Monday, January 10, 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
January 10, 2011
(datelines January 1-January 8) (links correct as of January 10)

Spy Vultures and Surveillance Teeth, Plus Holy Water from the Spigot and Colon-as-Roach-Motel

★ ★ ★ ★!

The "Fog of Intelligence," Indeed: Saudis found a GPS device inside a suspicious vulture, which they automatically concluded was a secret Mossad (Israeli) agent. Iran detained a 55-year-old Arab-American woman crossing over from Armenia without a passport because, they said, a microphone was discovered in her teeth. (Last month, recall, Egyptians were all fertoutst at Mossad's wiliness for allegedly sending attack sharks down the Red Sea.) BBC News /// Los Angeles Times /// BBC News

Medical Research Marches On: A.R. Kumar, M.D., and his colleagues at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia were trying hard to diagnose the patient (suspected colorectal cancer) when, according to their journal article, they glanced at the scans and saw a cockroach crawling up the patient's traverse colon. Endoscopy via Thieme eJournals

Not My Fault: Two-by-Four Paul Stone has filed a lawsuit against Britain's National Health Service, claiming they owe him big-time because, back when he weighed only 420 lbs., he asked for help, and idiotic doctors had the audacity to advise him to eat sensibly and exercise. He became so distraught at their insensitivity that he quickly inflated to 980 (though his recent gastric surgery left him at a svelte 518). Of course there are photos at the link, but they are Not Safe For Stomachs. The Sun (London)]

No One Lives Forever, Except Martha Kunkle: Mortgage lenders took two hits last week in Massachusetts's highest court for their casual protocols on mass-documenting of loans during the housing madness of the last decade. Then, the Wall Street Journal found a similar issue with the debt collector Portfolio Recovery Associates, whose continuing paperwork as recently as 2008 was vouched for and signed off on by "Martha Kunkle," who unfortunately had died in 1995--presumably with no inkling of her eventual immortality. Wall Street Journal

Kids Today! Why, in My Day, We Knew Better!: Take Kyndric Wilson, 19, for example, arrested in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on a minor charge. He had two felonies added at the jailhouse door because he apparently thought he'd need to bring some cocaine in with him to deal with the rigors of lockup. As he belatedly lamented, "[Expletive], I knew I shouldn't of [sic] brought that in . . . [expletive]." Northwest Florida Daily News

And Still More Things To Worry About

A growing family tree of transsexuals in the Czech Republic: Woman (W1) became man (M2), eventually married a man (M1) who had become a woman (W2), then learned that the son W1 had borne earlier (S1) was in the process of becoming a woman (D2). Now, M2, channeling W1, is doting proudly on his D2 (even though he actually only gave birth to S1, not D2). Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

When will all of God's children be judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin whether they have a menthol-in-their-cigarettes obsession? Wall Street Journal

We'd Rather Be Outlawing: You'd think long-persecuted and -oppressed witches and shamans would rejoice at the Romanian government's move to make them legitimate . . except that, no, legitimate people have to pay taxes. The witches are so upset that they're using the heavy artillery to protest (casting spells, with cat dung and a dead dog; with poisonous mandrake plants tossed into the Danube River). (Bonus: And here's sort of a Romanian reverse-spell, by an Orthodox priest in Timisoara, population 300,000, who, feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of doling out holy water to the multitudes of Epiphany visitors, gave up and just consecrated all the town's tap water. Must be that they can do these things in Romania.) Associated Press via Google News /// Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Fine Points of the Law: Brandon Palladino is serving 25 years for killing his mother-in-law, which of course cuts him out of any inheritance. Instead, the victim's estate passed on to her daughter, who subsequently died, herself, leaving her estate to her husband . . Brandon Palladino. Ta-daaa! New York Post

Redneck Chronicles: New York sophisticates watch the crystal ball lowered on New Year's Eve in Times Square, but in Real America, other symbols are lowered: in North Carolina, a giant pickle lowered into a barrel; in Pennsylvania, a 200-lb. bologna; in Wisconsin, a frozen carp; and in Brasstown, N.C., an opossum. CBS News

Fair and Balanced: The reporter for KPTV in Portland, Ore., wasn't about to let "Braco," the Croatian healer performing in Portland (and selling books and DVDs), get away scot-free with those claims his supporters made--that he can cure people, including cancer patients, just by gazing at them for a few minutes. Here's your journalistic rigor: "[S]everal passersby tell [KPTV] they are skeptical about the healing powers of Braco." Edward R. Murrow lives! KPTV

Michael Stone stuck to his story that the 2006 "assassination" attempt against Northern Ireland Sinn Fein leaders was not an "assassination," at all. True, he had a bagful of explosives and knives and a plan to create a diversion in the NI parliament building while he rushed inside and sliced Gerry Adams's throat, but actually, Stone said, no way. What that was, he said, was a giant piece of performance art! (Court of appeal judges said last week that they didn't even come close to believing him.) Irish Times

Games Men Play With Their Pee: SEGA Japan is testing its Toylets suite of video games in Tokyo, all based on the strength and accuracy of the male stream hitting sensors in a urinal (e.g., Is it powerful enough to erase graffiti on a video screen? Is it powerful enough to "blow" a woman's skirt up? Is it powerful enough to knock another player out of a circle, as in sumo wrestling?). SingularityHub.com

Losers

"World's Laziest Police Impersonator" (Seattle Weekly's summary of a Kitsap Sun report): A motorist up to no good, aiming to get a female driver to pull over on Washington Route 16, first tried waving her over as he drove by, then (when that failed) passed her again, motioning with his arms while showing her his hand-written "Sheriff" sign). Lazy. Seattle Weekly

When Alcohol Meets Amateur Bullfighting: At the annual Corralejas festival in Sucre province, Colombia, it looks about like this video. (Actually, it's even more disorganized and amateurish, usually.) Daily Telegraph (London)

The Pervo Community

Finland's Supreme Court said, no, they disagree with the physician that there was any ancient medical benefit to be gained by sucking on the nipples of the 20-year-old female patient undergoing a breast exam. Pure perv, said the judges. Agence France-Presse via ABS-CBN News (Manila)

Richard Troupe, 52, was arrested after unimaginatively pulling through the Burger King drive-thru, pantsless, asking the employee on duty if she'd like to hold his Whopper. Longmont (Colo.) Times-Call

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


Gavin Finnerty, 42, and Alyssa Knowles, 18, were arrested on various drug charges in Dexter, Maine, but, c'mon, who names their head shop the Trippy Hippy without beggin' to get busted? Bangor Daily News

And luckily, the charge is only DUI, but isn't one idea of a mug shot that it's a suspect's chance to look innocent? The Smoking Gun

Editor's Notes

OK, what you see is what you have to be gettin' from now on. Slimmed down Pro Edition. Yr Editor is simply no longer capable enough at wordsmithery to turn out more copy (even though, jeez, I left a lot of good stories on the table this week!). Prolly what's gon' happen is this: Most weeks, say on Tuesday or Wednesday, I'll post some links (all from the previous week), each with an introductory phrase to pique readers' interest (but no real prose prose). That way, I get the stories out, yet y'all barely notice that my vocabulary has been calcifying. Sincerely yours, Chuck Shepherd, Age 65, Feeling 85 (though, reading that Toylets story, I realize that my vocabulary is still much stronger than my stream)

Newsrangers: Kim Hayes, J.B. Sherrick, Kathryn Wood, Gerald Sacks, Warren Brown, and David Stephenson, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors