Monday, May 23, 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 23, 2011
(datelines May 14-May 21) (links correct as of May 23)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

My Superfund Hideaway, Plus the Honest Cop and the Toothpick Acupuncturist

From Yr Editor

Greetings from Heaven! Y'all mortals' news says the Rapture failed. They're lying, people! It's just that there are fewer of us up here than I imagined. Harold Camping, for instance, must've missed his flight. Anyway, this Pro Edition is brief because I'm just getting settled in. Best thing up here so far: unlimited porn!

★ ★ ★ ★!

Too Hip for the Room: Four households in Brooklyn believe they're out in front of everyone because they've created tax-free, innovative waterfront living quarters in the midst of a struggling neighborhood, running party houses with gals sunbathing on the docks. One residence even has rain-harvesting water supply, solar panels, and an oxygen-regenerating bamboo water filter. Reality: They're jury-rigged houseboats, and the waterfront is the Gowanus Canal Superfund stream, where the city illegally dumps a million gallons of sewage every day. Mmm-mmmm! Livin' large! New York Post

The Best Entry-Level Jobs in California: That fear of California governments running out of money was only in your imagination. Take, for instance, Newport Beach, whose 13-person full-time staff of lifeguards starts at $58,000 a year (plus overtime and generous benefits) and tops out at over $200,000 worth in value for the chief. (Or, you could be a California prison guard, paid at the rate of $36,000 annually just for training, then $45,000 to $65,000 starting, up to $124,000 after 20 years, plus generous benefits and super-generous overtime and bonuses and 85 percent retirement salary at age 55. Bonus: They're more selective than Harvard--120,000 applied last year, 900 chosen.) Associated Press via Globe & Mail (Toronto) /// Wall Street Journal [4-30-2011]

Picking on Big Bonnet: This time it was U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, who tore into another of those adult babies who wear diapers and sleep in cribs and eat Gerber's every day. This Big Bonnet was Stanley Thornton Jr., 350 lbs., and he and his girlfriend/nurse Sandra Dias were featured on the delicious National Geographic Channel series Taboo, which disclosed that both draw federal Supplemental Security Income, which drove Coburn nuts (SSI qualifications: some sort of disability plus low income; benefit: currently, $674 a month, with possible add-ons). (Similar outrage issued forth in Michigan, where Leroy Fick, 59, won $2 million last year in the state lottery but then it recently got out that Leroy never left the food stamp program after he won. He told WNEM-TV in Saginaw, "If you're going to . . . try to make me feel bad, you aren't going to do it." Bonus: It's a lottery-law loophole, and the legislature is scrambling to fix it.) Washington Times /// Detroit Free Press

He Honored the Police Application Instructions But Not the Policeman's Creed: It says no-lying on the questionnaire for applying to the San Diego Police Department . . so Robert Williams answered (#172) yes, he has had sexual contact with a child and (#175) yes, he has been involved with child pornography. One search warrant later, he was arrested instead of hired. KGTV (San Diego)

Absurdities

High school principal George Kenney (North Port, Fla.) was being investigated regarding last month's suicide of a student . . since Kenney had recently hypnotized the kid to help him deal with stress. Students defended Kenney, explaining that, well, he hypnotizes lots of kids. WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

World's Greatest Lawyer: Serial British burglar Nathan Cassady's two henchmen will do time, but the lawyer for Nathan himself convinced the judge that jail would be bad for Nathan's obsessive-compulsive disorder since he has fits when he's around things even a little bit soiled. Cambridge News

Officer Kevin Kilpatrick of the Davie, Fla., police force returned to duty. He's been out since 2003 (though fully paid) after "a rift developed" between him and the then-chief. He retires in 2014 (with full benefits). South Florida Sun-Sentinel via Orlando Sentinel

Joliet, Ill., police found illegal child porn plus 1,700 grotesque photos of dismembered women on Joshua Price's computer, but not to worry, he said. Having that comforting stash to look at actually saved three lives, calming him down when he got those impulses to murder his wife and kids. Chicago Tribune

With massive foreclosures, unemployment, and loss of tourism, Florida's government budgets are on life support, with massive cuts in government services up ahead. In other news, the school board in Tampa is vigorously patting itself on the back after spending nearly $1 million to give free iPads to every student in two schools (amount includes iPad tech training). St. Petersburg Times

A little over half of those who appeal their initial denials for Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income win. Then there's this judge in West Virginia, whose approval rate is 99.7%, including 729-for-729 so far this year. Wall Street Journal

In Katy, Tex., a 14-yr-old boy tried out a new trick where he pushes his skateboard up ahead and runs to hop on, while simultaneously grabbing hold of a helper's SUV doing 10 mph. Oops! Missed, fell, hit his head, and was "serious[ly]" injured. [ C'mon! Where were this kid's parents? Didn't they teach him any sense? ] The SUV-driving helper? Dad. KPRC-TV (Houston)

Barnes & Noble and Borders distinguished themselves by putting opaque wrapping around the current displayed issue of Dossier Journal because, after all, the cover photo is a frontal view of a topless woman. Oh, wait, check that. It's a topless man. OK, no opaque cover required. But they've still got the opaque wrapping--out of fear that their customers will think it's a topless woman because it's androgynous model Mr. Andrej Pejic (and frankly-- . . .). Huffington Post

Losers

Sounds Like a Joke: He knew a good health-care deal when he saw it. Just $200 for a full exam, at a medical clinic in Niles, Ill., that he read about in a local ethnic newspaper. The clinic, he found out, was abandoned and shuttered--except there in the doorway was the "doctor," in white lab coat, ready to go. Examination, a little acupuncture using toothpicks, dispensing of a med (actually, a bottle of "Prosperous Farmer Dietary Supplements"), collect the $200! (Bonus: Expiration date on the Supplements: February 2002.) Chicago Sun-Times

Least Competent Hit(wo)man: Camden (N.J.) cop Jeffrey Frett was planning early retirement by having his wife shoot him in the leg, which he would then explain as random mean-streets gunfire, and voilĂ ! She got up close, took her time . . and missed, and things went south from there. PhillyNews.com

Michael Jones, 31, of Staunton, Va., is a "sovereign," but hasn't quite memorized all of the back story. What he does know, however, is that if a State Trooper stops him, he is constitutionally entitled to give the officer attitude. News Virginian (Waynesboro)

The Pervo-American Community

Henry Fitzsimmons, 54, recently purchased the Envy Bar & Grill in Virginia Beach and started hiring. Five women have come forward since then claiming that he pressured them to sign a document modeled after the "Spencer Plan Agreement"--authorizing Person A to spank Person B when B has committed one of the enumerated infractions. Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk)

Paul Payton, 43, was arrested in Monroe, La., and charged with masturbating in public after a woman reported seeing him wag his stuff at her. Payton's defense: No way! Innocent! I was actually wagging at that other woman over there. The Smoking Gun

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


Mary Hargrove was charged with trafficking oxy in Supply, N.C., but really, Mary can't be guilty. She looks like your granny. [But Maggs Bennett was guilty, right? Well, yeah, but Mary could be Maggs Bennett's granny, too.] WECT-TV (Wilmington, N.C.)

The case against sex: Ruth Shrader, 50, was charged with statutory rape. She's a schoolteacher, a pastor, and the kid's godmother. WPTY-TV (Memphis)

Updates & Recurring Themes

Lawrence Bottone made News of the Weird 14 years ago [NOTW 477, 3-28-1997] when he pleaded guilty to torturing teenage boys whom he had convinced as a coach and teacher to allow him to experiment on for "research" purposes by, for example, whipping them, rubbing hot oil on them, and sticking objects under their fingernails. He did four years in the joint and, at age 52, is back now, but with an au courant raison d'ĂȘtre: training young men for intelligence-agency work, including how to endure pain when, for example, objects are stuck under their fingernails. New York Daily News

Miscellaneous Sh*t

It's still possible this thing is unofficial, in that the document shown on Jezebel.com is just a law-office draw-up and not necessarily something filed in court, but, that said, it looks authentic. In a routine Chicago lawsuit over auto repairs, the plaintiff's lawyer complains that the defendant's lawyer has purposely seated a female paralegal at the defense table for no reason other than having the paralegal's huge gazongas distract the jury while plaintiff is presenting his case [. . . distract the jury from examining the mounds of evidence, preventing them from getting a firm grip on their exhibits, thus squeezing plaintiff's case, nipping plaintiff's case in the bud . . . ]. Jezebel.com

Editor's Notes

After mentioning the Sonoma Enema last week, Yr Editor was reminded by long-time newsranger Brian Bjolin of the 1970s' Illinois Enema Bandit (which was formerly well within my consciousness but apparently one of those things that had departed with age). He was Michael Kenyon (not to be confused with great Seattle radio sports sage and NOTW fan J. Michael Kenyon, who has no relationship with enemas as far as I know).

London's The Sun is currently embroiled in a life-or-death struggle for credibility after "Kerry Campbell," the mom cited here last week [Pro Edition, 5-16-2011 (Part II)] for giving her 8-yr-old body waxes and Botox, recanted. She now says it was all lies, staged and paid for by The Sun. Earlier, when she suckered ABC's Good Morning America into interviewing the kid and her straight up, California authorities moved to snatch the kid away, and thus a full investigation is underway. Now, Campbell (real name Sheena Upton, she says) may be lying again, to be able to keep her kid (better to be a liar than an abuser), but if The Sun did stage this, it will be . . no big deal because everyone knows that some of its stories are overly fanciful. (That's what Yr Editor is for: If Sun and Daily Mail stories look like real news, reported properly and with verifiable details, they're on the table for me. However, I regularly toss many of them aside, from both papers. I admit, though, that when ABC News embraced the story, they got me.) ABC News (from last week's Pro Edition) /// The Sun (at first sticking to its story) /// TMZ.com (Sheena Upton gives up)

Newsrangers: Bruce Strickland, Donte Kendricks, and Roy Henock, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors