Monday, June 27, 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
June 27, 2011
(datelines June 18-June 25) (links correct as of June 27)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

The Eighth Continent, Plus Barf Bag Professional

From Yr Editor

This is the 4th of 4 consecutive relaxed-fit editions. Next Monday (which is some sort of holiday in America), I will resume taking full responsibility for your proper cynicalization.

★ ★ ★ ★!

World Tour Announced: When disaster hits the U.S., we tend to tarry in cleaning it up (e.g., government turf fighting, contractor battles, the permit process), but a lot of (most of?) the 25 million tons of debris created when the March 11th tsunami came ashore in Japan has been nicely dealt with [Take these scenes, for example] . . except for that debris that washed back out to sea. Well, thanks to the miracle of ocean currents, we who never made it to Japan can catch live performances of the debris for the next several decades, at least, and researchers have already predicted the playdates for the next 10 years, in some places featuring Tsunami Debris's joint concerts jamming with the incumbent groups, the Great Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch and the Great Western Pacific Garbage Patch. Mother Nature Network

Rationed Health Care Outrage! No Hysterectomies for Men!: Alec Esquivel is suing the health insurance provider for the Oregon state government, which denied him a hysterectomy. (Well, he's a female-to-male transgender, and his remaining useless girl parts are at risk for ovarian and uterine cancer.) The quasi-"death panel" list of benefits says hysterectomies are only for ladies. Statesman-Journal (Salem)

Recurring Theme: Luke Chrisco, 30, was arrested in Vail, Colo., for a traffic offense--and also because had been sought several days earlier in Boulder after being ID'ed as the man peering up through the hole in the portable toilet at a Boulder yoga festival. (Bonus: The Smoking Gun ran down his Facebook page, including an April entry in which he recounted spending the night in a cardboard box in a Dumpster at a construction site . . rather than the Greyhound bus station . . because the station "smelled weird.") (Double Bonus: He's also "Skye Oryan, the biggest jackass on earth," it says.) Daily Camera (Boulder) /// The Smoking Gun

Absurdities

Another brand-new, student-ready school ($105 million worth!) will have to go unopened for 2011-12 . . because California doesn't have enough money to operate it. USA Today

"Your Honor, please, I need to change my name" . . from the extremely embarrassing (might have been drunk at the time) [ed.: Everything in brackets is Yr Editor, censoring] "Mister(I) Radical [F-word] Censorship [N-word with prefix "Super"] [N-word]." "I want to change it to "David [N-word] means human [N-word with prefix "Super"]." Weekly Alibi (Albuquerque) [6-15-2011] [This was a Legal Notice and not available online. Geeks can look it up by going to http://nmcourts.gov/caselookup/, selecting Search by Case Number, and entering D 202 CV 201105486]

What People Believe: (1) Greece's national debt of $500 billion? Let God take care of it, says a prominent Greek Orthodox bishop. (After all, we've confessed that that $500 billion was a sin.) (2) Joan Baker and Nancy Faith Anello are Brooklyn's "psychic credit chicks," able to divine the financial trustworthiness of clients by "interacting" with them and their credit applications (and in Nancy's case, with tarot cards and candles). (Bonus: better track record than Moody's and Standard & Poors!) Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News /// New York Times

The China's Got Talent TV show auditioned hundreds of contestants, including the fella, age 68, who dazzled by clobbering himself in the cojones with a hammer (which is supposedly endurance training by Shaolin monks). (Bonus: He didn't make the cut but mainly because judge Annie Yi screamed.) CNN

Civilization in Decline: Major League Baseball and Steiner Sports are arranging to dig up five gallons of infield clay from whichever ballpark Derek Jeter gets the 3,000th hit of his career in, later this season. The sand will be divided into tablespoon-sized parcels that will be authenticated (witnessed! chain of custody!) and marketed as the actual dirt stepped upon by the legendary Jeter on the night or day he gets number 3,000. It is anticipated that some Americans (including many with above-average intelligence) will purchase these items. New York Times

Losers

Down-Market Criminals: (1) Jamie Coleman was arrested in Houma, La., running from cops with a cocaine baggie hanging out of a bodily orifice. (2) Stephen Kirkbride, before a judge in Kendal, England, on a theft charge, forgot and wore the shoplifted coat into the courtroom. (3) Thomas Done, 33, shucked-and-jived the judge for 20 minutes, finally talking him out of jail time for his (latest) car theft, but as he was led toward the door for processing, he threatened the estranged girlfriend who turned him in . . and will now get jail time. (4) Hapless Arlis Dempsey Jr., 32, saw the flood of police cruisers, dropped his toddlers, and took off running. Turns out that cops were after someone else, plus, Arlis wasn't wanted for anything. (Bonus: He is now charged with child endangerment and obstruction of police.) WWL-TV (New Orleans) /// Westmorland Gazette (Kendal) /// Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) /// Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, W.Va.)

The Aristocrat! Twice in two weeks, an employee of the Bed, Bath and Beyond in Radnor Twp, Pa., said he's tired of finding 35-lb. sacks of vomit out behind the store. Radnor Patch

The Pervo-American Community

The indecent-exposer picked up in the McDonald's drive-thru in Howe Twp, Pa., in May was charged last week. It's the conveniently named Mr. Handy H. Wood. Patriot-News (Harrisburg)

Innocent-faced James Hulgan, 40, might have been driving around naked, but that was only because he was looking for a nude beach, which maybe those two young girls over there might know about. (Bonus: His day job is manager of a Christian radio station.) Birmingham News

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

Levon Sarkisyan, 27, vandalized that home, all right, but the question is whether he did it on orders from God. Hartford Courant

Anthony Burdeshaw, 33, is being held on meth-making charges in Bay County, Fla. Your call. (Ignore that text message he sent his mom, in which he urges her to go find the glass bowl in his bedroom and wash it out.) News Herald (Panama City)

Erica Huerta, 21, either is innocent, or was blind drunk, or is just not very picky. She was arrested for having sex on a public beach with that other guy, Steven Perry. WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

Weird 0.0 (The Zone)

[Owing to the recent spurt of poorly-sourced stories making the rounds (and to my own limited time these past few weeks in checking them out), I've decided to quarantine the questionable ones right here.]

A Russian woman came back to life at her own funeral, got shocked that she had been declared dead, and promptly re-died, of a heart attack. Daily Mail (London)

A farm worker in India, 65, has not bathed in 37 years because a priest told him that was the way to ensure his next child would be a male. (Since then: 7 girls, no boys) Daily Mail (London)

The popular new beverage among women at an annual beer and "wild food" festival in Wellington, New Zealand, is a drink infused with . . horse semen. Dominion Post (Wellington)

Editor's Notes

It was a rough fortnight of poorly-sourced stories. I already addressed, in updates, the likelihood that a rabbinical court in Israel did not "sentence" a dog to a capital stoning. (See this Christian Science Monitor story.) It also now appears (despite last week's Pro Edition lede) that Mr. Mitsuyuki Ikeda either might not have invented a way to make beef from poop--or that he invented such a technology in 1993. (See this story on Salon.com.) As Yr Editor returns to full-time duty for the next four weeks, he promises more turbo-brainpower to steer you properly to the news you need to know.

As an aside to the point Yr Editor made last week lauding Belgium for the failure to establish a central government for an entire year (thus ensuring that Belgium will not be inventing any new ridiculous policies but merely dealing with the existing ridiculous policies), I point to this post from Talking Points Memo. If the U.S. government does nothing to "respond" to our serious federal deficit crisis, it will, over the next 10 years, be better off than if it adopted any of the leading solutions being offered. Mostly, that's because of three things: (1) The "Bush tax cuts" will automatically expire in 18 months, bringing in beaucoup revenue; (2) The medium-range benefits of so-called ObamaCare (which are now in abeyance to give medical markets a chance to adapt) will begin to kick in; and (3) There will be no annual "doctor fixes" to the Medicare reimbursement fee schedules (written 15 years ago but always augmented). [Another significant benefit, Yr Editor suspects, would be the prospect of keeping lobbyists away from the "Hey, how does this new tax loophole sound?" trough.] Talking Points Memo

Newsrangers: Russell Bell, Ted Snow, Lynn Willis, Eric Lindinger, Pete Randall, Sandy Pearlman, and Tim Baer, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Updating the Dog-Stoning Sentence Story . . .

Regarding the story in the Pro Edition post of June 20 (below):

[UPDATE (posted 6-22-2011): The Israeli newspaper Maariv has now walked back the story a bit, but I don't read Hebrew so I don't know exactly how much. One prominent U.S. commentator wrote that it's a full walkback. I still don't know. As reported in the above AFP link, an Israeli daily supposedly got confirmation of the "sentence" (if not the whole backstory) from a "court manager," thus bypassing this Maariv thingie. If I had known about Maariv walkback, I would not have used the story . . but that does not mean that the gist of the story isn't true.]

[UP-UPDATE (posted 6-23-2011): Here's a better rundown, from the Christian Science Monitor. Even CSM ignores what now appears to be the key fact: that Agence France-Presse misreported its verification of the story. AFP wrote that it had indeed "confirmed" the original, loosely-sourced story, from "a court manager." Either AFP did not do so, or over-credentialed the "court manager." That doesn't automatically earn AFP a spot on Yr Editor's Watch List, but it also doesn't dampen my joyful enthusiasm that Ultra Orthodox rabbis are capable of anything!]

Monday, June 20, 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
June 20, 2011
(datelines June 11-June 18) (links correct as of June 20)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

The Ultimate Recyclable, Plus DIY Wart Removal and the Saliva Collector

From Yr Editor

. . . presenting the third of four consecutive weeks of downsized work (and, believe me, a lot more weird stuff happened last week, but what can I do, since I'm just one man a half a man these four weeks?)

★ ★ ★ ★!

Cliche Come to Life: Well, of course, sooner or later, some Japanese researcher somewhere (turned out to be Mitsuyuki Ikeda) will figure out how to make decent-quality "beef" out of human doo-doo. That's what Japanese scientists are for. Digital Trends via Yahoo News

Why, Again?: Granted, it's one of the biggest deposits of solid granite ever mobilized, and geologists inspecting it at a quarry in Riverside, Calif., were thrilled. However, we all know that the fiscal rules have changed for government-funded institutions, especially in California, so the fact that the Los Angeles County Art Museum is spending $1.5 million to move the 340-ton rock to L.A. needs some heavy-duty re-explaining. KABC-TV (Los Angeles)

Two Scenes from a Civilization in Decline: (1) A Florida woman named Casey Anthony is on trial for murdering her toddler. This should be of concern to Anthony's family and friends and to prosecutors sworn to bring suspected murderers to justice, but it seems to send millions more into a frenzy. Question: When will we see the first homicide among spectators--the mindless masses who line up each morning for a courtroom seat and get overexcited that someone might be butting in line? (2) The "latest" female bodily woe, according to this report, is "cankles"--insufficient shapeliness in the area where the calf is supposed to taper into the ankle. It says here that Helen Mirren is the poster lady [in the same sense that Zoe Saldana is for the condition I just made up, breribs]. Associated Press via Washington Post /// Daily Mail (London)

Absurdities

What's Wrong with These People? This goth lady thought it would be cool to ornamentally pierce cats' ears (until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court told her no). New York Times

A rabbinical court in Jerusalem decided that the "large dog" roaming the Mea Shearim neighborhood was obviously the reincarnation of a certain secular lawyer who had disrespected the court 20 years ago and that, as such, the dog should be stoned to death. (Bonus: The dog escaped.) Agence France-Presse via Google News

First Things First: Neighbors' reactions to a man selling heroin in an F State neighborhood? Hey, it happens. Same neighbors' reactions to news that the man was drawing food stamps while making big bucks selling drugs? Kill that bastard! WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

People Different From Us: Norris Sydnor III of Mitchellville, Md., is the type of guy who, if he as a male gets charged $1 more for a manicure than a female would, he becomes "humiliated" . . and files a $200,000 lawsuit . . which goes to trial next month. WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.)

The Mount Tabor reservoir, serving Portland, Ore., contains 7.2 million gallons of water at any one time, but they dumped it all out last week after a local drunkard peed in it (cost: $35,000). The Portland Mercury asked Water Bureau administrator David Shaff if he also dumped water when, say, a raccoon peed in it or, worse yet, died in it? Well, no, said Shaff, or "we'd be shutting it off all the time. We [merely] fish out animals or things that have blown in . . .." Well, then, why shut it down this time? Responded Shaff, "Do you want to be drinking someone's pee?" Case closed. Portland Mercury

How did the U.S. pay for all the reconstruction wrought by the March 2003 invasion of Iraq? Checks on the U.S. Treasury, to buy Iraqi dinars? Direct deposit into Iraq banks? Wouldn't work.
"Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 . . .."
. (Bonus: Even after 11 years of trying to find paper trails for the shipments, the Pentagon still cannot account for 66 million of those Benjamins.) Los Angeles Times

Losers

Security guard Sean Murphy of Doncaster, England, removed a wart on his middle finger by shooting it off (with a stolen gun!). (Bonus: The shot also removed the middle finger.) Yorkshire Post

Ronald Grigg, 55, with 5 guns, climbed a cell-phone tower near Cave Springs, Ark., and threatened people for six hours (less and less, though, as the hours passed, in that he kept accidentally dropping the guns . . until he was unarmed, and when he accidentally dropped his cigarette lighter, he decided it was time to come down). NWAOnline (Fayetteville, Ark.)

Oh! Dear!

The Lord Was on His Game: Chavelo Gutierrez, 53, busy raping a 77-year-old woman near Corpus Christi, Tex., died of a heart attack in the act (or maybe it was of embarrassment). Corpus Christi Caller-Times

An auction featured an 1898 notice sent by the forerunner of Major League Baseball to clubs regarding the unseemly amount of cussing when players talk back to their tormentors in the stands, and the notice did not want for clear examples. (The letter was said to be unmailable for that reason.) Pro Edition, being a family publication, declines to repeat any of the terms. LettersofNote.com [language Not Safe For Work]

The Pervo-American Community

Recurring: Eric Carrier, 23, wanted on an indecent exposure warrant in Hookset, N.H., turned himself in. He's apparently another of those play-like infantiles who feign paralysis to get nurses to change his dirty diapers. Union Leader (Manchester)

At the University Inn in Madison, Wis., Kevin Horner, 25, was arrested, at a second-floor room's front window, basically just jumping up and down naked. Capital Times (Madison) via LaCrosse Tribune

The Pervo-Nipponese Community: Yoshihiko Mizuno, 55, was arrested in Tokyo for tricking three girls (ages 9, 10) to let him videotape them hocking saliva. (Bonus: Police estimate he's tried that schtik on 4,000 girls.) NDTV (New Delhi, India)

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


Jonathan Hatch, 43, stands charged with taking upskirt photos of a college student using a pen camera, but it's hard to imagine that a man like Hatch--a professor--couldn't win his women face-to-face. Greensboro News-Record

Two Wisconsin brothers brawled over . . a bottle of shampoo (which obviously was more important to one than to the other). [I'm guessing it would be Jared who cared more.] Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wis.)

A selection from this week's Smoking Gun collection, including yet another bold male hairstyle risk, a mugshot belying such a wide range of guilt that the precise crime seems irrelevant, and a very happy, happy . . imitation psychopath.

Editor's Notes

I write in admiration of Belgium, which just celebrated one year without a formal central government (owing to an intractable ethnic split): Bureaucrats are making the government's trains continue to run on time, but the important distinction is that there are no new programs, or new lobbyist tax breaks, or new entitlements, or new rights, or new expansions of agencies' turf, etc. Sweet! BBC News

Aha! We all believe that, if we spend our time "arguing" about something, it's not really about us, personally, but about some higher principle that we are, as a public service, insistent on preserving against its dangerous destruction by the likes of, y'know, you, you fascist or socialist or atheist or whatever. That is, we argue as an expression of our ability to apply rationality, to think beyond the concrete, beyond the flexing of muscle. Naaaaa, say researchers in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. We argue as just one more way in which some of us show they can kick other people's asses. (Unstated Full Disclosure: The co-authors are Hugo Mercier, who looks like he would've been a 4th grade bully magnet, and Dan Sperber, who has probably spent too much time at the Jean-Nicod research institute . . in Paris--'nuff said!].) New York Times

A New York Times piece on the latest chimpanzee/elephant/toddler doing serious artwork, Aelita Andre, age 4, does a good job of explaining the phenomenon while letting little Aelita know that she's in for burnout soon, i.e., when your career started at a London gallery at 22 months, there's just so much "contemplative and powerful" an urchin can do.
An art world that has accepted, reluctantly or not, elephant dung (Chris Ofili), urine (Andy Warhol, Andres Serrano), and sheer nothingness (Yves Klein) as art has done so principally out of an appreciation for the artist's agency: typically, what the artist has to say about society, and how this is materialized through the art. A lot of things might come from a young child, but reflection and reverence are not at the top of the list.
New York Times

It says here [not sayin' I believe it] that Russian researcher Natalia Avseenko, 36, needing to get extra close to beluga whales in the Arctic, but understanding that they don't like to be touched by anything synthetic, swam naked with 'em. [Yes, in the Arctic. Yes, it is fortunate that she's been working out. Yes, yoga is great, she says, because it allows her to "regulate" her body temperature for those Arctic dives.] Daily Mail (London) [Not Safe For Work]

Time-Waster: The 13 "most repulsive" dishes from Thailand (but that's an insult if you're the kind of person who just loves his raw beef served with extra blood on top, or who loves duck beaks, or red-ant eggs, or fertilized duck eggs [feathers included!]). CNN

Newsrangers: Justin Warner, Lindsay Ball, Gary Levine, Gary Locke, Gary Miller, and Gil Nelson, 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, June 13, 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
June 13, 2011
(datelines June 4-June 11) (links correct as of June 13)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Egos Out of Control, Plus Amputee Porn and Pierced Gal Adds a Ring

From Yr Editor

. . . being the second of four consecutive weeks in which Yr Editor knows for sure that, due to time constraints, he has left some good stories on the floor (but promises they'll eventually make their way into the regular News of the Weird).

★ ★ ★ ★!

Arriving, Inevitably, at No One's Destination: It turns out that the town council and the board of education in Wethersfield, Conn., spent at least $634,140 over 18 months (likely much more) to deal with an ethics dispute involving a $400 course that the then-chair of the board of education charged to the government. (The course, taken by the chair's son, would have been authorized if the kid had been a student, but he had already graduated high school a month or two before and apparently wanted to re-take the course to get a higher grade.) As you might guess, most ($407,000) was for lawyer fees. Hartford Courant

We've Been Doing It the Hard Way: China's Agricultural University in Beijing says they've genetically modified a herd of 300 cows to give . . human breast milk (sweeter than cow milk and with all the urchin-enriching strength as if it came from our own lovely flesh-and-blood milk machines). Sky News (London)

Least Competent Legislature: A couple of weeks ago, Tennessee passed an overbroad law that would criminalize sharing any of your paid passwords (no cheating! buy your own subscription!), and last week the legislature made it illegal to Internet-post any image likely to "frighten, intimidate, or cause emotional distress" to anyone, including people you never even heard of and never wanted to see your stuff, anyway. ArsTechnica.com

Absurdities

A UK woman who is a leading support-grouper for "limb deficient" people, campaigning to buck up their self-esteem, announced her dismay last week that her Internet postings were also gaining popularity . . among sexually-delirious amputee fetishists. BBC News

You've heard of South American prisons where certain inmates get privileges (appliances, conjugal visits, etc.), but you've never seen anything like the San Antonio prison on an island off Venezuela, where the country's drug traffickers do hard time: four swimming pools, barbeque and drinks poolside, air conditioners, DirecTV, an armory ("I've seen guns in here that I've never seen before," said a former British soldier-smuggler), regular cockfights for gambling, and drug sales (to prisoners but also to visitors, who go there to buy, knowing that guards search going in but not coming out). New York Times

Chutzpah! A Virginia inmate (the former Michael Stokes) had the balls to sue his prison for "forcing" him to castrate himself (and botch it, since he didn't know what he was doing) because he couldn't get taxpayers to front his gender-reassignment surgery. Stokes has actually been Ms. Ophelia De'lonta for a while now, but is not totally what he wants to be. New York Daily News

It's one thing to fire an employee for, say, trying to stop a shoplifter or for goofing off on security detail. But Rice University fired its police officer David Sedmak for rushing off-campus to an armed standoff with a man holed up after shooting two Houston Police Department officers. Could have counseled him, given him probation, etc., but no. Houston Chronicle

Losers

LAPD finally figured out what happened last Thursday night at an 11 p.m. car crash. A man was giving his daughter driving lessons, and when she lost control and bowled over a few things, he apparently tried to teach her the crucial art of "evading police after a traffic accident." Los Angeles Daily News

Oh! Dear!

"[Q]uite happy" led observers' descriptions of Ned Nefer, 38, arriving in Watertown, N.Y., on foot (65 miles) from Syracuse accompanied by his wife of 24 years. ("We both really love the outdoors.") Mrs. Nefer is a 6-ft-high mannequin that Ned built, by himself, from the neck down. Police, detecting neither a danger nor a crime, shrugged. Watertown Daily Times

Strained Eulogies Are in Order: "Our beloveds . . who were killed by a flying bear . . .." On a Quebec highway last week, two people, minding their own business . . saw a collision . . and the bear landed on them. Toronto Sun

Great Moments in Architecture: The county Common Pleas Courthouse in Columbus, Ohio, was built with snazzy all-glass stairs. Said Judge Julie Lynch: "If you wear dresses, you're on notice . . . to take the elevator." (For now, security guards are merely watching out for people craning their necks underneath the stairways.) Columbus Dispatch

The main problem causing all this turmoil and hubbub in the Muslim world is . . insubordinate wives, according to the 800-member Obedient Wives Club in Kawang, Malaysia. (Previously, the same organizers had established a Polygamy Club.) Associated Press via Yahoo News

The Aristocrats!

Store manager Richard Moore of Aaron's in O'Fallon, Mo., just cost the company $95 million (reduced to $39 million) after a jury concluded that he not only serially-sexually-harassed a woman while she worked there but once placed his junk on top of her head while she was seated on the stockroom floor. Belleville News-Democrat

Brent Kendall apparently had a sour breakup with a former squeeze (unclear who dumped whom), but he was arrested for breaking into her home, slicing up 25 pieces of clothing, and wee-weeing on her bed and computer. Iowa City Press Citizen

Divorced couple Heather and William Davis were charged in Stillwater, Okla., with trying to arrange William's fake death so he could escape arrest warrants and start all over again . . as a woman . . after both lost custody of their young daughter because (while Heather might not have been a great parent, either) William was caught by the kid having sex with a blow-up doll. KFOR-TV (Oklahoma City)

From Tippecanoe County, Ind., judge Loretta Rush, recounting why handing an abused child over to relatives might not always be the best thing:
"I had a case where a child was born with drugs in his system. Both parents were using. We were looking for relative placement, but both sets of grandparents were using. So great-grandmother's in the courtroom, and I asked her if she would pass a drug screen, and she said she would not . . .."
Journal & Courier (Lafayette, Ind.)

What's Wrong with These People?

The bride was Elaine Davidson, with 7,000 body piercings; the groom was Douglas Watson, a government bureaucrat in his 60s, no piercings. Daily Telegraph

Brandon Bishop, 24, was arrested for beating the bejeezus out of the 2-year-old daughter of his finacee, over a 3-month period. However, he thought he had a good reason: Her mother treated her like a princess, and she needed toughening up. Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

Redneck Chronicles: Ronald Adams, 49, was arrested after he tossed the TV remote at an 8-year-old boy (not Adams's son) in a Louisiana home, thumping him in the eye. Explanation: Adams wanted to watch "wrestling," the kid, "cartoons." The Smoking Gun

The Pervo-American Community

Trevor Harwell, 20, was arrested in Fullerton, Calif., and charged with [what Yr Editor believes is the most insidious of all white-collar crimes:] planting spyware while fixing your computer. Allegedly, he even taught a sucker the virtues of exposing the computer to "steam," such as, oh, y'know, in your bathroom while you're showering. Los Angeles Times

The highly oppressed Joseph Gerber got vindication from a California court of appeal, which agreed with him that he has a right (since there's no valid law against it) . . to Photoshop his 13-year-old daughter's face onto adult pornography. San Francisco Chronicle

Pervo-Anglican Community, in Orlando: Briton Alan Buckley, 44, killing some time while his sick child was being treated at Orlando's Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, wandered over to a Target store . . and (according to police) upskirt-photographed a woman in the bakery department. Orlando Sentinel

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


With the release of the mug shot, the Vegas line turned steeply against John Simister, 51, beating the 2-DUIs-in-10-hours rap in Lafayette, N.Y. Syracuse Post-Standard

Editor's Notes

The founding documents that eventually led to News of the Weird were heavy with references to boredom as a natural human condition. We're on our own in a constant flight to outrun it. The secret, though, is to disguise what we're doing. Convincing ourselves that we are important and engaged in vital things will stave off the inevitable realization (for all but a handful of us) that, except for raising our replacements, none of us is doing much worthwhile. That's as true of the busywork and fanny-protecting and hair-splitting that goes on in Washington, D.C., as it is of . . planking, which seems to have caught on with that group of people who are not easily embarrassed. Wall Street Journal

Recommendation: A USA Today analysis last week found that we Americans have made promises to pay out $62 trillion that we don't have (which is $534,000 per household). Next week, Yr Editor turns 66 and begins drawing Social Security, and actuarial tables say I'll live to be 83. So if y'all can just keep Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill hatin' on each other for the next 17 years, Yr Editor should be able to pull a dine-and-dash on This Life and be on to the Next. Of course, by then, the promises will be around $150 trillion (assuming that Congress keeps making nickel-and-dime cuts here and there, and maybe with nickel-and-dime tax increases), meaning that (given population patterns, unless we just open the borders, all-in) maybe 130 million households will be around to share it, which will be way over $1 million per household. Happy trails! Keep ideology alive, please! USA Today

Newsrangers: Danya Rutter and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors

Monday, June 06, 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
June 6, 2011
(datelines May 28-June 4) (links correct as of June 6)

Superheroes Subdue the Face of Evil, Plus Hermaphrodite Snails and Graduate-Level Shoplifting

From Yr Editor

Being the first of four somewhat abbreviated weekly editions . . .

★ ★ ★ ★!

Sweet Justice: When Bank of America wrongly, inexplicably, foreclosed on Warren and Maureen Nyerges's home in Collier County, Fla., they challenged, won, and got a judgment for reimbursement of legal expenses ($2,534). Then, BoA failed to pay. So the couple got a sheriff's seizure order, and deputies accompanied them to the nearest branch, where the couple eyed BoA's computers and furniture while the branch manager practically peed in his pants. Check issued, lightning speed. Naples Daily News

Can't Possibly Be True: The enrollment application for elementary school students in the Dry Creek School District, Roseville, Calif., actually asks the parent whether the applying urchin was a C-section or natural birth. (Seriously.) KOVR-TV (Sacramento)

Could Be True, But You Don't Want It to Be True: Scientists have found "complex, multi-celled creatures" living a mile underground ("worms from hell"). That means (a) assumptions we've made about extraterrestrial life may have to be liberalized, and (b) assumptions we've made about whatever the hell is down there on our own planet may have to be liberalized. [Y'all see the movie The Descent?] (Bonus Discovery Last Week: giant carnivorous snails--hermaphrodite snails, with working pairs of sex organs!) Washington Post /// The Descent /// Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand)

Gays 1, Switch-Hitters 0 (so far, at least): A federal judge scheduled August 1st for the trial to determine whether a team from the 2008 Gay Softball World Series ought to have been DQ'd for not being gay enough. (Three of its players might have been straight or bi, and the rules allow a max of two.) The judge said the "two" rule was solidly First-Amendment-protected but set for trial the issue on how the board went about judging the players' orientations. 365Gay.com

Massive Collision of Negative Karma, Creating Anti-Matter: As the phabulous Phelpses of Westboro Baptist waxed gleeful at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, among their protesters was a small crew from Knights of the Southern Cross (Ku Klux Klan), supporting the troops. CNN

Absurdities

Oops! A 35-year-old man in Blagoveshchensk, Russia, figured out that things would go easy for him the rest of his life if he only, for one day, buried himself in the ground. A pal helped. The man had air holes and a cell phone. The next morning, he was dead. BBC News

Alameda, Calif., police and firefighters stood idly by on a beach on San Francisco Bay as a 53-year-old man killed himself by standing in 60-degree water until he expired. Turns out the city doesn't train its first responders on cold-water rescues. KGO-TV (San Francisco)

A well-organized, six-person shoplifting crew hit a store in Doncaster, England, and for the most part, the caper was professionally done. Exception: One female member wore pants inside, went to the back room, emerged in a long skirt, and waddled, bow-legged, toward the door. Police said she shoplifted the store's safe. SouthYorkshirePolice.uk

Losers

Swiss tourist Dominic Emmenegger, 21, skateboarding at rush hour in downtown Melbourne, Australia, naively headed right into the darkness of a traffic tunnel. He fell. He's still alive. No one knows why. The Australian

Chutzpah! It's another one of those "parents leave infant in hot car while they party at a strip club" stories . . except this time, when the cops arrest the couple and take them down to the station, Daddy complains that the squad car is too warm. WDRB-TV (Louisville)

Style Points: He robbed a KeyBank branch in Springfield, Ohio, but he didn't get far on foot before the dye pack exploded on him. On the other hand, he was holding and drinking a beer during the entire getaway. Dayton Daily News

Least Competent Anarchist: Luciano Schuffeneger blew his hand off, lost his eyesight, and got burned badly as he approached a bank in Santiago, Chile, with his homemade bomb (something about prematurely flipping the timer). Daily Mail (London)

Oh! Dear!

A faltering economy has sunk the spirits of Riga, Latvia, but not for long. On May 28th they held the third annual March of the Blondes (imported beauties from Finland, New Zealand, Italy, and Lithuania) to buoy the boys. (Bonus: There's a "Latvian Association of Blondes.") Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

Meet a kid who somehow hasn't gotten around to shooting himself in the head yet. High school student Rain Price, of American Fork, Utah, has had to endure not only his dad's waving bye-bye to him every day of the school year as the bus picked him up in the morning (with other kids looking on!) but also the fact that dad dresses for the occasion in a different costume every morning (common costume characteristic: dorky). [LINK CORRECTED] KSL-TV (Salt Lake City)

There's no particular story here, but maybe you'd like to know about a new sleeping bag on the market, targeted to those taking a quick nap at work, called The Ostrich. It's Safe For Work (unless maybe people read the accompanying text). LA Weekly

The Pervo-American Community

Hey, boys, I'll buy you cigarettes if you'll let me spank you. (Why, of course you can keep your clothes on! I'm not a pervert or anything.) WMBF-TV (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

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


Who'd stab John Ciliberto's cousin? Maybe if the cousin killed Ciliberto's cat and fed it to his dog, Ciliberto himself'd be stabbing him. WPRI-TV (Providence, R.I.)

Concerning Mr. Randon Reid, you could spend your time deliberating whether he's guilty. A more efficient use of your time would be to take a good look at him and try to narrow down the lengthy list of crimes he looks qualified to commit. Arizona Republic

Newsrangers: Gil Nelson, Michael Ravnitzky, Jim Dukes, Christine Rodrigue, and Sandy Pearlman, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors