Monday, March 28, 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
March 28, 2011
(datelines March 19-March 26) (links correct as of March 28)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Rooster-Fighters Under Siege, Plus No Friending the Grizzlies and the Glory of Muck

★ ★ ★ ★!

Nightmare in Phoenix: You're minding your own business running a little suburban cockfighting emporium until, whoa! . . Here comes the cavalry! . . Sheriff Joe! . . He's got a tank! . . Armored vehicles! . . Rolling over neighbors' lawns! . . And with his head sticking out of the tank (Michael Dukakis-style)--Steven Seagal! KPHO-TV

The Tea Party Has Washington Under Control: Federal government managers no longer dare wasting money hiring people at ridiculous salaries to do non-totally-necessary jobs! have job openings for people to run the Facebook page at the Department of the Interior ($115,000/yr), to be mailroom clerk at the Pentagon (almost $50,000/yr), to be student intern at the Federal Housing Finance Agency ($48,000/yr), and to be equal opportunity compliance officers and the Peace Corps ($155,000/yr) and the Department of Transportation (nearly $180,000/yr). Daily Caller

There Will Be Blood: Julie Sygiel and Brown University classmate Eunice Png [Bonus: not a typo!] have apparently solved a girl-type problem that America's top corporations have failed at until now. Their company (Sexy Period) creates hottie underwear, durable and leak-proof enough to be worn during curse time, even "heavy" curse time. Brown Daily Herald

"Blanket Party" Beatdown, Tonight, Indianapolis, Be There!: Jacob Barnett, 12 (and 170 IQ), knows more than I and all y'all put together, in higher math, quantum physics, advanced astronomy. He's let the air out of the Big Bang, is working some glitches out of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and says he'll let us know soon what really happened to create "time." "It didn't come from me," said his mother. "I flunked math." Best guess by doctors is that he's an Asperger's outlier, but Yr Editor is not ruling out "pod person from another dimension." Indianapolis Star

All Things Dirt: "Filth, fecal matter, and grime in all [their] forms are the subject of a new exhibition in London," reported Reuters (200 exhibits, ranging from dust and urine to vials of historic crud and odes to famous pillars of sewage and medical scum). "Dirt, the Filthy Reality of Everyday Life" is now playing at the Wellcome Collection. "I want people to leave with an expanded awareness of dirt," said the curator. Reuters via Yahoo News

And Still More Things To Worry About

Fine Points of Montana Law: It's still a "workplace injury" even if a "Great Bear Adventures" employee got hurt while sky-high on dope and attempting unsuccessfully to be buddies with a grizzly. Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Mont.)

You'd expect federal buildings, surely, to be secure after 9-11, but at the huge McNamara Federal Building in downtown Detroit, a contract guard found a "suspicious" package and stuck it in lost-and-found . . for three weeks . . before a supervisor asked, Whaziss? X-ray revealed "active bomb components." The McNamara houses the FBI, IRS, etc., and the office of Sen. Carl Levin (who might have been somewhat perturbed). Detroit News

Even though record companies have had file-sharers on the run for several years now, there's no let-up. They have demanded a copyright judgment against the defunct service Lime Wire (OK, fair enough), plus they insist that Lime Wire pay them, er, 75 trillion bucks. The American Lawyer

There's "zero tolerance" (e.g., suspending a kid for pointing his finger and thumb like a gun), and then there's this: Student Ryan Ricco, accused last year of threatening to blow up two schools in suburban Chicago, and who is free on $250,000 bond, was granted permission to play in a big school basketball tournament. Chicago Tribune

Leading Economic Indicator: KV Pharmaceutical of St. Louis recently announced that its Makena drug, which potentially reduces pre-term births by 10-15 percent, will undergo a slight price increase . . from $20 a dose to $1,500. WIOD Radio (Miami, Fla.)

Jo Yochum filed a lawsuit against a Pennsylvania franchisee of Bath Fitter (the custom-made bathroom fixtures and remodeling company). Employee Yochum did well enough that she could pay $90,000 charged by the franchisee upfront for "training," but she found out later that the "training" was to reflect on the "nature and quality" of "evil, sin, judgment day, hell, guilt and punishment . . . and free will." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Mass. Job Fair Canceled Because of Lack of Jobs" Boston Globe

General Electric earned $14.2 billion in profit last year ($5.1 billion from the U.S.). Total U.S. corporate income tax: $0.0. [ed.: Tax rate for high-tier corporate earnings is 35 percent, but that number is useful only as a talking point when trying to convince Congress to lower corporate taxes for all the businesses that can't hire (as GE has) the world's best tax technicians.] New York Times

It says here (in London's The Sun) that Briton Bob Gibbins, 60, collects the life-size, full-featured, finely-detailed, silicone-textured, er, "love dolls" (such as the proprietary Real Dolls) and has a house full of them, all nicely made-up and dressed sexily. Great photos! [ed. All right, now, I got busted recently (as I announced last week), so watch it! Those dolls cost several thousand pounds each, and Bob's a blue-collar guy. Plus, Bob's wife is supposedly into the hobby as much as he is. Plus, he swears he, unlike every other purchaser of those dolls, doesn't fool around with them! Plus, of course, Bob and Lizzie are apparently embarrassment-proof.] The Sun

Losers

Smooth: Marissa Mark, 28, was indicted in Allentown, Pa., for an attempted 2006 contract murder . . solicited on the site HitManForHire.com . . and paid for by sending $19,000 by PayPal. (No humans were harmed during the performance of this plan.) Morning Call (Allentown)

Sweet: Someone stole Mark Bao's MacBook Air and used it to, among other things, make a video of himself doing a wannabe remake of "Rubber Band Man" Tyga, thumping out a hit. Since the Mac was sync'd to lift files to the cloud, Bao recovered the video and stuck it up on YouTube, causing the thief (it says here) to give back the Mac and beg Bao to take the video down. New York Observer

Isaiah Doyle, convicted of murder, took the stand at his sentencing and begged the jury to spare his life told the jury that if he "had an AK47, I'd kill every last one of ya'all with no remorse." [ed.: OK, now, is Doyle's odds at avoiding the death penalty worse than those of an 11th seed's winning the national championship? Your call.] WWL-TV (New Orleans) /// Times-Picayune [spoiler alert!]

Bonus: These guys aren't middle-schoolers! They're "grown-ups"! Aaron Penny, 27, and Justin Williams, 36, were charged with riding down the road tossing ball bearings at oncoming cars' windshields! Couldn't be cooler! Jacksonville (N. C.) Daily News

Uncreative: Lebain Preston, 40, was arrested for allegedly stealing a 12-pack of beer using a box cutter. Before that, he served 16 years for stealing a 6-pack using a knife. Mobile Press-Register

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


The super-clean Joshua Wordell, 34, accused of breaking into two homes and . . showering. Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.)

Mario Aguilar, 52, might have had sex with a roommate even though possibly not attractive enough for it to have been consensual. KTRK-TV (Houston, Tex.)

Helen Staudinger, 92, was charged with shooting into a neighbor's house because the resident, a 53-year-old man, had earlier declined to kiss her. Ocala Star-Banner

Beyond WTF? Cameron Spurback was arrested right here in Weird Central and accused, of course, of doing something weird with a kid. Tampa Tribune

Below The Fold

Taking the Concept of "Beat Reporter" to a New Level: Apparently, to write a good obituary for Elizabeth Taylor last week, the New York Times called on a fella who died in 2005. Village Voice

That new, greasy fast-food joint in Waco, Tex., doing bang-up business? Fat Ho Burgers (serving skinny fries). KWTX-TV (Waco)

A man can't protect himself too much when it comes to keeping burglars out overprotected himself, getting shot by his own gun-cabinet trap. He's no longer with us. The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, S.C.)

True or False: If a Papa John's store has just been robbed by a stick-up man at the back door, then a total stranger trying to rob the store at the front door one minute later is simply not getting any money. Tulsa World

Editor's Notes

Time-Wasters: (1) This little fella is said to be 3 years old (and 132 lbs.). (2) Here's a preacher onto something: the new, improved "F" word (which is "Forgive"). Watch his megachurch congregation taking it to heart: "F" you! (No, "F" you!)

Newsrangers: Sandy Pearlman, Lisa Manikowski, David Light, Bruce Leiserowitz, Steve Dunn, Roy Henock, Steve Silverwood, Chris Schulman, and Chris Paone, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, March 21, 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
March 21, 2011
(datelines March 12-March 19) (links correct as of March 21)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

The Nubile Snake-Skinner, Plus Paintballed Sluts and Weird Dr. Phil

From Yr Editor

There's a Correction at the bottom, but otherwise this is just a routinely challenging post in which I choose about 25 stories out of 75 good ones, after having discarded about 200 mediocre ones. "Hand-picked" makes for hard work.

★ ★ ★ ★!

Miss Rattlesnake Charmer: Laney Wallace won the beauty title at the (53rd) annual Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Tex., where the "talent" is the ability to behead and skin a Western diamondback. [Full Disclosure: Yr Editor's fascination with this story is probably based on the sensations in the loins. A nubile chick who can skin rattlers! Oh, baby!] Daily Mail (London)

Cosmo for Jihadists: Here's yet another magazine-form public relations gimmick from Middle East jihadists to recruit new mujahadeen and/or reassure current ones, to go along with similar products from 2004 [Al-Khansaa, online-only] and last year [Inspire]. The latter, from "Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," and the current Al-Shamikha ("The Majestic Woman"), are chock full of tips on how to be a good jihadist wife-mother-sister. Daily Mail (London) [Al-Shamikha] /// PublicIntelligence.net [downloaded copy of Inspire] /// BBC News [Al-Khansaa]

This Story May Be a Mirage [See "tree/falls/forest/no sound"]: If a story is "published" only on Rupert Murdoch's iPad newspaper The Daily, does it really exist? An eccentric middle-aged gay couple adopted a small French boy in 1990, named him Digby, have traveled around the world with him, and continue to dote on him. Except, Digby's just a doll. The Daily /// Gawker

Clawdeen: If you don't keep up with the actual doll market, you'll be surprised to know that the "most popular fashion doll we have today," according to a Toys R Us executive, is a Mattel number that features a monster babe with shavable, tweezable, waxable legs. Psychologists are going nuts, but Mattel is winning. Fox News

Life Is So Unfair. Alan Patton (that boys' urinal collection agent [NOTW M206, 3-20-2011]) was sentenced last week to 5 years' house arrest for an endeavor that, it says here, in Dongyang, China, is a cottage industry. Schools there eagerly collect boys' urine and send it to local factories to soak and boil eggs in, to sweeten the value of the eggs. It's "yummy," "the taste of spring," "I'm addicted," were some of the reviews. MinistryofTofu.com [he's a Chinese blogger, allegedly translating from, allegedly, the Qianjiang Evening Post, allegedly] /// Columbus Dispatch [Patton sentencing]

And Still More Things To Worry About

Clichés Come to Life: (1) Timothy Fattig, an Arizona horror-filmmaker, was arrested at his home when police discovered his mother's decomposing corpse. (2) Just after the thingy broke out at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission disclosed a massive leak at an Ontario plant, but it being Canada, it was just leaking water. Fox News /// Associated Press via Miami Herald

No Longer WeirdStill Kinda Weird: (1) It's still pretty exciting when someone enters the throne room, ready to do his business, and finds a 3-foot-long snake staring up at him from the toilet. (2) And it's still newsworthy when people like Robert Hughes go it alone to rid their homes of, say, squirrels . . and set their houses on fire ("major damage"). Daily Record (Glasgow) /// Chicago Sun-Times

People with Too Much Money: You can send $1.6 million to Haiti to buy, say, 1.6 million bottles of clean water . . or you can buy this dog. [ed.: Yes, they still need stuff in Haiti, whose per-capita GDP is about 1/53rd what Japan's is.] Daily Telegraph (London)

Leading Economic Indicator: "Kensley Hawkins, 60, has saved $11,000 by working [while incarcerated] in a Joliet prison since the 1980s, making about $75 a month. The state [now] says he owes them for the cost of his stay." Chicago Tribune

Warning! Warning! Tsunami!Clown Convention! It's over by now, but about 200 clowns gathered in New York City last week and apparently roamed free, without supervision, visiting city hospitals, with unknown consequences. New York Daily News

Things People Believe: James Birkhead, 52, was released after serving 5½ months since his arrest for making and stockpiling bombs. He admitted to being spooked by the movie 2012 (e.g., Mayan calendar, end of the world, food riots). Louisville Courier-Journal

Inexplicable: In Dallas, Tex., a 69-year-old woman was rescued by paramedics, who found her immobile, in the bathroom, with a metal toilet-paper holder-thingy embedded in her neck, after she had fallen. [ed.: I'll level with you. I'm still not picturing this, exactly.] KRLD-TV (Dallas)

Only in the F State would a senator defy a budget crisis to give away state park land for private upscale golf courses and resorts and then require that only Jack Nicklaus's company design the courses. The senator's bill had momentum until people came to their senses, with the key question being the one asked by, of all people, Arnold Palmer, to wit, "Why just Jack's company?" Orlando Sentinel

According to Human Rights Watch, Chechnya's leader has banned women from appearing in public without full Islamic head-to-toe gear, and ordered any scofflaws shot with paintballs. Christian Science Monitor

Killer Weed: That's what Richard Blanscet told deputies in Salisbury, N.C., after he went crazy behind the wheel of his old man's Jaguar XK8 and whacked several targets, including patrol cars. The weed, "Wicked X Herbal Smoke," brought into Banscet's mind the high-pitched voice of Dr. Phil, warning of an alien invasion (causing Richard to hurry, at 100 mph, to his girlfriend's house to save her). The patrol cars' sirens and lights meant the invasion had begun. At least that's what he's sticking to. WBTV (Charlotte)

Losers

Home invader Arkeem Thomas, 19, had his mouth invaded by the fist of the resident. (Bonus: His mom showed up minutes later and tried to take back her son's gold teeth that had gotten knocked out.) TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

Adam Yarbrough, 22, pulled over in Indianapolis for various traffic infractions, made his life more difficult by offering the female cop a, y'know, session with him if she'd forget the whole thing. (Bonus: He offered to throw in $5, too.) (Double Bonus: Stud was riding a moped.) Indianapolis Star

At a French Parliament hearing (on live television) on the country's immediate response to the Japanese earthquake and nuclear crisis, MP Maxime Gremetz stormed into the meeting late and launched a tirade about how someone had blocked his car in the parking lot. Reuters

The Pervo-American Community

A suggested new, improved standard for judging indecent exposure: If it wasn't erect, what's the problem? KXAN-TV (Austin, Tex.)

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


Are These the Faces of Crime? (1) Michael Tice, 40 (What would he want with a bag of dildos?) (2) Johnathan Washburn, 23 (Does he have it in him to lay a smackdown on someone for making fun of his hair?) The Smoking Gun /// Austin American-Statesman

Are These the Faces of Perversion? (1) Gary Gunstone (Who in the world would rape a woman in full view of passing motorists?) (2) David Joseph, 40 (Who could be so busy--charged with 459 sex-related counts with teenagers?) (3) Jeffrey Maxwell, 58 (Do some perps actually try to look pervy?) Daily Mail (London) /// Orlando Sentinel /// Associated Press via MSNBC

Editor's Notes

Hoaxes! Yr Editor is just too smart to fall for the "Muslim ban on padded bras" story (with imams calling them "Devil's Cushions") that Fox News sucked up. And Yr Editor is just too smart to buy that the snake actually "die[d] from silicone poisoning" after biting a model's breast, as many news outlets reported. (If a snake died, it was surely from some other cause.) And Yr Editor is just too smart to fall for the "New York chef sells meat-flavored water" . . uh, uh-oh, umm, umm . . .. Yr Editor will be releasing this Correction in next week's News of the Weird:
CORRECTION: Two weeks ago in this space, News of the Weird fell for a hoax (for only the fifthseventh time in 22 years, covering more than 20,000 stories). The seller of meat-flavored water, originally reported as a legitimate entrepreneur by AOL News, is apparently engaged in quite elaborate "performance art." I am duly embarrassed, and I apologize to readers.

Time-Waster: Here's the viral video of the week from Oz, of the bully picking on the big fat kid (for the last time, certainly). The Age (Melbourne)

Newsrangers: Sherry Repicky, Hal Dunham, Pete Randall, Neb Rodgers, H. Thompson, and Steve Ringley, the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, March 14, 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
March 14, 2011
(datelines March 5-March 12) (links correct as of March 14)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

From Yr Editor

Pro Edition's quality is in part dependent on the inspirational quality of the news (up or down) each week. There are weeks in which "the news" crushes even the most cynical people. You may notice that here from time to time.

Things To Worry About This Week

Live Free Lucky or Die: Martin Hardy, 91, newly elected state representative from Barrington, N.H., right away balked at all that taxpayer money going to mental health treatment. "[T]he world is being inherited [sic] by too many defective people" ["drug addicts, mentally ill, the retarded"]. "I believe if we had a Siberia, we should send them to this, and they would all freeze and die, and we will be rid of them." Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Comfy fabric seats are supposed to increase mass-transit ridership, but a San Francisco State University biologist examined local transit trains' seats. She tends to use the word "fecal" a lot. In the future? Psst! "Plastic"! New York Times

"Lady, in our courthouse, we don't permit monkeys--even if they're small enough that you can keep one inside your bra cup." Lynchburg News & Advance (Lynchburg, Va.)

Greatest Threat to Planet Earth (continued) [Reminder: It's "ignorance"]: Ronald Renken, 66, was arrested in Austin, Minn., on several bunko-scheme charges after successfully selling people access to a satellite that would beam down cures for various maladies. KIMT-TV (Mason City, Iowa)

Update: The Buffalo, N.Y., Muslim who was setting up a TV station to run programs to dispel negative stereotypes of Islam was sentenced to 25 years for beheading his wife. (Nothing to do with Islam, though, except that he said she bossed him around like a "terrorist training camp.") Fox News

♫ I Got Rhy ♪ . . . . . . . .thm: A 23-year-old man named Mathieu was diagnosed as being, allegedly, the first person found to suffer "beat" deafness. Discovery Channel News

Win-Win: Israeli rabbis launch an initiative to get gay men married off to lesbians! Haaretz

A fender-bender slipped into road rage and gunfire, but, as shooter David Bush pointed out, give him credit because even though he shot the guy, he went the extra mile by making sure not to kill him. WPXI-TV (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Republicans mustn't cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada. After all, that might jeopardize Nevada's annual Cowboy Poetry Festival. Politico.com

"Wife Flies Cross-Country to Seek Revenge on Husband" . . and by "seek revenge," we mean "break into his girlfriend's clothing stash and cut the crotch out of all pants and panties." Chicago Tribune

News from Oz: In one of New South Wales's "top nursing homes," some nurses operate "Genital Friday Club." At least two have been fired. Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

Britain's Circus of Horrors has an international track record for grossing people out. In fact, you rarely get to see "Circus of Horrors" and "Oxford University" used in the same news bite. Metro (London) /// Circus of Horrors [Not Safe For Work]

Dueling 911 Calls: Homeowner called to report an intruder using his shower . . at about the same time the man in the shower, fearing that the homeowner has a gun, called 911, himself. (Bonus: Slow learner: Two days later, shower man was arrested stealing from a Walmart in the next state.) The Oregonian /// KVAL-TV (Eugene, Ore.)

The Well-Crafted Lede: "Sheepish scientists refer to it as a tail, but the appendage dragging behind the male frog [that was] recently discovered in Mendocino County is no tail." Like, 4,998 out of 5,000 frog and toad species don't have penii at all so meet the coastal tailed frog, which needs one to deliver the goods in the muck. San Francisco Chronicle

Did you know that a person could really be vaporized? It says here that, according to the CEO of the power company in Christchurch, New Zealand, if you were to touch the main core of their big power line, which carries 66,000 volts, you and the surrounding matter for 20 feet on all sides would disappear. Dominion Post (Wellington)

Losers

People With Issues: Miljenko Bukovic, a newspaper vendor in Chile, is an adult (measured in accumulated years), but his chest, back, and arms are almost totally covered . . with 82 portrait tattoos of Julia Roberts. Daily Mail (London)

Intra-Nerd-Community Crime: A unnamed teenager was arrested in Southfield, Mich., after attempting to rob a comic-book store with a fake bomb. WJBK-TV (Detroit)

The Pervo Community

Thomas Cavender begged the judge, Please release me from the Sex Offender Registry. How can I conduct my evangelical ministry if people keep seeing my name up there? Gaston Gazette (Gastonia, N.C.)

Crusader Fred Skelton, 78, was unconvincing to a Manitoba judge. He claimed his child-porn collection was just the bookmarking of offensive sites so he could report them to the porn tip line. (In fact, he was so conscientious that he started doing it four years before the tip line was set up.) Canoe.ca

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


There's a story behind David Davis's arrest for assault, but . . not now. [It's not quite an Afro; it's a half-fro.] Stamford Advocate

F-Stater Joseph Florence was arrested for trying to beat up on a police officer . . ineptly, apparently. WFTV (Orlando)

There are several theories on how to project innocence in a mug shot if you get caught doing something bad, but Robert Burdette, accused of burglary, is unaware of them. Sarasota Herald Tribune

Editor's Notes

Slate.com published a remembrance by a high-school buddy of a fella who recently made the weird news, big-time. Really, imagine someone in your own lifetime . . who went on to such an achievement as . . being arrested with a 30-item rectal inventory. Slate.com

Newsrangers: Sam Ronda, Hal Dunham, Peter Hine, Ryan Parker, Carl Hayden, and Paul Sethre, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Hola, Weirdo! The regular Pro Edition is published on Mondays. Some weeks, I do a spillover edition on Tuesdays. If you come to a Tuesday post (not this Tuesday post, but a stories Tuesday post), you'll find the "A" material (the Monday post) just past it.
News of the Weird/Pro Edition
You're Still Not Cynical Enough

Prime Choice Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
March 8, 2011
(datelines February 26-March 5) (links correct as of March 7)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Below The Fold

They stage Spielberg-quality attention-to-detail scenarios--of illnesses, including at-death's-door--just to get online sympathy: M√ľnchausen by Internet! The Guardian (London)

Caught naked in her teenage lover's closet: the 40-year-old Mary Magdalene (uh, Mary Magdalene Collier). WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.)

Evidently, publishing on the Internet is too difficult for this guy to master so he publishes his novel, page by page, by taping it to streetlamps in New York City's East Village. New York Post

Medical Marvel: A Chinese farmer who has endured unspeakable colonic inconveniences in his life now has cause for rejoicing: Doctors just gave him a new anus! Global Times (Beijing)

Ms. Rakel Daniele thought her lottery ticket had won $250,000 because that's what WABC-TV (New York City) had on the screen. Turns out the station had just forgotten to change the screen from the day before. She no win; she sue. Fox News

How bad could Mom be? A Brooklyn, N.Y., divorce judge awarded custody of the teenager to his dad. Mom's got a $90,000-a-year job; Dad is homeless (storefronts, shelters). New York Post

Day-Care Combos: (1) In Morganton, N.C., a combo day-care and meth lab, apparently. (2) In Pittsburgh, Pa., a combo day-care and sex-toy playroom. Gaston Gazette (Gastonia) /// WPXI-TV (Pittsburgh)

Flash! Briton Jessica Davey, 22, has more time than you and I have. Her car was booted and set for towing but she locked herself inside and won a 30-hour standoff with the parking inspector until he tore up the ticket. News.com.au (Sydney)

Leading Economic Indicator: Pizza parlor wars of Upper Darby, Pa., are so vicious that Uncle Nick's and Verona are creating retaliatory mouse infestations. Associated Press via Yahoo News

Finally, from artist Lydia Leith, the finest in souvenirware for the upcoming Royal Wedding: commemorative barf bags. Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Monday, March 07, 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
March 7, 2011
(datelines February 26-March 5) (links correct as of March 7)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Myanmar's Girlyboy, Plus the Chocolate Syrup Shower and the 40-Million-Year-Long Tryst

From Yr Editor

Last week, the pervos were in bloom, messed-up government continued to out-weird messed-up people, and Yr Editor barely could summon the ability (but succeeded, working overtime) to produce a completely-Sheen-free edition.

★ ★ ★ ★!

Myanmar's Cross-Dressing Strongman General: Senior Gen. Than Shwe appeared on TV recently in a women's sarong (but, really, it's not an Eddie Izzard thing). "Superstition" permeates Burmese society much as "sex" permeates America. Men, too, wear sarongs but of markedly different designs than women's, i.e., they don't switch off unless it's on purpose. Myanmar's generals run Asia's most oppressive regime, and apparently the only semi-effective opposition in recent years has been the "Panty Party," protests in which women's drawers are tossed at the generals or their property in the hope of feminizing them (i.e., sapping their masculine strength). It is possible that it was the generals' fear of Pantyism that caused them to release freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. So, Gen. Than's appearance on TV in a girly sarong constitutes either a taunt (I see your damn panties, and I'm still in charge!) or a protective immunizing against further weakening. Or, it's a personal ad (there's no Craigslist in Myanmar). AOL News

The Worst of the Worst: You can have your Benny Hinns and your Creflow Dollars and your Eddie Longs. The bottom of the barrel (i.e., the most wretched of the Christian fundie grifters) is Peter Popoff of Los Angeles, and KABC-TV did a takedown for Popoff's pushing of "debt cancellation" kits. Debt collectors hounding you? God "wants to cancel, erase, wipe out, obliterate your debt." If ya can spare it, send me what little money you have left, and miracles will come! Pray harder, don't buy things you don't need, and of course support Peter Popoff Ministries. KABC-TV

The Federal Government Believes Schoolteacher Quality Is So Important That It Has 82 (Overlapping, Duplicative) Programs to Improve It: GAO went over the whole federal layout to see what efficiencies could be gained by merely stopping different agencies from doing the very same things (a project that GAO has apparently been too busy to do for the last, what, 40 years). Help disadvantaged people with transportation? 80 different federal programs. Job training? 47. Help people understand basic finances? 56. [ed. The problem remains, of course: Bureaucrats from mid-level on up never accept contractions in their organization charts. That's why the overlaps were created in the first place. Find me just one bureaucrat who cheerfully accepts that he'll be less important tomorrow than he is today.] Wall Street Journal

Calypso Louie, Back on the Big Stage: Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, in a (typical) four-hour speech on his religion's Saviours' Day, praised Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard for recognizing that white people needed civilizing (the first, excellent step toward which, Farrakhan said, is running them through Scientology's "auditing" process). He also warned the U.S.'s Muslim president that America will soon be experiencing the revolutions now seen in the Middle East and urged Mr. Obama not to attack innocent people when that happens. [Please, President Obama, for the love of God! No fire hoses! No dogs! No lynchings!] Chicago Tribune

Can't Possibly Be True: An Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agent told CBS News (with backup evidence) that the agency is actually facilitating the Mexican drug cartels' bloodbath by running a cute little mapping-type program on the border, where it inventories the weapons of various dealers and then merely monitors where the weapons wind up. Neat-o! No responsibility yet for what the cartels do with the weapons. Analogy: What if the CDC actually created the infamous AIDS "Patient Zero" just to construct a map of infectees? (Well, so far, the only American death pinned to an ATF-monitored gun is one Border Patrol agent.) According to the agent-squealer, ATF is doing this because some day--some day, mind you!--they'll have a good enough map that they can get indictments! Arrest warrants! Trials! CBS News

And Still More Things To Worry About

Ida Valentine filed a lawsuit against the 99 Cents Only store in Fontana, Calif., over the extensive injuries she suffered (herniated disk, etc.) when she fell after slipping on a banana peel and being hit in the face by a pie. Reuters

Science story ledes don't get any better than this, from Discovery Channel: "Forty million years ago, a female mite met an attractive partner, grabbed him with her clingy rear end and began to mate--just before a blob of tree resin fell on the couple, preserving the moment for eternity." Discovery Channel via MSNBC

Sounds Like a Joke (I): Texas state Rep. Debbie Riddle proposed legislation to curb illegal immigrants by cracking down on employers . . except employers of maids, nannies, and yard workers. CNN

Sounds Like a Joke (II): Two female "friends" fought it out (syringe vs. razor) in Tacoma, Wash., maybe over the issue of whether heroin makes one more psychotic than crack. Crack won. (The H user is dead.) News Tribune (Tacoma)

NOTW/Pro Continues to Pile On (onto public employees): (1) Jill McGlone, who "works" for the city in Norfolk, Va., said that "[n]o rectification can justify the moral devastation" she has had to live with for 12 years . . because the city has been paying her while requiring no work, while it ponders whether she did something wrong. (It was obviously a close call.) (2) An unidentified schoolteacher in Ireland was revealed last week as having been on paid leave for 14 years (because officials couldn't decide if he or she was a classroom danger). Total income: €889,000 ($1.243m). Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk) /// Irish Independent

The Food and Drug Administration decided that the time is right to crack down on makers of about 500 prescription allergy and cold medications that the agency has permitted to be sold without proof that they were "safe and effective" . . for a couple of decades now. [ed.: Actually, relax. Big Pharma has long since bribed doctors to move on to superior more expensive substitutes.] Associated Press via Bloomberg Business Week

Who Knew? It turns out that Sudan has a rich-enough middle class that a former police officer, Adam Ismael, wiped a lot of them out in a $180 million Ponzi scheme that he's now resting in jail for. "Resting" seems the appropriate word because it could be that various leaders had a hand in facilitating it. It also turns out that no matter where you are, under either cowboy capitalism or Shariah, if you give investors a 50 percent return on their money, people will be interested (only exception: Peter Popoff, who has a sweeter deal). Slate.com

The kingdom of Bhutan, not long ago one of the most isolated places on Earth (tucked between India and China and for some historical reason home of phallic signs and displays that are as ubiquitous as "Burma-Shave" signs were in the 20th century U.S. South), now has a (as they say) "draconian" anti-smoking law, and its first victim turned up last week: a monk nailed for importing cigarettes without paying the 100-200 percent duty. (Bonus: Angry smokers in this recently ultra-isolated country have now organized with . . a Facebook page.) Agence France-Presse via Calgary Herald

F State senate president Mike Haridopolos made headlines when records revealed that a state community college had paid him $152,000 to write a "textbook-quality" book that, now after four years on the shelf, had yet to publish its second copy. That makes Haridopolos better paid, on a per-copy basis, than J.K. Rowling. So the college released it, and reviews are in. It "doesn't show extensive research," wrote the Associated Press, kindly. (Bonus: Haridopolos also absolutely bludgeoned his required financial disclosure form last time around. Stay tuned.) Associated Press via Miami Herald

Losers

Oops: Firefighters in Gilbert, Ariz., rescued Eugene Ginzelberg from the bottom of a 40-foot sewer hole that he had fallen into (while--of course!--naked). PCP, marijuana, and mushrooms were involved. Arizona Republic

The reason for the suspension of 30-year-Houston cop Mike Hamby was that, while competing in his civvies in a barbecue cook-off, he decided to mess up a competing team by tear-gassing their booth. Houston Chronicle

Compelling Explanation: Brant Bader said he was so sorry but that he was aiming at the family dog, not at his wife, whom he had just shot dead. Los Angeles Times

Armed and Clumsy: (1) A man attending a gun show in Bloomington, Ill., laid the semiautomatic rifle back down on a table after fondling it, but somehow it fired and wounded two people with the same bullet. (2) Same Gun, Different Shooters: In Bay Minette, Ala., Allen Jones tripped while carrying a handgun and shot himself; his wife and their son rushed to Jones's side, but in their haste to grab the gun, the kid accidentally shot mom. The Pantagraph (Bloomington) /// WPMI-TV (Mobile)

The Pervo-American Community

Patrick Trejo, a middle-school teacher in Phoenix, was picked up in an online bestiality sting ("Hit me up / If you have a pup"), but he's no longer a problem because Sheriff Joe is on the case. KNXV-TV (Phoenix)

New Orleans Christian fundamentalist activist Grant Storms was arrested with his pants wide open in his car near a playground. He used the always-so-convincing defense that he had a perfectly valid explanation for everything but would save it for trial. Times-Picayune

Update: Our old pal Donald Thompson, the famously disbarred Oklahoma penis-pump-under-the-robes judge, was arrested in his hometown of Sapulpa and charged with stalking an "ex-girlfriend" (though "girlfriend" is maybe too generous). From the police report, it looks like he had his binoculars on her while engaged in his favorite pastime. The Smoking Gun

If the charges are true, Steven Demink, 41, knows more than we do. We would have thought it impossible, but Steven knows that if he brings his A-game as a fake shrink, he can actually talk some innocent, loving mothers into having sex (as earnest therapy) with their kids on a webcam so he can watch. Associated Press via Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A real shrink, Dr. Michael Taylor of Iowa, was court-appointed to look into what schoolteacher Larry Trigg, 53, did, which was get a student, 17, to play strip poker and let Trigg douse his body in chocolate syrup. Dr. Taylor testified that Trigg had no sexual motive. Waterloo Courier

And from the Anglo-Pervo Community, David Truscott, 41, was arrested again at a farm he apparently had repeatedly visited, for years, in order to masturbate while wallowing in the cow manure. Seriously. They got him for violating a 2009 no-trespass order. (Bonus: Remind you of C.M. Punk?) Falmouth Packet

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


A tough one: Jason Kircher, 31, was arrested for erratic driving on Interstate 64 in Louisville, Ky., and you tell me whether his weaving was due to DUI or that he was receiving oral sex while driving. WLKY-TV (Louisville)

From this week's The Smoking Gun collection: Guilty, Dorky, Ugly, Tacky, Wimpy

Editor's Notes

Updates from Last Week: The Country Afraid of Everything, not surprisingly, closed down the breast milk ice cream shortly after it went on sale. Unsafe. And although Dave "No Viagra" Cummings is "video porn hall of fame" material at age 71, he's still not as old as Shigeo Tokuda, already highlighted in Pro Edition [10-11-2010]. The Los Angeles Times gave Tokuda his props last week. (Bonus: And for those worried about the fate of witches and fortune-tellers from the imminent legalization of their craft in Romania [NOTW/Pro, 1-10-2011], well, the government caved--perhaps from fear of all those curses the witches were issuing.) Associated Press via Yahoo News /// Los Angeles Times /// Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Newsrangers: Derek Costello, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors