Monday, January 31, 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
January 31, 2011
(datelines January 22-January 29) (links correct as of January 31)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Men of Tears, plus Ear Ecstasy, Beatle-ology, and Vacations with Dolls

★ ★ ★ ★!

Girly Men: The objective of Men of Tears (part of a public-speaker self-help group) is to get males in touch with their Inner Boehners and just cry if we need to (♪ cry if we need to! ♫). At this-here meeting of Californians in (of course!) mega-sensitive Marin County, newly-freed stress hormones flooded the room, calming the previously stoic. President Obama almost cried at the Tucson Shootings memorial service, they say, and should follow through on that promising start. [Full Disclosure: Yr Editor was once a crier, but in the early 1970s, at a time when male sensitivity was routinely rewarded with easy sex from progressive females.] San Francisco Chronicle

Always Thinking of the Children! Adolescents' skin is more delicate than adults' so Wal-Mart announced it will carry a line of GeoGirl beautifying makeup specially made for 8-year-old girls (cleanser, blush, shadow, mascara, face shimmer, body mist, etc.). Houston Chronicle

Nowhere Woman: Meanwhile, as Chinese and South Korean students waste their time with that difficult, confusing "science" and "engineering," Canadian Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy became the first graduate of Liverpool Hope University's masters degree program in Beatles studies. Society will surely benefit by her "fresh and thought-provoking insights" because there's not nearly enough being written about the influence of the Beatles. Reuters via Yahoo News

A Society That Awards Masters Degrees for Studying the Beatles Obviously Has Time to Play with Its Food: Beef Salad Water (along with German Sauerbraten Water and Barbecued Chicken Wings Water!) . . . the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Martini (at the Chateau Victoria Hotel in Victoria, B.C.) . . a Lemon Tart and other food consumed by, um, breathing (by a kinda-asthma-inhaler invented by Harvard professor David Edwards). AOL News /// New York Times Magazine /// Daily Mail (London)

And Still More Things To Worry About

College Professor Imitates Dog: California State University Northridge math professor Tihomir Petrov (author, Elliptic Surfaces, Monodromy Groups, and Structures of Moduli), feuding with a colleague, was charged with repeatedly peeing on the colleague's office door. Associated Press via Los Angeles Daily News

The School District in Lancaster, Pa., has come up with an idea that apparently, for some reason, no one else in America entertains: Why not put 11th-graders with black skin in one classroom . . and 11th-graders with brown skin in another classroom . . and maybe 11th-graders with white skin will all wind up in another classroom? It's just an experiment, they say, limited to 11th-graders this year. (Officials had read somewhere that kids might learn better if they have "mentors" who look like them.) WGAL-TV (Lancaster)

They say the suicide bombstress actually intended to blow up thousands of celebrants in Moscow's Red Square on New Year's Eve but didn't get the chance--because her mobile phone company unexpectedly sent her a spam text ahead of time that inadvertently triggered her bomb and blew up her and her handlers. Daily Telegraph (London)

Don't knock Vietnamese ear-picking if you haven't tried it. Some return customers are so hot to have their ear canal fondled that they actually race from the Saigon airport to their favorite "hot toc" parlor, where "ear-gasms" abound. U.S. physician Todd Dray told the San Jose Mercury News that the ear has a "G-spot" of sorts, with very thin skin and bundles of nerve endings, and that any moans of ecstasy from customers might well be deserved. San Jose Mercury News

Irony: Does "wild, gun-totin' West" better characterize Tombstone, Ariz., in (a) the 1880s (e.g., the famous gunfight at OK Corral) or (b) the 2010s? Answer: In the 1880s, "carrying" in Tombstone was illegal; in the 2010s, almost any adult can legally pack heat. (The OK Corral shootout happened when the marshal came to enforce the no-carry law.) Los Angeles Times

Unclear on the Concept: British police officers in Cambridgeshire were ordered not to patrol in a certain park in Wisbech because it's too dark in there. Said a police inspector, "I'm not going to put my staff into an area where they can't see what's going on." Cambridge News

State Legislators Respond to Obama's Demand That Government Make Sense! "Texting while driving" is a problem, so how about outlawing bicycling while texting? How about making it illegal to cross a street talking while on the phone or listening to music players? How about making it illegal even to be on a sidewalk while wearing earphones? [While people operating two-ton death machines need to be regulated, Yr Editor reminds lawmakers that people who challenge two-ton death machines are already well-regulated . . by traditional Darwinian principles.] Techdirt.com /// CBS News

Losers

A van exploded in Bellevue, Wash., after its DIY fueling system caught fire as the three occupants were feeding the carburetor directly from inside the van, from a water bottle that they had filled with gasoline (yes, while they were driving). [Did I mention that they were just sitting there pouring this gasoline directly into the engine as they were tooling along?] Bellevue Reporter

In Blanchard, Okla., Gary Albertson started several fires en route as he towed his truck home behind his car even though the reason he had to tow the truck was that the truck happened not to have any tires. KWTV (Oklahoma City)

Yes, he was only 15, but he was on the high school golf team so you'd think that, when he went to a local golf range to practice his drives inside a tent during a rainstorm that he would have noticed a metal bar right in front of his tee, holding the tent up, and that if his ball hit it, it might ricochet and hit him in the eye. Iit did, and that of course is the driving range's fault. KATU-TV (Portland)

World's Clumsiest Arsonist: Ismael Ortiz was hired to burn down a house, and he knew to wear gloves but wasn't quick enough to get his glove-clad hand out of the way of a closing door. Cops ID'd him by his fingerprint--from the fingertip found in the glove that came off as Ortiz was fleeing. Orlando Sentinel

The Pervo-American Community

Jon Dupuy, 60, was charged with indecent exposure in Wallingford, Wash., after annoying neighbors by lying naked just inside his front window with his junk specially lighted. Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Here now, representing "the doll community," is Nova Scotia filmmaker Dave Hockey, cheating on his wife with getaways accompanied by his girlfriend Bianca . . who is, of course, made of high-tech plastic, very well dressed and partaking of various everyday (non-sexual) adventures (e.g., skydiving) with Dave. "[T]hey're just dolls, not people," he insists. Metro (London) /// [Not Safe For Work] Trendhunter.com [yeah, I know they're made out of plastic . . but still not safe]

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


They say Evan Salas, 19, and Brandon Smith, 18, were bored and that that's why they may have done $100,000 worth of damage by shooting 275 cars with their turbo-charged BB guns. (They live in the F State, so boredom as an unlimited explanation is highly plausible.) The Smoking Gun

In an era when families tend to drift apart, become estranged, or fight with each other, it's touching to see a close-knit family like the Vanvoltenburgs . . four adults . . ages 23-49 . . still highly functional . . running their family meth lab. Galesburg (Ill.) Register-Mail

Editor's Notes

And finally, several time-wasters for your viewing pleasure: (1) Many people have storage lockers for their stuff, but Barbra Streisand's built a mall in her basement to store her stuff. (2) A fella you need to run away from fast in a lightning storm. (3) They say it's the gaudiest house in Houston--a bold intersection of new money and new poor taste. (4) A photographic stream (not a slide show!) of scenes from creepy Russian playgrounds [link from Fark.com]. Harper's Bazaar /// KSAT-TV (San Antonio) /// Swamplot.com /// EnglishRussia.com

Newsrangers: Bruce Leiserowitz, Gerald Sacks, Brian Wilson, Pete Randall, and Steve Dunn, and the News of the Weird Senior Advisors (Jenny T. Beatty, Paul Di Filippo, Ginger Katz, Joe Littrell, Matt Mirapaul, Paul Music, Karl Olson, and Jim Sweeney) and Board of Editorial Advisors (Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Harry Farkas, Sam Gaines, Herb Jue, Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Steve Miller, Christopher Nalty, Mark Neunder, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Rob Snyder, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, and Jerry Whittle)

Monday, January 24, 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
January 24, 2011
(datelines January 15-January 22) (links correct as of January 24)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Body Parts Frolicking on Their Own, Plus Police Seek Moron, and The Rising Menaces of Acne and Bedbugs

★ ★ ★ ★!

Give Karen Byrne a Hand, Folks: Nothing's more awesomely scary than her case of Alien Hand Syndrome, an actual malwire problem in which the left and right hemispheres of the brain lose their co-ordination and begin competing with each other. A power struggle among her arms and legs! "I'll Heil Hitler you (with your right hand)!" "Oh, yeah, well, how about I give you some noogies (with your left hand)!" Amazingly, there's now a med that might make it all better. BBC News /// YouTube clip from "Dr. Strangelove"

Least Sensitive Advertiser: The Martin Luther King, Jr., Day special at Thalia Surf Shop in California was "20% Off" on "All Black [surfing] Products," and if that weren't enough disrespect, the illustration was of a Photoshopped wet-suit-clad MLK, himself. OC Register

A Tea Party Opportunity: The most important thing for the Berkeley (Calif.) City Council is not its $252 million unfunded city-worker pension liability or the complaints about infrastructure breakdowns but rather the fact that city workers who need transsexual surgery can't get it from the city's health-insurance carrier. Presto, a municipal entitlement! (And, though it would be too ironic to have a Tea Party movement in the UK, they must be disturbed over there about convicts released from prison, who don't have jobs or housing, and thus immediately qualify for $31,000 a year in welfare [£19,806].) San Francisco Chronicle /// Daily Mail

You'd Be Hostile, Too: Police in Aurora, Colo., were looking around last week for a man, wanted on two felony warrants, and who has a history of violence: 35-year-old Joseph Moron. KMGH-TV (Denver)

States Just Want to Have Fun: In Tennessee, state Medicaid will gladly pay for your bariatric surgery--but not initial-weight-gain counseling by dieticians (wasteful!). In North Carolina, they're still restricting "convicted sex offenders" whose only crime was consensual adult oral sex–which isn't even illegal anymore. In the F State, a gun-fondling legislator introduced a bill to make it illegal for doctors to ask patients if there are guns in the home (if the doctor senses child-abuse or mental-health problems)--penalizable by up to $5 million. The Tennessean (Nashville) /// New York Times [Jan. 11th] /// Orlando Sentinel

And Still More Things To Worry About

Few of us work as hard as Lisa Murphy when she's preparing tactile-based pornography (aka "porn for the blind"). Took photos of her friends, enlarged them, sculpted them into clay, made "thermoform" copies. Hardest part? Female derriere: to "give it a feminine softness so it would actually feel like a woman's butt." AVN.com (Adult Video News)

The problem with bedbugs is that they evolve much faster than the pace at which pesticides can be upgraded are intelligently designed so that the little buggers always stay one step ahead of the pesticides. [Of course! Just like Westboro Baptist says--God hates people who kill bedbugs!] Wall Street Journal [link badly formatted; keep scrolling down]

Perhaps J.P. Morgan Chase Bank was put on Earth for the sole purpose of making Bank of America not look so bad. Chase admitted violating the federal law that protects military personnel's mortgages, i.e., just flat-out ignored it like it wasn't there (and will now refund $2 million). The victims were all war-zone military! Then, former owners of a house in Rexburg, Idaho, took to the Animal Planet TV show to talk about the home's foundation and land being infested with "thousands" of garter snakes--a fact Chase fails to mention as it offers the house for sale today. NPR /// Reuters

Marc Higgins, 21, was arrested for four stabbings (one fatal). Victims had been dogging Higgins about his flatulence. Bristol (Conn.) Press

Memphis, Tenn., TV station WMC-TV reported that 90 girls at Frayser High School (11% of the entire student body) . . are pregnant. WMC-TV

Handi-Capable: Jim Starr's off-road "wheelchair" (needed for chronic back pain) is too tricked out for DMV (in the UK, known as DVLA) because . . it's a tank. He needs to apply for a tank license, they say. Daily Mail

We don't yet know why people who are naked and drunk in public seem to be immune to Taser shots, but they appear to be. Richard Gervasi, in the Florida Keys, is just the latest. Keysnet.com

All you need to know about teenagers: A microbiologist at Britain's Aston University has found that the P.acnes bacteria, which contributes to zits, is more dangerous than previously thought . . and attacks the brain! Live Science via Yahoo News

Yes, there is such a thing as Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome, says Utrecht University (Utrecht, Netherlands) researcher Marcel Waldinger, where you can get a runny nose or fever or burning eyes after sex. The Sun (London)

The woman who brought down a nation (even though inadvertently): the haughty, imperious mad shopper, Leila Ben Ali, possibly more despised than her husband, Tunisia's now-former president. According to reports, she at least had the sense, as she fled with her life, to arrange for a ton and a half of gold to be dropped off at her new home in Saudi Arabia. Daily Mail (London)

Losers

Here's Raymond Dascott, not exactly posing for a mug shot, just before being charged with felony child neglect in Marathon, Fla. He was taking his grandson, 1½, for a stroll along U.S. 1, and promptly passed out, drunk. Keysnet.com

Waldo, Matrix, and Jose were the week's big losers (all over the news) for their December burglary near Ocala, Fla., in which they encountered some cocaine in a home and stopped to snort some, except that it wasn't cocaine but rather the ashes a man and his two Great Danes. WKMG-TV (Orlando)

Actually, Cathy Cruz Marrero, 49, might be an even bigger loser. She's the lady on the You Tube mall surveillance video who was busy texting-while-walking and sauntered right into a mall's fountain. Worse: Even though she's unidentifiable in the video, she outed herself, ostensibly to demand an apology from mall security officers for releasing the video. Worse still: Then she decided to sue. Worst yet: Then she had to go to court on an earlier criminal charge for unauthorized credit card use, and reporters found she had a rap sheet as long as her arm. Reading Eagle /// YouTube

Saved, though, was Hubert Blackman of New York City, who ordinarily might have been the biggest Loser had it not been for the above playas. Hubert is suing a Las Vegas escort agency and the Las Vegas police because of severe "trauma" suffered when the cops threatened to arrest him--after he called to report the agency for not giving him his full hour's worth of in-room dances (and instead performing a sex act on him) (which would be illegal). Hubert wants $1.8 million. Las Vegas Sun

The Pervo-American Community

Lawyer Thomas Walkley doesn't deny that he dropped trou in front of two teenage boys, but he's not a perv. It was "educational," he said. He was "mentoring," trying to make them "think differently." "Radical times call for radical measures." All right, then. American Bar Association Journal

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


Here's Ricky Kalichun, 45, who represents the forensic intersection of the sword and the Magic Marker (not that that's a crime, necessarily!). Courier & Press (Evansville, Ind.)

Greg Ciarlante, 46, arrested on drug charges in Portland, Ore., a couple of weeks ago. [Fark.com tag: if Robin Williams and Henry Rollins had a baby together . . .] PDXMugshots.com

From this week's Smoking Gun collection: The man who wore his crime on his t-shirt, and the kindly-looking senior lady who couldn't possibly have assaulted a cop with a deadly weapon, and this-here fella, wanted for a probation violation but who obviously didn't go quietly.

Editor's Notes

Beware Those Judicial Activists: A year ago, the five originalism-ignoring U.S. Supreme Court justices (Scalia, Thomas, et al) declared that corporations (and not just, y'know, people, like the humans who created the Constitution) can have so-called "fundamental" rights. Now comes F-Stater Sarah Steiner, 39, who announced on Saturday that she's on the prowl to get married . . to a corporation (i.e., to Mr. Right, Inc.), preferably a well-endowed corporation and not a female corporation (which would be "unnatural" and illegal in Florida), and she's even willing to pump out some little subsidiaries for him. Palm Beach Post

Newsrangers: Gerald Sacks, Adrian Martin, Joseph Stanley, Roy Henock, David Bonan, Matt Clinton, Matt McCaffrey, William Sennett, Perry Levin, Christopher Nalty, Paul Peterson, Nancy Korenchan, JoJo Peck, and Sandy Pearlman, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, January 17, 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
January 17, 2011
(datelines January 8-January 15) (links correct as of January 17)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Working in the Medium of "Laundry" (Not "Belly"), Plus Electrified Booze and the F State Gets Its Learnin' On

★ ★ ★ ★!

But Did She Do The Code? Laura Bell of Roscommon, Mich., spent 800 hours far too much time on her masterpiece: a 14-foot-by-4-foot recreation of "The Last Supper" . . done entirely in laundry lint. (Bonus: She actually bought colored towels and washed and dryer-ed them to produce the specific hues of lint necessary for DaVinci's work.) [Laura, Yr Editor, who knows of what he speaks, recommends either Luvox or Anafranil (clomipramine).] Associated Press via Detroit News

Parents Call For Greater Respect For Vaginas: Jacqulyn Levin, a high school health/phys ed teacher in Crystal Lake, Ill., intending to make sex education class more interesting [ed.: What's wrong with those kids, anyway?], designed the Vagina Dance, which she defended with uptown reasoning, as opposed to the kids' downtown version, described as (according to suburban Chicago's Daily Herald) "pointing to and singing about reproductive parts while prancing around the room" with the rhythm "set to the tune of the Hokey Pokey." (Naturally, moms and dads practicing Selective Micro-Parenting were outraged.) Daily Herald

Brain Leak: David Pitchford of Key West, Fla., has filed a lawsuit against WikiLeaks because he's a high-level U.S. diplomat exposed in State Department cables he's an ordinary citizen and WikiLeaks's document dump makes him really nervous . . $150 million nervous ("hyper tention," "fear of being on the brink of Nucliar WAR"). (Bonus: Ever wondered how close you could come to Total Spelling Failure--maybe even "random placement of letters"--and still be fairly readable? Have a look.) MSNBC Technolog

Truth in Advertising: Indiana candy-seller Circle City clearly understands how to sell candy: What kid wouldn't get excited about a "Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bar"? Last week, the Food and Drug Administration issued a recall. The bars are, naturally . . toxic (2½ times the allowable lead). Agence France-Presse via Ottawa Citizen

Nobody's More Fun Than Superconductor Researchers: Late nights at Japan's National Institute for Materials Science led some of the crew to expand testing beyond just lowering the metals' temperatures (conductivity of electricity is greater at lower temperatures) . . but soaking them first in beer, whiskey, sake, and other beverages. Red wine (62% more conductive) worked best. Good to know. io9.com

And Still More Things To Worry About

Humble University of Oklahoma researcher Ralf Jankecht, appealing publicly for the return of his stolen laptop computer: Hey, I'm a cancer researcher, he said, and . . maybe, just maybe . . I've got, uhhhh, the cure right there on the hard drive . . who knows? KRMG-TV (Tulsa)

End of Days in America: In the annual "Quality Counts" report by Education Week on national educational quality, "Florida" beat out 45 other states in school-system performance. [ed.: A-ha-ha-ha. Florida! A-ha-ha-ha-ha!] Orlando Sentinel

Death and Taxes–Inseparable Again! The fee for dying in Seattle is $50. (Actually, this is sensible. The county requires that every death be reviewed by the medical examiner, to guard against coverups as to cause, and the reviews cost money. So it's actually a User Fee!) KING-TV (Seattle)

Fine Points of Chinese Law: A farmer was sentenced to life in prison for . . evading highway tolls. (Well, not just like a few trips down the turnpike; he wound up owing the equivalent of $560,000.) (Update: The court, in Henan province, decided maybe they'll give him a new trial.) Global Times (Beijing)

Bad: Stephanie Moreland shoplifted a (short) mink coat from Alaskan Fur in Bloomington, Minn. Worse: She's 270 lbs. and concealed it inside her unmentionable. Worst: She was detained in jail for three days, but never patted down and thus never removed the coat. [And after three days, the dead minks in the coat couldn't take it anymore, sprang back to life, and made a run for it--bada bada boom!] WCCO-TV (Minneapolis)

C'mon--A Lawyer Can Make That in One Small-Time Class Action: The Ohio Supreme Court's professional certification board ruled that recent grad Hassan Jonathan Griffin lacks "character and fitness" for the bar association, specifically, that he owes too much money ($186,000) (because of law school). American Bar Association Journal

Leading Chinese Economic Indicator: Beijing traffic is so bad, and anyone who owns a car is so well-off, that drivers will pay to get out of traffic jams. If stuck, call. A motorbike is dispatched to weave through the chaos. Result: You ride motorbike to wherever you need to be; the motorbike operator takes the wheel of your car and delivers it to its destination when the jam clears. Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Marcel Walldorf won an award at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden, Germany, for a silicone sculpture of a female riot police officer taking a leak. Agence France-Presse via Google News

Unclear on the Concept: "God, I hate the liberal media," said Harrisburg, Pa., radio talker Bob Durgin, ranting about how unfair the liberals' ranting is (after the Arizona shootings) when they blame conservatives for political viciousness. In fact, concerning the unfair New York Times: "Somebody ought to burn that paper down. Just go to New York and blow that sucker right out of the water." Patriot-News (Harrisburg)

And now, a word about smoking in Bhutan . . No-o-o-o-o! In order to enforce the brand-new 2011 ban on tobacco sales, police can roam neighborhoods with trained dogs to sniff 'em out, and then raid the homes! Reuters

Losers

Justin Leibowitz, 34, was arrested in Waterville, Maine, while casually strolling down the street . . pushing his "Bloombox" (a portable marijuana greenhouse, 4'x2'x4') on wheels (and making a lot of noise). It was empty, he thought, but he forgot about the residue at the bottom. Kennebec Journal

Obviously-ex-nerd Darren Hope, 40, learned the hard way that a doctor had punked him 19 years ago. A hair-transplant surgeon had given him new locks but only after removing hair plugs in the design of the word "wanker." Hope recently changed to a short-hair style and voilĂ ! The Sun (London)

Recurring Theme: Here are two more people with lingering arrest warrants who, stopped by cops, gave bogus names . . but who inadvertently choose the names of people who also had arrest warrants outstanding. Great Falls Tribune /// Dallas Morning News

At This Stage, He Should Be All-Elephant: At a small-claims court in Quebec, a brave but unsatisfied (and unendowed) customer filed against HotGVibe of Montreal, makers of the X4 Extender Deluxe Edition because his penis isn't any longer after using the product . . for 500 hours! Winnipeg Free Press [scroll down]

The Pervo-American Community

Another perv we're disappointed about: the city manager of Hudson, Mich. ("Hey, that was just a sandwich in my lap!") Jackson Citizen Patriot

Update: The New York Post continues to pile on to alleged foot fetishist Rex Ryan, head coach of the Jets [NOTW/Pro, 1-3-2011], who was saluted on page one Sunday morning as encouragement for the Jets to beat the New England Patriots. See the salute. New York Post [click link, then select January 16, 2011, from the drop-down menu]

Editor's Notes

And finally, here's this Time Waster: a Cleveland-area personal ad on Craigslist. Hoax? Maybe. But there's such a thing as too much cynicism, which disrespects the, umm, psycho-social diversity of our great planet Earth. Cleveland Scene

Newsrangers: Sue Clark, Bruce Gosling, Sandy Pearlman, Jennifer Rogers, Alan Magid, Sara Scharf, and Perry Levin, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, January 10, 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
January 10, 2011
(datelines January 1-January 8) (links correct as of January 10)

Spy Vultures and Surveillance Teeth, Plus Holy Water from the Spigot and Colon-as-Roach-Motel

★ ★ ★ ★!

The "Fog of Intelligence," Indeed: Saudis found a GPS device inside a suspicious vulture, which they automatically concluded was a secret Mossad (Israeli) agent. Iran detained a 55-year-old Arab-American woman crossing over from Armenia without a passport because, they said, a microphone was discovered in her teeth. (Last month, recall, Egyptians were all fertoutst at Mossad's wiliness for allegedly sending attack sharks down the Red Sea.) BBC News /// Los Angeles Times /// BBC News

Medical Research Marches On: A.R. Kumar, M.D., and his colleagues at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia were trying hard to diagnose the patient (suspected colorectal cancer) when, according to their journal article, they glanced at the scans and saw a cockroach crawling up the patient's traverse colon. Endoscopy via Thieme eJournals

Not My Fault: Two-by-Four Paul Stone has filed a lawsuit against Britain's National Health Service, claiming they owe him big-time because, back when he weighed only 420 lbs., he asked for help, and idiotic doctors had the audacity to advise him to eat sensibly and exercise. He became so distraught at their insensitivity that he quickly inflated to 980 (though his recent gastric surgery left him at a svelte 518). Of course there are photos at the link, but they are Not Safe For Stomachs. The Sun (London)]

No One Lives Forever, Except Martha Kunkle: Mortgage lenders took two hits last week in Massachusetts's highest court for their casual protocols on mass-documenting of loans during the housing madness of the last decade. Then, the Wall Street Journal found a similar issue with the debt collector Portfolio Recovery Associates, whose continuing paperwork as recently as 2008 was vouched for and signed off on by "Martha Kunkle," who unfortunately had died in 1995--presumably with no inkling of her eventual immortality. Wall Street Journal

Kids Today! Why, in My Day, We Knew Better!: Take Kyndric Wilson, 19, for example, arrested in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on a minor charge. He had two felonies added at the jailhouse door because he apparently thought he'd need to bring some cocaine in with him to deal with the rigors of lockup. As he belatedly lamented, "[Expletive], I knew I shouldn't of [sic] brought that in . . . [expletive]." Northwest Florida Daily News

And Still More Things To Worry About

A growing family tree of transsexuals in the Czech Republic: Woman (W1) became man (M2), eventually married a man (M1) who had become a woman (W2), then learned that the son W1 had borne earlier (S1) was in the process of becoming a woman (D2). Now, M2, channeling W1, is doting proudly on his D2 (even though he actually only gave birth to S1, not D2). Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

When will all of God's children be judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin whether they have a menthol-in-their-cigarettes obsession? Wall Street Journal

We'd Rather Be Outlawing: You'd think long-persecuted and -oppressed witches and shamans would rejoice at the Romanian government's move to make them legitimate . . except that, no, legitimate people have to pay taxes. The witches are so upset that they're using the heavy artillery to protest (casting spells, with cat dung and a dead dog; with poisonous mandrake plants tossed into the Danube River). (Bonus: And here's sort of a Romanian reverse-spell, by an Orthodox priest in Timisoara, population 300,000, who, feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of doling out holy water to the multitudes of Epiphany visitors, gave up and just consecrated all the town's tap water. Must be that they can do these things in Romania.) Associated Press via Google News /// Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Fine Points of the Law: Brandon Palladino is serving 25 years for killing his mother-in-law, which of course cuts him out of any inheritance. Instead, the victim's estate passed on to her daughter, who subsequently died, herself, leaving her estate to her husband . . Brandon Palladino. Ta-daaa! New York Post

Redneck Chronicles: New York sophisticates watch the crystal ball lowered on New Year's Eve in Times Square, but in Real America, other symbols are lowered: in North Carolina, a giant pickle lowered into a barrel; in Pennsylvania, a 200-lb. bologna; in Wisconsin, a frozen carp; and in Brasstown, N.C., an opossum. CBS News

Fair and Balanced: The reporter for KPTV in Portland, Ore., wasn't about to let "Braco," the Croatian healer performing in Portland (and selling books and DVDs), get away scot-free with those claims his supporters made--that he can cure people, including cancer patients, just by gazing at them for a few minutes. Here's your journalistic rigor: "[S]everal passersby tell [KPTV] they are skeptical about the healing powers of Braco." Edward R. Murrow lives! KPTV

Michael Stone stuck to his story that the 2006 "assassination" attempt against Northern Ireland Sinn Fein leaders was not an "assassination," at all. True, he had a bagful of explosives and knives and a plan to create a diversion in the NI parliament building while he rushed inside and sliced Gerry Adams's throat, but actually, Stone said, no way. What that was, he said, was a giant piece of performance art! (Court of appeal judges said last week that they didn't even come close to believing him.) Irish Times

Games Men Play With Their Pee: SEGA Japan is testing its Toylets suite of video games in Tokyo, all based on the strength and accuracy of the male stream hitting sensors in a urinal (e.g., Is it powerful enough to erase graffiti on a video screen? Is it powerful enough to "blow" a woman's skirt up? Is it powerful enough to knock another player out of a circle, as in sumo wrestling?). SingularityHub.com

Losers

"World's Laziest Police Impersonator" (Seattle Weekly's summary of a Kitsap Sun report): A motorist up to no good, aiming to get a female driver to pull over on Washington Route 16, first tried waving her over as he drove by, then (when that failed) passed her again, motioning with his arms while showing her his hand-written "Sheriff" sign). Lazy. Seattle Weekly

When Alcohol Meets Amateur Bullfighting: At the annual Corralejas festival in Sucre province, Colombia, it looks about like this video. (Actually, it's even more disorganized and amateurish, usually.) Daily Telegraph (London)

The Pervo Community

Finland's Supreme Court said, no, they disagree with the physician that there was any ancient medical benefit to be gained by sucking on the nipples of the 20-year-old female patient undergoing a breast exam. Pure perv, said the judges. Agence France-Presse via ABS-CBN News (Manila)

Richard Troupe, 52, was arrested after unimaginatively pulling through the Burger King drive-thru, pantsless, asking the employee on duty if she'd like to hold his Whopper. Longmont (Colo.) Times-Call

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


Gavin Finnerty, 42, and Alyssa Knowles, 18, were arrested on various drug charges in Dexter, Maine, but, c'mon, who names their head shop the Trippy Hippy without beggin' to get busted? Bangor Daily News

And luckily, the charge is only DUI, but isn't one idea of a mug shot that it's a suspect's chance to look innocent? The Smoking Gun

Editor's Notes

OK, what you see is what you have to be gettin' from now on. Slimmed down Pro Edition. Yr Editor is simply no longer capable enough at wordsmithery to turn out more copy (even though, jeez, I left a lot of good stories on the table this week!). Prolly what's gon' happen is this: Most weeks, say on Tuesday or Wednesday, I'll post some links (all from the previous week), each with an introductory phrase to pique readers' interest (but no real prose prose). That way, I get the stories out, yet y'all barely notice that my vocabulary has been calcifying. Sincerely yours, Chuck Shepherd, Age 65, Feeling 85 (though, reading that Toylets story, I realize that my vocabulary is still much stronger than my stream)

Newsrangers: Kim Hayes, J.B. Sherrick, Kathryn Wood, Gerald Sacks, Warren Brown, and David Stephenson, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Weird 2.0
January 4, 2011
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

[Weird 2.0: No perverts, no drunks, no stupid criminals. Worse!]

"To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle"—George Orwell
"A little learning is a dangerous thing"—Alexander Pope
"Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns"—Rome Daily Inquirer, 7-18-64A.D.


Pat Robertson accidentally faced reality, concluding on his 700 Club that America's anti-marijuana laws are fercockta. "I'm not exactly for the use of drugs, don't get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing, it's just, it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people. . . . That's not a good thing." Los Angeles Times

Another Black Helicopter Theory Dies: A big field of old Russian and Eastern bloc trucks piled up in Mississippi means, obviously, that then-President Clinton was selling us out to the United Nations! No other explanation! Patriots . . lock and load! Turns out it was part of a failed business venture in young Russia after the fall of communism, and the idea (as well as the trucks) have now died of old age. But, boy, in their time, the presence of those trucks caused a lot of people to buy more camo. New York Times

Government Accountability Office took an official position on the federal government's finances . . er, an official position that no official position was possible: (1) Department of Defense is "inauditable." (2) No reconciliation is possible among interagency activities. (3) There's too much fudging of Uncle Sam's projected assets and liabilities. TaxProf Blog

Eighteen months ago, Homeland Security ordered all those entering the U.S. to ID themselves with highly-secure documents. The Department's pretty proud of itself ("96% compliance" on the Mexican and Canadian borders), but the Inspector General said that, still, about 3.6 million travelers have entered in 18 months with the same old shoddy ID and/or without the required standby inspection for those with shoddy ID. New York Times

There's fraud in F State government offices, but then, on the other hand, there's this, reported by the Miami Herald. The guy running Miami-Dade County Transit's weekly-pass discount program during 2009 might have come up $120,000 short. He was not charged, though, because a lot of the money was found just lying around the office, in his desk drawer and other places. "I'm a lousy bookkeeper," he told police. And it takes a special bureaucracy not to notice the shortages until long after the fact. Miami Herald

Update: Mississippi Gov. Barbour found a workaround for how he could release the two ridiculously-oversentenced black sisters (serving life for an $11 robbery that other people committed) without having to admit that his state's systemic racism screwed the women in the first place [NOTW/Pro, 12-13-2010]: commute the sentences on the condition that one sis donates a kidney to the needy other one. So far, he's getting away with it (in that the NAACP president generously praised him . . even though Barbour was largely saving the state the medical costs of caring for the ailing sister for the rest of her life). Weird (that he's getting away with it). Washington Post

A big-shot military official praised Homeland Security for coming up with that "Thermos watch" airplane passenger notice (DHS: Al-Qaeda might be thinking of putting explosives in the insulation material in mugs and cups). Said Adm. James Winnefeld, TSA is "always trying to think ahead." Well, that would be news, but passengers have been bringing insulated cups on board for nine years since 9-11. Associated Press via Washington Post

California's 2010 death-row scorecard: 28 more admitted to the Big House, running the total to 717 scuzzes now awaiting the Next Life. Not enough money in the budget to get the Inject-O-Matic working again; not enough cojones to admit that capital punishment is just one more thing Californians want but think ought to be free. Los Angeles Times

Social Security recipients generally know they're "owed" their money back from their life-long contributions, and thus display maximum huffiness whenever reformers mention cutting back benefits in any way. And they've got a good point. The system was in fact designed to return mas o menos what a person contributes. However, many display similar huffiness on Medicare, and unless they promise to die by age 70 or so, they'll suck out tons more money than they put in. Associated Press via Google News

USA, still vying for the gold in the technology of exam-cheating! "With more than 100,000 students tested [on one state's high school year-end exam], proctors could not watch everyone--not when some teenagers can text with their phones in their pockets." New York Times

Monday, January 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
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
January 3, 2011
(datelines December 25-January 1) (links correct as of January 3)

K.Jay Is #1 in the World in #2, Plus Cultivating Fist Fights and Understimulation

★ ★ ★ ★!

Leading Economic Indicator (in North Korea): Gradually, the authorities are permitting outside goods into the country, with the latest being "skinny jeans" (after a relaxation of the skirts-only rule for female workers). Also new: a home-grown commodity--actual human poop--for garden fertilizer (since there's an animal shortage, owing to a prior meat shortage). Agence France-Presse via Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The Science of Boring: When faced with overwhelming banality and tedium, you have two choices: kill yourself or get really into it. Brit James Ward took the latter course, and with a vengeance. At his London conference on "boring" on December 11th, attendees experienced:
* a recitation of the names of the 415 colors in a paint catalog;
* presentations including "The Intangible Beauty of Car Park Roofs" and "My Relationship with Bus Routes";
* a PowerPoint pie-chart assembly of changes from year-to-year in colors selected and material preferred in Ward's collection of neckties;
* a report on a man's three-year, detailed charting of all of his sneezes.
Rationale, by an attendee: "We're all overstimulated. [I]t's important to stop all that for a while and see what several hours of being bored really feels like." Wall Street Journal

Ce-le-brate, Good Times! Y'all probably missed the big festival on December 28th in Ibi, Alicante, Spain--the 200-year-old tradition of mass flour-fighting. (Eggs were also involved.) And in Cusco, Peru, last week, they played in pain. The Chumbibilca community's annual Takanakuy--to bring all grudges from this past year to closure in order to start 2011 fresh--involved actual, no-pulled-punches fist-fighting. BBC News /// BBC News

That's Some Catch, That Catch-22: In New York prisons, if the sick-call doctor misdiagnoses a scumbag inmate, and the prisoner sues for negligence and wins, the scumbag keeps the payoff. However, in New York mental hospitals, if the vulnerable patient wins a lawsuit, the government gets to reduce the payoff by howevermuch it "costs" to "care" for the patient, thus leaving the patient with less money (sometimes much less) and the state relieved of bearing the full cost of its negligence. Will the policy ever be changed? Millions of taxpayers, handful of mental patients. Do the math. New York Times

Best Baseball Injuries of 2010 (certainly delighting their salary-paying owners!): Kendry Morales (Angels), who broke his leg jumping on home plate after hitting a home run; Brian Roberts (Orioles), who was out a week with a concussion after smacking himself in the head with his bat when he struck out; Chris Coghlan (Marlins), who needed knee surgery after playfully giving a teammate a congratulatory post-game shaving-cream pie; Geoff Blum (Astros), who needed elbow surgery after straining his arm putting on his shirt. St. Petersburg Times [scroll down]

And Still More Things To Worry About

Ambulances in Edmonton, Alberta, need to observe the speed limit, even when they're siren-and-lights, balls-to-the-wall (said the Alberta Health Services agency). Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News

Gone Too Far: BMW announced it has developed technology to emblazon its logo into your eyeball so that even if you close your eyes, you see it. Advertising Age

Not My Fault: Two guys walk into a bar with guns. One shoots the other. That's the bar's fault, the victim says. The bartender ought to have searched us and kept us out, and thus that guy wouldn't have shot me. (Update: Fail) Associated Press via Insurance Journal

Update: Charles Clements, 69, of Chicagoland, who blew away a 23-year-old man because his dog urinated on Clements's perfectly coiffed lawn [NOTW/Pro, 5-17-2010], was sentenced to 20 years in prison four years' probation. [Oh, the 23-year-old was belligerent, but still . . ..] Chicago Breaking News

"Official" Islamist counselors in Dubai issued about 350,000 "fatwas" in 2010 [well, not all like death sentences, just proper holy behaviors . . but still . . ..] New York Post

"Hoodoo" (white man's Voodoo) is back, to help certain limited-capacity individuals deal with the shock of the economy. If any of y'all readers are limited-capacity, here are some websites for ordering your roots and herbs and chant dialogues for the New Year. Wall Street Journal /// LuckyMojo.com /// MillersRexall.com

Weight-conscious female Chinese professionals obsess about how to be/stay wispy and try things not many of us would, like ingesting roundworm eggs--to give their stomachs some "natural" help in digesting evil food. (Bonus: Roundworms in the stomach resemble, like, capellini in residence.) Daily Mail (London)

Losers

Interesting: He stole a hard-to-hide taxi. Escalation: He then tried to register it at the DMV Contra Costa Times via San Jose Mercury News

Cardinal Rule, Violated: He returned to the scene of the crime. Stupid: He came back to express how insulted he is that he's being mentioned as a suspect. (Bonus: Here's another, returning to the liquor store he robbed the day before--wearing the same clothes.) KRIV-TV (Houston) [non-sympathy-inducing mugshots!] /// Cape Cod Today

How embarrassing--to need rescuing from a Salvation Army donation box (head in, with feet sticking out). Toronto Star

Recurring Theme: The better military experience, Army or Navy? Depends on who has the gun to settle the dispute. (It's Army.) Arizona Republic (Phoenix)

And then, here's this fella, in Manassas, Va., trying to rob a convenience store by brandishing his big, long stick. WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.)

The Pervo-American Community

Is New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan a foot man? Hard to say. He says his wife is supermodel-quality but that what they admire about each other is "a personal matter." Associated Press via WLIO-TV (Lima, Ohio) /// Deadspin

A nurse applied for a medical position at a private Los Angeles hospital, but the chief surgeon instead interviewed her for a "special" job working with his father on what turned out to be, maybe, weapons sales. And because the job was sensitive, the doctor needed to inject the nurse with sodium pentothal to be sure of the truth. And then he injected himself (in the "groin area"). Then he needed to see her naked. Then he needed to inject them both some more. And so on. Seriously. Courthouse News Service

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


Rafael Escamilla's a guy with a nice resume (probably better than yours), sitting next to a high school girl on a plane. They say he created quite a bit of inappropriate lap action under his tray table. (He itched, he said; must've spilled Tabasco sauce.) The Smoking Gun

Here are three more from TSG's weekly mugshots: a fella caught in the act of disturbing the peace /// a controlled-substance guy asking with his mug shot whether you think he's guilty /// a guy wearing a t-shirt he's not qualified to wear

Below The Fold

Introducing a new wave of ultra-creepy English teachers in South Korea: They're robots; they look like R2D2 . . well, except for the Anglo faces on the LCD face screens . . and the fact that the transmitting "teachers" are all in the Philippines. Agence France-Presse via Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

Update: We all eat more at Christmas time, and Donna Simpson stepped up, as well. She's the 644-lb. New Jersey woman who's either nuts or a super-entrepreneur, in that she wants to be the fattest woman ever and by the way, you can watch her eat on pay-per-view [NOTW/Pro, 3-22-2010, 7-5-2010]. She figures her holiday meals totaled around 30,000 calories a day. (Bonus: Her little daughter is fine, and normal. Baby daddy said he agreed to hook up with Donna because, luckily, he is "a belly man.") CBS News [photos of Donna, as usual, Not Safe For Stomachs]

Weird 0.0 . . No Longer Weird): (1) If you murder your wife, claim you're innocent because it happened during rough, role-playing sex. (2) She woke up in her casket, not quite dead. (Two days later, she was.) (3) Thought she was hiring a hit man in a bar to kill her husband. Learned the hard way that if it's in a bar, the hit man is an undercover cop. CNN /// Toronto Sun /// News and Observer (Raleigh)

More Redneck Chronicles: At the Key Underwood Memorial Graveyard in Colbert County, Ala., only certified coon dogs get buried. Certified. An "official" designated by the caretaker must look over the carcass to make sure it wasn't a wannabe coon dog. If it doesn't look like it could have treed raccoons, it doesn't get buried there. Birmingham News

Tough guy sheriff Joe Arpaio may be the old face of Maricopa County (Phoenix), Ariz., but the new one ought to be the County Supervisor, Fulton Brock, who commenced divorce proceedings when he found out that his wife was fooling around with a teenage boy and then, after that, that his 18-year-old daughter was fooling around with the kid, too. (Bonus: The wife didn't know!) Associated Press via KTRV-TV (Boise, Idaho)

Compelling Explanations: (1) My wife said I was driving that car at the time of the hit-and-run, but actually . . I wasn't even there; I was busy having a mindless hookup with a woman I'd just met. Yeah, that's the ticket. (2) OK, yes, I beat my husband with a rock, but that was because he is ill yet was continuing to smoke, which is bad for his health. (3) I admit, I regularly burglarized houses . . but only because my lawyer's weekly retainer (for defending me against my burglary charges) is so high that I had to get money somehow. (4) I wasn't burglarizing her house on Christmas Eve; I was breaking in in order to protect some expensive property of hers from two shady men I saw nearby. (Besides, I'm Pastor Sandy McGriff of that new church located in back of my husband's furniture store, and I wouldn't lie, and neither would any of my 13 alter egos.) Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.) /// Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach) /// KSAT-TV (San Antonio) /// Dallas Morning News

Editor's Notes

Weird 2.0 will be resurrected and released weekly on Tuesday mornings, starting tomorrow. Yr Editor hopes to inspire greater awareness of how absurd our world has become--beyond its population of perverts and stupid criminals. After all, you can't be sanguine about civilization's rush to hell in a handbasket. And if you're optimistic that either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party will make things better and not worse, or if you find some kind of refuge signing on to "conservatism" or "progressivism," hey, I've got some 19th-century bearer bonds I need to cash out and if you let me use your bank account, I'll split the proceeds with ya, OK? E-mail me account and routing numbers.

Meanwhile, Truth and Beauty last week on the Internet: (1) The dog that climbs ladders to help out his owner (a roofing contractor!) (2) British photographer Nick Garbutt's 20-year survey of Madagascar's wildlife (especially H.R. Giger-like things in 10, 12, 14, and 20--yikes!). (3) And, well, Holy Crap! Yr Editor, who was in the Big War [Republic of Viet Nam, May 1968-May 1969], in III Corps, traumatized by the supposedly-man-made Tunnels of Cu Chi that allowed the Viet Cong to avoid getting annihilated, now comes across the naturally-formed Caves of Viet Nam, from National Geographic. Some are tall enough to house skyscrapers! (4) And finally, what looks like rehearsal for a fight scene in The Walking Dead is just Pakistani men and children beating and slicing the crap out of each other in the Muharram Observance, the first month of the Islamic new year (Not Safe For Stomachs) WSFA-TV (Montgomery, Ala.) /// Daily Telegraph (London) /// National Geographic /// The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.)

Newsrangers: Rob Snyder, Aaron Gray, Kathryn Wood, Michael Ravnitzky, Christopher Nalty, Jan Lewis, Eugene Curry, and Whitney Birge, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors