Monday, September 12, 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
September 12, 2011
(datelines September 3-September 10) (links correct as of September 12)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Hygiene Regulation, San Francisco-Style plus Many More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

Only in San Francisco (recurring theme): It's common sense in clothing-free communities that when ya sit down somewhere, you're highly likely to be leaking a few fecal coliform thingies (if not worse), so put a towel down (and make sure you sit on the same side of the towel the next time, instead of turning it over, which defeats the purpose). Only in the city of San Francisco, though, does that have to be a municipal ordinance because there are neighborhoods-- . . .. (And it's legal to walk around naked in public, as long as the man keeps it down.) (On another topic, the city announced it is exploring creating more public restrooms but without adding to the plumbing infrastructure: restrooms the size of parking spaces, in which the waste is composted on the spot. Only in San Francisco.) San Francisco Chronicle /// Bay Citizen

The day is drawing nearer when no cow will be harmed in the preparation of your filet mignon. It just comes on a sheet that was originally a cow's stem cells but was then subjected to intelligent design science! Current developmental drawback: a hamburger would now run you a half-million bucks. Mother Jones

Who isn't a sucker for a story with a corpse, a bathtub, and a meteorologist in the lede? If that doesn't bring 'em in, add "chain dog collar." The weatherman, Brett Cummins of KARK-TV in Little Rock, forecast scattered cloud cover over the evidence and a zero percent chance he'll be talking soon. ABC News

In many countries, a man can have a marriage annulled if his wife won't put out, but it says here that under Article 215 of the French civil code, the husband, Jean-Louis B., can be fined for not stepping up in bed--and here gets socked for £8,500 ($13,500). Daily Telegraph (London)


A coroner's inquest in Bradford, England, ruled that the official cause of death of the 38-year-old man in February was getting trapped in a "clothes horse"--one of those folding wooden racks that you dry clothes on. Turns out that if you fall on it and get stuck, and try to lift yourself out a certain way, that might actually tighten the thing's grip on your neck from another direction. Embarrassing. Yorkshire Post

Father of Our Country: We don't know his name, but his bio is so engaging and his turbo sperm so powerful that he has sired at least 150 babies (and counting). Now, some in-vitro fertilization customers are uneasy about the selections they might have made from the donors' catalog. What if the sperm bank doesn't screen for bad genetic things? What about potential "accidental incest"? New York Times

According to the latest Wikileaks cable dump, chief minister Mayawati of Uttar Pradesh, India, who is a champion of the lower castes, once in 2008 sent her empty jet to Mumbai to ferry back to her a pair of special shoes she just had to have. (Because she could.) BBC News


Memo to Janell Athalone-Afrika: For best results when using the "evil twin" defense (to defrauding your employer), have a twin sister to begin with. WRTV (Indianapolis)

Failure to acknowledge the properties of glass: A 49-year-old burglar is no longer with us after B&E'ing an apartment by punching through a window (and severing an artery). Columbus Dispatch

DIY Construction of a Potato Gun: John Berthiaume, 53, "got a chunk of his arm torn up. His butt cheek, his thigh and lower calf on his right side," said his brother. "A chunk of meat was hanging off of his arm; you could see to the bone." Verdict: too much black powder. WLKY-TV (Louisville, Ky.)

If you try to pull off a convenience store robbery dressed as Gumby, you won't get much respect from the clerk, who told Gumby to just go away. (And he did.) (Bonus: The clerk so much did not respect the guy that he didn't even think to report the "robbery" to his supervisor, who found out about it only when reviewing surveillance video.) Associated Press via Seattle Times

How Drunk Was He? He was hauling his boat on a trailer and crashed, and the boat and trailer landed upside down but still hitched to the truck. He tried to drive on anyway. Wilmington (Del.) News Journal

Oh! Dear!

"Miss Universe" will be crowned in Sao Paulo tonight, but more important, last week the pageant actually had to order Miss Colombia to wear underpants when she's out in public. (Sydney)

The legitimacy of the Georgian breakaway regime of Abkhazia has been officially established--recognized by the United Nations NATO the International Domino Federation, which holds next month's championships in the Abkhazia capital. (Buried lede: There is a World Domino Championship.) New York Times

Long-jumper Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova won the gold medal at the world track and field championships in Daegu, South Korea, two weeks ago. However, a video review showed that her pony tail had actually grazed the ground behind her. Revised result: 4th place. South African Press Association via Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Great-grandmother Joan Lloyd, 65, invested in breast augmentation surgery (an A to an F, it says here). Oh, dear. Daily Mail (London)

The Pervo Community

In Christchurch, New Zealand, Philip Broughton, 50, was shipped off to prison for two-plus years for the latest episode of his compulsion to plant his face into women's butts on the street (or, here, in a library). Apparently, he just clamps on until he gets pulled off. The Press (Christchurch)

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

Let the Punishment Mugshot Fit the Crime: If you're charged with possession of child porn, you don't really want to look like Harold Leasure. Or Claudio Vidal. Ocala Star-Banner /// Broward Palm Beach New Times

A case of the crabs lobsters, shrimp, and pork loin: Could Nathan Hardy be guilty? WLOX-TV (Biloxi, Miss.)

Do Not Look into Her Eyes: Josephine Smith, 22, would apparently just as soon eat your face as not. The Smoking Gun

Michael Miller, 39, charged with something or other in Colorado, is one of those people who desperately needed to get his "Look" just right. Desperately. The Smoking Gun [and be sure to click the other link on the story]

Below The Fold

"Boy, was I surprised when the bear drove off in my Prius!" (Seriously.) Contra Costa Times

Witness faints in courtroom; relatives rush to revive her with a smelly sneaker. (Usually works, they said.) St. Petersburg Times

Fun with Naming: "Scientists Develop Blood Swimming 'Microspiders'"

Undignified Deaths: Fell out of the truck, and the refrigerator landed on top of him. Man's and his girlfriend's Cessnas collide mid-air. Injected heated beef fat into her face (but not fatal all the other times!). Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader /// Associated Press via Salisbury (N.C.) Post /// WLS-AM (Chicago)

Weird 2.0

Here's another clever tax loophole for people better off than you. (For a list of clever tax loopholes for people just like you, or worse off, dial 1-800-GETLOST.) [ed. Don't dial it; that was a joke.] You're a landlord in Detroit (better still--you have multiple properties). Your property's not worth much, but you still owe a bucketload in taxes. Just let your home go into foreclosure and buy it for a few hundred bucks at a barely-public auction (unencumbered by taxes!). (Bonus: The city of Detroit couldn't possibly need the money.) Detroit News

Updates & Recurring Themes

A firefighter in North Shore, Wis., is the latest very healthy "disabled" worker weathering the recession better than you are ($50k tax-free, health insurance paid, no work required, leaving plenty of time to train for his 7 marathons, triathlon, and Ironman). [In fairness, it might be the bureaucracy's fault. It looks like they'd rather have cleared a "light duty" guy off the books entirely so they could hire a regular full-timer, and the best way to do that was to move this guy to the "disabled" roll.] WITI-TV (Milwaukee)

They're still testing whether "vampire bat saliva" can be used as a blood thinner by humans. Daily Telegraph (London) [But it says in NOTW 232 (that would be 1,000 weeks ago, 7-17-1992) that they were testing it back then. Somebody's been diverting grant money!]

Editor's Notes

Members of the faith community are sometimes quick to point out how this or that so-called "natural" disaster is really a message from The Lord that we Americans need to get with the program. But if there ever were a case in my lifetime for such an obvious message of damnation, it would be for the one state in the union that for months now has been smited with an epic drought, and then, when the message apparently didn't take, smited with epic wildfires! What more does it take to get these people's attention? Last week, news reports implied that that state's governor was in cahoots with The Lord all along, exascerbating the "natural" disasters by purposely urging cutbacks in the funding necessary to deal with the emergencies. But what could the message be that He intends to send? Reuters (5-19-2011) [resurrected last week by]

Time-Wasters (go ahead; be ashamed of yourselves): Sex Toys of the World (actually, amateur hour for sex toys). And the Sports World's Worst Businessman (Mr. Richard Fliehr aka the Nature Boy . . Wooooo!). ///

Newsrangers: Phil Phillips, Craig Cryer, Russell Bell, Thomas Tripp, Michael Duhe, Bruce Leiserowitz, David Bryant, Sam Scrutchins, Robert McClafferty, Nicole Carlini, and Jeff Jacobovitz, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors