000 (and having his Council paycheck garnisheed, though he kept his seat on the Council's finance and tax committee). (And speaking of people who are still being kept down by the confusing tax policies of The Man, Al Sharpton's constantly having trouble explaining himself, too.) Washington Post /// New York Post

We have a winner for the Least Explicable News of 2011: The girls varsity basketball team at Kenmore (N.Y.) East High, composed this season of a bunch of white gals and one A-A, for some reason has this as its solidarity locker-room huddle-breaking cheer: "One, two, three, [n-word]s!" They explained truthfully that the girls' team has been doing the cheer for years, as a tradition, that no one had ever complained about it, and that this year's A-A didn't, either, until she got into some trouble on the side. Buffalo News

Absurdities

Civilization in Decline: (1) OnlineGamblingPal dot com has purchased a lock of Michael Jackson's hair and will turn it into a working (not souvenir) roulette ball. (2) And Ellen DeGeneres and her wife are reportedly beginning the long evolutionary road to wean dogs off of meat, specifically, marketing vegan dog food. (Can dog-Pilates replace ball-retrieving?) (3) And Kim Kardashian landed in Haiti to, you know, help out there. AOL /// Mother Nature Network /// Us Magazine

The dark side for the happily married Alabama politico Bill Johnson involves helping lesbians bear children, using his fabulous sperm. Apparently knowing that his hysterectomied wife might object, he didn't tell her that he had "supplied" nine women (three already pregnant) in New Zealand, where he's been TDY in his job as earthquake-relief contractor. Inseminating, he said, is "a need that I have." (Mrs. Johnson, on learning of all this from a reporter, said there'll be a reckoning at some point.) New Zealand Herald

Hon. Kyle Bower, campaigning for the town council in Alburtis Borough, Pa., confessed that he has a rap sheet (he drinks, he breaks things, he beats people up, he stalks his ex-girlfriend) and said he'd probably drop out. However, there were four candidates for four open seats, and he won. ("Drop out?" No, no, I changed my mind.) (Bonus: He's 19 years old.) Morning Call (Allentown)

Chutzpah! Trenton, N.J., school guard Logan Alexander pleaded guilty in 2007 to inappropriately touching two elementary school girls, and settled a molestation lawsuit with a third pupil for $12,500. Now, since there were no criminal charges on the third, he and his union say it's the school system's responsibility to pay off the settlement, because the alleged no-no's "arose from his employment." The Times (Trenton)

Losers

Nice Piece of Detective Work: Adam Hall, 34, was arrested for vandalizing the car of the girlfriend who dumped him. "Mr. Hall, please write, "You are a slut." [He wrote, "You are a sult."(sic)] "Guess what, Mr. Hall? That's how the vandal spelled it out on the car hood, too." ABC News

Funny Old World*

Man Urinates Hair After Botched Operation: The old way to repair tissue causing urine retention was to transplant skin from the scrotum. Nowadays, they use mouth skin, one reason for which is that scrotum skin may still have hair follicles in it! The Times of India

There's the Million-Man March and the March Against This-Here or That-There, and now some British women supposedly marched last Saturday against labiaplasty and hairless vulvas, which are of course dictated by male sexual hegemony. (A leader of the protest called it the Muff March.) The Guardian

The cat "Tommassino" became the world's third-richest pet when Maria Assunta, 94, passed away in Italy and left her $15.5 million estate to him (to be administered by her nurse). (Ahead of him, if they're even still alive, are the dog "Gunter" Liebenstien, $140 million, and the chimpanzee "Kalu" O'Neill $62 million; "Trouble" Helmsley trails at $9.3 million) Daily Mail (London)

Recurring Theme: You already know this if you pay attention to News of the Weird [NOTW 971, 9-17-2006]--that in some parts of China (say, Jiangsu province), the belief endures that a well-attended funeral portends a successful afterlife, hence, a dad wants the best for his dear, departed son, so, hey, there'll be strippers at the funeral! Times have changed in Jiangsu; the father was arrested. Reuters via Yahoo News

Updates & Recurring Themes

Amongst the fallout from North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation's crime lab screw-ups (covering at least 34 cases): Michael Peterson gets a new trial. He was convicted of murdering his wife and subsequently concocted the theory of the killer rogue owl. They can't say for sure that the crime lab didn't find an owl feather at the scene (although it could have just been a household speck of down) [NOTW M078, 10-5-2008]. MSNBC

Ewwwwww . . no-no-no-no-no . . not so soon. Here's another totally icky, creepy, repulsive, revolting, disgusting x-ray of a cocaine smuggler's abdomen, with 89 capsules in and below his rib cage. The previous one [Pro Edition, 9-19-2011] was in vivid color. The Sun (London) /// The Irish Independent (Dublin) [previous]

No Longer Weird: We may not be quite as nervous as we were right after September 11th, but it's still highly effective, if you want to postpone something in your life, buy some time with a bomb threat, like the Loyola (New Orleans) student unprepared for an exam, or the guy in Anchorage whose pee wasn't quite clean enough for his drug test. WWL-TV (New Orleans) /// Anchorage Daily News

Readers' Choice: Sometimes shoplifters get in trouble talking amongst themselves about their crimes . . after their cell phones have accidentally been sat on . . and the phones have auto-dialed (butt-dialed) 911. (Bonus: Cops say they get butt-dialed calls all the time, just not from perps in the act.) WISC-TV (Madison, Wis.)

Below The Fold

The upscale British seller Harvey Nichols has the perfect Christmas treat: cans of "Arctic" reindeer meat paté (about $23). Daily Mail

Los Angeles Crime Wave: tuba theft! Not that they're that popular, but they retail for $5,000 ($2,000 used). KCBS-TV

Who better to demonstrate the push-up-iness of Mega Push-Up bras (up to two cup-sizes bigger!) from the Dutch department store Hema than, well, a man? Daily Mail (London)

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


Theresa Warner and fiancé Christopher Dimaio are charged in a three-state, 91-store shoplifting spree. New York Daily News [12-2-2011; last week, the Kmart in Ross, Pa., announced it was donating the pair's take from its store to charity]

They say Michael Pratt, 27, went on a date to a movie, tricked the woman into handing over her keys, then stole the car and laughed at her when she reached him by phone. St. Petersburg Times

Editor's Notes

Starting tomorrow, Yr Editor revives Weird 2.0 for day-after-Pro-Edition-release. (Of course, after tomorrow, I'm promptly taking two weeks off.)

Newsrangers: Bruce Strickland, Craig Cryer, Jeffrey Norman, Bruce Leiserowitz, Jeff Hagge, Eric Selje, and Russ Jernigan, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

(* stolen from Private Eye; [ed.: Stolen? Chuck, you're better than that] [Chuck: No, I'm not, actually . . ..]

Monday, December 12, 2011

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
December 12, 2011
(datelines December 3-December 10) (links correct as of December 12)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Don't Tax Me and Don't Tax Thee But Tax That Fella Behind That Tree, and More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

But . . . No "Individual Mandate"! The government can't expand health insurance coverage unless everyone kicks in . . unless of course any objectors could just opt out altogether (no kick-in, no coverage). That would make health insurance like fire protection in South Fulton, Tenn. Rather than force everyone to kick in, the $75 annual fee is voluntary (although, no kick-in, no coverage). But then the home of non-kicker-inner Vicky Bell caught fire. Oh . . firefighters rushed to the scene, still, but only to keep the fire from spreading to Vicky's neighbors, who had kicked in; Vicky, though, now owns a pile of ashes. Kingsport Times-News

Good to Know: Centers for Disease Control's latest newsletter warned (via a case report from a sheep ranch) that you could get a C. jejuni infection (and we all know how bad that is!) if you castrate the little buggers by biting off their testicles (the elastrator-band method being too slow and the Burdizzo emasculatome maybe too expensive). Wall Street Journal

What Year Is This? According to Lisa Nassef's lawsuit, there was still at least one "recovered memories" clinic operating in 2010 (Castlewood Treatment Center, suburban St. Louis), trying desperately to convince unhappy women that their problem was that it had completely slipped their minds that they had been raped by their daddies and in satanic cults (that is, when the cultists weren't busy eating babies) and that such trauma would take hundreds of billable hours of therapy to overcome. Nassef said she tried suicide, even--not, of course, during her original unhappiness (over anorexia), but only after Castlewood convinced her what a disaster her life was. Associated Press via Fox News

Absurdities

The regional commission charged with administering homeland security in 13 Michigan counties (with a grant from state homeland-security funds) recently bought each county an Arctic Blast Sno-Cone machine. "The purchase raised some questions at a recent Montcalm County Board of Commissioners meeting," The Daily News of Greenville drolly reported. (Don't forget, the regional commission said, that sno-cone machines make ice, which can be important during emergencies!) The Daily News

Unclear on the Concept: (1) Little Emanyea Lockett, 9, said all he did was tell a classmate that their teacher was "cute"--and got suspended for inappropriate "sexual" comments. (Update: The principal who ordered the suspension was allowed to "retire.") (2) Little Mark Curran, 7, is in deep trouble for alleged "sexual harassment" of a classmate . . for kicking the boy in the stones. (Bonus: The guy was bullying Mark at the time.) WSOC-TV (Charlotte, N.C.) /// Boston Globe

"Every year I go somewhere to get some mistletoe to decorate the house. [T]he best way to get it is with a shotgun." That was Bill Robinson, 66, of Decatur, Ga., describing the local custom of shooting mistletoe from trees out in the woods. This year: The "tree" was in the parking lot of a mall and set nerves a-flutter. "I guess I assumed that everybody knew what I was doing." WGCL-TV (Atlanta)

Mr. Long Hoang caused a red alert in San Jose, Calif., as he stuck a package in a drive-by postal box downtown . . while dressed in a gas mask and body armor. Panic ensued, first-responders responded. (Bonus: He was just out jogging in his special "CrossFit" weight-loss uniform.) Mercury News

Losers

If you try to buy a car from a dealer, paying with 90 Visa gift cards with $100 each on them, the seller will be suspicious, and the sale will not go through. KVUE-TV (Austin, Tex.)

Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) An HSBC bank in New York City survived a robbery attempt with just a ceiling repair bill. The perp had fired a shot in the air as a show of seriousness . . but then cringed at what he had done and high-tailed it out, empty-handed. (2) Anthony Miranda, 24, tried a street robbery in Chicago, but (a) the victim was an Ultimate Fighter guy who beat the crap out of him, and (b) Anthony accidentally shot himself in the leg in the process. New York Daily News /// WLS Radio (Chicago)

Alisha Halfmoon, 45, was arrested in a Walmart in Tulsa, Okla., while making methamphetamines. Not "after buying ingredients for amphetamines," but "making methamphetamines" . . in the store's restroom. Tulsa World

The former Prince George's (Md.) County Executive Jack Johnson was sentenced to 7-plus years in prison for "a long path of 'kleptocracy'" (according to prosecutors). His wife Leslie got a year, herself. (She had been arrested last year in the midst of a police raid, trying to smuggle $80,000 cash out of her house stuffed in her bra and panties.) Washington Post

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


Anita Harris was charged with assault in Heflin, Ala., but there was no apparent motive, so she's probably innocent, right? WBMA-TV (Birmingham)

Michael Selleneit was charged with shooting a neighbor in November, but he might be mentally ill. Still, his wife, Melony, is the one who bought him the gun (according to police) so maybe she thinks he's sane. Michael's motive was that the neighbor raped Melony . . via telepathy. Salt Lake Tribune

Maryann Scott, 49, Vero Beach, Fla., accused of prolonged testicle-squeezing (she wanted her ring back). TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

Updates & Recurring Themes

More Body-Shaping Failures (Another Day, Another Unlicensed Silicone-Injector): A 22-year-old man died full of hope that the infusion he had received would produce a larger penis. And in Raleigh, N.C., a woman on probation for causing kidney failure with butt injections in 2008 was back at it again, and arrested. Said a detective, "From what I'm told . . the money is very good so it's hard [for perps] to get away from." Star-Ledger (Newark) /// Associated Press via CBS News

Update: In nearby Durham, N.C., the delightful Ms. Crystal Mangum (instigator of the Duke lacrosse team rape fiasco) was ruled mentally competent to stand trial for stabbing her boyfriend to death in April. Raleigh News & Observer

Update: Henry Fitzsimmons, 54, a Virginia Beach restaurateur, pleaded guilty finally to sexual battery after denying it for six months [NOTW M220, 6-26-2011] following his arrest. He was a devotee of the "Spencer Plan" of discipline and hired college women as employees at his bar and grill, requiring Spencer contracts whereby they would agree to get spanked if they broke any workplace rules. Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk)

Editor's Notes

What's the difference between this South Korean architect's design for a skyscraper . . and a microscopic view of canker sores? Gizmodo

Readers' Choice: You'll either laugh or cry--no indifference allowed--at this pileup of totaled Ferraris. Associated Press via Yahoo News

Kopi Luwak is reputedly the most expensive coffee in the world, supposedly because the beans have already been digested and excreted by a certain species of Indonesian civet (cat). News of the Weird first addressed this in 1993 [NOTW 301, 11-12-1993] ($130 a pound back then), but every year or two, another entry-level reporter somewhere "discovers" it and is unable to catch his breath until he "breaks" the story anew. OK, but how does it taste? BoingBoing's Maggie Koerth-Baker put it to the test. BoingBoing.net

Newsrangers: Jon Etkins, Stannous Flouride, Scott Christiansen, Cassidy Hunter, Charley Butterfield, Larry Seltzer, Richard Bungiro, Keith Pundt, Steve Jones, and John Ellwood, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, December 05, 2011

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
December 5, 2011
(datelines November 26-December 3) (links correct as of December 5, 2011)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Attorney-Client Confidentiality in the F State, plus More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

"Assistance of Counsel": Lawyers are of course entitled to visit their clients locked up in the Federal Detention Center in Miami, Fla.(say, lieutenants of cartel drug dealers), and sometimes by the complexity of the case, it helps if they bring along their paralegals. According to "multiple attorneys," reported Miami New Times, the interview rooms have been "taken over" by friendly lawyers bringing "strippers" and "pole-dancers" with them as they "discuss legal strategy." Clients get shows and feel-ups. "Any lawyer can sign a form and designate a legal assistant." Miami New Times

What? You Think It Was My Fault? (1) Bicyclist-marathoner Sabine von Sengbusch, 46, filed a lawsuit in New York City against pedestrian Meghan Rohan, 28, whom she had rammed in Central Park, alleging that Rohan caused her "painful and permanent" injuries that kept her out of work (but not out of her next scheduled marathon, in which she finished 2nd). von Sengbusch was inside the bike lane, but New York law gives pedestrians the right of way, period. (2) Jesse Dimmick filed a $235,000 lawsuit in Shawnee County, Kan., against Jared and Lindsay Rowley for breaching their "contract" to help Dimmick in exchange for money. The "contract" was "agreed to" while Dimmick held the Rowleys captive in the Rowley home, following his escape and with police surrounded the house. Because the Rowleys failed to help him out, a police officer eventually shot Dimmick in the back, and that hurts, and Dimmick wants the Rowleys to pay him. (He's in prison, of course, but still . . ..) New York Post /// Capital-Journal (Topeka)

Readers' Choice: The year's nastiest downfall occurred in Arapahoe County, Colo., when Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. was charged with trading methamphetamines to male addicts in exchange for sex and was booked into the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Center, named for him after he retired as sheriff in 2002. Denver Post

Point Taken: Mark Wach's defense to charges that included aggravated domestic assault and shooting at his lawn mower and various other targets in his backyard in Palm City, Fla. (according to the police report): "He then stated that he shoots in the yard all the time and that fighting is what redneck people do." TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

Absurdities

Recurring Theme: Once again, a rape victim is thrown in prison (in Afghanistan), but this time she's pardoned by the country's big cheese himself (Hamid Karzai) because she has decided of her own "free will" to marry the rapist. Honor preserved; sanctity of marriage achieved; tribal harmony kept. BBC News

Update: In Pro Edition, 7-18-2011, Yr Editor informed you that the most-highly-paid California bureaucrat last year was a prison surgeon who can't operate because his bosses think he's incompetent, but whom they can't fire because personnel officers think not enough T's were crossed and I's dotted to fire him. Last week, the Los Angeles Times said there were 29 more prison medical workers in the same condition (thus wasting $8 million over the last five years). Los Angeles Times

Fine Points of the Law: Alleged New Jersey mobster Alfonso Cataldo owns beaucoup assets and a handsome spousal income stream, but technically, he qualifies for a public defender. (Actually, it's his phony income stream that prosecutors will lay out in his trial.) Philadelphia Inquirer

Nicolas Cage on the cover of a 1998 8th-grade biology textbook in Serbia? Daily Mail (London)

The U.S. Air Force Academy has opened an $80,000 "outdoor worship center" (i.e., rocks and a fire pit) for all of its pagans, druids, witches, and Wiccans. This year, that's "3." [ed.: And the appeal to a practicing Wiccan of a career in the U.S. military during a time of war would be . . .?] Los Angeles Times

Can't Please Everybody: Condemned murderer Gary Haugen has demanded a speedy execution. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber says no one will be executed on his watch, and unless he resigns soon, Haugen will just have to go on suffering a while longer, like the rest of us. Associated Press via Yahoo News

Losers

Rookie Mistake: Tyechia Rembert, 33, robbed a Burger King in York, Pa. Police know it was she because they tracked her cell phone location when she called the BK back to see if anyone had copied down her license plate number. (They hadn't.) York Dispatch

The Aristocrats! (1) Hey, y'all, look at my hemorrhoid!! Arthur Andrews was arrested for flashing in Orland Park, Ill. (2) Mercedes Donahue was angry that her neighbor was taking incriminating pictures of her dog pooping in his yard: I'll give you something to take a picture of! She dropped trou and showed her 'roid (if she has one). Orland Park Patch /// TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

A 36-year-old man in Monroe, Ore., watched a squirrel run up his leg while he was holding a .22-caliber rifle. So he pointed it at the squirrel and fired--missing (except, of course, for hitting his foot). Associated Press via Statesman Journal (Salem, Ore.)

He was proclaimed "Germany's dumbest bank robber." Siegfried K., 57, knocked over a physiotherapy studio in Osnabrueck. He thought it was a bank, and he acted like it was a bank, but the bank had moved out of the building. (Bonus: 17 years ago) Agence France-Presse via Google News

Oh! Dear!

The perils of pre-purchase of cemetery plots: By the time you die, they may be running out of space. Agnes Zimmick's family is suing St. Stanislaus cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pa., because the casket was too big for the space, requiring employees to jump up and down on it to force it into the hole. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Perfectly Synchronous Retaliation: So, the snail-slow Indian government refuses to act on Mr. Hakkul's applications for property to raise and caretake venomous snakes. Hence, Mr. Hakkul releases "dozens" of them into the lobby of the government office presiding over the delay. BBC News

The Pervo-American Community

Peter Bower of Shelby, Ohio, is one of your harder-core dog lovers, but he may skate for some in-the-act bestiality because the state doesn't quite yet have an anti-bestiality law. (Hence, prosecutors must prove actual "abuse" of the dog, and Bower does seem quite solicitous of his bitch's welfare.) In a previous law enforcement visit, animal porn and a blow-up sheep doll were discovered. WBNS-TV (Columbus) /// WOIO-TV (Cleveland) via KLTV (Tyler, Tex.) [6-20-2011]

The io9.com blog made reference to "Subcutaneous Penile Insertion of Domino Fragments by Incarcerated Males in Southwest United States Prisons" in Journal of Sexual Medicine. Conclusions: (1) Prisoners thought it would feel good. (2) It doesn't. io9.com

A female teacher in Shawnee, Okla., had her third-grade girls over for a Christmas pizza party and had them model underwear for her camera. Highlight: underpants reading "Santa's Little Ho Ho HO." Apparently a man was also involved, by phone. The Smoking Gun

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


Four selections from The Smoking Gun's weekly collection: hairstyling on a probation violator /// beard-styling for a disorderly conduct guy /// Could he possibly be guilty? /// Ya think he respects our traffic laws?

Below The Fold

A factory in Rhea County, Tenn., went up in flames. Before the fire, they had been making firewood. WRCB-TV (Chattanooga)

Charged with vandalizing the Hope Valley Barracks mailbox in Richmond, R.I.: the 27-year-old Mr. Wanker Rene. RI.gov

Renaissance man Thomas Ackerman, 24, must've been quite a disappointment to his mother, what with being charged with arson on a laundry in Oklahoma City. After all, Ackerman said he has seven college degrees, is an architectural engineer, phlebotomist, stuntman, mixed-martial artist, and sex toy engineer, and designed the Green Goblin's hoverboard in three "Spider-Man" movies. NewsOK.com (Oklahoma City)

Updates & Recurring Themes

Samir Chowhan [Pro Edition, 10-26-2009] received only a one-year suspension from the Illinois Bar Association for his help-wanted ad on Craigslist, seeking a legal secretary who would also put out regularly for him and his partner. ABA Journal

Editor's Notes

Time-Wasters: (1) Well, here's a pig born without back legs, but never mind, because he's learned to walk on the front ones. (2) A video'd last will and testament with granddad disbursing the family property boringly until he gets to his crown jewel: Who will get his precious, extensive collection of dildos? Might even be real. Well, possibly. OK, outside chance. [NSFW language]

Newsrangers: R.L. Rittmaster, Kathy Kelly, Perry Levin, Charles Landau, Douglas Boyle, Matt Korth, Karen Bledsoe, Chris Schulman, David Swanson, John Ellwood, Seth Chernoff, Sharon Corbett, Telaraj Webster, and Jim Weiss, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, November 28, 2011

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 28, 2011
(datelines November 19-November 26) (links correct as of November 28)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Refining the Boredom Art Form, Plus More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

James Ward's Boring conference in London sold out this year.  2010's inaugural ennui-a-palooza [NOTW M198, 1-23-2011] had such intellectual dynamite as a PowerPoint presentation of the color and materials of a man's neckwear collection from one year to the next and another sponsoring a milk-sampling, using wine glasses, measuring taste and smoothness.  This year's highlight:  a seminar on the square root of two.  The Independent

Need to be fashionable?  Fine.  Identify with sub-mainstream cultures?  Groovy.  Tell the world's squares you're not like them?  Check.  How about if all that involved building a three-inch-wide  three-eighths-inch-wide hole in your ear lobe to stick tokens in or hang stuff from?  In that case, perhaps it's time for you to give Saphris® a try.  In the UK, "ear-stretching" is on the rise, and while most open up just slightly more than with ordinary ear-piercing, there are "gauge-queens/kings." who keep widening the hole over time until . . well . . peek-a-boo!  Soon, of course, the Now-Why-Did-I-Do-That? industry will be coming to the rescue (the most complex ear surgeries of which can run up to £8,000 [$12,350]).  BBC News

That woman who climbed inside the dead horse [Pro Edition, 11-7-2011] has been outdone--sort of.  What if you did that sort of thing for a living?  An otherwise-upbeat Washington Post  dispatch from Kabul, on how U.S. contractors are helping Afghans to upgrade their businesses, mentioned the poor state of the country's slaughterhouses.  "Butchers wore sandals as they hacked away at animals . . just [cutting] off pieces with no rhyme or reason."  "One slaughterhouse employee, a dwarf, was responsible for climbing inside the water buffalo carcasses to cut out their colons."  Washington Post

The Area of His Expertise:  District of Columbia Councilman Marion Barry complained that it's not enough that job recruiters in the notoriously inefficient D.C. bureaucracy are forbidden to ask applicants about any criminal record they may have.  He has proposed extending the restriction to private employers, too, i.e., if you've done your time for those bank robberies, hey, that part of your life is none of the recruiter's damn business.  (Once a boss has made the bank robber an offer, then he can ask about a rap sheet.)  Washington Post

Absurdities

Sources told ABC News that a big CIA operation to keep up with Hezbollah in Lebanon was exposed because the Hezzes cracked the CIA's super-secret computer password for the project (a project whose "clandestine" meetings were held in a Pizza Hut in Beirut).  (The project-site password: "PIZZA")   ABC News [link from Wired.com Danger Room]

Brooklyn (N.Y.) pimp Andrew McCord, 29, acting as his own lawyer, thought he needed an "expert witness" to help the jury understand the rough business he's in, and, Your Honor, who better than me, Andrew McCord, to be that expert witness?  (Denied.)   New York Daily News

"My only dream now is to compete with [Mehmet] Yilmaz and beat him [for his Guinness Book record]."  That was Badr Al-Alyani of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who told a local reporter that he was up to 90½ inches squirting milk out of his eye, short of Yilmaz's 106.  Emirates 24.7 (Dubai) [link from Nothing to Do with Arbroath]

The George H.W. Bush, the Navy's most technologically advanced aircraft carrier--a testament to America's leading-edge military superiority--is on its maiden combat voyage.  Aircraft, armaments, and complex computer systems are performing splendidly.  It's just that there is a lot of down time as sailors hunt and hunt for one of the few unclogged toilets. Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk)

Losers

The teenager dropped off a resume, and on his way out of the store, snatched an airsoft gun ($129).  Tracked down by KTLA-TV even before cops arrived, he told the reporter, "Honestly, I wasn't planning on stealing anything.  I was actually trying to get a job.  And, what can I say?  I'm a teenager, [I'm] stupid."   KTLA-TV (Los Angeles)

"It's going to sound kind of ridiculous, but we believed there was some kind of paranormal presence in the basement."  Thus, former Mount Gilead, Ohio, police officer Joseph Hughes explained the 20-something items (like air conditioners) apparently stolen from local government buildings, stored in the basement, unused, because he was afraid to go down there.  WBNS-TV (Columbus)

Too Soon!  On the heels of a "clothes horse" death inquest [Pro Edition, 9-12-2011] comes another, almost:  British college student Danielle Morgan was rescued after falling onto hers and having her every struggle actually tighten the device's grip on her.  BBC News

Too Soon!  Just as in Pro Edition, 10-31-2011, two more people brawled on the edge of a busy highway at night, with predictable results.  Associated Press via Palm Beach Post

David Foley had his heart set on vengeance against his landlord and thus sent WITI-TV a DVD of child porn with the landlord's name and address on it.  If he hadn't done that, police probably would never have discovered Foley's alleged sideline as a child molester with a big stash of child porn (from which to compile the "landlord" DVD).  WITI-TV (Milwaukee)

The Pervo-American Community

Lashawn Johnson, 25, was arrested in Albany, N.Y., after two women reported he was manually displaying himself and asking if they'd "help him out" with his arduous task.   Times Union [mugshot]

Oh! Dear!

[I'll take "Slang" for $100, Alex]  Answer:  "Waxing the crocodile" (Incorrect Jeopardy Question: What was Lashawn Johnson doing?)  (Correct Question:  What were skilled Brazilian-wax technicians doing to a live croc in a promotion video at a salon in Darwin, Australia?)   Daily Mail (London)

The mayor of Huarmey, Peru, warned his people that the water supply, which is piped in from Tabalosos (reputedly, a gay mecca) will convert them, too.  (He had a hormone-based explanation, but experts say he's just nuts.)   Daily Mail (London) [based on Perfil.com (Buenos Aires), 11-24-2011]

A 13-lb. boy was born naturally (no c-section!) in Berlin to a woman who is obviously a sturdy gal.  (Bonus:  She named him "Jihad.")   The Local (Berlin)

Officials in Calcutta, India, are scrambling to save the historic Howrah Bridge from fatal corrosion due to out-of-control spitting by pedestrians who routinely hock their betel leaf, areca nut, and slaked lime onto the steel beams.  Cops ticket some of the miscreants, but there are a half-million walkers a day.  (Alternate strategy:  Display drawings of the gods on the bridge so spitters will hold it in 'til they get to the other side.)  BBC News

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


Is Michelle Watson, 24, giddy because she has achieved the exalted state of being "super-DUI extreme"?   The Smoking Gun

Editor's Notes

By now nearly everyone on the planet has had a glimpse of Oneal Morris's humongous butt [Pro Edition, 11-21-2011].  Here is a sane plastic surgeon's best guess as to how Ms. Morris achieved that state.   MSNBC

No matter the occasion, there's always room for an Iron Crotch video (such as from Yang You-sin, who credits the power for righting his life after years of hard-labor pain).   WantChinaTimes.com

Newsrangers: Mark Heather, Kathleen Kelly, and Randy Mason, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, November 21, 2011

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 21, 2011
(datelines November 12-November 19) (links correct as of November 21)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

The Spider as Cad, Derrière Dreams, and More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

All hail the male nursery web spider (inspiration for all slut-rascal men everywhere!).  According to a journal article by researchers in Denmark and Uruguay, the spiders have a good idea what their chances are of scoring, and the ungifted use two deceptions:  Since only gift-givers of live protein (bugs) get to hit it, the losers (1) wrap worthless "gifts" to the female in silk and nail her while she's unwrapping them, and/or (2) engage in a tug-of-war with her over the gift and surprise her by hopping on. [ed. Note to gentlemen living in your parents' basement and who can't get a date:  These are spiders who are smarter than you.]   LiveScience.com via Yahoo News

Made-up, Sensationalist Tabloid News:  Real News:  House cats can be trained to do tricks and even do competitions running obstacle courses.  Both the International Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers' Association run contests in which cats "climb stairs, weave around poles, and leap through hoops" in a timed event (reported the New York Times).  There's even a Kobe-LeBron-type dominant player, Twyla Mooner, a Bengal from Reston, Va.   New York Times   ///   [And then there's the Moscow Cat Theater, which News of the Weird has been on top of since 1998]  New York Times

It was a bad week for the butt-enhancement industry.  Kimberly Smedley assured the authorities after her arrest in Washington, D.C., that she had been using only "medical" silicone when she injected her customers at $1,000 a pop, but she seemed to have a lot of receipts from Home Depot and Lowe's, and her medical dispensing facility consisted of a water jug.  But even more dangerous was Ms. (formerly Mr.) Oneal Ron Morris, 30, of Miami Gardens, Fla., who didn't even bother with industrial silicone.  He used actual cement and "Fix a Flat" and then super-glued the entrance wound.  (Seriously.  There are Can't-Possibly-Be-True photos at the link.)  The Smoking Gun   ///   Miami Herald via South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Absurdities

The European Union may, seriously, soon collapse over its economy.  However, it issued an important directive last Wednesday ordering bottled-water producers not to say that their product can help prevent dehydration.  [ed.: For some people, that's true, if the body faultily misdirects the water received, but many other people simply need to drink more water.]   Daily Telegraph (London)

The Saudi Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice cracked down on niqabs (face-hiders except the eyes) if the eyes are too alluring.  Those women should stay home or move to the burqa.   Daily Mail (London)

Four times a year (coming and going, twice, for school terms), 80 kids in a remote Chinese mountaintop village make a several-day, spine-tingling journey on foot, including down 1,000-ft cliffs with narrow ledges.  (The government is building a safe road . . for the year after next.)   Daily Telegraph (London)

It appears that the Justice Department, in its zeal to use all the tools available to fight "terrorism," would make it a federal crime to lie about yourself on, say, Match dot com.  (You could still lie at a party, but just not online.  Nursery web spiders aren't covered.)   CNet.com

Follow the logic:  (1) Kids love to play with balls.  (2) A parent gets hurt by a ball while at school.  (3) Therefore, the school bans balls for kids (except sponge balls.)   Canadian Press via CBC.ca

The airline fee to trump all airline fees:  When a Comtel flight from India to Birmingham, England, had to land in Vienna, the couple of hundred on board were hit up for supplemental fuel costs totaling £20,000 ($31,000).  Some scrambled for ATMs.  BBC News

Losers

The lawyer's cardinal rule of cross-examination is Don't Ask a Question You Don't Already Know the Answer to).  Mr. Philome Cesar, charged with many robberies and acting as his own lawyer, asked the first two witness-victims, "Describe what the robber sounded like."  After both answered, "He sounded like you," Cesar stopped asking that question.  Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

Unclear on the Concept:  The Ku Klux Klan has used burning crosses to get blacks to leave neighborhoods.  For some reason, this Klan wanted black man L.B. Williams's wife (white) to stay in the neighborhood.  (Yes, "the Klan" was really L.B. Williams, who was facing divorce, and somehow thought the burning cross would scare the missus into staying.)  Panama City (Fla.) News Herald

KNXV-TV (Phoenix) reported that Mr. Cary Dolego, a former gubernatorial candidate in Arizona, is now in the Ukraine and, despite being rebuffed at least once, is determined to stay until he meets the future Mrs. Dolego and to bring her back to Phoenix.  (He traveled there because he no longer trusted UkrainianBrides.com.)   (Nursery web spiders do better than Cary.)   KNXV-TV

Oh! Dear!

British insurers that write policies for pets reported writing a four-fold increase in that line of business from 2009 to 2010--along with, as times got tough for the pet owners, widespread fraud-- including some instances of . . killing the little darlings for the money.   Daily Telegraph

A north Georgia plastics company fired man-of-faith Billy Hyatt in 2009 for causing trouble by not wearing the de rigueur company sticker on his shirt (noting how many consecutive days the workplace has been accident-free).  Thus, lawsuit!  Hyatt wore the stickers faithfully, right up until the 666th day.  Associated Press via CBS News

Can't Stop Themselves:  Just because Tina Arie and Howard Windham were being driven in a squad car back to the station on charges of illegal drug possession is no reason for her not to service him sexually in the back seat during the ride.   Montgomery County (Tex.) Police Reporter

The Pakistan government has created a list of cool words and phrases to learn for those studying English or Urdu as a second language (coming soon: Punjabi).  (Oh, wait.  They're 1,500 words that telecom companies have to censor out of text messages.)  Lots of F-word combos, but some are a little far-fetched:  lavender, mango, deposit, fondle, quickie, flogging the dolphin . . ..   The Guardian (London)

The Pervo-American Community

Police in Pueblo, Colo., say that Kenneth Milosavich, 55, was having sex with a pit bull and in more ways than one.   KCNC-TV (Denver)

Teacher Paul LaDuke, 75, was fired and arrested on November 11th after he once again monitored class at Schaumburg (Ill.) Christian School by standing behind a podium, unhitching his trousers, and, um, well, flogging the dolphin.  He'd been a teacher there for 25 years.  WFLD-TV (Chicago)

Updates & Recurring Themes

No, no, no, not again!  A carpenter's assistant is charged with the prank of playfully jamming an air compressor hose up a colleague's back door.  This time, it was in Nicosia, Cyprus.  Cyprus-Mail.com [via Fark.com]

The huggin' Divine Mother, Indian spiritual leader Amma, from Kerala state, India, was in the UK last week and added to her lifetime record of (reportedly) 30,000,000 hugs.   Metro (London)

Below The Fold

Bright Ideas:  What if you're, like, outside at night in the cold, and all you, like, have to work with are raccoons?  Could they keep you warm?  One way to find out.  Get a cold night.  Duct-tape baguettes to your body.  Try to get comfortable.  Vice.com

Another bad idea:  An editor (me) offering a reader (you) proof that a person can survive a hereditary condition in which dozens and dozens of surface tumors grow all over the body.  No, you don't want to see.   News Limited (Sydney)

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


Well, is Steven Knox guilty of molesting the kid he was babysitting?  Close call.   Houston Chronicle

A selection from this week's The Smoking Gun collection:
Burglary and drug possession   ///   Drug and paraphernalia possession [not even a misdemeanor for that beard, though]   ///  Felonious assault

Editor's Notes

Speaking of compressed air hoses, you might be interested in this "medical"-type book of  the best x-rays three doctors could find of various items found inserted in people's you-know-where (and other bodily orifices).  Huffington Post



Newsrangers: Valerie Jones, Cassidy Hunter, Jay Scott, Gerald Sacks, Gale Walters, and Kathryn Wood, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

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 14, 2011
(datelines November 5-November 12) (links correct as of November 14)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

NOTE:  [If] and the creeks don't rise, there'll be a supplemental Pro Edition Tuesday morning.

NOTE II:  Google Groups is not functioning well today.  If you're on one of my e-mail lists, I don't know what to tell you (as of 3:45 p.m. Eastern time, Monday, 11-14-2011).  Hang on.

The Latest Inhumane Abuse Encouraged by Rupert Murdoch, plus More Things to Worry About    

★ ★ ★ ★!

Yr Editor is a lazy journalist; Simon Eroro isn't.  He won a News Limited (News Corporation) (Evil Empire) company award in November for "best scoop," for reporting from Papua New Guinea, having submitted to a ritual circumcision in order to win the trust of, and interview, West Papua tribal freedom fighters.  (Bonus:  a circumcision with bamboo sticks!)   Daily Telegraph (London)

Prince Charles, roughing it in a royal visit to Tanzania, was ceremonially titled  by the Maasai tribe as (rough translation) "the one who makes cows cry."  (Bonus helpful response from Charles, addressing the Maasais' concern about their land being developed out from under them: "If you have access to the internet, I have a website . . ..")   Daily Mail (London)

In Toronto, Sammy the cat bitch-slapped Molly the black Labrador--in fact, Molly's owner had to stop the fight on cuts after Sammy bore down in three separate sieges.  The attack led to legal action of . . not much.  It turns out that aggressive-pet laws in Ontario are aggressive-dog laws.  Sammy skated; his owners avoided the $532 vet's bill; and Sammy the cat is now the neighborhood Big Dog.  Toronto Star

Just Can't Stop Herself:  Heather Raybon was arrested in Milton, Fla., in what police called a meth lab.  It was an uneventful bust except for the fact that Raybon had been disfigured in December 2004 by a fire that investigators are sure was the explosion of a meth lab.  She still looks bad.   WALA-TV (Mobile, Ala.) [slide show Not Safe For Stomachs]

Classic Recurring Themes:  (1) Oregonian Kent Couch has scheduled tomorrow (Nov. 15th) for his historic "lawn chair over Baghdad" balloon ride.  He's a veteran daredevil but, as well, benefits from the experience, 29 years ago, of Californian Larry Walters, who ultimately reached 16,000 feet in his chair before descending near LAX (where he was arrested, by the way).  (2) New caganer in Spain's Catalan region this Christmas season:  Sarah Palin, taking a dump.  (Caganers are "Where's Waldo?"-like figurines that populate Nativity scenes, always while going potty.  There used to be a reason for that.)   Los Angeles Times   ///   Larry Walters [Wikipedia]   ///   Daily Telegraph (London)   ///   Caganer [Wikipedia]

Absurdities

A photograph of the Rhine River by German Andreas Gursky sold at a Christie's auction for $4.3 million.  [ed. Wonder what it would cost to just buy the property that Gursky shot from so you could look at the same view, live, every day?]   Associated Press via Yahoo News

Finally some good news for besieged Bank of America!  Looks like they got away with collecting $35 per overdraft charge, against 13,000,000 overdrafters (some many times), under a one-sided and inadequately disclosed policy.  They settled the class-action lawsuit for $410 million, which, if it all went to customers, would still be less than paying back just one of those charges per customer.  (Of course it didn't all go to customers; lawyers made $123 million.  Customers get $27 each.)  (Judge: The case yielded a "superb" result for customers!)   Associated Press via WFAA-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Losers

Jack Shay, a city councilman in Ketchikan, Alaska, uses a computer but is unfamiliar with the concept of the "print queue," and as a result was exposed by a technician for having a major child-porn collection.   Anchorage Daily News

Nighttime job: stand-up comedian at local clubs.  Day job:  bank robber.  (Bonus:  After being interviewed by police and released as a suspect, he decided to rob the same bank the next day.)   WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

Too Much Movie-Watching:  The Australian bank manager admitted he stole the money.  But he was forced to, by "Irish revolutionaries" who (a) gave him a fatal injection and warned they'd deny him the antidote if his mission failed, and (b) besides, they had a "high-tech" bomb they'd explode at  the bank.  (Problems:  No injection, no bomb.)   Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Australia)

Purse-snatcher Cody Smith, 18, made his getaway but was subdued by police by passersby by shrubbery.   Johnson City (Tenn.) Press

Virginia state senate candidate Patricia Phillips (a member of one of the two leading U.S. political parties) mailed a brochure reading, "Always Thank a Veteran [because my opponent will not]," illustrated with a photo of a highly decorated officer . . of the Soviet Union.   TooConservative.com blog

Oh! Dear!

It's not just Taco Bell workers who get stuck on a Saturday night shift that you have to wonder about.  Kitchen workers at Morton's of Chicago in Boca Raton, Fla., filed a lawsuit claiming, among other things, that workers used to stick asparagus down their pants "next to [the] anal/genital area" before serving it to customers.  South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The Pervo Community

From "The [suspend-all-skepticism] Zone":  A Croation man was admitted to a hospital in Zagreb with an 11-cm-long anti-aircraft shell up his back door.  Police appeared less concerned about his well-being than whether he had other weapons at home.   Agence France-Presse via Straits Times (Singapore)

Self-Improvement:  Yes, I made a secret sex video with the woman, but it wasn't for perversion.  I'm a "time and motion" engineering consultant, and I just wanted to study my performance to make myself better in bed.   Daily Telegraph (London)

Readers' Choice:  The 18-year-old man was hospitalized with 300 stab wounds, but before you sympathize, he did travel, by bus, from Phoenix to Milwaukee just to have sex with the werewolf-y woman, Rebecca Chandler, 22, who said the knife stuff was consensual but might have "got out of hand."    Journal Sentinel

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


Your classic jury duty (from The Smoking Gun's weekly collection):  DUI?   ///   Intimidating a witness?

Updates & Recurring Themes

Vodka-laced tampons have returned to the zeitgeist, from a Phoenix TV station's interview with a local doctor, who thinks men, also, exploit the technology by rectal insertion.  (Tamponing bypasses all that stomach acid that dilutes the alcohol.)  Be careful out there, warned Dr. Quan.   KPHO-TV

The latest Central/South American jail in the news featuring astonishing inventories of creature comforts is a prison in Acapulco, where a surprise raid turned up 19 prostitutes, two sacks of marijuana, dozens of TV sets, several bottles of booze, and 100 fighting chickens and two peacocks.  Associated Press via The Guardian (London)

Update:  Two weeks ago in this space, Yr Editor brought you the now-deceased Mr. Sandro Michel, who arrived at his current state by inadvisedly punching out the driver of his car, causing it to careen into a lake, resulting in Mr. Michel's drowning (but not killing his wife or daughter).  Chapter Two:  The 3-year-old girl was saved that night  . . because her buoyant diaper popped her up to the surface, startling rescuers.  Fox News

Recurring:  An 8-year-old girl accidentally swallowed a locket that lodged in her throat, causing blinding pain.  As her mother rushed her toward a hospital, the car hit a pothole, jarring the girl, and once again, happenstance intervened--dislodging the locket (into her stomach, where nature took its course).   Kentucky Post (Cincinnati)

Finally, there may not even be a medical code for this among the massive number of codes in the new edition (mentioned in NOTW M236, 10-16-2011).  Do you believe the authors could leave out "Head trauma (fatal), from standing on chair and crashing to floor while swatting at bee infestation in home"?  Huffington Post

Editor's Notes

Perhaps Rachel Maddow beat Yr Editor to publication, but the airy feeling projected by Herman Cain has been appealing to me for weeks as "performance art."  Cain, on the stump:  "A poet once said . ." (and Cain then unattributedly quoted Pokemon).  The 9-9-9 tax structure, he said, came from an unprominent retail broker in the Midwest, but its real genesis may well have been SimCity, whose tax structure is 9-9-9, too.  If it is a performance, Cain's a lot smarter than anybody's giving him credit for.  Maddow explains it all on this 15-minute video.   Vodpod.com

Speaking of art, here are 32 inexplicable photos from Russia (by a guy named Petros).  You tell me.   BuzzFeed.com

And for your consuming pleasure, Cracked.com's 14 luxury sex toys, ranging from the Gold Tickler ($4,506) and the Platinum Vibrator with Encrusted Diamonds ($3,250) to the Pearl Anal Beads ($430) and the Gold Flake Massage Oil ($45).  Happy Christmas shopping!   Cracked.com
               
Newsrangers: Perry Levin, James Hoban, Sandy Pearlman, and Troy Mueller, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, November 07, 2011

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 7, 2011
(datelines October 29-November 5) (links correct as of November 7)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

An Instant News of the Weird Classic, plus More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

Washington County, Ore., sheriff's Sgt. Dave Thompson: "At some point in your career you say yeah I've seen a lot of bad stuff [but] you see this kind of picture and you realize maybe you haven't seen everything." The "this kind" was a photo series of a 21-year-old woman who wanted to "feel" at "one" with her beloved horse, who had just been humanely put down at age 32. So she and her boyfriend gutted it, and she stripped herself naked and climbed into the innards, sticking out only her head--joyously! There are photos, but you don't want to see them. If you look, and they're OK with you, perhaps it's time for your Risperdal. KOIN-TV (Portland)

Absurdities

America In Decline: An industry group expects Americans to have spent almost $7 billion this year on Halloween--including $310 million on costumes to dress up their pets. [ed.: That sounds high. OK, assume half that. Does that make it not disturbing?] Village Voice /// TheHorse.com

If a cop catches you merely viewing child pornography in the F State (no molesting, no manufacturing, no selling--just looking at pictures), it's maybe a bet worth taking to just kill that only witness . . because the hapless Mr. Daniel Vilca just got life in prison with no chance of parole . . for only looking. He had no priors of anything. (Federal sentencing guidelines: five or six years.) (Another F-Stater, the lucky Robert Murray, similarly situated, last week got only 30 years.) New York Times /// St. Petersburg Times

However, for reassurance that Americans aren't getting too feral on punishment, Michael Peppel, who was convicted of defrauding stockholders, suppliers, and employees of his company by at least $18 million, was sentenced in Dayton, Ohio, to seven years seven months seven days in prison. Dayton Daily News [10-24-2011]

For some reason, prominent German chef Roland Trettl cooked up haute couture to go with his haute cuisine, producing, for example, a tunic of octopus, a miniskirt of seaweed, a trouser suit of lean bacon, a scarf of squid ink pasta, and a head covering woven from lettuce. These items are "provocative and raise questions," said (unironically) the director of the Berlin museum housing them (using live models). Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Readers' Choice: Todd Remis has sued his wedding photographer for botching the mementos of the Big Day. Problems: He wants not only the fee back ($4,100) but enough money to recreate the entire ceremony (including airfare for all guests) / He waited six years to sue / It was eight years ago / And the couple have been divorced for a while now (and she moved back to her native Latvia). (Bonus: It's already been in litigation for two years, with the meter running.) New York Times

Losers

Authorities estimate that there are about 125 clandestine tunnels under the U.S.-Mexico border, for smuggling drugs and Mexicans. One of them, south of San Diego, mysteriously filled up with sewage, trapping some folks. Rule Of Thumb: Any time you do something that requires you to be "hosed off," you're a Loser. KNSD-TV (San Diego)

More Tales of the Passive-Aggressive Lovelorn: To win a lady's affection, Robbie Suhr, 48, had the idea that he would put on a disguise, kidnap her, tie her up, and leave . . and then return in short order without the disguise, to rescue her. Imperfect. WTMJ-TV (Milwaukee)

The Pervo-American Community

John Marshall, 56, pleaded no contest in Torrance, Calif., to raping his unconscious boyfriend and . . shaving his body hair. Associated Press via WFAA-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth)

No charges were filed against Washington schoolteacher David McMillen, but he agreed to retire quietly after someone spotted his camera underneath a desk, aimed upward at skirt level. KIMA-TV (Yakima, Wash.)

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


A woman was charged with stabbing a man, but the woman's after-crime helper is the better Jury Duty test: Harold Comer, 59, the world's oldest Justin Bieber devotee. Greensboro (N.C.) News-Record

What kind of woman gets bargained down to $17 for sex? Possibly, Janet Overdurf. Northwest Florida Daily News

Michael Selleneit, 53, might have had to shoot his neighbor because the neighbor had raped Selleneit's wife and threatened to kill Selleneit. Or . . since the rape and threat were only delivered "telepathically," maybe the shooting was unwarranted. Salt Lake Tribune

Pasco County (just north of Weird Central in Tampa) has the highest concentration of nudist resorts in the world so it is not surprising that, say, someone might stage a zombie-fied attack at H'ween. It might have been Kevin Fearn. WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

Oh! Dear!

Here's a cabinet official on a magazine cover in thigh boots and a rubber dress. (No, not Hillary. Not even Condi, from Kadhafi's collection. It's Romania's Minister of Tourism.) Daily Mail (London)

Below The Fold

"Husband Secretly Fed Wife Steroids So She Would Pile On Weight And Stay At Home To Look After The Children" Daily Mail (London)

"Serial Killer Writes Book For Children" (the Canadian murderer Charles Kembo, who likes "to write in semi-darkness, alone in the nude") The Province (Vancouver)

"Defendant Loses Right To A Lawyer After Allegedly Stabbing 3 Of Them With Pencils Or Pens in Court" The Herald (Everett, Wash.)

"Three-Eyed Fish Caught Near Argentinian Nuclear Power Plant" Inhabitat.com

Updates & Recurring Themes

It says here that Mr. Thomas Beatie is tying his tubes after bearing three kids for his wife Nancy. ABC News

Here come the "Sovereigns" again. An F State sheriff obtained an arrest warrant for one, Jacob Dyck, who was filing spurious deeds against dozens of unsuspecting homeowners who were not properly versed in the Dyckian version of the U.S. Constitution. More seriously, four Social Security recipients, educated way beyond their intelligence, were arrested for plotting a Timothy McVeigh-style event against the evil government. St. Petersburg Times via The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.) /// Atlanta Journal-Constitution

PETA checked in with its annual snit over the "Mullet Toss" in Terra Ceia, Fla., where competitors pitch dead fish into a distant toilet. This is said to be "disrespectful" to the mullet. WWSB-TV (Sarasota)

Finally, another heartwarming "fecal transplant" story (cue up the "gladly takes s**t from his wife" jokes)! Jerry Grant had a horrible case of the runs, plus bleeding, because C.diff bacteria had wiped out the "good" bacteria in his colon. The amazingly effective remedy: having some of his wife's healthier caca jammed up him with a colonoscope. Sweet science! Huffington Post

Newsrangers: Kathryn Wood, Craig Cryer, Jessica Binns, Steve Dunn, Norman Meluch, and Sandy Pearlman, and to the News of the Weird Senior Advisors (Jenny T. Beatty, Paul Di Filippo, Ginger Katz, Joe Littrell, Matt Mirapaul, Paul Music, Karl Olson, and Jim Sweeney) and Board of Editorial Advisors (Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Harry Farkas, Sam Gaines, Herb Jue, Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Steve Miller, Christopher Nalty, Mark Neunder, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Rob Snyder, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, and Jerry Whittle).

Monday, October 31, 2011

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 31, 2011
(datelines October 22-October 29) (links correct as of October 31)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Trial of the Century Pile (Steaming) of the Century, plus More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

In Fairfax County, Va., Kimberly Zakrzewski was found not guilty of violating the county's poop-scooper ordinance, in a citizens' complaint brought by her mortal enemies, the Cornell sisters, who introduced photos of little "Baxter"'s unscooped piles for the jury's edification. The dispositive evidence was testimony by Baxter's owner (Kimberly is just a walker) that the piles looked nothing like anything that had ever come out of Baxter. (Bonus: The owner had brought an actual pile to court that day to intro as evidence, but she decided to leave it in the car.) [ed: OK, OK, literary license on the word "steaming."] Washington Post

Student Loans' Perfect Storm: Like clockwork, college campuses continue to be recession-free zones: Tuition rises (at public schools because governments need revenue; at private schools because it can). Job prospects without degrees are more dismal than ever. Loans are floated like cocaine in front of worried, not-fully-formed adults. Proprietary schools convince marginal students they'll be superstars. Banks rake in low-risk money. But, Newsflash: Young adults can't pay it back right now. Banks: Great! More money for us in interest! (Newsflash: Maybe they can't ever pay it back. Banks: Wait . . what?) But . . why does tuition rise so faithfully? Here's one example: The University of California Berkeley has a new "vice chancellor for equity and inclusion," base salary, $194,000 (equal to 3½ new assistant professors), with his own "chief of staff" and 16 underlings. KausFiles via Daily Caller

Dictators Different From Us: Foreign Policy reminded us, apropos of Col. Gaddafi's fondness for Condoleezza Rice mementos, that other dictators had peculiarities, too. Saddam Hussein collected sleazy, tacky 1970s-style artwork (described by The Guardian's critic as "art for the barely literate, or the barely sentient"). King Farouk of Egypt had a million-dollar stamp collection, among other excesses. Michael Jordan had no greater a fan than Kim Jong-Il. The Shah of Iran was Rolls Royce's best customer. Gaddafi was sui generis, though, according to one BBC News reminiscence: "One day he was a Motown backing vocalist with wet-look permed hair and tight pants. The next, a white-suited comic-operetta Latin American admiral dripping with braid." Foreign Policy /// BBC News

Readers' Choice [story from "The (Suspend-All-Skepticism) Zone"]: It says here that Mr. Sunday Mayo, 28, claimed in court in Mandava, Zimbabwe, that he did not know he was having sex with a donkey--that it started out with him having sex with a female human prostitute. "Your worship, I only came to know that I was being intimate with a donkey when I got arrested." NewZimbabwe.com

If you happen to think America would have been better off merely (a) containing Saddam Hussein instead of (b) upending the country / spending a trillion dollars / and losing 4,400 American lives, then Scott Ritter was on your side, if you had listened to him. He was a no-BS United Nations inspector scouring Iraq for weapons of mass destruction and had concluded loudly by 2002 that Saddam was empty, that he had tried to make them, produced a few, then given up and destroyed his stockpile but continued to bluff his neighbors, i.e., he was no threat to America or Israel or anyone else outside Iraq. Cheney and Rumsfeld knew better, though: They thought Saddam was cunningly oozing WMDs--just that Ritter couldn't find them. By May 2003, as we now know, game-set-match to Ritter. In celebration, Ritter . . retired . . to resume his beloved pastime . . of masturbating for underage girls over the Internet, or rather, for cops pretending to be underage girls. He was sentenced last week to a year and a half in prison in Pennsylvania. Associated Press via MSNBC

Absurdities

Detroit may not have enough in the budget for all the cops, firefighters, and schoolteachers it needs, but it now has handsome wheelchair ramps at 13 intersections . . which have no sidewalks for the ramps to lead to. (A lawsuit settlement with the Paralyzed Veterans of America requires that when any street gets re-paved, it must get ramps, period.) Detroit News

Recurring [from Pro Edition, 9-26-2011]: Two more union lobbyists in Illinois got sweetheart deals, in 2007, based on a 1990s policy, to become state employees (for one day each), thus qualifying them for full state-worker pensions based on their union years rather than their state "years" ("years" here meaning "day"). (Seriously.) Chicago Tribune

On the Mississippi ballot in November: a constitutional amendment declaring that human embryos have full citizenship. Everyone knows what the drafters have in mind, but Slate.com readers posed some of the many dilemmas that maybe the drafters hadn't thought much about, like "If I have a life-threatening pregnancy, can I use 'self-defense' to murder that little bastard?" Slate

Lt. Anita Van Buren [Law & Order] isn't even retired three months now, and already NYPD is tanking . . having locked up Takesha Griffin, 35, for five days before bringing her to a judge (required: within 24 hours, not five days). (Bonus: She got shot; the cops were holding her until she gave up the shooter, which they used-to could do in the old days, like 40-50 years ago.) New York Daily News

Losers

Brent Morgan, 20, was charged with trying to carjack a Corvette (foiled when, because of a dead battery, he couldn't start it nor operate the door locks to free himself, and was "trapped" inside until cops came). (Bonus: You're right; he could have flipped the lock up with his fingers.) Prince George Citizen (Prince George, British Columbia)

So Antoine Willis, 19, is still in intensive care in Dakota County, Minn., because his mother's boyfriend set him on fire in retaliation for Antoine's coming to help his mother during a domestic fight. So people in the community are donating to the Antoine Willis fund to help out. So the grateful mother, and her brother . . steal Antoine's donations and go gambling. The Aristocrats! Star Tribune

Accident Fund Insurance Company of America--sssssssss! The company handles worker compensation for an assisted living facility for developmentally disabled adults in Joplin, Mo. Mark Lindquist was on duty during the May tornado and tried to protect his three Down Syndrome charges. (A lesser man would've bailed out at first siren.) The home took a direct hit; they were killed; Mark, miraculously, survived, but is totally messed up, for life, to the tune of millions of dollars. Accident Fund's response: Um, well, we only pay for workplace kinds of things, not tornado kinds of things. (Reading Accident Fund's mind on this: There's no way Mark should even be alive. Just because a miracle occurred, why do we have to pay for it?) (Update: Whoa! They changed their minds last week--four months later!) Associated Press via Washington Post

Stephen Comrie, 20, was sent to the ER at a Manlius, N.Y., hospital after being shot at a campsite. He had been making strange animal noises in the dark to scare his friends gathered around a bonfire, and one fearful guy grabbed his shotgun and fired toward the bushes. Syracuse Post-Standard

Mr. Sandro Michel was killed in an auto crash in Florida . . which he caused by punching the driver (his wife). She survived. And a married couple fighting in their car near Pineville, N.C., were both killed when they got out and continued their battle in the middle of Interstate 485 and were hit by different cars. New Times Broward Palm Beach /// Charlotte Observer

The Pervo-American Community

Convicted sex offender Charlie Price, 57, pleaded guilty in Pittsfield, Mass., but with no enhanced penalty, since the victim of his breast-groping and face-licking this time was not a woman but a cardboard cutout of a woman, in front of a Rite Aid pharmacy ("disturbing the peace"). Berkshire Eagle

Police in Indianapolis are looking for the man seen on a day care center's surveillance video breaking in and trying on little girls' swimwear before re-dressing and leaving. MSNBC [photos!]

Thomas Davis, 63, has a different approach to guilt than other possessors of child porn. Say, if others were in the process of viewing child porn on a computer, they'd turn off the computer before answering the door, so cops couldn't glimpse the screen. Second, if the police were knocking, "normal" child-porn addicts would not answer the door completely naked. WLWT-TV (Cincinnati)

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


Adam Eubank, 26, is the brother of the man who was roasting that raccoon in a parking lot in Memphis, but raccoon-roasting is OK. Adam, though, is the one with the meth-making equipment. WMC-TV (Memphis)

From The Smoking Gun's weekly collection comes this fella, charged with disorderly conduct and having drug paraphernalia, and looking remarkably like what a youthful Keith Richards looked like at age 25 or so. The Smoking Gun

Oh! Dear!

Embarrassing: Fire rescuers in Ipswich, England, laboring for 20 minutes, managed to free a father (in front of his kids) stuck in the straw dispenser at a McDonalds. And a 21-year-old man in Vallejo, Calif., is sticking to his story that the reason he was trapped in a child's swing for nine hours was a bet gone south with friends, who decided to leave him twisting. Finally, in Laguna Hills, Calif., firefighters rescued a guy stuck in the hollow of a dead tree. (Rescuer: "Why he was in the tree, I have no idea.") East Anglia Daily Times /// Times-Herald (Vallejo) /// Orange County Register

Not Worried Yet? Ryanair admitted that, yes, it did duct tape a cockpit window just before takeoff from Stansted, England, headed for Latvia. (Still, the pilot aborted the flight after 20 minutes because the window was flapping too loudly.) The Sun (London)

Updates & Recurring Themes

The auction for a piece of Saddam's buttocks from the Baghdad statue pulled down in April 2003 [Pro Edition, 10-17-2011] failed to attract its reserve bid at auction (about $400k). BBC News

Performance artist Marni Kotak [Pro Edition, 10-10-2011] performed her childbirth last week, dropping little Ajax upon the gazes of 15-20 "art patrons" at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y. London's Daily Mail's New York stringer has good background, including an unflattering portrait of the Microscope. Daily Mail

Former judge Donald Thompson [ed.: an insignificant Oklahoma state court judge but who is a News of the Weird staple, as he is the famous "penis pump" judge] was ruled ineligible for his state pension. (Bonus: And if he even as much as stubs his toe in the future, you'll read about it here. "Penis pump.") Newser.com /// Associated Press via USA Today [8-18-2006]

Newsrangers: Arpad Miklos, Andrew Hastie, Jeremy Taylor, Gerald Sacks, Telaraj Webster, Joe Kessler, Rand Eller, Christopher Lear, and Hal Dunham, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors