You're Still Not Cynical Enough
Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
June 20, 2011
(datelines June 11-June 18) (links correct as of June 20)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
The Ultimate Recyclable, Plus DIY Wart Removal and the Saliva Collector
From Yr Editor
. . . presenting the third of four consecutive weeks of downsized work (and, believe me, a lot more weird stuff happened last week, but what can I do, since I'm just
★ ★ ★ ★!
Cliche Come to Life: Well, of course, sooner or later, some Japanese researcher somewhere (turned out to be Mitsuyuki Ikeda) will figure out how to make decent-quality "beef" out of human doo-doo. That's what Japanese scientists are for. Digital Trends via Yahoo News
Why, Again?: Granted, it's one of the biggest deposits of solid granite ever mobilized, and geologists inspecting it at a quarry in Riverside, Calif., were thrilled. However, we all know that the fiscal rules have changed for government-funded institutions, especially in California, so the fact that the Los Angeles County Art Museum is spending $1.5 million to move the 340-ton rock to L.A. needs some heavy-duty re-explaining. KABC-TV (Los Angeles)
Two Scenes from a Civilization in Decline: (1) A Florida woman named Casey Anthony is on trial for murdering her toddler. This should be of concern to Anthony's family and friends and to prosecutors sworn to bring suspected murderers to justice, but it seems to send millions more into a frenzy. Question: When will we see the first homicide among spectators--the mindless masses who line up each morning for a courtroom seat and get overexcited that someone might be butting in line? (2) The "latest" female bodily woe, according to this report, is "cankles"--insufficient shapeliness in the area where the calf is supposed to taper into the ankle. It says here that Helen Mirren is the poster lady [in the same sense that Zoe Saldana is for the condition I just made up, breribs]. Associated Press via Washington Post /// Daily Mail (London)
What's Wrong with These People? This goth lady thought it would be cool to ornamentally pierce cats' ears (until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court told her no). New York Times
A rabbinical court in Jerusalem decided that the "large dog" roaming the Mea Shearim neighborhood was obviously the reincarnation of a certain secular lawyer who had disrespected the court 20 years ago and that, as such, the dog should be stoned to death. (Bonus: The dog escaped.) Agence France-Presse via Google News
First Things First: Neighbors' reactions to a man selling heroin in an F State neighborhood? Hey, it happens. Same neighbors' reactions to news that the man was drawing food stamps while making big bucks selling drugs? Kill that bastard! WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)
People Different From Us: Norris Sydnor III of Mitchellville, Md., is the type of guy who, if he as a male gets charged $1 more for a manicure than a female would, he becomes "humiliated" . . and files a $200,000 lawsuit . . which goes to trial next month. WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.)
The Mount Tabor reservoir, serving Portland, Ore., contains 7.2 million gallons of water at any one time, but they dumped it all out last week after a local drunkard peed in it (cost: $35,000). The Portland Mercury asked Water Bureau administrator David Shaff if he also dumped water when, say, a raccoon peed in it or, worse yet, died in it? Well, no, said Shaff, or "we'd be shutting it off all the time. We [merely] fish out animals or things that have blown in . . .." Well, then, why shut it down this time? Responded Shaff, "Do you want to be drinking someone's pee?" Case closed. Portland Mercury
How did the U.S. pay for all the reconstruction wrought by the March 2003 invasion of Iraq? Checks on the U.S. Treasury, to buy Iraqi dinars? Direct deposit into Iraq banks? Wouldn't work.
"Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 . . ..". (Bonus: Even after 11 years of trying to find paper trails for the shipments, the Pentagon still cannot account for 66 million of those Benjamins.) Los Angeles Times
Security guard Sean Murphy of Doncaster, England, removed a wart on his middle finger by shooting it off (with a stolen gun!). (Bonus: The shot also removed the middle finger.) Yorkshire Post
Ronald Grigg, 55, with 5 guns, climbed a cell-phone tower near Cave Springs, Ark., and threatened people for six hours (less and less, though, as the hours passed, in that he kept accidentally dropping the guns . . until he was unarmed, and when he accidentally dropped his cigarette lighter, he decided it was time to come down). NWAOnline (Fayetteville, Ark.)
The Lord Was on His Game: Chavelo Gutierrez, 53, busy raping a 77-year-old woman near Corpus Christi, Tex., died of a heart attack in the act (or maybe it was of embarrassment). Corpus Christi Caller-Times
An auction featured an 1898 notice sent by the forerunner of Major League Baseball to clubs regarding the unseemly amount of cussing when players talk back to their tormentors in the stands, and the notice did not want for clear examples. (The letter was said to be unmailable for that reason.) Pro Edition, being a family publication, declines to repeat any of the terms. LettersofNote.com [language Not Safe For Work]
The Pervo-American Community
Recurring: Eric Carrier, 23, wanted on an indecent exposure warrant in Hookset, N.H., turned himself in. He's apparently another of those play-like infantiles who feign paralysis to get nurses to change his dirty diapers. Union Leader (Manchester)
At the University Inn in Madison, Wis., Kevin Horner, 25, was arrested, at a second-floor room's front window, basically just jumping up and down naked. Capital Times (Madison) via LaCrosse Tribune
The Pervo-Nipponese Community: Yoshihiko Mizuno, 55, was arrested in Tokyo for tricking three girls (ages 9, 10) to let him videotape them hocking saliva. (Bonus: Police estimate he's tried that schtik on 4,000 girls.) NDTV (New Delhi, India)
Your Weekly Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Jonathan Hatch, 43, stands charged with taking upskirt photos of a college student using a pen camera, but it's hard to imagine that a man like Hatch--a professor--couldn't win his women face-to-face. Greensboro News-Record
Two Wisconsin brothers brawled over . . a bottle of shampoo (which obviously was more important to one than to the other). [I'm guessing it would be Jared who cared more.] Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wis.)
A selection from this week's Smoking Gun collection, including yet another bold male hairstyle risk, a mugshot belying such a wide range of guilt that the precise crime seems irrelevant, and a very happy, happy . . imitation psychopath.
I write in admiration of Belgium, which just celebrated one year without a formal central government (owing to an intractable ethnic split): Bureaucrats are making the government's trains continue to run on time, but the important distinction is that there are no new programs, or new lobbyist tax breaks, or new entitlements, or new rights, or new expansions of agencies' turf, etc. Sweet! BBC News
Aha! We all believe that, if we spend our time "arguing" about something, it's not really about us, personally, but about some higher principle that we are, as a public service, insistent on preserving against its dangerous destruction by the likes of, y'know, you, you fascist or socialist or atheist or whatever. That is, we argue as an expression of our ability to apply rationality, to think beyond the concrete, beyond the flexing of muscle. Naaaaa, say researchers in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. We argue as just one more way in which some of us show they can kick other people's asses. (Unstated Full Disclosure: The co-authors are Hugo Mercier, who looks like he would've been a 4th grade bully magnet, and Dan Sperber, who has probably spent too much time at the Jean-Nicod research institute . . in Paris--'nuff said!].) New York Times
A New York Times piece on the latest chimpanzee/elephant/toddler doing serious artwork, Aelita Andre, age 4, does a good job of explaining the phenomenon while letting little Aelita know that she's in for burnout soon, i.e., when your career started at a London gallery at 22 months, there's just so much "contemplative and powerful" an urchin can do.
An art world that has accepted, reluctantly or not, elephant dung (Chris Ofili), urine (Andy Warhol, Andres Serrano), and sheer nothingness (Yves Klein) as art has done so principally out of an appreciation for the artist's agency: typically, what the artist has to say about society, and how this is materialized through the art. A lot of things might come from a young child, but reflection and reverence are not at the top of the list.New York Times
It says here [not sayin' I believe it] that Russian researcher Natalia Avseenko, 36, needing to get extra close to beluga whales in the Arctic, but understanding that they don't like to be touched by anything synthetic, swam naked with 'em. [Yes, in the Arctic. Yes, it is fortunate that she's been working out. Yes, yoga is great, she says, because it allows her to "regulate" her body temperature for those Arctic dives.] Daily Mail (London) [Not Safe For Work]
Time-Waster: The 13 "most repulsive" dishes from Thailand (but that's an insult if you're the kind of person who just loves his raw beef served with extra blood on top, or who loves duck beaks, or red-ant eggs, or fertilized duck eggs [feathers included!]). CNN
Newsrangers: Justin Warner, Lindsay Ball, Gary Levine, Gary Locke, Gary Miller, and Gil Nelson, and the News of the Weird Senior Advisors (Jenny T. Beatty, Paul Di Filippo, Ginger Katz, Joe Littrell, Matt Mirapaul, Paul Music, Karl Olson, and Jim Sweeney) and Board of Editorial Advisors (Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Harry Farkas, Sam Gaines, Herb Jue, Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Steve Miller, Christopher Nalty, Mark Neunder, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Rob Snyder, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, and Jerry Whittle).