Monday, January 03, 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
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
January 3, 2011
(datelines December 25-January 1) (links correct as of January 3)

K.Jay Is #1 in the World in #2, Plus Cultivating Fist Fights and Understimulation

★ ★ ★ ★!

Leading Economic Indicator (in North Korea): Gradually, the authorities are permitting outside goods into the country, with the latest being "skinny jeans" (after a relaxation of the skirts-only rule for female workers). Also new: a home-grown commodity--actual human poop--for garden fertilizer (since there's an animal shortage, owing to a prior meat shortage). Agence France-Presse via Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The Science of Boring: When faced with overwhelming banality and tedium, you have two choices: kill yourself or get really into it. Brit James Ward took the latter course, and with a vengeance. At his London conference on "boring" on December 11th, attendees experienced:
* a recitation of the names of the 415 colors in a paint catalog;
* presentations including "The Intangible Beauty of Car Park Roofs" and "My Relationship with Bus Routes";
* a PowerPoint pie-chart assembly of changes from year-to-year in colors selected and material preferred in Ward's collection of neckties;
* a report on a man's three-year, detailed charting of all of his sneezes.
Rationale, by an attendee: "We're all overstimulated. [I]t's important to stop all that for a while and see what several hours of being bored really feels like." Wall Street Journal

Ce-le-brate, Good Times! Y'all probably missed the big festival on December 28th in Ibi, Alicante, Spain--the 200-year-old tradition of mass flour-fighting. (Eggs were also involved.) And in Cusco, Peru, last week, they played in pain. The Chumbibilca community's annual Takanakuy--to bring all grudges from this past year to closure in order to start 2011 fresh--involved actual, no-pulled-punches fist-fighting. BBC News /// BBC News

That's Some Catch, That Catch-22: In New York prisons, if the sick-call doctor misdiagnoses a scumbag inmate, and the prisoner sues for negligence and wins, the scumbag keeps the payoff. However, in New York mental hospitals, if the vulnerable patient wins a lawsuit, the government gets to reduce the payoff by howevermuch it "costs" to "care" for the patient, thus leaving the patient with less money (sometimes much less) and the state relieved of bearing the full cost of its negligence. Will the policy ever be changed? Millions of taxpayers, handful of mental patients. Do the math. New York Times

Best Baseball Injuries of 2010 (certainly delighting their salary-paying owners!): Kendry Morales (Angels), who broke his leg jumping on home plate after hitting a home run; Brian Roberts (Orioles), who was out a week with a concussion after smacking himself in the head with his bat when he struck out; Chris Coghlan (Marlins), who needed knee surgery after playfully giving a teammate a congratulatory post-game shaving-cream pie; Geoff Blum (Astros), who needed elbow surgery after straining his arm putting on his shirt. St. Petersburg Times [scroll down]

And Still More Things To Worry About

Ambulances in Edmonton, Alberta, need to observe the speed limit, even when they're siren-and-lights, balls-to-the-wall (said the Alberta Health Services agency). Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News

Gone Too Far: BMW announced it has developed technology to emblazon its logo into your eyeball so that even if you close your eyes, you see it. Advertising Age

Not My Fault: Two guys walk into a bar with guns. One shoots the other. That's the bar's fault, the victim says. The bartender ought to have searched us and kept us out, and thus that guy wouldn't have shot me. (Update: Fail) Associated Press via Insurance Journal

Update: Charles Clements, 69, of Chicagoland, who blew away a 23-year-old man because his dog urinated on Clements's perfectly coiffed lawn [NOTW/Pro, 5-17-2010], was sentenced to 20 years in prison four years' probation. [Oh, the 23-year-old was belligerent, but still . . ..] Chicago Breaking News

"Official" Islamist counselors in Dubai issued about 350,000 "fatwas" in 2010 [well, not all like death sentences, just proper holy behaviors . . but still . . ..] New York Post

"Hoodoo" (white man's Voodoo) is back, to help certain limited-capacity individuals deal with the shock of the economy. If any of y'all readers are limited-capacity, here are some websites for ordering your roots and herbs and chant dialogues for the New Year. Wall Street Journal /// LuckyMojo.com /// MillersRexall.com

Weight-conscious female Chinese professionals obsess about how to be/stay wispy and try things not many of us would, like ingesting roundworm eggs--to give their stomachs some "natural" help in digesting evil food. (Bonus: Roundworms in the stomach resemble, like, capellini in residence.) Daily Mail (London)

Losers

Interesting: He stole a hard-to-hide taxi. Escalation: He then tried to register it at the DMV Contra Costa Times via San Jose Mercury News

Cardinal Rule, Violated: He returned to the scene of the crime. Stupid: He came back to express how insulted he is that he's being mentioned as a suspect. (Bonus: Here's another, returning to the liquor store he robbed the day before--wearing the same clothes.) KRIV-TV (Houston) [non-sympathy-inducing mugshots!] /// Cape Cod Today

How embarrassing--to need rescuing from a Salvation Army donation box (head in, with feet sticking out). Toronto Star

Recurring Theme: The better military experience, Army or Navy? Depends on who has the gun to settle the dispute. (It's Army.) Arizona Republic (Phoenix)

And then, here's this fella, in Manassas, Va., trying to rob a convenience store by brandishing his big, long stick. WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.)

The Pervo-American Community

Is New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan a foot man? Hard to say. He says his wife is supermodel-quality but that what they admire about each other is "a personal matter." Associated Press via WLIO-TV (Lima, Ohio) /// Deadspin

A nurse applied for a medical position at a private Los Angeles hospital, but the chief surgeon instead interviewed her for a "special" job working with his father on what turned out to be, maybe, weapons sales. And because the job was sensitive, the doctor needed to inject the nurse with sodium pentothal to be sure of the truth. And then he injected himself (in the "groin area"). Then he needed to see her naked. Then he needed to inject them both some more. And so on. Seriously. Courthouse News Service

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


Rafael Escamilla's a guy with a nice resume (probably better than yours), sitting next to a high school girl on a plane. They say he created quite a bit of inappropriate lap action under his tray table. (He itched, he said; must've spilled Tabasco sauce.) The Smoking Gun

Here are three more from TSG's weekly mugshots: a fella caught in the act of disturbing the peace /// a controlled-substance guy asking with his mug shot whether you think he's guilty /// a guy wearing a t-shirt he's not qualified to wear

Below The Fold

Introducing a new wave of ultra-creepy English teachers in South Korea: They're robots; they look like R2D2 . . well, except for the Anglo faces on the LCD face screens . . and the fact that the transmitting "teachers" are all in the Philippines. Agence France-Presse via Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

Update: We all eat more at Christmas time, and Donna Simpson stepped up, as well. She's the 644-lb. New Jersey woman who's either nuts or a super-entrepreneur, in that she wants to be the fattest woman ever and by the way, you can watch her eat on pay-per-view [NOTW/Pro, 3-22-2010, 7-5-2010]. She figures her holiday meals totaled around 30,000 calories a day. (Bonus: Her little daughter is fine, and normal. Baby daddy said he agreed to hook up with Donna because, luckily, he is "a belly man.") CBS News [photos of Donna, as usual, Not Safe For Stomachs]

Weird 0.0 . . No Longer Weird): (1) If you murder your wife, claim you're innocent because it happened during rough, role-playing sex. (2) She woke up in her casket, not quite dead. (Two days later, she was.) (3) Thought she was hiring a hit man in a bar to kill her husband. Learned the hard way that if it's in a bar, the hit man is an undercover cop. CNN /// Toronto Sun /// News and Observer (Raleigh)

More Redneck Chronicles: At the Key Underwood Memorial Graveyard in Colbert County, Ala., only certified coon dogs get buried. Certified. An "official" designated by the caretaker must look over the carcass to make sure it wasn't a wannabe coon dog. If it doesn't look like it could have treed raccoons, it doesn't get buried there. Birmingham News

Tough guy sheriff Joe Arpaio may be the old face of Maricopa County (Phoenix), Ariz., but the new one ought to be the County Supervisor, Fulton Brock, who commenced divorce proceedings when he found out that his wife was fooling around with a teenage boy and then, after that, that his 18-year-old daughter was fooling around with the kid, too. (Bonus: The wife didn't know!) Associated Press via KTRV-TV (Boise, Idaho)

Compelling Explanations: (1) My wife said I was driving that car at the time of the hit-and-run, but actually . . I wasn't even there; I was busy having a mindless hookup with a woman I'd just met. Yeah, that's the ticket. (2) OK, yes, I beat my husband with a rock, but that was because he is ill yet was continuing to smoke, which is bad for his health. (3) I admit, I regularly burglarized houses . . but only because my lawyer's weekly retainer (for defending me against my burglary charges) is so high that I had to get money somehow. (4) I wasn't burglarizing her house on Christmas Eve; I was breaking in in order to protect some expensive property of hers from two shady men I saw nearby. (Besides, I'm Pastor Sandy McGriff of that new church located in back of my husband's furniture store, and I wouldn't lie, and neither would any of my 13 alter egos.) Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.) /// Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach) /// KSAT-TV (San Antonio) /// Dallas Morning News

Editor's Notes

Weird 2.0 will be resurrected and released weekly on Tuesday mornings, starting tomorrow. Yr Editor hopes to inspire greater awareness of how absurd our world has become--beyond its population of perverts and stupid criminals. After all, you can't be sanguine about civilization's rush to hell in a handbasket. And if you're optimistic that either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party will make things better and not worse, or if you find some kind of refuge signing on to "conservatism" or "progressivism," hey, I've got some 19th-century bearer bonds I need to cash out and if you let me use your bank account, I'll split the proceeds with ya, OK? E-mail me account and routing numbers.

Meanwhile, Truth and Beauty last week on the Internet: (1) The dog that climbs ladders to help out his owner (a roofing contractor!) (2) British photographer Nick Garbutt's 20-year survey of Madagascar's wildlife (especially H.R. Giger-like things in 10, 12, 14, and 20--yikes!). (3) And, well, Holy Crap! Yr Editor, who was in the Big War [Republic of Viet Nam, May 1968-May 1969], in III Corps, traumatized by the supposedly-man-made Tunnels of Cu Chi that allowed the Viet Cong to avoid getting annihilated, now comes across the naturally-formed Caves of Viet Nam, from National Geographic. Some are tall enough to house skyscrapers! (4) And finally, what looks like rehearsal for a fight scene in The Walking Dead is just Pakistani men and children beating and slicing the crap out of each other in the Muharram Observance, the first month of the Islamic new year (Not Safe For Stomachs) WSFA-TV (Montgomery, Ala.) /// Daily Telegraph (London) /// National Geographic /// The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.)

Newsrangers: Rob Snyder, Aaron Gray, Kathryn Wood, Michael Ravnitzky, Christopher Nalty, Jan Lewis, Eugene Curry, and Whitney Birge, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors