Monday, January 23, 2012

Chuck's Weekly Cite-Seeing Tour
The Crème de la Crème, Every Monday

January 23, 2012
(datelines from January 13 or later) (links correct as of January 23)
© 2012 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Seattle: Michael Bertsch is nuts certain that Rupert Murdoch is stalking him. Sample evidence: In the Fox film Donnie Darko, Donnie's sister is Elizabeth, same as Michael's. The X Files go-to number is 1013; the first three, and the last four, digits of Michael's SSN total "10" and "13." And so forth. Case closed. Hollywood Reporter

Winter Haven, Fla.: He shot the laundromat's change machine four times with his semi-automatic, but the brave, stoic machine still would not give up the cash. Winter Haven News Chief

Buffalo, N.Y.: Why Does Buffalo Pay for Its Teachers to Have Plastic Surgery? Actually, even the union wants that benefit to be killed, but the way collective bargaining works, it just keeps hanging around. Last year, 500 teachers exploited it. The Atlantic

Atmore, Ala.: U.S. Supreme Court justices Scalia and Thomas, dissenting to their colleagues' sympathy for a death-row inmate whose appeal got lost in the system, renewed their deeply-held belief that, under the Constitution, "actual" innocence in the face of conviction is irrelevant--even if the actually-innocent person is facing the needle. Wall Street Journal

Meghalaya, India: Women rule, at least in inheritances; men are left to become alcoholics. Now, the ones whose testicles haven't yet been bred out are demanding equality. BBC News

Seoul: Eight smugglers were arrested for a 2010 scheme to avoid paying import taxes in Japan. Their bright idea: hide the gold in their rectums. Associated Press via Yahoo News

Hudson, Fla.: David Belniak, slam-dunk-convicted of DUI manslaughter in 2007 and serving 12 yrs, belatedly has figured out that it was the victim's fault for getting run into from behind. Lawsuit! Tampa Bay Times

Monterey, Calif.: Licensed California marine biologist Nancy Black was indicted for violating the 1972 Marine Mammal Preservation Act, i.e., taking glorious, one-of-a-kind pictures of whales feeding. Max penalty: 20 yrs in prison and a half-million dollar fine. (Your government knows best.) The Economist

Waynesboro, Va.: Pathetic (I): Keith Brown, 54, fleeing police for the second time in six weeks, crashed his car and tried to make a run for it . . and by "run," I mean scurrying as fast as his walker would take him. News Leader (Staunton, Va.)

Albuquerque: Pathetic (II): Two alleged home burglars were arrested fleeing in their getaway car . . shopping cart. KOAT-TV

San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain: Every January 16th (with roots back to the Eighth Century) villagers have ridden their horses through ceremonial street fires, to purify the animals and bring fertility and good health. A Christian priest supervises. ABC News (photos!)

Chicago: Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc. fired receptionist Sharon Smiley because she took too long on her lunch break continued to work during her lunch break (in violation of office rules). ABC News via Yahoo News

Your Weekly Jury Duty [In America, you're presumed innocent . . until the mug shot is released]: (1) Jerad Arnold, Boone, N.C. (Either buy a magazine subscription from me or do drugs or sex with me--your choice). (2) David Peters, Streetsboro, Ore. (oh, yes, child porn). (3) Roger Rouland, Waco, Tex. (oh, yes, yes, yes, child porn).

Thanks to Gerald Sacks, Kathryn Wood, Daniel Raymond, Dave Shepardson, Peter Smagorinsky, Perry Levin, and the mighty NOTW Board of Editorial Advisors.