Monday, May 30, 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 30, 2011
(datelines May 21-May 28) (links correct as of May 30)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Balloon Man, Plus Tortoise Steam, Masked Monkeys, and Clown Licenses

★ ★ ★ ★!

Urban Legend Come to Life:  Snopes.com has the history of this, usually surfacing as someone getting air pumped into his rectum (sexually, or maliciously, or accidentally, by falling on an air hose) and self-inflating like the old Pillsbury Dough Boy.  Now say hello to Steven McCormick, a truck driver in Opotiki on New Zealand's North Island, who was hospitalized even though co-workers managed to turn off, just in time, the compressed-air hose he had fallen on.  It had jabbed him, not in the rectum, but between the fat and muscle in his butt, and he indeed had started to inflate, very painfully.  ABC News   ///  Snopes.com

Galileo II:  Seven "experts" were criminally indicted in Rome because they under-predicted the 2009 central Italy earthquake that killed more than 300.  The "improbable" happened, and because of that, somebody's gotta go down.  Imagine if this catches on.  [On the other hand, it's about time there were consequences for "experts" who enable all us lazy people to believe that quantification of a risk, or even sophisticated consideration of it, deserves the reverence we give it.  Wouldn't the world be saner if all "experts" just stop mass-opining?]  Associated Press via Business Week

Fine Points of the Law:  (1) Oswind Davis was released from a New York prison last week--good news except he's been in the joint for over five years on a dubious interpretation of the law.  He had been convicted of "first-degree" assault and sentenced to 23 years, but his indictment had been quashed before trial--only nobody realized it.  When the DA found out [I guess that would be Jack McCoy--no, wait, he was canceled.], he interpreted the dismissal as covering only the "first-degree"-ness, leaving intact any lesser-included offense, such as "second-degree" assault.  Judge's reaction, last week:  OMFG!  (Bonus:  The DA's not giving up.)  (2) In Utah, Debra Brown has been found "factually innocent" of a murder for which she has already served 17 years.  You'd think . . ..  Nope.  She's out, but "factually innocent" is not good enough for the state attorney general, who is appealing.    WABC-TV   ///   Salt Lake Tribune

The Fine Line Between Genius and Psychosis:  British-born conceptual artist Leonora Carrington passed away, leaving a biography of astonishing weirdness, and not just her Dali-like art.  She didn't once serve guests omelettes for breakfast, containing their own hair that she had snipped off while they slept . . did she?  She wasn't rescued from a Mexican sanitarium by her nanny, who arrived in a submarine . . was she?  She didn't make friends with a hyena and then have it replace a debutante at a young lady's ball . . did she?  I didn't think so.  Daily Telegraph (London)

Absurdities

An FBI agent on official business transferred a deluxe Ferrari owned by a guy, legitimately, but being held as evidence in an investigation.  We all know the agent must've made the transfer oh-so-carefully, steering delicately, at probably 15-20 mph max, to make sure nothing happened to the car, right?  Well, he totaled it, and according to the Justice Department, that's too bad.  Associated Press via Seattle Times

Health service investigators in the UK found one hospital where the nurses were performing so poorly that doctors had taken to writing prescriptions for "drinking water" on patients' orders--the only way to make sure they got it..   The Independent

Developers had to rush to complete the National September 11th Memorial in New York City so it's no wonder that "restrooms" slipped their minds.  Opening "on time" means, of course, exactly 10 years later, this September. (Restroom tip:  If you gotta go, try the Century 21 department store on Cortlandt Street.)  WPIX-TV

School authorities in Edinburgh, Scotland, caved in to pressure and granted one Mary Erskine School student permission to listen to her iPod while taking her mandatory exams.  A very versatile disorder, that ADHD!   The Sun (Edinburgh)

Because of an outbreak of equine herpes in Farmington, Utah, all the show horses had to stay home this year, and the Davis County Sheriff's Mounted Posse Junior Queen Contest made the entrants ride stick ponies through their paces.  (Video must be seen to be appreciated.)   KSL-TV (Salt Lake City)

Recurring Theme--Gold Farming:  Chinese prisoners (like Liu Dali, convicted of being a troublemaker to his local government) do serious labor, as you'd expect.  But then, when their hard time ends for the day, they get stuck in front of computer screens and forced to play online games until they drop--to mine gold and other goodies that the guards eventually cash in in the game.  The Guardian (London)

Losers

Latest young perps who picked the wrong 47-year-old lady to snatch a purse from:  Raufeal Waddy and Terrel Battle, in Fayettevile, N.C. (who learned too late that the woman has an extended family and network of friends, 15 of whom were nearby).  Fayetteville Observer

An unnamed, estranged couple in St. Lucie County, Fla., flooded their home during "discussions" about reconciling--the wife having fired off shots at a target in the bedroom closet (with the rounds penetrating the wall and busting open the washing machine).  [What "target" would one fire at in a closet?  Don't know, but both of them had been doing it.]  AWI.   TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

Jesse Robinson was arrested in Warren, Ohio, for "underage consumption."  Jesse's 21st birthday:  May 21st.  Day Jesse arrested:  May 20th.   Hamilton County Jails [link from Fark.com]

Recurring Theme:  Once again, some guy finds what looks like an explosive in the woods and, since he's not an expert, he puts it in his car and drives it to a police station (in Corvallis, Ore.).  As usual, the cops naturally shriek, run for their lives, and then call the bomb squad (which disposed of it safely).  Associated Press via KOMO-TV (Seattle)

Oh! Dear!

At the zoo in Knoxville, Tenn., they're trying to get something going for male giant tortoises Al (age: 130 and without a date since 1983) and Tex (age: 90) with females Patches, Corky, and Standup, but giant tortoises are finicky, and the females only put out when they're extremely horny, which meant getting Al and Tex out of town to Zoo Atlanta for a while.  Results and pending.  Knoxville News-Sentinel

The Pope shut down the Santa Croce monastery in Rome for lack of "liturgical, financial, and moral discipline," including taking on a former lap-dancer as a nun and staging unmonastic concerts.  BBC News

Regulation Even Republicans Can Love:  Licensing clowns!  (It's actually for all commercial entertainers of children, but so far, there's been no magician named Gacy, so "clowns" gets the lede.)   Toronto Star

To residents of Long Island (N.Y.)'s Shelter Island,  it may have been Memorial Day, with American flags galore in honor of a local hero who fell in Afghanistan, but to the Long Island Power Authority, it was . . $5 per pole rental income for holding the flags.   (State law!)   WCBS-TV

If you've been to Jakarta, this is apparently a yawner, but for the rest of us, we might be a little frightened at beggars' belief that they are more likely to make money, not less, if their leashed monkeys are wearing rubber masks of human faces.   Time.com

The Pervo-American Community

In the F State county with the most Fascistic sheriff in the state [That would be Polk, run by Sheriff Grady Judd.], deputy Robin Pagoria, 45, a recent hire after 22 years in the Marines, was busted for her sideline of arranging and taking photos of children being spanked naked, and passing them on to her boyfriend, whom she met on SpankFinders.com.  [It would not have been out of character if Sheriff Judd, fuming and sputtering, had ordered his SWAT team, plus about 100 backups in riot gear, just to put the cuffs on Robin.]  Orlando Sentinel

Kyle Pearce, 25, was arrested as he disembarked in Denver from a United Airlines flight, for having joined the Mile High Club.  Two problems:  He handled it all by himself, and he went for the glory while seated openly in the cabin.  The Smoking Gun

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


Does Samuel Kioskli, 64, appear to be a man who would secretly load the ATMs he services with counterfeit money while pocketing the real stuff?  (You have a right to remain silent, not a right to remain unlooked-at.)   San Francisco Chronicle

Editor's Notes

Next week, and for the three weeks after that, lower your expectations about Monday's News of the Weird / Pro Edition because Yr Editor will be onto another project during that time.  The news will still be browsed; tips from readers will still be read with Yr Editor's own two eyes; and the standard News of the Weird column will still be distributed each Sunday, as always.  And, by the way, there will be another of these scheduled four-week lowered-expectations tours during August.

Bonus Story:  Here's a photo from a pickup-truck crash.  How many beer cans can you spot strewn over the road?  WMUR-TV (Manchester, N.H.) (link from Fark.com)

Chuck's Time-Waster Links:  Last week's stories telling you all about . . drunken parrots   ///   aerosolized vuvuzela spittle   ///   employees wearing flea collars   ///   the patron saint of genital diseases   ///   "Show off your cha-chas"   ///   "real big thighs"   ///   Teacher gives students chloroform   ///   "Kiss my white Irish ass"  ///  Truck driver named Rocky Nail    ///   "rogue goldfish"

Newsrangers: Haydon Poole, Deane Bristow, Bruce Leiserowitz, Kathryn Wood, Conrad Heiney, and Katherine Welsh, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors