Monday, May 16, 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 16, 2011
(datelines May 7-May 14)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

The Code-Breaker, Plus Dangerous Hair and the Free-Range Enema Experience

From Yr Editor

Barring an early Rapture, there will be a spillover edition Tuesday morning. E-mail subscribers will get two pieces of mail this week.

★ ★ ★ ★!

This Is the Final Pro Edition: On Saturday (May 21st), Yr Editor and an estimated 2% of Earth's population will be transported to Heaven while the rest of y'all wander around aimlessly until you're called to burn in Hell. (Sorry 'bout that. Not my rules. No, you can't have my stuff.) Unlike Pastor Harold Camping's previously forecast Raptures (which he admits he screwed up the math on), this date has been nailed down:
[T]hat will be 722,500 days from 1 April AD33, which . . was the day of the Crucifixion. [722,500] is important because you get it by multiplying three holy numbers (5, 10, and 17) together twice. "When I found this out," Camping said, "I tell you, it blew my mind."
The Independent (London) [March 27]

The Snake Whisperer: Mohammad Shafikul Islam, 46, is Bangladesh's go-to man for catching obnoxious snakes but also for supplying performance snakes. Here he is posing with his granddaughter, whom he has wrapped in several live writhers. He mostly uses his bare hands, and has never been bitten gets bitten all the time, actually--four times hospitalized. (All told, 700,000 Bangladeshis are bitten annually, 6,000 fatally.) Mohammad's son-in-law was bitten once and his right arm paralyzed to this day--but he still hunts snakes. ("He just uses his left hand.") CNN

Now, Was I a Navy SEAL Before or After I Was Awarded the Medal of Honor? It has not yet dawned on some courts just how creepy it is for a full-grown man, possessing intelligence and bearing, and without an obvious theft motive, to carry out a continuing scheme of lying about nonexistent, "official" military exploits. Needing to be the hero of a relentless, made-up backstory as one of the nation's bravest is especially bad if you're a pastor at the Christian Bible Fellowship Church in Newville, Pa., like Rev. Jim Moats, 59. Said one Navy-authorized fake-SEAL-hunter, "It's amazing how many of the clergy" they find doing it. (The federal Stolen Valor Act, which was supposed to punish this sort of thing, was invalidated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in March, as an affront to Americans' constitutional right to lie.) Patriot-News (Harrisburg) /// Associated Press via San Jose Mercury News [Stolen Valor Act]

Attention, TeaPs! Be Sure You Don't Read This! The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that citizens have no right to resist rogue cops breaking into our homes. This of course is somewhat contrary to 800 years of Anglo-American Common Law. (You'll just have to sue the cop later, once you get out of jail or the hospital, or perhaps the executor of your estate will have to sue.) Times of Northwest Indiana

Update on the Late Artiste Extraordinaire, um, John Wayne Gacy: From now through September, Las Vegas visitors can see a show of serial-boy-killer Gacy's original paintings at the Arts Factory, with proceeds going to Nat'l Center for Victims of Crime --oops, they don't want anything to do with the show, and apparently neither do any of the other planned beneficiaries. (Gacy, along with Texas serial killer Elmer W. Henley, was the inspiration for Yr Editor's "Classic Middle Name" series.) (Bonus: Yr Editor owns a Safe-For-Work Gacy original, which ($1,000) is absolutely not available for purchase ($1,000) at any price, no matter how much ($1,000) I am begged.) CNN /// Classic Middle Name [warning: through sheer laziness, not updated in the last year two years three years]

The Sonoma Enema: When a police officer tells a reporter, "You are definitely not going to believe this," we're cooking on all burners. On Sunday afternoon, May 1st, a man, age 53, answered a knock and encountered a woman who informed him casually that she had come to give him his enema. Since he recently had intestinal surgery, he shrugged and let her. She did it. Two minutes, done, she left. He got to thinking. He called police. They called his doctor. Doctor didn't send her. End of story (so far). Sonoma Index-Tribune (Sonoma, Calif.)


Is Vladimir Putin the Apostle Paul, Reincarnated? "Mother Fotina" and a band of nun-like followers [How do cult leaders actually find followers? Is there a registry?] in a village near Nizhny Novgorod obviously very much need to worship somebody so it might as well be Putin. Daily Telegraph (London) via

Good thing the America's Founding Father's didn't have to explain Lisa Osborn of Burton, Mich. She went to the trouble of qualifying for election to the school board (the only person who did!) . . but then couldn't be bothered to actually show up and vote. Result: Other people got votes but weren't certified; Osborn, who was, got none. "I [thought I] would have gotten [at least one] vote." Flint Journal

Cliché Come to Life: Devastated in Alabama's tornado alley recently? What survivors need is food clothing housing a good drum circle they can join up with. WBRC-TV (Birmingham)

Battling for a choice street-corner entertainment spot in London, one Bulgarian living cartoon (The Invisible King) severely beat another Bulgarian living cartoon (The Silver Wizard), ending his career by rendering his cranium lopsided. Last week the King got 4½ years in prison. Daily Mail

Australian Rules footballer (helmets are for wusses) Nathan Van Someren was kicked out of a game in the 3rd quarter because referees determined that his spiked Mohawk haircut might poke someone in the eye. Geelong Advertiser


"He said if he was going down, he was going to go down in Larry Bird's jersey." That was an Oklahoma judge in 2005 explaining why he tacked 3 more years onto armed robber Eric Torpy's 30-year sentence--because Torpy asked for "33." Nowadays, though, Torpy told the Boston Globe, he regrets it. "I'm pretty sure [Bird knows about him and] thinks I'm an idiot." Actually, Torpy said, "[M]ost people do." Boston Globe

Joseph Brice, 21, was indicted in Spokane, Wash., on jihadist-related bomb-making charges. One would presume that such bomb-makers want to stay under the radar when ordering supplies and components, but Brice ordered everything under the name "Timothy McVeigh." Seattle Times

He's on the run in Pasadena, Calif., a heavy, 6-foot-tall man with dark bushy hair and goatee. He is wanted for armed robbery (with a real pistol) in which he invaded a home but stole only an Airsoft gun, which shoots plastic BBs. Pasadena Star News

Joseph Price, 61, would have been successful at the PNC Bank robbery in Okeechobee, Fla.--if he had remembered to bring a bag with him. When the teller said she didn't have one, Price slinked away. United Press International

Oh! Dear!

It happens. An unidentified senior citizen had to be rescued by firefighters in Tooting, South London . . after his testicles got caught in the "shower seat" some elderly bathers use to sit down while lathering up. The Guardian

An unidentified man had to be airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Tex., after a housecat tore him up. (Bonus: The man had the foresight, apparently, to bring a knife to the fight . . but the cat turned it against him.) Houston Community Newspapers

Update: Christopher Bjerkness, 33, returned to action in Duluth, Minn. He's the fellow with the thing for slashing all the exercise balls he can find [NOTW 933, 12-25-2005] and last Sunday allegedly struck Chester Creek Academy's physical therapy room. Duluth News Tribune

Silver-tongued Wisconsin judge Philip Kirk, indicating that he did not believe the protestations of bus driver Delton Gorges, 71, that he is heterosexual and therefore less likely to be guilty of molesting the boys in the complaint: "I think you were born gayer than a sweet-smelling jock strap." ABA Journal

The Pervo-American Community

Herman Broadus, 70, said he had merely forgotten he was about to shower and was naked when he stood in the front doorway and waved to two neighbor girls, 10 and 8. The Mississippi Press of Pascagoula reported Broadus was holding "something" in his hand; we can infer what it was because, presumably, if it were, like, a towel, it would have been reported as "towel." (Bonus Broadus Money Quote: "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.") Mississippi Press

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

Andrew Davis, 20, was arrested for hit-and-run in Bartlesville, Okla. Jurors, try to set aside the fact that he looks like an Insane Clown Posse wannabe. KOKI-TV (Tulsa)

Jeffrey Southwell, 38, was arrested for attempted murder in Gainesville, Fla., with a busy, busy neck. Gainesville Sun

Robert Norton Kennedy, 51, was arrested in Horry County, S.C., for assault and battery. Again, try to ignore the fact that, by tattoo, Robert has tried to prepare us for judging him. The Smoking Gun

A recent selection from The Smoking Gun includes the usual questionable fashion statement (a female up on drug and I.D. charges, with a "Taste The Rainbow" chest tattoo), hairstyle (man arrested on a bench warrant, right side buzzed, left side full), and shaving technique (arrested for aggravated assault).

The weekly Houston Press got into trouble with its top-ten list of Texas's "hottest" sex offenders, which made some rape victims' families feel bad, and they attempted to exercise Heckler's Veto, and now the editor has apologized . . but didn't remove the story. Houston Press

Newsrangers: Laura Billington, Roy Henock, Derek Costello, Jeff Jacobovitz, and Sandy Pearlman, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors