Monday, March 26, 2012

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

Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
March 26, 2012
© 2012 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
(datelines from March 16 or later) (links correct as of March 26)

New York City: A horror story from the city's rent-control law: Thomas Lombardi pays $55 a month for what is really a $2,500-a-month apartment. (Even bigger horror story: His 87-year-old neighbor, who also pays way under market, supplements his income with nude modeling. "They tell me I'm so good at it, I have a duty to do it.")

Fargo, N.D.: That Sacred Institution, now joining together two one woman. (Give Nadine Schweigert her due: Many Americans just act like they're in love with themselves.) Fargo Forum

Rio de Janeiro:: The Brazilian welfare safety net sees to it (mostly via a mega-rich plastic surgeon) that low-income women get discount (or free) access to breast augmentation and butt lifts. A nation rejoices! Associated Press via ABC News

Whitby, England: In the U.S., the best we can do is Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann, but the UK has a town councillor who is an alien-abductee with "hundreds" of close encounters and a 9-foot-tall green mother. (Bonus: He, too, plans to seek higher office!) Scarborough Evening News

Trinity, Tex.: Chris Windham, 27, said it was an accident that he snapped cellphone video under the bathroom stall of a 57-year-old man. He was just wiping himself by holding himself up with one hand on the bathroom floor, and that hand happened to have a phone in it. KTRE-TV (Lufkin, Tex.)

Burnsville, Minn.: The full force of the law rained down upon Mitch Faber (jailed, then house arrest, random drug testing) for the crime of . . . not putting proper siding on his house. (He started to, but the economy turned bad, and he told himself, well, I'll just have to pay the fine.) (Burnsville: "Fine? He thinks we're just going to fine him! That's so cute!") KSTP-TV (St. Paul)

Anderson, Ind.: County councilman David McCartney finally admitted that, yes, he exchanged sexually explicit e-mails with a female official, but that was because, see, he was setting up a sting to expose corruption! Details? Ummmm . . They . . will come out later. Indianapolis Star

Vilnius, Lithuania: A judge ruled that Carlsberg Beer workers cannot strike the plant because the brewery's work is "vitally essential" (in the same category as providing medical supplies). Daily Telegraph (London)

Mandeni, South Africa: Sibusiso Methembu, 64, knows how to draw the crowds: just offer maps of what Heaven looks like, since he has been there four times and met Jesus and God. (FYI: Jesus is white, God "greyish.") (Elsewhere on the continent, Nigerian faith healer Chris Oyakhilome drew 150,000 to a Cape Town stadium; there were many failed healings but only one death so far.) SowetanLive (Johannesburg) /// Daily Telegraph (London)

Purley, England: To Lizzie Griffiths, 25, it was an easy call to spend her life's savings (£3000, or $4,760) on chemotherapy for her bearded dragon (and to drive 200 miles each way every day to the clinic). "My fiancé knows that 'George' will always come first." Croydon Advertiser

South Bend, Ind.: The new way to make yourself viral on the Internet: be texting on a pier and accidentally fall in the water. Yahoo News

Milan, Italy: J.P. Morgan Chase closed the local bank account of the Vatican because the Holy See was failing to meet Chase's hallowed disclosure standards for money transfers. Reuters via Huffington Post

A Bad Week for Criminals: (1) Didn't See It Coming: U.S. Customs arrested a big cocaine smuggler at a bed-and-breakfast called Smuggler's Inn, 100 ft. from the Canadian border in Blaine, Wash. (2) Burglar Christopher Wallace would've been fine if he'd settled for the loot on the first floor, but after filling his van, he went back for the second floor--and fell out a window, breaking his back. (3) A witness spotted burglar Paul Wright, 34, by his t-shirt that bore huge, easily-spottable lettering ("What's Mine Is Mine / What's Yours Is Mine"). /// (4) Mishelle Salzgeber's brilliant drug-testing ruse: Since her urine is dirty, put a tiny bottle of clean urine inside her hoo-hah for the drug test. (Actually, that urine was drugged up, too.) News Tribune (Tacoma) /// Wayne Independent (Honesdale, Pa.) /// WJBD Radio (Salem, Ill.) /// WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

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

Slidell, La.: The lovely Debra Fisher, 58, was accused of stuffing her dad's body into an ice chest and continuing to collect his Social Security. Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

Holiday, Fla.: Mr. Deaundre Barnes, 22, was charged with stabbing a guy, and it's all settled, he says. "I'm going to jail anyways." Tampa Bay Times

Thanks to Hal Dunham, Cindy Carlson, Gary Locke, John Connell, Skip Mendler, and Mark Boudreaux, and to 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).