Monday, April 25, 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 25, 2011
(datelines April 16-April 23) (links correct as of April 25)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

The Unleashing of the Unemployed Superheroes, Plus Hoarding Silver the Hard Way and Abortion Made Easy

★ ★ ★ ★!

An Idea Only a Bureaucrat Could Love: That big federal stimulus has to be spent somewhere, and Workforce Central Florida used $14,000 of its $73,000 buying 6,000 satiny capes that are supposed to draw the long-term unemployed ("superheroes") out of their funk. It's the "Cape-A-Bility Challenge"! It's mean ol' "unemployment" that is "Dr. Evil." Plus: If you have a program like this, there is a compulsion to publicize it ($24,000 on media, $15,000 for billboards, $5,000 on social media). [ed. I used to be . . .. I've seen worse. Actually, I've done worse. Government budgets are often doled out as "use it or lose it." Lots of pressure to buy things.] Orlando Sentinel

Wanted: Blemish-free, Stacked Chinese Virgins: It says here that an outfit in Gushi (Henan province) intends to start selling tea of the purest possible quality (according to some ancient tradition), with leaves picked entirely by the lips of C-cup-minimum virgins and dropped into little straw cups they wear around their necks. It further says here that in the "last century," a tea seller experimented with tea that had been placed on the breasts of young virgins overnight so that the pheromones could seep into the tea. Daily Mail (London)

Why People Hate Government-Employee Unions: Scranton, Pa., police chief Dan Duffy is the object of a police union's "unfair labor practice" charge against the city because he arrested a guy on March 20th. That violates the union contract, which guarantees that only union members can "apprehend" and "arrest," and the chief is management. Times-Tribune (Scranton)

Some Day, We'll Learn What the Federal Reserve Really Does, and We Won't Like It: What it did in the aftermath of the banking collapse of September 2008 was to give guaranteed-against-loss loans not just to U.S. banks, but to banks all over the world, whether they really needed the money or not, because they didn't want commercial and consumer lending to dry up. U.S. tax dollars (eventual tax dollars, that is, not any time soon) went to outfits like Central Bank of Mexico and the Arab Banking Corporation of Bahrain (which, by the way, was at the time 59-percent owned by, um, er, the Central Bank of Libya, reputed to be an ATM of Col. Gaddafi, meaning that some of the funding of his current mercenaries may have been facilitated by, um . . ..). Rolling Stone

Absurdities

Makes Sense Until It Doesn't: (1) NY state needed to reign in previously-unregulated "day camps" by defining them as regulated "summer camps," and the best way they could think of was to emphasize dangers in "camp" activities. Resulting specified "dangerous" activities: kickball, Wiffle ball, "rover, red rover," freeze tag. Bureaucrat: "There will be flexibility in how the law is implemented." (2) Aiming perhaps for a lifetime lawsuit achievement award, the Justice Department announced that it will keep on trying to resurrect the FCC's stern, overwrought TV "indecency" standards (Do you have any recollection at all of NYPD Blue?)--by heading to the U.S. Supreme Court. New York Daily News /// Wall Street Journal

Richard Ravitch, a wealthy businessman who was drafted by then-New York Gov. David Paterson as his lieutenant governor (when then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer's junk got caught in a cookie jar), volunteered to work for free, but the state as custom had a car and driver take him to meetings around the state, and, whoa, those are taxable "fringe benefits," and Social Security and Medicare taxes must be paid. Thus, Ravitch failed in his effort to work for $0; he actually worked for $ -723. New York Times

Losers

It's hard to replace the notorious golden boy of paint-huffing, Mr. Patrick Tribett. Here's the latest candidate: Kelly Gibson of Fort Wayne, Ind., who was caught in the act, for the 48th time. WANE-TV (Fort Wayne) /// KMGH-TV (Denver) [Tribett]

It was a classic cold case--an unsolved 2004 murder--until a police investigator flipping through gangbanger snapshots came across a dude who happened to have a detailed drawing of the 2004 crime scene (with key details) tattooed on his chest. Anthony Garcia was arrested (and now stands convicted). Los Angeles Times

Oh! Dear!

Bring Lots of Towels, Please: The Easy Gym in Arrigorriaga, Spain, needed a revenue boost, and the area was teeming with nudists naturists. Thus, naked workouts on the equipment! BBC News [sorta Not Safe For Work]

Oops! (1) An ill 73-year-old woman on a cruise off Norway had to be returned to shore, but the sea was rough, and the handlers accidentally dropped her between the boats. She suffered life-threatening hypothermia from her eight minutes in the drink. (Update: She didn't make it.) (2) They're soccer players; they don't use their hands much. Carrying around the King's Cup (Spain's primo soccer prize), one player dropped it, and it was crushed into tiny pieces by the team bus (video). MSNBC /// Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News /// YouTube [link from Nothing to Do with Arbroath blog]

The incoming president of the American College of Surgeons was pressured to resign because of a semi-serious ditty he wrote tracing the history of pheromones, concluding with the reasonable scientific hypothesis that sperm might be a mood-enhancer on its own and that therefore all this condom stuff actually stifles romance. [Some science hypotheses are regarded as provocative, even ground-breaking; other science hypotheses are useless, disgusting intellectual terrorism. Primary distinction: Is someone being offended? If yes, only perfectly proven science is allowed to be discussed.] Retraction Watch

Civilization In Decline

Do You Have a Better Idea How to Resolve Washington, D.C.,'s Gridlock? (You Do Not.): Officials in Kyrgyzstan's parliament sacrificed seven sheep last week in an effort to drive evil spirits out of the building and set the country back on course. The Guardian (London)

Anti-abortion people in Massachusetts are foaming about a sex-education website and campaign called MariaTalks.com, which either (a) educates newly-pregnant teenagers by demystifying the choice they face or (b) creates a booming market for abortions in the Bay State ("Abortion Made Easy" "So Easy, Even a Cave Woman). (Massachusetts has a unobvious state-law evasion of the requirement of parental permission for under-18s, and Maria'll tell ya exactly how to pull it off.) Boston Herald

The Pervo-American Community

USA! USA!: Kevin Theriault was arrested in Tempe, Ariz., for flashing and fondling himself (three times recently!) in front of Lady Liberty (as in, Statue of)--well, the woman working for Liberty Tax Service, whose hawkesses solicit customers streetside around tax time. Arizona Republic

In the Pervo-Anglo-American Community, student Joel Hardman (tee-hee!) was arrested in a ladies' room, where he had taken to posing as a mannequin in a fancy party dress in a rear corner so he could hang back unobtrusively and take in the thrilling (he said) sound of women on the toilet. Birmingham Mail

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


The F State: (1) She said/He said: Harry Gray, 67, either was stalking the woman with his electric wheelchair for three days, trying to knock her off her bicycle, or he wasn't. (2) They said/He said: They said Dennis Delisle, 48, hanging out at a skating park, pushed kids down, especially the girls so he could handle them while helping them up. He said he never touched em, that they were lying because they were jealous that he was such a stud skater. TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.) /// WKMG-TV (Orlando)

Mary Doolin was arrested for recidivist pimping in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Bonus: It's possible that there are pimps in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.) KCRG-TV (Cedar Rapids)

Kevin Signalness is in trouble after ramming through a police crime scene in his car, scattering the officers. DUI? (Check!) Stolen car? (Check!) Pants open? (Check!) Porno magazine open in the passenger seat? (Check!) Guilty? (Depends on the mugshot.) KPTV (Portland, Ore.)

Silvestre Raigoza is the human neck canvas (but that doesn't mean he's guilty). KPHO-TV (Phoenix)

Not Safe For Stomachs [I warned you!] Alfred Shepard, arrested on drug and explosives charges in Phoenix. Jailbase.com

Below The Fold

Cavalcade of Rednecks: (1) A 26-year-old woman was charged with a grab-and-go at a convenience store in Crestview, Fla.--an 18-pack of beer stuffed under her shirt. (2) A 25-year-old man was arrested for trespass after, he said, he forgot exactly which strip club he had been banned from and accidentally wandered back into that one. (3) Sharon Newling was arrested in Salisbury, N.C., for shooting at her stepson (not at him, she said, but shooting toward him to make him stop working on his car). (4) Stephanie Preston married Bobby Duncan in Greensboro, N.C., at our lady of Jiffy Lube cathedral. (5) Carey Newman, 34, was arrested in Franklin County, Ill., charged with throwing a lawn mower at another woman. Northwest Florida Daily News /// Northwest Florida Daily News /// Salisbury Post /// WGHP-TV (Greensboro) via WTKR-TV (Norfolk, Va.) /// The Southern (Carbondale, Ill.)

Rabbits hop, of course, but do they hurdle? Can you race them? Why not? There's the Kaninhop circuit, with a presence in Europe (and, allegedly, the U.S., Canada, and Japan). They even high- and long-jump. (World records are about 39 inches, either way.) And are animal-rights people going nuts at this? What do you think? (Bonus: When the rabbits aren't on the course, they're leashed--and you know perfectly well why.) Spiegel Online

Updates & Recurring Themes

Of course the real Ganges River is ridiculously polluted [NOTW 536, 5-15-1998], but now the clueless Hindu immigrant population of New York City has found a home away from home: Jamaica Bay, adjacent to JFK Int'l Airport. It's a protected federal seashore, but getting harder to use as a seashore, given all the junk offerings Hindus make in the Bay. (Bonus: Unlike the Ganges, which at least flows, Jamaica Bay basically just sits there, and the trash bobs.) New York Times

Chutzpah! James Tesi is a "sovereign" [NOTW M199, 1-30-2011], except he's a variant, a member (caucasian, to boot) of the (black) Moorish National Republic, but he's nobody, he says, subject to nobody's law, but he has now sued in federal court to get the police in Colleyville, Tex., off his case. He's an indigenous person of Amexem and owns land near Colleyville, but that's not "property" like we think of it. Colleyville Courier

A drive-thru funeral home opened in Compton, Calif., one of a handful in the U.S. [NOTW 764, 9-29-2002], but especially important for gang funerals, since the viewing glass is bulletproof. Los Angeles Times

Houses That Hoarders (and Messy People) Live in: This is wa-a-a-y No Longer Weird . . . except for the photos . . . and except for the fact that a six-year-old was hiding out under his favorite piles because he thought he was about to get in trouble! Chillicothe Gazette /// Master-Cleaners.co.uk (34 Messy Houses)

Your Annual Reminder of Easter in Cutud, Philippines, which is for the seriously no-pain/no-gain'ers (followed by more photos from around the world in which Christians give Muslims a run for their money on how viciously they can punish themselves to get on God's good side.) (Those crosses are heavy!) Daily Telegraph (London) /// Daily Mail (London)

Miscellaneous Sh*t

Yr Editor continues to be fascinated with the reviewers' pre-pub excerpts of The Pale King by the late David Foster Wallace because it is a tribute to boredom, which was a founding expression of News of the Weird way back at the time of the Nixon Administration. Sample deliciousness:
He felt in a position to say he knew now that hell had nothing to do with fires or frozen troops. Lock a fellow in a windowless room to perform rote tasks just tricky enough to make him have to think, but still rote, tasks involving numbers that connected to nothing he'd ever see or care about, a stack of tasks that never went down, and nail a clock to the wall where he can see it, and just leave the man there to his mind's own devices. New York Times [April 1]

The VA Gets Its Man: The Iraqi insurgents and the Afghan Taliban couldn't kill him, but Marine Clay Hunt finally met his match: U.S. Veterans Affairs bureaucracy (and its underfunding). He killed himself on March 31 after a two-year campaign fighting post-traumatic stress disorder with mostly shrugs from the VA, which at the end, had flat-out lost his paperwork. "He saw multiple doctors and got medication for his mental ailments. But he struggled to get disability payments after his paperwork was misplaced.," read the Washington Post obit. "You fight for your country, then come home and have to fight against your own country for the benefits you were promised," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2010. "I can track my pizza from Pizza Hut on my BlackBerry, but the VA can’t find my claim for four months." Washington Post

On a cheerier note, it was National Army Day in Iran, or maybe (second photo down) National 1980s-Style Floor Mop Day. UPI.com

Who Said It--Sheen or Trump? "We are all martyrs. Love is a martyr . . . I am a martyr. But I am also a victim. And I'm a performer." "I don't tell people what to do. They know what to do." [Answer: Charles Manson, but, be honest, you debated Sheen or Trump, didn't you?] Daily Mail (London)

Editor's Notes

An elementary school's shunning of "Easter" eggs for "spring spheres," as reported last week from KIRO-TV news in Seattle, still has not been authenticated. I am beside myself that someone might actually make up news! It could be true, though. We'll see. The Stranger (Seattle) [Warning: slo-o-o-o-ow loading page]

Newsrangers: Charles Smaistrla, Charla Claypool, Emily Lehrer, Thom Brooks, Richard Renno, Peter Hine, Neb Rodgers, Gerald Sacks, Ken Berkun, Joe Weckbacher, Kat Alessi, Michelle Jensen, Paul Walker, and Bruce Leiserowitz, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors