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

Don't Tax Me and Don't Tax Thee But Tax That Fella Behind That Tree, and More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

But . . . No "Individual Mandate"! The government can't expand health insurance coverage unless everyone kicks in . . unless of course any objectors could just opt out altogether (no kick-in, no coverage). That would make health insurance like fire protection in South Fulton, Tenn. Rather than force everyone to kick in, the $75 annual fee is voluntary (although, no kick-in, no coverage). But then the home of non-kicker-inner Vicky Bell caught fire. Oh . . firefighters rushed to the scene, still, but only to keep the fire from spreading to Vicky's neighbors, who had kicked in; Vicky, though, now owns a pile of ashes. Kingsport Times-News

Good to Know: Centers for Disease Control's latest newsletter warned (via a case report from a sheep ranch) that you could get a C. jejuni infection (and we all know how bad that is!) if you castrate the little buggers by biting off their testicles (the elastrator-band method being too slow and the Burdizzo emasculatome maybe too expensive). Wall Street Journal

What Year Is This? According to Lisa Nassef's lawsuit, there was still at least one "recovered memories" clinic operating in 2010 (Castlewood Treatment Center, suburban St. Louis), trying desperately to convince unhappy women that their problem was that it had completely slipped their minds that they had been raped by their daddies and in satanic cults (that is, when the cultists weren't busy eating babies) and that such trauma would take hundreds of billable hours of therapy to overcome. Nassef said she tried suicide, even--not, of course, during her original unhappiness (over anorexia), but only after Castlewood convinced her what a disaster her life was. Associated Press via Fox News

Absurdities

The regional commission charged with administering homeland security in 13 Michigan counties (with a grant from state homeland-security funds) recently bought each county an Arctic Blast Sno-Cone machine. "The purchase raised some questions at a recent Montcalm County Board of Commissioners meeting," The Daily News of Greenville drolly reported. (Don't forget, the regional commission said, that sno-cone machines make ice, which can be important during emergencies!) The Daily News

Unclear on the Concept: (1) Little Emanyea Lockett, 9, said all he did was tell a classmate that their teacher was "cute"--and got suspended for inappropriate "sexual" comments. (Update: The principal who ordered the suspension was allowed to "retire.") (2) Little Mark Curran, 7, is in deep trouble for alleged "sexual harassment" of a classmate . . for kicking the boy in the stones. (Bonus: The guy was bullying Mark at the time.) WSOC-TV (Charlotte, N.C.) /// Boston Globe

"Every year I go somewhere to get some mistletoe to decorate the house. [T]he best way to get it is with a shotgun." That was Bill Robinson, 66, of Decatur, Ga., describing the local custom of shooting mistletoe from trees out in the woods. This year: The "tree" was in the parking lot of a mall and set nerves a-flutter. "I guess I assumed that everybody knew what I was doing." WGCL-TV (Atlanta)

Mr. Long Hoang caused a red alert in San Jose, Calif., as he stuck a package in a drive-by postal box downtown . . while dressed in a gas mask and body armor. Panic ensued, first-responders responded. (Bonus: He was just out jogging in his special "CrossFit" weight-loss uniform.) Mercury News

Losers

If you try to buy a car from a dealer, paying with 90 Visa gift cards with $100 each on them, the seller will be suspicious, and the sale will not go through. KVUE-TV (Austin, Tex.)

Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) An HSBC bank in New York City survived a robbery attempt with just a ceiling repair bill. The perp had fired a shot in the air as a show of seriousness . . but then cringed at what he had done and high-tailed it out, empty-handed. (2) Anthony Miranda, 24, tried a street robbery in Chicago, but (a) the victim was an Ultimate Fighter guy who beat the crap out of him, and (b) Anthony accidentally shot himself in the leg in the process. New York Daily News /// WLS Radio (Chicago)

Alisha Halfmoon, 45, was arrested in a Walmart in Tulsa, Okla., while making methamphetamines. Not "after buying ingredients for amphetamines," but "making methamphetamines" . . in the store's restroom. Tulsa World

The former Prince George's (Md.) County Executive Jack Johnson was sentenced to 7-plus years in prison for "a long path of 'kleptocracy'" (according to prosecutors). His wife Leslie got a year, herself. (She had been arrested last year in the midst of a police raid, trying to smuggle $80,000 cash out of her house stuffed in her bra and panties.) Washington Post

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


Anita Harris was charged with assault in Heflin, Ala., but there was no apparent motive, so she's probably innocent, right? WBMA-TV (Birmingham)

Michael Selleneit was charged with shooting a neighbor in November, but he might be mentally ill. Still, his wife, Melony, is the one who bought him the gun (according to police) so maybe she thinks he's sane. Michael's motive was that the neighbor raped Melony . . via telepathy. Salt Lake Tribune

Maryann Scott, 49, Vero Beach, Fla., accused of prolonged testicle-squeezing (she wanted her ring back). TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

Updates & Recurring Themes

More Body-Shaping Failures (Another Day, Another Unlicensed Silicone-Injector): A 22-year-old man died full of hope that the infusion he had received would produce a larger penis. And in Raleigh, N.C., a woman on probation for causing kidney failure with butt injections in 2008 was back at it again, and arrested. Said a detective, "From what I'm told . . the money is very good so it's hard [for perps] to get away from." Star-Ledger (Newark) /// Associated Press via CBS News

Update: In nearby Durham, N.C., the delightful Ms. Crystal Mangum (instigator of the Duke lacrosse team rape fiasco) was ruled mentally competent to stand trial for stabbing her boyfriend to death in April. Raleigh News & Observer

Update: Henry Fitzsimmons, 54, a Virginia Beach restaurateur, pleaded guilty finally to sexual battery after denying it for six months [NOTW M220, 6-26-2011] following his arrest. He was a devotee of the "Spencer Plan" of discipline and hired college women as employees at his bar and grill, requiring Spencer contracts whereby they would agree to get spanked if they broke any workplace rules. Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk)

Editor's Notes

What's the difference between this South Korean architect's design for a skyscraper . . and a microscopic view of canker sores? Gizmodo

Readers' Choice: You'll either laugh or cry--no indifference allowed--at this pileup of totaled Ferraris. Associated Press via Yahoo News

Kopi Luwak is reputedly the most expensive coffee in the world, supposedly because the beans have already been digested and excreted by a certain species of Indonesian civet (cat). News of the Weird first addressed this in 1993 [NOTW 301, 11-12-1993] ($130 a pound back then), but every year or two, another entry-level reporter somewhere "discovers" it and is unable to catch his breath until he "breaks" the story anew. OK, but how does it taste? BoingBoing's Maggie Koerth-Baker put it to the test. BoingBoing.net

Newsrangers: Jon Etkins, Stannous Flouride, Scott Christiansen, Cassidy Hunter, Charley Butterfield, Larry Seltzer, Richard Bungiro, Keith Pundt, Steve Jones, and John Ellwood, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors