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

Rooster-Fighters Under Siege, Plus No Friending the Grizzlies and the Glory of Muck

★ ★ ★ ★!

Nightmare in Phoenix: You're minding your own business running a little suburban cockfighting emporium until, whoa! . . Here comes the cavalry! . . Sheriff Joe! . . He's got a tank! . . Armored vehicles! . . Rolling over neighbors' lawns! . . And with his head sticking out of the tank (Michael Dukakis-style)--Steven Seagal! KPHO-TV

The Tea Party Has Washington Under Control: Federal government managers no longer dare wasting money hiring people at ridiculous salaries to do non-totally-necessary jobs! have job openings for people to run the Facebook page at the Department of the Interior ($115,000/yr), to be mailroom clerk at the Pentagon (almost $50,000/yr), to be student intern at the Federal Housing Finance Agency ($48,000/yr), and to be equal opportunity compliance officers and the Peace Corps ($155,000/yr) and the Department of Transportation (nearly $180,000/yr). Daily Caller

There Will Be Blood: Julie Sygiel and Brown University classmate Eunice Png [Bonus: not a typo!] have apparently solved a girl-type problem that America's top corporations have failed at until now. Their company (Sexy Period) creates hottie underwear, durable and leak-proof enough to be worn during curse time, even "heavy" curse time. Brown Daily Herald

"Blanket Party" Beatdown, Tonight, Indianapolis, Be There!: Jacob Barnett, 12 (and 170 IQ), knows more than I and all y'all put together, in higher math, quantum physics, advanced astronomy. He's let the air out of the Big Bang, is working some glitches out of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and says he'll let us know soon what really happened to create "time." "It didn't come from me," said his mother. "I flunked math." Best guess by doctors is that he's an Asperger's outlier, but Yr Editor is not ruling out "pod person from another dimension." Indianapolis Star

All Things Dirt: "Filth, fecal matter, and grime in all [their] forms are the subject of a new exhibition in London," reported Reuters (200 exhibits, ranging from dust and urine to vials of historic crud and odes to famous pillars of sewage and medical scum). "Dirt, the Filthy Reality of Everyday Life" is now playing at the Wellcome Collection. "I want people to leave with an expanded awareness of dirt," said the curator. Reuters via Yahoo News

And Still More Things To Worry About

Fine Points of Montana Law: It's still a "workplace injury" even if a "Great Bear Adventures" employee got hurt while sky-high on dope and attempting unsuccessfully to be buddies with a grizzly. Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Mont.)

You'd expect federal buildings, surely, to be secure after 9-11, but at the huge McNamara Federal Building in downtown Detroit, a contract guard found a "suspicious" package and stuck it in lost-and-found . . for three weeks . . before a supervisor asked, Whaziss? X-ray revealed "active bomb components." The McNamara houses the FBI, IRS, etc., and the office of Sen. Carl Levin (who might have been somewhat perturbed). Detroit News

Even though record companies have had file-sharers on the run for several years now, there's no let-up. They have demanded a copyright judgment against the defunct service Lime Wire (OK, fair enough), plus they insist that Lime Wire pay them, er, 75 trillion bucks. The American Lawyer

There's "zero tolerance" (e.g., suspending a kid for pointing his finger and thumb like a gun), and then there's this: Student Ryan Ricco, accused last year of threatening to blow up two schools in suburban Chicago, and who is free on $250,000 bond, was granted permission to play in a big school basketball tournament. Chicago Tribune

Leading Economic Indicator: KV Pharmaceutical of St. Louis recently announced that its Makena drug, which potentially reduces pre-term births by 10-15 percent, will undergo a slight price increase . . from $20 a dose to $1,500. WIOD Radio (Miami, Fla.)

Jo Yochum filed a lawsuit against a Pennsylvania franchisee of Bath Fitter (the custom-made bathroom fixtures and remodeling company). Employee Yochum did well enough that she could pay $90,000 charged by the franchisee upfront for "training," but she found out later that the "training" was to reflect on the "nature and quality" of "evil, sin, judgment day, hell, guilt and punishment . . . and free will." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Mass. Job Fair Canceled Because of Lack of Jobs" Boston Globe

General Electric earned $14.2 billion in profit last year ($5.1 billion from the U.S.). Total U.S. corporate income tax: $0.0. [ed.: Tax rate for high-tier corporate earnings is 35 percent, but that number is useful only as a talking point when trying to convince Congress to lower corporate taxes for all the businesses that can't hire (as GE has) the world's best tax technicians.] New York Times

It says here (in London's The Sun) that Briton Bob Gibbins, 60, collects the life-size, full-featured, finely-detailed, silicone-textured, er, "love dolls" (such as the proprietary Real Dolls) and has a house full of them, all nicely made-up and dressed sexily. Great photos! [ed. All right, now, I got busted recently (as I announced last week), so watch it! Those dolls cost several thousand pounds each, and Bob's a blue-collar guy. Plus, Bob's wife is supposedly into the hobby as much as he is. Plus, he swears he, unlike every other purchaser of those dolls, doesn't fool around with them! Plus, of course, Bob and Lizzie are apparently embarrassment-proof.] The Sun


Smooth: Marissa Mark, 28, was indicted in Allentown, Pa., for an attempted 2006 contract murder . . solicited on the site . . and paid for by sending $19,000 by PayPal. (No humans were harmed during the performance of this plan.) Morning Call (Allentown)

Sweet: Someone stole Mark Bao's MacBook Air and used it to, among other things, make a video of himself doing a wannabe remake of "Rubber Band Man" Tyga, thumping out a hit. Since the Mac was sync'd to lift files to the cloud, Bao recovered the video and stuck it up on YouTube, causing the thief (it says here) to give back the Mac and beg Bao to take the video down. New York Observer

Isaiah Doyle, convicted of murder, took the stand at his sentencing and begged the jury to spare his life told the jury that if he "had an AK47, I'd kill every last one of ya'all with no remorse." [ed.: OK, now, is Doyle's odds at avoiding the death penalty worse than those of an 11th seed's winning the national championship? Your call.] WWL-TV (New Orleans) /// Times-Picayune [spoiler alert!]

Bonus: These guys aren't middle-schoolers! They're "grown-ups"! Aaron Penny, 27, and Justin Williams, 36, were charged with riding down the road tossing ball bearings at oncoming cars' windshields! Couldn't be cooler! Jacksonville (N. C.) Daily News

Uncreative: Lebain Preston, 40, was arrested for allegedly stealing a 12-pack of beer using a box cutter. Before that, he served 16 years for stealing a 6-pack using a knife. Mobile Press-Register

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

The super-clean Joshua Wordell, 34, accused of breaking into two homes and . . showering. Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.)

Mario Aguilar, 52, might have had sex with a roommate even though possibly not attractive enough for it to have been consensual. KTRK-TV (Houston, Tex.)

Helen Staudinger, 92, was charged with shooting into a neighbor's house because the resident, a 53-year-old man, had earlier declined to kiss her. Ocala Star-Banner

Beyond WTF? Cameron Spurback was arrested right here in Weird Central and accused, of course, of doing something weird with a kid. Tampa Tribune

Below The Fold

Taking the Concept of "Beat Reporter" to a New Level: Apparently, to write a good obituary for Elizabeth Taylor last week, the New York Times called on a fella who died in 2005. Village Voice

That new, greasy fast-food joint in Waco, Tex., doing bang-up business? Fat Ho Burgers (serving skinny fries). KWTX-TV (Waco)

A man can't protect himself too much when it comes to keeping burglars out overprotected himself, getting shot by his own gun-cabinet trap. He's no longer with us. The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, S.C.)

True or False: If a Papa John's store has just been robbed by a stick-up man at the back door, then a total stranger trying to rob the store at the front door one minute later is simply not getting any money. Tulsa World

Editor's Notes

Time-Wasters: (1) This little fella is said to be 3 years old (and 132 lbs.). (2) Here's a preacher onto something: the new, improved "F" word (which is "Forgive"). Watch his megachurch congregation taking it to heart: "F" you! (No, "F" you!)

Newsrangers: Sandy Pearlman, Lisa Manikowski, David Light, Bruce Leiserowitz, Steve Dunn, Roy Henock, Steve Silverwood, Chris Schulman, and Chris Paone, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors