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

The Nubile Snake-Skinner, Plus Paintballed Sluts and Weird Dr. Phil

From Yr Editor

There's a Correction at the bottom, but otherwise this is just a routinely challenging post in which I choose about 25 stories out of 75 good ones, after having discarded about 200 mediocre ones. "Hand-picked" makes for hard work.

★ ★ ★ ★!

Miss Rattlesnake Charmer: Laney Wallace won the beauty title at the (53rd) annual Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Tex., where the "talent" is the ability to behead and skin a Western diamondback. [Full Disclosure: Yr Editor's fascination with this story is probably based on the sensations in the loins. A nubile chick who can skin rattlers! Oh, baby!] Daily Mail (London)

Cosmo for Jihadists: Here's yet another magazine-form public relations gimmick from Middle East jihadists to recruit new mujahadeen and/or reassure current ones, to go along with similar products from 2004 [Al-Khansaa, online-only] and last year [Inspire]. The latter, from "Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," and the current Al-Shamikha ("The Majestic Woman"), are chock full of tips on how to be a good jihadist wife-mother-sister. Daily Mail (London) [Al-Shamikha] /// PublicIntelligence.net [downloaded copy of Inspire] /// BBC News [Al-Khansaa]

This Story May Be a Mirage [See "tree/falls/forest/no sound"]: If a story is "published" only on Rupert Murdoch's iPad newspaper The Daily, does it really exist? An eccentric middle-aged gay couple adopted a small French boy in 1990, named him Digby, have traveled around the world with him, and continue to dote on him. Except, Digby's just a doll. The Daily /// Gawker

Clawdeen: If you don't keep up with the actual doll market, you'll be surprised to know that the "most popular fashion doll we have today," according to a Toys R Us executive, is a Mattel number that features a monster babe with shavable, tweezable, waxable legs. Psychologists are going nuts, but Mattel is winning. Fox News

Life Is So Unfair. Alan Patton (that boys' urinal collection agent [NOTW M206, 3-20-2011]) was sentenced last week to 5 years' house arrest for an endeavor that, it says here, in Dongyang, China, is a cottage industry. Schools there eagerly collect boys' urine and send it to local factories to soak and boil eggs in, to sweeten the value of the eggs. It's "yummy," "the taste of spring," "I'm addicted," were some of the reviews. MinistryofTofu.com [he's a Chinese blogger, allegedly translating from, allegedly, the Qianjiang Evening Post, allegedly] /// Columbus Dispatch [Patton sentencing]

And Still More Things To Worry About

Clichés Come to Life: (1) Timothy Fattig, an Arizona horror-filmmaker, was arrested at his home when police discovered his mother's decomposing corpse. (2) Just after the thingy broke out at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission disclosed a massive leak at an Ontario plant, but it being Canada, it was just leaking water. Fox News /// Associated Press via Miami Herald

No Longer WeirdStill Kinda Weird: (1) It's still pretty exciting when someone enters the throne room, ready to do his business, and finds a 3-foot-long snake staring up at him from the toilet. (2) And it's still newsworthy when people like Robert Hughes go it alone to rid their homes of, say, squirrels . . and set their houses on fire ("major damage"). Daily Record (Glasgow) /// Chicago Sun-Times

People with Too Much Money: You can send $1.6 million to Haiti to buy, say, 1.6 million bottles of clean water . . or you can buy this dog. [ed.: Yes, they still need stuff in Haiti, whose per-capita GDP is about 1/53rd what Japan's is.] Daily Telegraph (London)

Leading Economic Indicator: "Kensley Hawkins, 60, has saved $11,000 by working [while incarcerated] in a Joliet prison since the 1980s, making about $75 a month. The state [now] says he owes them for the cost of his stay." Chicago Tribune

Warning! Warning! Tsunami!Clown Convention! It's over by now, but about 200 clowns gathered in New York City last week and apparently roamed free, without supervision, visiting city hospitals, with unknown consequences. New York Daily News

Things People Believe: James Birkhead, 52, was released after serving 5½ months since his arrest for making and stockpiling bombs. He admitted to being spooked by the movie 2012 (e.g., Mayan calendar, end of the world, food riots). Louisville Courier-Journal

Inexplicable: In Dallas, Tex., a 69-year-old woman was rescued by paramedics, who found her immobile, in the bathroom, with a metal toilet-paper holder-thingy embedded in her neck, after she had fallen. [ed.: I'll level with you. I'm still not picturing this, exactly.] KRLD-TV (Dallas)

Only in the F State would a senator defy a budget crisis to give away state park land for private upscale golf courses and resorts and then require that only Jack Nicklaus's company design the courses. The senator's bill had momentum until people came to their senses, with the key question being the one asked by, of all people, Arnold Palmer, to wit, "Why just Jack's company?" Orlando Sentinel

According to Human Rights Watch, Chechnya's leader has banned women from appearing in public without full Islamic head-to-toe gear, and ordered any scofflaws shot with paintballs. Christian Science Monitor

Killer Weed: That's what Richard Blanscet told deputies in Salisbury, N.C., after he went crazy behind the wheel of his old man's Jaguar XK8 and whacked several targets, including patrol cars. The weed, "Wicked X Herbal Smoke," brought into Banscet's mind the high-pitched voice of Dr. Phil, warning of an alien invasion (causing Richard to hurry, at 100 mph, to his girlfriend's house to save her). The patrol cars' sirens and lights meant the invasion had begun. At least that's what he's sticking to. WBTV (Charlotte)

Losers

Home invader Arkeem Thomas, 19, had his mouth invaded by the fist of the resident. (Bonus: His mom showed up minutes later and tried to take back her son's gold teeth that had gotten knocked out.) TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

Adam Yarbrough, 22, pulled over in Indianapolis for various traffic infractions, made his life more difficult by offering the female cop a, y'know, session with him if she'd forget the whole thing. (Bonus: He offered to throw in $5, too.) (Double Bonus: Stud was riding a moped.) Indianapolis Star

At a French Parliament hearing (on live television) on the country's immediate response to the Japanese earthquake and nuclear crisis, MP Maxime Gremetz stormed into the meeting late and launched a tirade about how someone had blocked his car in the parking lot. Reuters

The Pervo-American Community

A suggested new, improved standard for judging indecent exposure: If it wasn't erect, what's the problem? KXAN-TV (Austin, Tex.)

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


Are These the Faces of Crime? (1) Michael Tice, 40 (What would he want with a bag of dildos?) (2) Johnathan Washburn, 23 (Does he have it in him to lay a smackdown on someone for making fun of his hair?) The Smoking Gun /// Austin American-Statesman

Are These the Faces of Perversion? (1) Gary Gunstone (Who in the world would rape a woman in full view of passing motorists?) (2) David Joseph, 40 (Who could be so busy--charged with 459 sex-related counts with teenagers?) (3) Jeffrey Maxwell, 58 (Do some perps actually try to look pervy?) Daily Mail (London) /// Orlando Sentinel /// Associated Press via MSNBC

Editor's Notes

Hoaxes! Yr Editor is just too smart to fall for the "Muslim ban on padded bras" story (with imams calling them "Devil's Cushions") that Fox News sucked up. And Yr Editor is just too smart to buy that the snake actually "die[d] from silicone poisoning" after biting a model's breast, as many news outlets reported. (If a snake died, it was surely from some other cause.) And Yr Editor is just too smart to fall for the "New York chef sells meat-flavored water" . . uh, uh-oh, umm, umm . . .. Yr Editor will be releasing this Correction in next week's News of the Weird:
CORRECTION: Two weeks ago in this space, News of the Weird fell for a hoax (for only the fifthseventh time in 22 years, covering more than 20,000 stories). The seller of meat-flavored water, originally reported as a legitimate entrepreneur by AOL News, is apparently engaged in quite elaborate "performance art." I am duly embarrassed, and I apologize to readers.

Time-Waster: Here's the viral video of the week from Oz, of the bully picking on the big fat kid (for the last time, certainly). The Age (Melbourne)

Newsrangers: Sherry Repicky, Hal Dunham, Pete Randall, Neb Rodgers, H. Thompson, and Steve Ringley, the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors