Monday, April 04, 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
April 4, 2011
(datelines March 26-April 2) (links correct as of April 4)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Yardwork Meets American Exceptionalism, Plus the New Gibberish and Push-Up Bras for Adolescents

★ ★ ★ ★!

Life Is Too Long: Formal, organized lawn-mower racing (there's an association and 140 races yearly in 37 states!) is best appreciated if you try to imagine Middle East Muslims on the fence about going Western or going jihad. Hark! Hear the Syrian, the Libyan: "America! Paradise! Some day, God willing, I, too, will race lawn mowers!" (Hard-to-believe reality, said this blogger: Lawn-mower racing is actually boring.) [ed. but that's because the rules require removal of the blades!] Mother Nature Network blog

Get Government's Hands OffHands On My Tasteful Color Scheme! If only Florida's unemployed and minimum-wagers were as well organized, and operatic in their lobbying, as the state's interior designers! The drapes-selection people descended upon the legislature in droves to beg to be free of onerous, employment-stifling regulationcontinue to be heavily regulated in detail (though the Republican legislature appears headed in the opposite direction). (Microeconomics 101 explanation: The fewer the licensed designers, the higher the prices they can charge, i.e., it's a cartel.) But, oh, my, that lobbying! Who knew that unregulated interior design would contribute to "88,000" deaths a year, or that unregulated carpet selection makes people dizzy and nauseous and dries up their salivary glands? St. Petersburg Times

Almost No Longer Weird By Now . . .: Abercrombie & Fitch introduced Smurf-branded dildos for toddlers last week . . no, no, no, not that, but, yes, padded bikini tops designed for girls as young as 8 (the "Ashley Push-Up Triangle"). Child psychologists went nuts, as usual [ed. Child psychologists being "aghast" and "appalled" are merely harbingers of more ridiculous fashions six months out. Recall the full-line, high-end makeup for 8-year-olds recently on sale at Walmart, mentioned in NOTW/Pro, 1-31-2011 ]. Fox News /// Makeup at Walmart

$47 Billion: That's the supposed value of America's "pet market," according to "pet stylist" Dara Foster, 39, who is omnipresent on TV advising owners guardians how to ratchet up their own status and self-esteem by purchasing things for animals. [ed. That's not really how she explains it, but . . ..] The latest in apparel is "a grunge movement in dog fashion," Foster said, and she pointed a reporter toward the dog bathrobes and denim jumpsuits, and the fluorescent styling gel and that synthetic dog mullet wig. New York Times

What's Causing the Recent Descents into Gibberish? London's Daily Mail signals to the paranoids that maybe, just maybe, the U.S. government is running mind-control experiments that have created four recent high-profile public gibberish meltdowns, with the latest being Judge Judy, who had to halt the taping of her show when she started spouting "undecipherable nonsense" (that was apparently a major step down from the usual). (You might recall the recent episodes of TV reporters in Toronto, Los Angeles, and Madison, Wis.) (Bonus: Speaking of which, Minister Farrakhan declared last week that Brother Obama attacked Brother Moammar only because Brother Obama was overtaken by demons and that a major earthquake is headed to America in retribution.) Daily Mail /// Chicago Tribune

And Still More Things To Worry About

Rachel Hachero, 17, who (mom said) had been accepted to several Ivy League colleges, was arrested for forcing mom at gunpoint to go co-sign a car loan for her. Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press

Chutzpah! Authorities in Farmington, Minn., are investigating several indignant complaints against the local EssayWritingCompany.com because, for $23 a page, the outfit was underperforming at helping students commit fraud. St. Paul Pioneer Press

Not EnoughToo Much Information: Briton Edith Braddow, 77, said her local National Health Service office has demanded "proof" (unspecified, though) that her incontinence is severe enough that she qualifies for free supplies. Nottingham Post

The United Nations Humanitarian Office reported that, indeed, some people in Kenya are having to wash out their condoms for re-use because of shortages. PlusNews.org (United Nations)

Chillicothe, Ohio,'s main fire station failed, er, fire inspection (they say because of serious budget cuts) and now will be required to have a person every hour inspect the entire premises (because the alarms don't work). Columbus Dispatch

Filipino Henson Chua was indicted in Tampa, Fla., for having illegally imported a "Raven" military unmanned aerial vehicle into the U.S. and offering it for sale on eBay ($13,000). TPM Muckraker

Livin' Large: Two county commissioners in Cleveland were indicted for allegedly accepting bribes (an artificial palm tree and a tiki hut, total value about $2,000) from a financial-services company. Plain Dealer

The March election for town trustee in the central New York village of Manlius was decided by one vote, and it turns out that an absentee ballot was counted even though the voter had died before election day. (A state court judge ruled last week that the challenge was too late.) Associated Press via Youngstown (Ohio) Vindicator

The Aristocrats! (1) Rasheen Harrison (for some reason aka "Illuminati"), experiencing some domestic discord, stripped naked in his gal's building's elevator, took a dump, smeared some on her door, set it ablaze, and lit up his clothes. (2) Shane Chavis was discovered in the men's room at the Dollar Tree store in Phoenix, Ariz., naked, with blood nearby and a syringe, heroin, crystal meth, and bits of food--before leaving and spraying silly string over several displays. (He explained later that he had been under some stress.) WCBS-TV (New York City) /// KSAZ-TV (Phoenix)

The Montana House of Representatives has apparently agreed to strengthen the state's DUI laws, but it was a struggle, what with a slew of advocates begging the government to back off. Said one, "These DUI bills are destroying small businesses." Associated Press via Havre (Mont.) Daily News

The Washington Post reported that several hours before President Obama spoke to the nation on Libya on March 28th, he received an award from five open-records advocate organizations for running a particularly "transparent" administration, records-wise. How do we know? One of the five organizations leaked the news. The award presentation was in private, unannounced, and no mention of it exists on White House records--a total press and public blackout. (Ha-ha! April Fool's! Gotcha!) [ed. Oh, wait. Um, the story's true! Seriously.] Washington Post

Losers

We don't know his name yet, but he was one of a team of lottery players who hang out at Cook's Deli in Albany, N.Y. (and who pool their ticket purchases), who each won $16 million straight up in the Mega--except for that guy. He had told the others that he'd pass that week (because he wasn't "feeling lucky"). "I feel horrible for him," said one of his former (grateful) friends. New York Post

Melissa Willis, 30, apparently wanted a parental time-out but with no friend or relative available, she knocked on a total stranger's door and asked him. The stranger watched the toddler for a while, then called police, and two days later, as Melissa tried to return to parenthood, she was arrested. WWSB-TV (Sarasota, Fla.)

Criminals Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) Charged with forging drug prescriptions, she showed up in court with a doctor's note requesting a postponement (forged, of course). (2) The incoherent shall inherit the earth, such as Joe Michael, 48, of Fridley, Minn., whose bank hold-up note read, "Give money / I gun." Associated Press via KCRA-TV (Sacramento) /// Star Tribune

Last Tuesday in downtown Montreal, a still-unknown miscreant pulled off a successful truckjacking but abandoned the vehicle minutes later, apparently when he realized that the only cargo was a quarter-ton of dirty diapers belonging to a cleaning service. Global Montreal

Undignified: A 19-year-old student was killed in a Pittsburgh suburb when, for some reason, he decided to get into a 3-point stance and then yee-hah it right at a fourth-floor window. WPXI-TV (Pittsburgh)

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


Actually, "guilty or innocent" is only one of several questions this mug shot raises. The Smoking Gun

Charged with assault and battery but surely guilty of being the world's Least Competent Shaver. The Smoking Gun

Below The Fold

Louis "Shovelhead" Garrett of Louisiana, Mo., sews quilts made of clothing donated to him, and by "clothing," I mean "panties." ("Classy" only--silk or nylon, he says.) Pitch Weekly (Kansas City) /// Hannibal Courier-Post

Recurring Themes: (1) David McCall, 72, reportedly confessed to arriving cops in Wakefield, Mass., that he had just shot his wife, and that she was dead, and that he wished she hadn't ridiculed him for missing with his first shot ("You can't even shoot" was apparently her final observation). (2) Occasionally, the best thing that can happen to you if you're choking on food is to, um, crash your car (a side effect of which might be an inadvertent Heimlich maneuver). Boston Herald /// Associated Press via Yahoo News

Is there anything orgasm can't handle? From New Scientist: "Masturbation Calms Restless Leg Syndrome" (True, it's an April 1st story, and the esteemed editors at New Scientist ought not to have allowed the practice to be characterized as the "five-knuckle shuffle," but otherwise they've journaled it up pretty well.) New Scientist /// Sleep Medicine (vol. 12, issue 4)

Destiny: Arrested for drug possession in Herndon, Va.: Mr. Kevin Cokayne. Washington Post

Newsrangers: Scott Raymond, Gil Nelson, Bruce Leiserowitz, Mark Boltz, Alfonso Peña, and John Ellwood, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors