Monday, October 03, 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
October 3, 2011
(datelines September 24-October 1) (links correct as of October 3, 2011)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Why America Needs to Give South Korea a Wedgie, plus More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

South Koreans always stomp American kids in reading and math. In Seoul, they actually had to put a 10 p.m. curfew on coaching-school sessions, lest schoolkids study all night long, too. It's "the country's culture of educational masochism," writes Time. In fact, the government actually had to raid all-night study classes that cover their windows after 10. (Bonus: Even the coaching schools are selective, basing acceptance of students on test scores.) (Double Bonus: American reformers say U.S. schools ought to get tougher, like Asian schools, but Asian reformers say their schools ought to relax more, like American schools!) Time

For fashion week in London, Rachel Freire herewith presents her dress made with, um, 3,000, um, cow nipples. To resounding denunciation by animal-rights protesters, Freire asserts that she's just using "scrap[s]" that would be tossed out anyway, that she got from a tannery, that she's "recycling." "The people criticizing are clearly clueless about the amount of leather wasted on a daily basis." (Ignored in all the brouhaha: Why would someone make a dress out of nipples, anyway?) Treehugger.com

One Russian lunatic in no danger of being put away by the government: Mother Fotina, 62, who believes she is Joan of Arc reincarnated and that Vladimir Putin is St. Paul, and she has quite a following. (Spiegel Online: "Polls show 57 percent of Russians notice 'signs of a Putin cult' in the country.") Says Mother, "God has appointed Putin to Russia to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ." Spiegel Online

The annual Ig Nobel prizes were announced in Cambridge, Mass., and we learned from research that people make either better--or worse (it depends)--decisions when they have to pee; that high achievers procrastinate like everyone else except that their distractions need to be more important than those of low achievers; and that certain kinds of beetles will mistakenly try to mate with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle. Pastor Harold Camping and five other sages shared the Mathematics prize for their complex historical calculations (mostly Biblical) assuring us that we shouldn't be here today. Huffington Post

As America's Apple is to consumer electronics, Japan's Toto is to crappers. Herewith is Toto's latest: a motorcycle that runs on the rider's doodoo. (It's a demo to show the stretch of sustainable, CO2-reducing technology.) Tokyomango blog [link from BoingBoing]

Absurdities

Chattanooga (Tenn.) Municipal Airport officials, seeking a catchier brand name, hired Big Communications of Birmingham for the huge bucks to come up with one. New, improved name: "Chattanooga Airport." Times Free Press (Chattanooga)

The Omnipotence of Social-Networking: A 19-year-old Brit used Facebook to trawl for kids for naked photos and propositioned one for sex. He was sentenced to three years' supervised probation and placed on the sex-offenders' list but the judge would not ban him from online networking because the kid needed the "social traffic" enjoyed by his peers. (Facebook, of course, booted him as a sex offender, but there are others.) Daily Mail

'Bama Justice: Death-Row Cory Maples at least has one chance for U.S. Supreme Court review . . or at least he had one chance but not anymore . . because his high-powered pro bono lawyers quit the case, and the state of Alabama never quite got around to telling Maples until it was too late to file. Now Maples has to beg the Court to listen to him, anyway. [Justice sucks, but the Crimson Tide football team is highly efficient!] Washington Post

Savoir faire: Wasatch County, Utah, deputies finally got the 20-year-old guy fleeing the traffic stop to give up--despite the guy's actually calling 911 to tell the deputies they "needed to leave him alone." KSL-TV (Salt Lake City)

Losers

The exceptionally unimaginative Charles Burnett, 29, was arrested after robbing the same midtown-Manhattan Sovereign bank branch for the third time in three days. (Bonus: Looks like he used first two days' loot to hire a limo service for the third job.) New York Post

OK For Me But Not For Thee: (1) The New Orleans Police Dept's "integrity control officer" for the division that reviews red-light tickets was (allegedly) caught making his personal license plate unreadable to red-light cameras. (2) KTRK-TV reports that one of seven Houston cops who was disciplined for deliberately covering up DUI evidence against a fellow cop has been promoted . . to supervising the DUI task force. WWL-TV (New Orleans) /// KTRK-TV

Not Even If Her Life Depended on It: Diane McCloud was looking at 27 months in prison but needed a heart transplant, and the judge let her skate, to try and work it out. Staying clean to save her life? Insufficient incentive. She stole from three drug stores, and the judge sent her back to the joint. New York Post

Pervs on Parade

Danny Parker, 41, won his case on appeal and was released from prison because it's not a crime in the F State to paste photos of little girls' faces upon photos of nude adult women. (Court: It's merely "loathsome.") In Arkansas, however, it can still be illegal harassment if a troll like Stephen Simmons, 49, hacks a family's Facebook photos by inserting a random nude person into the pictures. The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.) // KATV (Little Rock)

Update: Richard Osbourne, the guy from last week with the sex tape of himself working out on the Cabbage Patch dolls with widened mouths, awaits sentencing this week in Ottawa. One set of charges the judge did not go for: whether X-rated images of Bart, Lisa, and Milhouse constituted "child porn." No, said the judge . . on the ground that it was impossible to tell their ages with any certainty. Ottawa Sun

And at the Tamale Teaching Hospital in the Northern Region of Ghana, doctors removed a safety pin from a man's stuff on September 12th and confronted him skeptically about his story that he must've accidentally rolled over on it at night (at which point he admitted the truth). [This is Pro Edition; I don't need to spell everything out.] ModernGhana.com

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


Amanda Rice Stevenson, 96, charged with murder (.357 Magnum). Broward Palm Beach New Times

Does this home-invasion suspect even want to be seen in public again? The Smoking Gun

Oh! Dear!

Girls' crooked teeth? In America, that's thousands of bucks for orthodontia. In Japan, it's a mating advantage! And now, one Tokyo "dental salon" specializes in supplying a kinda-vampire look for the incisors that apparently drives Japanese boys crazy. CNN

Bright Ideas: Demolition derby driver Clyde Gardner, tired of his old lady, engaged a hit man, who ratted him out to police, and Gardner got 5-to-15. The hit man was actually Plan B. Plan A was for Gardner to do it himself by (1) killing a bear, (2) skinning it, (3) donning the pelt, and (4) attacking the woman with the bear's claws. (Seriously.) Associated Press via Google News

Below The Fold

"300 Paintings Worth Millions Discovered in Polish Outhouse" (inside for 66 years, oldest from 1532) Daily Telegraph (London)

The former Alfred David of Belgium injured his hip in 1968, leading to a permanent waddle, which provoked "penguin" comparisons, which led David to go all-in, eventually changing his name to Monsieur Pingouin, creating a 3,500-item penguin museum, and dressing in public in his black and white penguin suit. (His wife bailed out about the time of the name change.) Reuters

GSA, the federal government's property manager, issued an out-of-order notice last week for its regional office building in Washington, D.C., after a toilet exploded, sending a woman to the hospital. WTOP Radio (Washington, D.C.)

Dangers of Smoking: A 44-year-old woman, moving from one side of a train platform in Needham, Mass., to another and mindlessly trying to light her cigarette as she walked, wandered too close to a speeding train. Head and clavicle injuries. Boston Globe

Updates & Recurring Themes

Indeed, the Arkansas foot-fetishist believed last week to be the legendary Michael Wyatt . . is the legendary Michael Wyatt. New York Daily News

As hundreds demonstrate right now against evil bankers on Wall Street, the protests in Bangalore, India, seem more likely to succeed (unburdened, as they are, with American notions of due process of law). The government has hired drummers to gather in front of the homes of tax scofflaws and drive them crazy until they pay up. (Previously, private bill collectors have used eunuchs to invade the workplace and demand payment.) BBC News

Editor's Notes

Here's the oldest surviving two-faced cat in the world, along with the extremely-unlikely-to-survive two-faced baby, in India. Reuters /// The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)

Time-Waster: A Newsranger sent this to me. I was entertained. Maybe you will be, too. It's hardly "news." It's a "Nu Thang." YouTube

Newsrangers: Geoff Egan, Tony Pappas, Gerald Sacks, and Peter Hine, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors