Monday, September 26, 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 26, 2011
(datelines September 17-September 24) (links correct as of September 26)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Joy of Suicide, Plus Many More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

New-Age designer Julijonas Urbonas offered his detailed plans for the "Euthanasia [Roller] Coaster"--a pain-free (in fact, perhaps joyful) instrument of suicide. Urbonas's loops and 1,600-foot drop allegedly supply the rider 10 Gs, which is enough force to induce blackout (and enough in some cases to produce a pre-blackout euphoria). You needn't make up your mind finally to check out until you get to the actual drop; if the first part of the ride has scared you straight, there's a fail-safe button. Discovery News

Technology Improvements (Bulletproof-Clothing Industry edition): Miguel Caballero of Colombia first moved his Medellin line to Miami but now sells in New York City, where consumers might be more demanding of thinness and style. Dinner jacket, tunic, kimono, figure-hugging trench for women, designs in plaid, dress shorts, polos and hoodies--and in Mild, Medium, or High (degree of bullet-stopping). New York Daily News

Miami Invaded By Giant, House-Eating Snails: "It's us against the snails," said a state agriculture official, of the up-to-10-inch-long, stucco-eating species that harbors rat-lung worm and excretes distinctive trails. (Bonus: They're religious symbols, too.) NPR

Readers' Choice: (1) A Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV investigation found that the city's sweetheart deals over the years between municipal government and labor unions, which result in way-abnormally high government pensions, went off the chart for bigshot Dennis Gannon, who once left city government to take over a union local yet retained his city pension rights as if the city and the union were one entity. Most spectacularly, on one day in 1994, he was hired back by the city, then immediately went on "leave," and because of that has $158,000 added to his pension account. (2) In Mestre, Italy, an elderly couple are poised to sue their son, 41, to GTFO of the house and go cook for himself and wash his own clothes. Forty-eight percent of Italian age-18-to-49s won't leave home. Chicago Tribune /// Daily Telegraph (London)

Absurdities

They say a New York City mother illegally snatched her 8 children away from foster care. They are Nephra Payne, Nephra Ceo Payne, Nephra Shalee Payne, Nephra Umeek Payne, Nephra Yahmen Payne, Nephra John Payne, Nephra Rahsul Payne, and the toddler Nefertiti Payne. (Dad's name, unsurprisingly, is Nephra Payne.) New York Times

Elsie Pawlow filed a lawsuit in Edmonton, Alberta, the week before last asking $100,000 from the makers of Stride gum because it stuck in her denture. She had to pick it out and thus "suffered depression for approximately 10 minutes." Toronto Sun

Obama administration officials briefed reporters on the President's program called Open Government Partnership, advocating "transparency and accountability" in the stewardship of natural resources. Briefing Room Rule: The officials must not be identified by name. Associated Press via Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Unclear on the Concept: Nebraska state troopers told State Fair-goer Sally Stricker that she'd have to lose the t-shirt with the pro-marijuana slogan . . because the Fair has rules against promoting "illegal" activity. (Bonus: She was at the State Fair for the concert headlined by Willie Nelson.) Lincoln Journal Star

Losers

Cliché Come to Life (i.e., brought a knife to a gunfight): (Actually, the now-deceased was there first, bragging about how he could defend himself just fine with his pocketknife. Enter Thomas Bolds, with the challenge, Let's see that pocketknife stop these eight rounds. Press-Register (Mobile, Ala.)

Juan Aguirre, 21, porno-DVD thief porno-DVD empty-case thief. The Smoking Gun

Major schadenfreude: This is the house in Ireland that was bought (allegedly by a woman named Gayle Killelea) at the height of the country's mother of all real estate bubbles, for €58m. It's now on the market for €15m. (Bonus: It needs fixing up . . bad!) The Guardian (London)

The Pervo Community

Ronnie Hobbs, 53, was allegedly caught watching child-porn cartoons . . while seated inside the playground area of a McD's in Natchez, Miss. The Smoking Gun

People who can't keep it inside their pants in public: the City Manager of Hudson, Mich., Steve Hartsel. ("It was a stupid thing to do.") Tecumseh (Mich.) Herald

The judge in Ottawa said he'd acquired Too Much Information about Richard Osborn's sexual proclivities and ordered the prosecution to stop presenting evidence. Osborn had made numerous videos for his own masturbatory delight, featuring unpornographic public photos of young girls, interspersed with sequences of his own naked self lying on top of, and humping, specially-altered dolls. Ottawa Citizen

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


The Faces of Child-Porn Hoarders? John Buddeke, 53? (Bonus: Illinois has a charge called "aggravated possession.") Or Jason Goodman, 33? (Bonus: Might be mistaken at a distance for a certain noted filmmaker.) Chicago Sun-Times /// KPIC-TV (Roseburg, Ore.) via KVAL-TV (Eugene, Ore.)

Oh! Dear!

He just lost his wife, daughter, and three of his grandchildren in a fire. Not to worry. "This is not bad after all. It's a blessing in disguise." He figures the publicity will bring more followers to his Church of Baptism with Fire & Holy Spirit in Brisbane, Australia. A blessing! New Zealand Herald

Prelims at Fight Night for Mixed Martial Arts in Lancashire, England: two 8-year-olds, no headgear, going 10 minutes (but please, wrestling only). The Guardian (London)

The Moroccan artist Mehdi-Georges Lahlou says he "perfectly understands" that pictures can be misunderstood and tries to assure that he does not intend to hurt anyone. Nonetheless, there he is, onstage, naked, as verses from the Koran are projected onto his body. Middle-East-Online.com

Add deep-sea squid to the (surprisingly long) list of species that, when horny, don't care which gender they hit. The male squid get a pass, though, since it's really dark down deep, and if they sense any other squid close by, maybe their only chance at procreating is just to let loose the sperm and see what happens. New York Times

Civilization In Decline

Something called India's "Planning Commission" "updated" its poverty-line figures, in light of inflation, and concluded that, in villages, the equivalent of $190 a year is enough to avoid it (52 cents a day). Urban "poverty" kicks in under $240 a year (66 cents). BBC News

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management's inspector general derided the agency for still spending $120m a year paying dead people their pensions. The IG has apparently warned the agency before, but the problem, it says, gets worse by the year. And speaking of IGs, the U.S. Justice Department issued a report on "wasteful or extravagant expending" in travel and conferences and included, as the primary showcase expense, the $16 muffin (at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.). Washington Post /// Washington Post

Below The Fold

The guinea-pig rental business is healthy in Switzerland because it's illegal to keep just one. (They get lonely.) Spiegel Online

The Aristocrats: Merrilee Schwartz, 51, howled "like a dog" (but only after doing wheely burnouts and racing lawnmower heats). WPTV (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

The only items missing after a Colorado home break-in: some copper tubing and the resident's Bigfoot costume. Denver Post

Newsrangers: Pete Randall, Glenn Breland, and Geoff Egan, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors