Monday, May 30, 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
May 30, 2011
(datelines May 21-May 28) (links correct as of May 30)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Balloon Man, Plus Tortoise Steam, Masked Monkeys, and Clown Licenses

★ ★ ★ ★!

Urban Legend Come to Life:  Snopes.com has the history of this, usually surfacing as someone getting air pumped into his rectum (sexually, or maliciously, or accidentally, by falling on an air hose) and self-inflating like the old Pillsbury Dough Boy.  Now say hello to Steven McCormick, a truck driver in Opotiki on New Zealand's North Island, who was hospitalized even though co-workers managed to turn off, just in time, the compressed-air hose he had fallen on.  It had jabbed him, not in the rectum, but between the fat and muscle in his butt, and he indeed had started to inflate, very painfully.  ABC News   ///  Snopes.com

Galileo II:  Seven "experts" were criminally indicted in Rome because they under-predicted the 2009 central Italy earthquake that killed more than 300.  The "improbable" happened, and because of that, somebody's gotta go down.  Imagine if this catches on.  [On the other hand, it's about time there were consequences for "experts" who enable all us lazy people to believe that quantification of a risk, or even sophisticated consideration of it, deserves the reverence we give it.  Wouldn't the world be saner if all "experts" just stop mass-opining?]  Associated Press via Business Week

Fine Points of the Law:  (1) Oswind Davis was released from a New York prison last week--good news except he's been in the joint for over five years on a dubious interpretation of the law.  He had been convicted of "first-degree" assault and sentenced to 23 years, but his indictment had been quashed before trial--only nobody realized it.  When the DA found out [I guess that would be Jack McCoy--no, wait, he was canceled.], he interpreted the dismissal as covering only the "first-degree"-ness, leaving intact any lesser-included offense, such as "second-degree" assault.  Judge's reaction, last week:  OMFG!  (Bonus:  The DA's not giving up.)  (2) In Utah, Debra Brown has been found "factually innocent" of a murder for which she has already served 17 years.  You'd think . . ..  Nope.  She's out, but "factually innocent" is not good enough for the state attorney general, who is appealing.    WABC-TV   ///   Salt Lake Tribune

The Fine Line Between Genius and Psychosis:  British-born conceptual artist Leonora Carrington passed away, leaving a biography of astonishing weirdness, and not just her Dali-like art.  She didn't once serve guests omelettes for breakfast, containing their own hair that she had snipped off while they slept . . did she?  She wasn't rescued from a Mexican sanitarium by her nanny, who arrived in a submarine . . was she?  She didn't make friends with a hyena and then have it replace a debutante at a young lady's ball . . did she?  I didn't think so.  Daily Telegraph (London)

Absurdities

An FBI agent on official business transferred a deluxe Ferrari owned by a guy, legitimately, but being held as evidence in an investigation.  We all know the agent must've made the transfer oh-so-carefully, steering delicately, at probably 15-20 mph max, to make sure nothing happened to the car, right?  Well, he totaled it, and according to the Justice Department, that's too bad.  Associated Press via Seattle Times

Health service investigators in the UK found one hospital where the nurses were performing so poorly that doctors had taken to writing prescriptions for "drinking water" on patients' orders--the only way to make sure they got it..   The Independent

Developers had to rush to complete the National September 11th Memorial in New York City so it's no wonder that "restrooms" slipped their minds.  Opening "on time" means, of course, exactly 10 years later, this September. (Restroom tip:  If you gotta go, try the Century 21 department store on Cortlandt Street.)  WPIX-TV

School authorities in Edinburgh, Scotland, caved in to pressure and granted one Mary Erskine School student permission to listen to her iPod while taking her mandatory exams.  A very versatile disorder, that ADHD!   The Sun (Edinburgh)

Because of an outbreak of equine herpes in Farmington, Utah, all the show horses had to stay home this year, and the Davis County Sheriff's Mounted Posse Junior Queen Contest made the entrants ride stick ponies through their paces.  (Video must be seen to be appreciated.)   KSL-TV (Salt Lake City)

Recurring Theme--Gold Farming:  Chinese prisoners (like Liu Dali, convicted of being a troublemaker to his local government) do serious labor, as you'd expect.  But then, when their hard time ends for the day, they get stuck in front of computer screens and forced to play online games until they drop--to mine gold and other goodies that the guards eventually cash in in the game.  The Guardian (London)

Losers

Latest young perps who picked the wrong 47-year-old lady to snatch a purse from:  Raufeal Waddy and Terrel Battle, in Fayettevile, N.C. (who learned too late that the woman has an extended family and network of friends, 15 of whom were nearby).  Fayetteville Observer

An unnamed, estranged couple in St. Lucie County, Fla., flooded their home during "discussions" about reconciling--the wife having fired off shots at a target in the bedroom closet (with the rounds penetrating the wall and busting open the washing machine).  [What "target" would one fire at in a closet?  Don't know, but both of them had been doing it.]  AWI.   TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

Jesse Robinson was arrested in Warren, Ohio, for "underage consumption."  Jesse's 21st birthday:  May 21st.  Day Jesse arrested:  May 20th.   Hamilton County Jails [link from Fark.com]

Recurring Theme:  Once again, some guy finds what looks like an explosive in the woods and, since he's not an expert, he puts it in his car and drives it to a police station (in Corvallis, Ore.).  As usual, the cops naturally shriek, run for their lives, and then call the bomb squad (which disposed of it safely).  Associated Press via KOMO-TV (Seattle)

Oh! Dear!

At the zoo in Knoxville, Tenn., they're trying to get something going for male giant tortoises Al (age: 130 and without a date since 1983) and Tex (age: 90) with females Patches, Corky, and Standup, but giant tortoises are finicky, and the females only put out when they're extremely horny, which meant getting Al and Tex out of town to Zoo Atlanta for a while.  Results and pending.  Knoxville News-Sentinel

The Pope shut down the Santa Croce monastery in Rome for lack of "liturgical, financial, and moral discipline," including taking on a former lap-dancer as a nun and staging unmonastic concerts.  BBC News

Regulation Even Republicans Can Love:  Licensing clowns!  (It's actually for all commercial entertainers of children, but so far, there's been no magician named Gacy, so "clowns" gets the lede.)   Toronto Star

To residents of Long Island (N.Y.)'s Shelter Island,  it may have been Memorial Day, with American flags galore in honor of a local hero who fell in Afghanistan, but to the Long Island Power Authority, it was . . $5 per pole rental income for holding the flags.   (State law!)   WCBS-TV

If you've been to Jakarta, this is apparently a yawner, but for the rest of us, we might be a little frightened at beggars' belief that they are more likely to make money, not less, if their leashed monkeys are wearing rubber masks of human faces.   Time.com

The Pervo-American Community

In the F State county with the most Fascistic sheriff in the state [That would be Polk, run by Sheriff Grady Judd.], deputy Robin Pagoria, 45, a recent hire after 22 years in the Marines, was busted for her sideline of arranging and taking photos of children being spanked naked, and passing them on to her boyfriend, whom she met on SpankFinders.com.  [It would not have been out of character if Sheriff Judd, fuming and sputtering, had ordered his SWAT team, plus about 100 backups in riot gear, just to put the cuffs on Robin.]  Orlando Sentinel

Kyle Pearce, 25, was arrested as he disembarked in Denver from a United Airlines flight, for having joined the Mile High Club.  Two problems:  He handled it all by himself, and he went for the glory while seated openly in the cabin.  The Smoking Gun

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


Does Samuel Kioskli, 64, appear to be a man who would secretly load the ATMs he services with counterfeit money while pocketing the real stuff?  (You have a right to remain silent, not a right to remain unlooked-at.)   San Francisco Chronicle

Editor's Notes

Next week, and for the three weeks after that, lower your expectations about Monday's News of the Weird / Pro Edition because Yr Editor will be onto another project during that time.  The news will still be browsed; tips from readers will still be read with Yr Editor's own two eyes; and the standard News of the Weird column will still be distributed each Sunday, as always.  And, by the way, there will be another of these scheduled four-week lowered-expectations tours during August.

Bonus Story:  Here's a photo from a pickup-truck crash.  How many beer cans can you spot strewn over the road?  WMUR-TV (Manchester, N.H.) (link from Fark.com)

Chuck's Time-Waster Links:  Last week's stories telling you all about . . drunken parrots   ///   aerosolized vuvuzela spittle   ///   employees wearing flea collars   ///   the patron saint of genital diseases   ///   "Show off your cha-chas"   ///   "real big thighs"   ///   Teacher gives students chloroform   ///   "Kiss my white Irish ass"  ///  Truck driver named Rocky Nail    ///   "rogue goldfish"

Newsrangers: Haydon Poole, Deane Bristow, Bruce Leiserowitz, Kathryn Wood, Conrad Heiney, and Katherine Welsh, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, May 23, 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
May 23, 2011
(datelines May 14-May 21) (links correct as of May 23)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

My Superfund Hideaway, Plus the Honest Cop and the Toothpick Acupuncturist

From Yr Editor

Greetings from Heaven! Y'all mortals' news says the Rapture failed. They're lying, people! It's just that there are fewer of us up here than I imagined. Harold Camping, for instance, must've missed his flight. Anyway, this Pro Edition is brief because I'm just getting settled in. Best thing up here so far: unlimited porn!

★ ★ ★ ★!

Too Hip for the Room: Four households in Brooklyn believe they're out in front of everyone because they've created tax-free, innovative waterfront living quarters in the midst of a struggling neighborhood, running party houses with gals sunbathing on the docks. One residence even has rain-harvesting water supply, solar panels, and an oxygen-regenerating bamboo water filter. Reality: They're jury-rigged houseboats, and the waterfront is the Gowanus Canal Superfund stream, where the city illegally dumps a million gallons of sewage every day. Mmm-mmmm! Livin' large! New York Post

The Best Entry-Level Jobs in California: That fear of California governments running out of money was only in your imagination. Take, for instance, Newport Beach, whose 13-person full-time staff of lifeguards starts at $58,000 a year (plus overtime and generous benefits) and tops out at over $200,000 worth in value for the chief. (Or, you could be a California prison guard, paid at the rate of $36,000 annually just for training, then $45,000 to $65,000 starting, up to $124,000 after 20 years, plus generous benefits and super-generous overtime and bonuses and 85 percent retirement salary at age 55. Bonus: They're more selective than Harvard--120,000 applied last year, 900 chosen.) Associated Press via Globe & Mail (Toronto) /// Wall Street Journal [4-30-2011]

Picking on Big Bonnet: This time it was U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, who tore into another of those adult babies who wear diapers and sleep in cribs and eat Gerber's every day. This Big Bonnet was Stanley Thornton Jr., 350 lbs., and he and his girlfriend/nurse Sandra Dias were featured on the delicious National Geographic Channel series Taboo, which disclosed that both draw federal Supplemental Security Income, which drove Coburn nuts (SSI qualifications: some sort of disability plus low income; benefit: currently, $674 a month, with possible add-ons). (Similar outrage issued forth in Michigan, where Leroy Fick, 59, won $2 million last year in the state lottery but then it recently got out that Leroy never left the food stamp program after he won. He told WNEM-TV in Saginaw, "If you're going to . . . try to make me feel bad, you aren't going to do it." Bonus: It's a lottery-law loophole, and the legislature is scrambling to fix it.) Washington Times /// Detroit Free Press

He Honored the Police Application Instructions But Not the Policeman's Creed: It says no-lying on the questionnaire for applying to the San Diego Police Department . . so Robert Williams answered (#172) yes, he has had sexual contact with a child and (#175) yes, he has been involved with child pornography. One search warrant later, he was arrested instead of hired. KGTV (San Diego)

Absurdities

High school principal George Kenney (North Port, Fla.) was being investigated regarding last month's suicide of a student . . since Kenney had recently hypnotized the kid to help him deal with stress. Students defended Kenney, explaining that, well, he hypnotizes lots of kids. WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

World's Greatest Lawyer: Serial British burglar Nathan Cassady's two henchmen will do time, but the lawyer for Nathan himself convinced the judge that jail would be bad for Nathan's obsessive-compulsive disorder since he has fits when he's around things even a little bit soiled. Cambridge News

Officer Kevin Kilpatrick of the Davie, Fla., police force returned to duty. He's been out since 2003 (though fully paid) after "a rift developed" between him and the then-chief. He retires in 2014 (with full benefits). South Florida Sun-Sentinel via Orlando Sentinel

Joliet, Ill., police found illegal child porn plus 1,700 grotesque photos of dismembered women on Joshua Price's computer, but not to worry, he said. Having that comforting stash to look at actually saved three lives, calming him down when he got those impulses to murder his wife and kids. Chicago Tribune

With massive foreclosures, unemployment, and loss of tourism, Florida's government budgets are on life support, with massive cuts in government services up ahead. In other news, the school board in Tampa is vigorously patting itself on the back after spending nearly $1 million to give free iPads to every student in two schools (amount includes iPad tech training). St. Petersburg Times

A little over half of those who appeal their initial denials for Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income win. Then there's this judge in West Virginia, whose approval rate is 99.7%, including 729-for-729 so far this year. Wall Street Journal

In Katy, Tex., a 14-yr-old boy tried out a new trick where he pushes his skateboard up ahead and runs to hop on, while simultaneously grabbing hold of a helper's SUV doing 10 mph. Oops! Missed, fell, hit his head, and was "serious[ly]" injured. [ C'mon! Where were this kid's parents? Didn't they teach him any sense? ] The SUV-driving helper? Dad. KPRC-TV (Houston)

Barnes & Noble and Borders distinguished themselves by putting opaque wrapping around the current displayed issue of Dossier Journal because, after all, the cover photo is a frontal view of a topless woman. Oh, wait, check that. It's a topless man. OK, no opaque cover required. But they've still got the opaque wrapping--out of fear that their customers will think it's a topless woman because it's androgynous model Mr. Andrej Pejic (and frankly-- . . .). Huffington Post

Losers

Sounds Like a Joke: He knew a good health-care deal when he saw it. Just $200 for a full exam, at a medical clinic in Niles, Ill., that he read about in a local ethnic newspaper. The clinic, he found out, was abandoned and shuttered--except there in the doorway was the "doctor," in white lab coat, ready to go. Examination, a little acupuncture using toothpicks, dispensing of a med (actually, a bottle of "Prosperous Farmer Dietary Supplements"), collect the $200! (Bonus: Expiration date on the Supplements: February 2002.) Chicago Sun-Times

Least Competent Hit(wo)man: Camden (N.J.) cop Jeffrey Frett was planning early retirement by having his wife shoot him in the leg, which he would then explain as random mean-streets gunfire, and voilà! She got up close, took her time . . and missed, and things went south from there. PhillyNews.com

Michael Jones, 31, of Staunton, Va., is a "sovereign," but hasn't quite memorized all of the back story. What he does know, however, is that if a State Trooper stops him, he is constitutionally entitled to give the officer attitude. News Virginian (Waynesboro)

The Pervo-American Community

Henry Fitzsimmons, 54, recently purchased the Envy Bar & Grill in Virginia Beach and started hiring. Five women have come forward since then claiming that he pressured them to sign a document modeled after the "Spencer Plan Agreement"--authorizing Person A to spank Person B when B has committed one of the enumerated infractions. Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk)

Paul Payton, 43, was arrested in Monroe, La., and charged with masturbating in public after a woman reported seeing him wag his stuff at her. Payton's defense: No way! Innocent! I was actually wagging at that other woman over there. The Smoking Gun

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


Mary Hargrove was charged with trafficking oxy in Supply, N.C., but really, Mary can't be guilty. She looks like your granny. [But Maggs Bennett was guilty, right? Well, yeah, but Mary could be Maggs Bennett's granny, too.] WECT-TV (Wilmington, N.C.)

The case against sex: Ruth Shrader, 50, was charged with statutory rape. She's a schoolteacher, a pastor, and the kid's godmother. WPTY-TV (Memphis)

Updates & Recurring Themes

Lawrence Bottone made News of the Weird 14 years ago [NOTW 477, 3-28-1997] when he pleaded guilty to torturing teenage boys whom he had convinced as a coach and teacher to allow him to experiment on for "research" purposes by, for example, whipping them, rubbing hot oil on them, and sticking objects under their fingernails. He did four years in the joint and, at age 52, is back now, but with an au courant raison d'être: training young men for intelligence-agency work, including how to endure pain when, for example, objects are stuck under their fingernails. New York Daily News

Miscellaneous Sh*t

It's still possible this thing is unofficial, in that the document shown on Jezebel.com is just a law-office draw-up and not necessarily something filed in court, but, that said, it looks authentic. In a routine Chicago lawsuit over auto repairs, the plaintiff's lawyer complains that the defendant's lawyer has purposely seated a female paralegal at the defense table for no reason other than having the paralegal's huge gazongas distract the jury while plaintiff is presenting his case [. . . distract the jury from examining the mounds of evidence, preventing them from getting a firm grip on their exhibits, thus squeezing plaintiff's case, nipping plaintiff's case in the bud . . . ]. Jezebel.com

Editor's Notes

After mentioning the Sonoma Enema last week, Yr Editor was reminded by long-time newsranger Brian Bjolin of the 1970s' Illinois Enema Bandit (which was formerly well within my consciousness but apparently one of those things that had departed with age). He was Michael Kenyon (not to be confused with great Seattle radio sports sage and NOTW fan J. Michael Kenyon, who has no relationship with enemas as far as I know).

London's The Sun is currently embroiled in a life-or-death struggle for credibility after "Kerry Campbell," the mom cited here last week [Pro Edition, 5-16-2011 (Part II)] for giving her 8-yr-old body waxes and Botox, recanted. She now says it was all lies, staged and paid for by The Sun. Earlier, when she suckered ABC's Good Morning America into interviewing the kid and her straight up, California authorities moved to snatch the kid away, and thus a full investigation is underway. Now, Campbell (real name Sheena Upton, she says) may be lying again, to be able to keep her kid (better to be a liar than an abuser), but if The Sun did stage this, it will be . . no big deal because everyone knows that some of its stories are overly fanciful. (That's what Yr Editor is for: If Sun and Daily Mail stories look like real news, reported properly and with verifiable details, they're on the table for me. However, I regularly toss many of them aside, from both papers. I admit, though, that when ABC News embraced the story, they got me.) ABC News (from last week's Pro Edition) /// The Sun (at first sticking to its story) /// TMZ.com (Sheena Upton gives up)

Newsrangers: Bruce Strickland, Donte Kendricks, and Roy Henock, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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
May 17, 2011 (Part II; Part I, May 16, 2011, follows this)
(datelines May 7-May 14) (links correct as of May 16)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Below The Fold

Checks & Balances: The special federal court designated to decide on warrant applications for national-security surveillance (that would otherwise violate the 4th Amendment) entertained a total of 1,506 applications in 2010 and approved, er, 1,506. Wired.com

What's living in your bellybutton? Turns out, you can learn a lot about a person. Swab it, and within two days, "large colonies with tens of thousands of cells" are growing, said a researcher. "We can see the diversity of life right there on the plate." (Bonus: There is a Belly Button Biodiversity unit at North Carolina State Univ.) News & Observer (Raleigh)

Chutzpah! Bad enough that a 16-year-old kid at Freeland High School in Bay City, Mich., got infinitely more sex than you did at that age ("intercourse at least 100 times" with teacher Marcie Rousseau, in addition to "at least 75 more" acts, i.e., presumably oral). The kid is now suing to receive "at least" $10,000 per copulation (or, 175 ways, $5,714 per). Saginaw News

Mildly-Justifiable: Jay Rodgers was shot by a stranger in Atlanta. It started when Jay held a door open for him at a gas station, and the guy didn't say "thank you," . . and Jay wouldn't give up nagging him, all the way out to his car, and then the guy turns and, Blam! A month after the shooting, Jay, recovering and interviewed by WSB-TV, implored the ungrateful shooter, on camera: "[I]f you're watching this, do the right thing and turn yourself in." WSB-TV

Least Explicable Death: A 58-year-old British teacher drowned in a shallow pond in her yard when she tripped and fell, and a carved tree trunk hooked onto her blouse and pinned her, face first, underwater. Sunderland Echo

The Houston carwash operator was irate that police investigators were climbing all over the place. "I got all my permits that go with this place." Police: Well, not the pharmacy permit, or the off-track gambling permit, or the raccoon-meat sales permit. KHOU-TV

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Father: The son, 14, violated his Internet-café grounding so Dad dragged him, naked, through the streets of Hechi city in southern China. Daily Mail (London)

Clumsiest Art Gallery Visitor: Wim T. Schippers's historic 1962 "peanut butter platform" (40-something square feet of peanut butter laid out on the floor) was re-created at a Rotterdam gallery, and (so far) only one hapless art patron has accidentally traipsed through it. News.com.au (Sydney)

Obituary: the late Mr. Harry Palm, of Stafford, Va. The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg)

Updates & Recurring Themes

Latest two-headed baby born: Suining City Central Hospital, Sichuan province, China (with photo that the Washington Post believes was not Photoshopped). Associated Press via Washington Post

The latest spectacular revenge under Iran's Sharia law--a woman allowed to inject acid into her attacker's eyes because that's approximately what he did to her--was postponed temporarily, but without judicial explanation. Daily Mail (London)

Another human mother nurturing her little cub-ette: Kerry Campbell arranges Botox and body waxes for her little Britney, 8, to prepare her for the future. Britney "no longer 'cries that much' during the injections, and she's looking forward to a 'boob and nose job soon, so that I can be a star.'" ABC News

Approaching No Longer Weird Status: Ann Marie Hernandez was arrested in Lee County, Fla., for, among other things, possession of a stolen credit card and driver's license, stored for safekeeping in her hoo-hah. John David Hall, 33, who was arrested in St. Lucie County, Fla., had a marijuana pipe but (either reluctantly or proudly) admitted its internal location as he was being processed for probation violation. Fort Myers News-Press /// TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

Reports are legion of clumsy people practicing "quick draw" with their guns in front of their mirrors, but what are odds that the errant quick-draw shot would plug a wall poster of Michael Corleone, right in the chest? KATU-TV (Portland, Ore.)

Miscellaneous Sh*t

It says here that a judge in Brazil has OK'ed a doctor's recommendation and ordered the unnamed employer of Ana Catarian Bezerra, 36, to let her masturbate on the job. (The "news" source for this comes nowhere close to meeting Yr Editor's standards, but of course "hypersexuality" disorder is not unheard of. It's just that it takes balls, metaphorically, to go public with it like this.) Owing to the good work of her doctor, Ana's down to just 18x a day. Guanabee.com /// Wikipedia on Hypersexuality

Chinese performance artist Cheng Li has been shut down by the government--oppressed because of his political criticism having live intercourse in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Beijing in March. Global Times (Beijing) [wa-a-a-y Not Safe For Work]

And finally, on-camera twinkie reporter Tara Morgan, getting the viz-element for a report on the zoo in Richmond, Va., gets her hair eaten by a camel. WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg, Fla.) via CNN

Newsrangers: Dave Shepardson and Paul Bruesch and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, May 16, 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
May 16, 2011
(datelines May 7-May 14)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

The Code-Breaker, Plus Dangerous Hair and the Free-Range Enema Experience

From Yr Editor

Barring an early Rapture, there will be a spillover edition Tuesday morning. E-mail subscribers will get two pieces of mail this week.

★ ★ ★ ★!

This Is the Final Pro Edition: On Saturday (May 21st), Yr Editor and an estimated 2% of Earth's population will be transported to Heaven while the rest of y'all wander around aimlessly until you're called to burn in Hell. (Sorry 'bout that. Not my rules. No, you can't have my stuff.) Unlike Pastor Harold Camping's previously forecast Raptures (which he admits he screwed up the math on), this date has been nailed down:
[T]hat will be 722,500 days from 1 April AD33, which . . was the day of the Crucifixion. [722,500] is important because you get it by multiplying three holy numbers (5, 10, and 17) together twice. "When I found this out," Camping said, "I tell you, it blew my mind."
The Independent (London) [March 27]

The Snake Whisperer: Mohammad Shafikul Islam, 46, is Bangladesh's go-to man for catching obnoxious snakes but also for supplying performance snakes. Here he is posing with his granddaughter, whom he has wrapped in several live writhers. He mostly uses his bare hands, and has never been bitten gets bitten all the time, actually--four times hospitalized. (All told, 700,000 Bangladeshis are bitten annually, 6,000 fatally.) Mohammad's son-in-law was bitten once and his right arm paralyzed to this day--but he still hunts snakes. ("He just uses his left hand.") CNN

Now, Was I a Navy SEAL Before or After I Was Awarded the Medal of Honor? It has not yet dawned on some courts just how creepy it is for a full-grown man, possessing intelligence and bearing, and without an obvious theft motive, to carry out a continuing scheme of lying about nonexistent, "official" military exploits. Needing to be the hero of a relentless, made-up backstory as one of the nation's bravest is especially bad if you're a pastor at the Christian Bible Fellowship Church in Newville, Pa., like Rev. Jim Moats, 59. Said one Navy-authorized fake-SEAL-hunter, "It's amazing how many of the clergy" they find doing it. (The federal Stolen Valor Act, which was supposed to punish this sort of thing, was invalidated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in March, as an affront to Americans' constitutional right to lie.) Patriot-News (Harrisburg) /// Associated Press via San Jose Mercury News [Stolen Valor Act]

Attention, TeaPs! Be Sure You Don't Read This! The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that citizens have no right to resist rogue cops breaking into our homes. This of course is somewhat contrary to 800 years of Anglo-American Common Law. (You'll just have to sue the cop later, once you get out of jail or the hospital, or perhaps the executor of your estate will have to sue.) Times of Northwest Indiana

Update on the Late Artiste Extraordinaire, um, John Wayne Gacy: From now through September, Las Vegas visitors can see a show of serial-boy-killer Gacy's original paintings at the Arts Factory, with proceeds going to Nat'l Center for Victims of Crime --oops, they don't want anything to do with the show, and apparently neither do any of the other planned beneficiaries. (Gacy, along with Texas serial killer Elmer W. Henley, was the inspiration for Yr Editor's "Classic Middle Name" series.) (Bonus: Yr Editor owns a Safe-For-Work Gacy original, which ($1,000) is absolutely not available for purchase ($1,000) at any price, no matter how much ($1,000) I am begged.) CNN /// Classic Middle Name [warning: through sheer laziness, not updated in the last year two years three years]

The Sonoma Enema: When a police officer tells a reporter, "You are definitely not going to believe this," we're cooking on all burners. On Sunday afternoon, May 1st, a man, age 53, answered a knock and encountered a woman who informed him casually that she had come to give him his enema. Since he recently had intestinal surgery, he shrugged and let her. She did it. Two minutes, done, she left. He got to thinking. He called police. They called his doctor. Doctor didn't send her. End of story (so far). Sonoma Index-Tribune (Sonoma, Calif.)

Absurdities

Is Vladimir Putin the Apostle Paul, Reincarnated? "Mother Fotina" and a band of nun-like followers [How do cult leaders actually find followers? Is there a registry?] in a village near Nizhny Novgorod obviously very much need to worship somebody so it might as well be Putin. Daily Telegraph (London) via Canada.com

Good thing the America's Founding Father's didn't have to explain Lisa Osborn of Burton, Mich. She went to the trouble of qualifying for election to the school board (the only person who did!) . . but then couldn't be bothered to actually show up and vote. Result: Other people got votes but weren't certified; Osborn, who was, got none. "I [thought I] would have gotten [at least one] vote." Flint Journal

Cliché Come to Life: Devastated in Alabama's tornado alley recently? What survivors need is food clothing housing a good drum circle they can join up with. WBRC-TV (Birmingham)

Battling for a choice street-corner entertainment spot in London, one Bulgarian living cartoon (The Invisible King) severely beat another Bulgarian living cartoon (The Silver Wizard), ending his career by rendering his cranium lopsided. Last week the King got 4½ years in prison. Daily Mail

Australian Rules footballer (helmets are for wusses) Nathan Van Someren was kicked out of a game in the 3rd quarter because referees determined that his spiked Mohawk haircut might poke someone in the eye. Geelong Advertiser

Losers

"He said if he was going down, he was going to go down in Larry Bird's jersey." That was an Oklahoma judge in 2005 explaining why he tacked 3 more years onto armed robber Eric Torpy's 30-year sentence--because Torpy asked for "33." Nowadays, though, Torpy told the Boston Globe, he regrets it. "I'm pretty sure [Bird knows about him and] thinks I'm an idiot." Actually, Torpy said, "[M]ost people do." Boston Globe

Joseph Brice, 21, was indicted in Spokane, Wash., on jihadist-related bomb-making charges. One would presume that such bomb-makers want to stay under the radar when ordering supplies and components, but Brice ordered everything under the name "Timothy McVeigh." Seattle Times

He's on the run in Pasadena, Calif., a heavy, 6-foot-tall man with dark bushy hair and goatee. He is wanted for armed robbery (with a real pistol) in which he invaded a home but stole only an Airsoft gun, which shoots plastic BBs. Pasadena Star News

Joseph Price, 61, would have been successful at the PNC Bank robbery in Okeechobee, Fla.--if he had remembered to bring a bag with him. When the teller said she didn't have one, Price slinked away. United Press International

Oh! Dear!

It happens. An unidentified senior citizen had to be rescued by firefighters in Tooting, South London . . after his testicles got caught in the "shower seat" some elderly bathers use to sit down while lathering up. The Guardian

An unidentified man had to be airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Tex., after a housecat tore him up. (Bonus: The man had the foresight, apparently, to bring a knife to the fight . . but the cat turned it against him.) Houston Community Newspapers

Update: Christopher Bjerkness, 33, returned to action in Duluth, Minn. He's the fellow with the thing for slashing all the exercise balls he can find [NOTW 933, 12-25-2005] and last Sunday allegedly struck Chester Creek Academy's physical therapy room. Duluth News Tribune

Silver-tongued Wisconsin judge Philip Kirk, indicating that he did not believe the protestations of bus driver Delton Gorges, 71, that he is heterosexual and therefore less likely to be guilty of molesting the boys in the complaint: "I think you were born gayer than a sweet-smelling jock strap." ABA Journal

The Pervo-American Community

Herman Broadus, 70, said he had merely forgotten he was about to shower and was naked when he stood in the front doorway and waved to two neighbor girls, 10 and 8. The Mississippi Press of Pascagoula reported Broadus was holding "something" in his hand; we can infer what it was because, presumably, if it were, like, a towel, it would have been reported as "towel." (Bonus Broadus Money Quote: "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.") Mississippi Press

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


Andrew Davis, 20, was arrested for hit-and-run in Bartlesville, Okla. Jurors, try to set aside the fact that he looks like an Insane Clown Posse wannabe. KOKI-TV (Tulsa)

Jeffrey Southwell, 38, was arrested for attempted murder in Gainesville, Fla., with a busy, busy neck. Gainesville Sun

Robert Norton Kennedy, 51, was arrested in Horry County, S.C., for assault and battery. Again, try to ignore the fact that, by tattoo, Robert has tried to prepare us for judging him. The Smoking Gun

A recent selection from The Smoking Gun includes the usual questionable fashion statement (a female up on drug and I.D. charges, with a "Taste The Rainbow" chest tattoo), hairstyle (man arrested on a bench warrant, right side buzzed, left side full), and shaving technique (arrested for aggravated assault).

The weekly Houston Press got into trouble with its top-ten list of Texas's "hottest" sex offenders, which made some rape victims' families feel bad, and they attempted to exercise Heckler's Veto, and now the editor has apologized . . but didn't remove the story. Houston Press

Newsrangers: Laura Billington, Roy Henock, Derek Costello, Jeff Jacobovitz, and Sandy Pearlman, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, May 09, 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
May 9, 2011
(datelines April 30-May 7) (links correct as of May 9)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

How Geeks Show Passion, Plus the Performance of a Lifetime

From Yr Editor

Hi. Welcome to another edition of "I need a few days off." I promise to return to excellence in the very near future.

★ ★ ★ ★!

Other Shoe Drops in Online Physical Sensuality: If they can arrange fondling (i.e., sending vibrations over the Internet to your significant other who has chosen to receive them in certain spots, with a special wand), then surely they can simulate tongue-kissing. You put the straw-like thingie in your mouth, hooked up to the computer, and your sweetie sends a signal that simulates a tongue plunging. Tokyo's Kajimoto Laboratory is the one that thought this was important. CNN via KVVU-TV (Las Vegas)

The Coming War Against Playing "Doctor": Authorities in Grant County, Wis., want to file "first-degree sexual assault" "charges" against a 6-year-old boy after he was caught feeling up a 5-year-old girl who had her pants down. It's not to punish him, they say, but to force parents to haul him off for counseling, under penalty of law. He may be a sex offender waiting to happen, or not. We don't know . . because he's 6 years old. Wisconsin State Journal

Aural Sex (I): Ellenbeth Wachs, 48, of Lakeland, Fla., had had enough of the urchin next door playing basketball near her window and, thinking outside the box, she settled on a strategy of encouraging his parents to intervene better. To achieve that, she began a campaign of moaning loudly as if she were having one orgasm after another. At press time, the neighbor was seeking a judicial order to protect his little buttercup from this sexual "assault." The Ledger (Lakeland)

Aural Sex (II): You buy a condo, and you find out before moving in that your next-door neighbor is (1) the politest guy in town and (2) an S&M leather freak who entertains late at night, very expressively, like wall-bangingly expressively. He gently, sincerely begs your pardon in advance but says that's the way it's going to be. Can you back out of the contract? BizJournals.com

Absurdities

Great Moments in Tackiness: An elementary school teacher in Columbus, Ohio, is gone ("resignation accepted") after being caught lying about her income in order to get her own two kids subsidized school lunches. Associated Press via Ohio.com

Homeless Charles Mader was arrested in Albuquerque because he's a registered sex offender and failed to submit a change of address when he moved out his Dumpster (where he had been registered) to a shelter. Associated Press via New York Times

Sounds Like a Joke: Gangbanger Brenda Lee, 45, rounded up some homies and stabbed a group of deaf-mutes having a good time at a bar. Yes. Lee thought some of their signing was hand signals from a rival gang. (Seriously.) (Bonus Buried Lede: Hallandale Beach, Fla., has gangbangers.) New York Daily News

Losers

Dexter White, of North Charleston, S.C., has synthesized three loser characteristics. He needs crack, he got short-changed when he bought some, and he called 911 thinking cops could help him get the deal squared away. WECT-TV (Charleston)

David Williams, 23, was arrested at a convenience store after walking up to a cop that he thought he recognized and asking him if he'd ever arrested Williams before. (Answer: No) Of course, on running his name, the cop discovered an active warrant and arrested him. (Bonus: . . in the town of Surprise, Ariz.!) Arizona Republic

Two women, ages 23 and 25, fighting one morning around 8 a.m. after an all-night drinking session, settled on a mature course of action by agreeing to go ask a cop which one of them was in the right. They both drove to a nearby state police building . . where they were promptly arrested for DUI. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Oh! Dear!

Colombian "performance artist" John Jairo Villamil was on stage doing his impression of how crowded and stultifying Bogotá is, with a stack of bills in one hand and a plant leaf in the other, with his feet in a bucket of water, and a plastic bag around his head. According to friends and family, he had done the piece before without accidentally killing himself, but . . .. HispanicallySpeakingNews.com (Chicago)

It says here . . "reportedly" . . that managers at two factories in China that make parts for Apple devices are requiring workers to sign pledges . . that they won't kill themselves. At least 14 people in the last 16 months have (while working on Apple stuff) taken The Only Way Out, and numerous others have tried to do that but failed. Daily Mail (London)

The Pervo-American Community

Cops knocked, and John Kohler, 61, being investigated for exposing himself in front of a child, welcomed them in while he searched for his ID. John must have forgotten that he had lots of child porn taped up on the walls. Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

(Seattle Post-Intelligencer headline) "Court Date Moved for Man Charged with Faceplant in Women's Buttocks" Actually, complaints had come in from several women. A guy apparently rushes them from behind and snuggles their cheeks. Seattle Post-Intelligencer

In South Charleston, W.Va., Mark Thompson was charged with stealing a goat and killing it, thus getting blood all over the bra and panties he was wearing. Is there anything that "bath salts" (actually, methylenedioxypyrovalerone) can't make a man do? WCHS-TV (Charleston)

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


There are people who drop child porn off at Wal Mart to be developed and printed. Dustin Hill, 27, might be one. WCHS-TV (Charleston)

Selections from The Smoking Gun last week included the guy charged with domestic assault (even though his "victim" obviously turned the perp into her bitch), and this person of questionable gender, and this person, who will severely test your ability to determine guilt.

Updates & Recurring Themes

The U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in (by ignoring her) on that Texas high school cheerleader who was booted off the squad for refusing to cheer for the boy athlete who she says raped her. [There is no sorta "conscience exception," where you can sit out a specific, personal cheer. If you're on the squad, the lower court ruled, it's apparently very important that you cheer for every single player. Extremely important. More important than you could ever know! And now, the Supremes, 5-4, say, "Ehh, whatever."] Associated Press via SFGate.com

Newsrangers: Pete Randall, Sandy Pearlman, Paul Peterson, Randy Coulter, Doug Kaufman, Gerard Zavaski, David Werner, Steve Dunn, Gerald Sacks, and Jeff Able, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, May 02, 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
May 2, 2011
(datelines April 23-April 30) (links correct as of May 2)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

"Neithers" on the Rise, Plus Firefighter Nipples and the Third Eye

★ ★ ★ ★!

How Oppressed Pakistani Women Can Upgrade Their Status: The Pakistan Supreme Court said it would allow national ID cards to permit a third sex ("transgender"), thus paving the way for a significant upgrade in how the country's 50,000 lost-sexers, including eunuchs, are treated (better, in theory, than many women in tribal areas are). (Bonus: That includes affirmative-action job quotas, with the Court specifically recommending that trannies be hired as tax collectors, based on the embarrassment factor when they hang out at a scofflaw's house or job.) BBC News

The National Shame of Cats Feeling Humiliated and Dogs Feeling Mortified: Two animal-study ethicists (one UK, one Univ. of Illinois) will start an academic journal and research center to upgrade respect for our companion animals, and it all begins by banishing improper words. Critters, beasts, pets, owners, wild, "sly as a fox," "eat like a pig," "drunk as a skunk" . If we're referencing frothing, feral predators, we mustn't pre-judge them; they are actually just "free-living." Daily Telegraph (London)

Best Teaching Position in New York City: Be Marked-for-Firing: To achieve that coveted status (according to the New York Post's four-part series on how the city's kids have been so magnificently helped ignored by the teachers' union), you first need to go do something really awful that's beyond the get-counseling stage (e.g., run a cheating scam on the state tests)--so that they'll fire you and not just put you on probation. On "probation," you still have to teach class every day and have lots of meetings and evaluations. If you're "fired," your "appeal" starts, and you get full salary and benefits for three, four, five years, or more--with no classroom or other assignments. (Just show up every day with your laptop or a good book.) Sometimes, it's your union rep that drags it on, but sometimes the dragging is done almost entirely by the school system. These four teachers made $210k, $292k, $313.5k, and $354k, for exactly no contribution to education. New York Post

Absurdities

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers (after disciplining a male employee who posed shirtless for one of those charity calendars): "We cannot allow them to be showing nipples in photographs of Philadelphia firefighters[!]." United Press International

Fine-print analysis of the 9-11 responders' health and compensation bill (passed last year over relentless opposition by one of the two major parties) reveals that any of the people who cleaned up the 9-11 site and got sick would be covered under the law only after they get vetted by the FBI's terrorism watch list. (Actual terrorists might have infiltrated the clean-up crews!) But then it also got out that, thanks to the vigilant eye of the National Rifle Association, 247 people who are on terrorist watch lists were allowed, legally, to buy guns in 2010. (No such thing as a good gun regulation!) Huffington Post /// Associated Press via Chicago Tribune

Police in Norwalk, Conn., responding to a complaint from school officials, arrested a homeless woman whose primary hangout of record is in Bridgeport. Her crime: "stealing" $15,000 worth of education in Norwalk by registering her 6-year-old in school as if he lived there. (Seriously) Stamford Advocate

In Sandown, on the UK's Isle of Wight, Simon Ledger, 34, was arrested on complaint of two beach visitors of Chinese descent. His crime: He's a nightclub singer, covering the 1974 disco song "Kung Fu Fighting," which the visitors felt "harassed" by. Daily Telegraph

Oh! Dear!

(title of a current Scientific American article, reporting on the work of German biologist Oliver Zompro) "Man Discovers A New Life-Form At A South African Truck Stop" Scientific American

Losers

Springfield, Mass., double-murderer Charles Wilhite was so-o-o obviously guilty that jurors came back with their verdict remarkably quickly (in three hours, despite the complexity of Wilhite's lawyer's defense). "Unfair!" said the lawyer. Nineteen people testified, 55 pieces of evidence. The jurors should have been more conflicted, he said. They didn't show me my props! The Republican (Springfield)

Harlan Porter was informed that his teaching contract in Morrow, Ga., would not be renewed, which provoked him naturally (at 3:20 p.m., after classes had evacuated for the day) to take off his clothes and wander the halls. (Bonus: His foray apparently gave him "a new level of enlightenment," he told police, and opened up his "third eye.") Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Pervo-American Community

Doyce Dean Griffis, 47, has for several years been operating a self-serve tanning booth ($2 for 20 minutes) "in a barn behind [his] home" in Starke, Fla. Shockingly, it turns out, he has been a voyeur and a porn collector! Gainesville Sun

James Spence Jr., 58, was accused of making more than 300 sexually threatening (to "young girls") phone calls . . to hospitals, but he's not in serious trouble because they were general threats to no young girl in particular. (On the other hand . . 300?) Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)

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


The arrest was for DUI, but there could possibly be other problems. The Smoking Gun

Below The Fold

The Chicago Mob Lives: Police are investigating the Gary, Ind., farm where last week two bodies were found intertwined in a 15-ft-high pile of horse manure. Fox News

Hazmat personnel were called to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., where a patient who had ingested rat poison showed up "creating suspicious emissions." Detroit Free Press

An auto parts manufacturer in Delhi, India, who is addicted to being listed in the Guinness Book, got coverage last week for his 305 country flag tattoos (and 3,400 other tats, but that probably means counting each letter or number separately). (Bonus: "I want the children of those countries to ask me, where is the flag of our country [and then] spot it . . .." [Pervish? You make the call.] Mumbai Mirror [link from Nothing to Do with Arbroath]

She hired a hit man (i.e., undercover cop) to kill her husband, say police, and they've got her dead-to-right, but . . but . . Americans are so good at spinning and denial that Dalia Dippolito has come up with a defense: She had to play it out like that, see, because she and her husband were actually setting themselves up for a reality TV show about hiring a hit man to kill him. (Husband: "WTF?") ABC News

Speaking of logical stretches: A Riverview High School boy (unidentified) made the news in Tampa when it got out that he likes to wear girl-type high-heeled shoes to class. According to a gal pal, the heels make him feel more "confident." ["Confident"? That's not the Tampa schools Yr Editor remembers!] WTVT (Tampa)

Updates & Recurring Themes

If there's a recession, or if oil prices are spiking, restaurants know to be on the lookout for . . grease thieves! "Yellow" (uncleaned) grease normally sells on the "grease markets" for around 8¢/lb., but lately it's been hitting 18¢/lb. because after having some sort of magic done to it, it can go for 45¢. Reuters via Yahoo News

Domonique Loggins, 21, running from police in Joliet, Ill., tried to dash through Bicentennial Park downtown . . unaware that it was being used for police training (60 squad cars in the parking lot). (Bonus: Cuffed, and surrounded by blue, he still broke the huddle and tried to run away, but a joyous, festive time was had by all of the cops who made the second collar.) WLS Radio (Chicago)

Editor's Notes

Yr Editor decided almost 10 years ago that he was bored talking about himself to reporters and media hosts and consequently has turned down all requests, large and small. However, I inexplicably exchanged e-mails recently with hotshot reporter Ben Muessig of AOL News and was rewarded by being quoted in this recent piece on F State Weirdness. AOL News

Newsrangers: Graham Thomas, Lou Gendermalik, Craig Cryer, Bob Smakula, and Bruce Leiserowitz, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors