Monday, May 02, 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
May 2, 2011
(datelines April 23-April 30) (links correct as of May 2)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

"Neithers" on the Rise, Plus Firefighter Nipples and the Third Eye

★ ★ ★ ★!

How Oppressed Pakistani Women Can Upgrade Their Status: The Pakistan Supreme Court said it would allow national ID cards to permit a third sex ("transgender"), thus paving the way for a significant upgrade in how the country's 50,000 lost-sexers, including eunuchs, are treated (better, in theory, than many women in tribal areas are). (Bonus: That includes affirmative-action job quotas, with the Court specifically recommending that trannies be hired as tax collectors, based on the embarrassment factor when they hang out at a scofflaw's house or job.) BBC News

The National Shame of Cats Feeling Humiliated and Dogs Feeling Mortified: Two animal-study ethicists (one UK, one Univ. of Illinois) will start an academic journal and research center to upgrade respect for our companion animals, and it all begins by banishing improper words. Critters, beasts, pets, owners, wild, "sly as a fox," "eat like a pig," "drunk as a skunk" . If we're referencing frothing, feral predators, we mustn't pre-judge them; they are actually just "free-living." Daily Telegraph (London)

Best Teaching Position in New York City: Be Marked-for-Firing: To achieve that coveted status (according to the New York Post's four-part series on how the city's kids have been so magnificently helped ignored by the teachers' union), you first need to go do something really awful that's beyond the get-counseling stage (e.g., run a cheating scam on the state tests)--so that they'll fire you and not just put you on probation. On "probation," you still have to teach class every day and have lots of meetings and evaluations. If you're "fired," your "appeal" starts, and you get full salary and benefits for three, four, five years, or more--with no classroom or other assignments. (Just show up every day with your laptop or a good book.) Sometimes, it's your union rep that drags it on, but sometimes the dragging is done almost entirely by the school system. These four teachers made $210k, $292k, $313.5k, and $354k, for exactly no contribution to education. New York Post

Absurdities

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers (after disciplining a male employee who posed shirtless for one of those charity calendars): "We cannot allow them to be showing nipples in photographs of Philadelphia firefighters[!]." United Press International

Fine-print analysis of the 9-11 responders' health and compensation bill (passed last year over relentless opposition by one of the two major parties) reveals that any of the people who cleaned up the 9-11 site and got sick would be covered under the law only after they get vetted by the FBI's terrorism watch list. (Actual terrorists might have infiltrated the clean-up crews!) But then it also got out that, thanks to the vigilant eye of the National Rifle Association, 247 people who are on terrorist watch lists were allowed, legally, to buy guns in 2010. (No such thing as a good gun regulation!) Huffington Post /// Associated Press via Chicago Tribune

Police in Norwalk, Conn., responding to a complaint from school officials, arrested a homeless woman whose primary hangout of record is in Bridgeport. Her crime: "stealing" $15,000 worth of education in Norwalk by registering her 6-year-old in school as if he lived there. (Seriously) Stamford Advocate

In Sandown, on the UK's Isle of Wight, Simon Ledger, 34, was arrested on complaint of two beach visitors of Chinese descent. His crime: He's a nightclub singer, covering the 1974 disco song "Kung Fu Fighting," which the visitors felt "harassed" by. Daily Telegraph

Oh! Dear!

(title of a current Scientific American article, reporting on the work of German biologist Oliver Zompro) "Man Discovers A New Life-Form At A South African Truck Stop" Scientific American

Losers

Springfield, Mass., double-murderer Charles Wilhite was so-o-o obviously guilty that jurors came back with their verdict remarkably quickly (in three hours, despite the complexity of Wilhite's lawyer's defense). "Unfair!" said the lawyer. Nineteen people testified, 55 pieces of evidence. The jurors should have been more conflicted, he said. They didn't show me my props! The Republican (Springfield)

Harlan Porter was informed that his teaching contract in Morrow, Ga., would not be renewed, which provoked him naturally (at 3:20 p.m., after classes had evacuated for the day) to take off his clothes and wander the halls. (Bonus: His foray apparently gave him "a new level of enlightenment," he told police, and opened up his "third eye.") Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Pervo-American Community

Doyce Dean Griffis, 47, has for several years been operating a self-serve tanning booth ($2 for 20 minutes) "in a barn behind [his] home" in Starke, Fla. Shockingly, it turns out, he has been a voyeur and a porn collector! Gainesville Sun

James Spence Jr., 58, was accused of making more than 300 sexually threatening (to "young girls") phone calls . . to hospitals, but he's not in serious trouble because they were general threats to no young girl in particular. (On the other hand . . 300?) Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)

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


The arrest was for DUI, but there could possibly be other problems. The Smoking Gun

Below The Fold

The Chicago Mob Lives: Police are investigating the Gary, Ind., farm where last week two bodies were found intertwined in a 15-ft-high pile of horse manure. Fox News

Hazmat personnel were called to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., where a patient who had ingested rat poison showed up "creating suspicious emissions." Detroit Free Press

An auto parts manufacturer in Delhi, India, who is addicted to being listed in the Guinness Book, got coverage last week for his 305 country flag tattoos (and 3,400 other tats, but that probably means counting each letter or number separately). (Bonus: "I want the children of those countries to ask me, where is the flag of our country [and then] spot it . . .." [Pervish? You make the call.] Mumbai Mirror [link from Nothing to Do with Arbroath]

She hired a hit man (i.e., undercover cop) to kill her husband, say police, and they've got her dead-to-right, but . . but . . Americans are so good at spinning and denial that Dalia Dippolito has come up with a defense: She had to play it out like that, see, because she and her husband were actually setting themselves up for a reality TV show about hiring a hit man to kill him. (Husband: "WTF?") ABC News

Speaking of logical stretches: A Riverview High School boy (unidentified) made the news in Tampa when it got out that he likes to wear girl-type high-heeled shoes to class. According to a gal pal, the heels make him feel more "confident." ["Confident"? That's not the Tampa schools Yr Editor remembers!] WTVT (Tampa)

Updates & Recurring Themes

If there's a recession, or if oil prices are spiking, restaurants know to be on the lookout for . . grease thieves! "Yellow" (uncleaned) grease normally sells on the "grease markets" for around 8¢/lb., but lately it's been hitting 18¢/lb. because after having some sort of magic done to it, it can go for 45¢. Reuters via Yahoo News

Domonique Loggins, 21, running from police in Joliet, Ill., tried to dash through Bicentennial Park downtown . . unaware that it was being used for police training (60 squad cars in the parking lot). (Bonus: Cuffed, and surrounded by blue, he still broke the huddle and tried to run away, but a joyous, festive time was had by all of the cops who made the second collar.) WLS Radio (Chicago)

Editor's Notes

Yr Editor decided almost 10 years ago that he was bored talking about himself to reporters and media hosts and consequently has turned down all requests, large and small. However, I inexplicably exchanged e-mails recently with hotshot reporter Ben Muessig of AOL News and was rewarded by being quoted in this recent piece on F State Weirdness. AOL News

Newsrangers: Graham Thomas, Lou Gendermalik, Craig Cryer, Bob Smakula, and Bruce Leiserowitz, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors