Monday, December 19, 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 19, 2011
(datelines December 9-December 17) (links correct as of December 19)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

[NOTE: Yr Editor descends to his annual Holiday Stupor today and will not return with a fresh Pro Edition until Tuesday morning, January 3rd. Next Monday, I shall post the standard News of the Weird column of December 25th (with links enabled). You will have seen some of those stories previously in Pro Edition.]

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast, plus More Things to Worry About

★ ★ ★ ★!

Antidote to Our Frenzied World: A British outfit is planning a world championship for competitive watching-paint-dry. Send them a photo of yourself in "action." They'll pick a short list. There'll be a final wall-stare-down of the six most promising human slugs. Metro (London) /// LocalTraders.com

A woman doing the "Valsalva" Pilates maneuver [ed.: which sounds a lot like a potty-sitting maneuver of Yr Editor's if I've eaten too much cheese] looked down and realized one of her breast implants had disappeared. Actually, doctors reported later, it had migrated between her ribs and into the space between her lungs, which could only have happened because recent surgery had left the tissue vulnerable. Still, she reported zero pain. New England Journal of Medicine

The Hon. Marion Barry (unofficially, the king of Washington, District of Calamity; officially, city councilman) made it 9-for-12 (years he has failed to file U.S. or D.C. income tax returns and for which he always, always, receives a sentence of probation and a stern warning not to screw up again). As of 2007, he was down $195,000 (and having his Council paycheck garnisheed, though he kept his seat on the Council's finance and tax committee). (And speaking of people who are still being kept down by the confusing tax policies of The Man, Al Sharpton's constantly having trouble explaining himself, too.) Washington Post /// New York Post

We have a winner for the Least Explicable News of 2011: The girls varsity basketball team at Kenmore (N.Y.) East High, composed this season of a bunch of white gals and one A-A, for some reason has this as its solidarity locker-room huddle-breaking cheer: "One, two, three, [n-word]s!" They explained truthfully that the girls' team has been doing the cheer for years, as a tradition, that no one had ever complained about it, and that this year's A-A didn't, either, until she got into some trouble on the side. Buffalo News

Absurdities

Civilization in Decline: (1) OnlineGamblingPal dot com has purchased a lock of Michael Jackson's hair and will turn it into a working (not souvenir) roulette ball. (2) And Ellen DeGeneres and her wife are reportedly beginning the long evolutionary road to wean dogs off of meat, specifically, marketing vegan dog food. (Can dog-Pilates replace ball-retrieving?) (3) And Kim Kardashian landed in Haiti to, you know, help out there. AOL /// Mother Nature Network /// Us Magazine

The dark side for the happily married Alabama politico Bill Johnson involves helping lesbians bear children, using his fabulous sperm. Apparently knowing that his hysterectomied wife might object, he didn't tell her that he had "supplied" nine women (three already pregnant) in New Zealand, where he's been TDY in his job as earthquake-relief contractor. Inseminating, he said, is "a need that I have." (Mrs. Johnson, on learning of all this from a reporter, said there'll be a reckoning at some point.) New Zealand Herald

Hon. Kyle Bower, campaigning for the town council in Alburtis Borough, Pa., confessed that he has a rap sheet (he drinks, he breaks things, he beats people up, he stalks his ex-girlfriend) and said he'd probably drop out. However, there were four candidates for four open seats, and he won. ("Drop out?" No, no, I changed my mind.) (Bonus: He's 19 years old.) Morning Call (Allentown)

Chutzpah! Trenton, N.J., school guard Logan Alexander pleaded guilty in 2007 to inappropriately touching two elementary school girls, and settled a molestation lawsuit with a third pupil for $12,500. Now, since there were no criminal charges on the third, he and his union say it's the school system's responsibility to pay off the settlement, because the alleged no-no's "arose from his employment." The Times (Trenton)

Losers

Nice Piece of Detective Work: Adam Hall, 34, was arrested for vandalizing the car of the girlfriend who dumped him. "Mr. Hall, please write, "You are a slut." [He wrote, "You are a sult."(sic)] "Guess what, Mr. Hall? That's how the vandal spelled it out on the car hood, too." ABC News

Funny Old World*

Man Urinates Hair After Botched Operation: The old way to repair tissue causing urine retention was to transplant skin from the scrotum. Nowadays, they use mouth skin, one reason for which is that scrotum skin may still have hair follicles in it! The Times of India

There's the Million-Man March and the March Against This-Here or That-There, and now some British women supposedly marched last Saturday against labiaplasty and hairless vulvas, which are of course dictated by male sexual hegemony. (A leader of the protest called it the Muff March.) The Guardian

The cat "Tommassino" became the world's third-richest pet when Maria Assunta, 94, passed away in Italy and left her $15.5 million estate to him (to be administered by her nurse). (Ahead of him, if they're even still alive, are the dog "Gunter" Liebenstien, $140 million, and the chimpanzee "Kalu" O'Neill $62 million; "Trouble" Helmsley trails at $9.3 million) Daily Mail (London)

Recurring Theme: You already know this if you pay attention to News of the Weird [NOTW 971, 9-17-2006]--that in some parts of China (say, Jiangsu province), the belief endures that a well-attended funeral portends a successful afterlife, hence, a dad wants the best for his dear, departed son, so, hey, there'll be strippers at the funeral! Times have changed in Jiangsu; the father was arrested. Reuters via Yahoo News

Updates & Recurring Themes

Amongst the fallout from North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation's crime lab screw-ups (covering at least 34 cases): Michael Peterson gets a new trial. He was convicted of murdering his wife and subsequently concocted the theory of the killer rogue owl. They can't say for sure that the crime lab didn't find an owl feather at the scene (although it could have just been a household speck of down) [NOTW M078, 10-5-2008]. MSNBC

Ewwwwww . . no-no-no-no-no . . not so soon. Here's another totally icky, creepy, repulsive, revolting, disgusting x-ray of a cocaine smuggler's abdomen, with 89 capsules in and below his rib cage. The previous one [Pro Edition, 9-19-2011] was in vivid color. The Sun (London) /// The Irish Independent (Dublin) [previous]

No Longer Weird: We may not be quite as nervous as we were right after September 11th, but it's still highly effective, if you want to postpone something in your life, buy some time with a bomb threat, like the Loyola (New Orleans) student unprepared for an exam, or the guy in Anchorage whose pee wasn't quite clean enough for his drug test. WWL-TV (New Orleans) /// Anchorage Daily News

Readers' Choice: Sometimes shoplifters get in trouble talking amongst themselves about their crimes . . after their cell phones have accidentally been sat on . . and the phones have auto-dialed (butt-dialed) 911. (Bonus: Cops say they get butt-dialed calls all the time, just not from perps in the act.) WISC-TV (Madison, Wis.)

Below The Fold

The upscale British seller Harvey Nichols has the perfect Christmas treat: cans of "Arctic" reindeer meat paté (about $23). Daily Mail

Los Angeles Crime Wave: tuba theft! Not that they're that popular, but they retail for $5,000 ($2,000 used). KCBS-TV

Who better to demonstrate the push-up-iness of Mega Push-Up bras (up to two cup-sizes bigger!) from the Dutch department store Hema than, well, a man? Daily Mail (London)

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


Theresa Warner and fiancé Christopher Dimaio are charged in a three-state, 91-store shoplifting spree. New York Daily News [12-2-2011; last week, the Kmart in Ross, Pa., announced it was donating the pair's take from its store to charity]

They say Michael Pratt, 27, went on a date to a movie, tricked the woman into handing over her keys, then stole the car and laughed at her when she reached him by phone. St. Petersburg Times

Editor's Notes

Starting tomorrow, Yr Editor revives Weird 2.0 for day-after-Pro-Edition-release. (Of course, after tomorrow, I'm promptly taking two weeks off.)

Newsrangers: Bruce Strickland, Craig Cryer, Jeffrey Norman, Bruce Leiserowitz, Jeff Hagge, Eric Selje, and Russ Jernigan, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

(* stolen from Private Eye; [ed.: Stolen? Chuck, you're better than that] [Chuck: No, I'm not, actually . . ..]