Monday, February 27, 2012

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

Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
February 27, 2012

(datelines from February 17 or later) (links correct as of February 27)
© 2012 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Hong Kong: The Guizhentang pharmaceutical company is looking to expand (by 3x) the size of its bear-bile-farming operation. Bear bile is thought to be a magic curative for many illnesses (and according to the farmers, bears couldn't be prouder to give it up) (sedated) (with long-ass syringes). New York Times

San Francisco: The state Administrative Office of the Courts is collecting demographic data on all judges in the state, to encourage diversity in the selection of 50 new ones. (But they can't ask about "sexual orientation," can they?) (Yes.) The Weekly Standard

Columbia Heights, Minn.: A cop noticed that Eric King, 21, seemed to be shuffling along with the gait of someone 101 rather than 21. (It was that 19-inch TV in his pants, along with remote and power cords, from a shoplifting.) KSTP-TV (St. Paul)

Cayce, S.C.: I know how you and I can make some money! Let's scam an insurance company! Ummm, I'll handle the paperwork, and you . . your job is to let me chop off your hand, OK? WIS-TV (Columbia)

Wasilla, Alaska: Two local artists displayed their sculpture, "Warrior Within," at Wasilla High, but yanked it after three days. It's a pair of shields, surrounded by feathers, and according to people up in Palinville, it looks too much like a hoo-hah [image Completely Safe For Work]. Mat-su Valley Frontiersman (Wasilla)

Jacksonville, Fla.: The convenience store "robber" fled empty-handed. He was armed, well, he was pointing his finger like a gun under his shirt. (Bonus: You know you've failed if, in the course of a "robbery," a customer breaks out laughing.) Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)

St. Paul, Minn.: Busted! Prosecutors found at least 104 cops from 18 agencies who accessed the kinda-cute Anne Marie Rasmusson's records on the official-business database. (Her lawyer: Cops treated the confidential database like it was Facebook.) City Pages (Minneapolis)

Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Can't possibly be true, but Judge Mark Martin, in a December ruling that only last week drew national attention, absolved a Muslim of harassing an atheist (dressed as Zombie Muhammad at the Halloween parade). Judge Martin, an Islam convert, said Islam basically requires Talaag Elbayomy to snatch Ernest Perce's sign out of his hand, First Amendment be damned. The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pa.) [via Jonathan Turley blog]

Fayetteville, N.C.: Anthony McDaniel, 47, had to come back all the way from Texas (where he now lives) just to answer a charge that he once embezzled food from his employer, the Skibo Skillet (meatballs, anchovy dip, etc., total value, $208). (Bonus: Skibo Skillet's out of business, but so what?) Greensboro News-Record

Croydon, England.: Three widely-admired, 30-year-old trees were ordered chopped down. One person had warned the Council that the trees' berries, lying on the ground, were slippery and that someone might get hurt. This Is Croydon Today

Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Charles Hersel was acquitted. He may well have paid high school students to spit in his face and slap him, but since it wasn't for "sexual gratification," he gets off (so to speak). KTLA-TV (Los Angeles)

Gosport, England: Man had a seizure in 3 ft. of water and drowned. Cops, firefighters arrived on scene . . and watched.. (They're not trained in water rescue; the firefighters trained in wading were on their way.) Daily Telegraph

Washington, D.C.: Under the District of Calamity wonderland's contracting rules, David Wilmot qualifies for special consideration as "economically disadvantaged." (Outside of D.C. contracting rules, he's one of the fattest-cat lobbyists in town.) Washington Times

Salt Lake City: They're trying hard in Mormonia to respect the rights of non-believers, so much so that a bill winding through the state legislature requires that at least two members of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission be certified drinkers. New York Times

Houston, Tex.: KTRK-TV reported on Wednesday the arrests of both Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor (he, stealing from a CVS, she, drug possession). KTRK-TV /// KTRK-TV

Brisbane, Australia: Defrauding is still a crime even if your victim is a Nigerian scammer. Courier Mail (Brisbane)

Washington, D.C.: C'mon, who doesn't respect our returning troops? Well . . (1) The number-one violator of federal job-security law for returning war veterans is . . federal agencies (18% of all complaints). (2) If the war zone messes you up psychologically, at least you get free treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder the Army tries to diagnose you with Personality Disorder, a "pre-existing condition," leaving you discharged and benefitless. Washington Post /// New York Times

Editor's Note: That last story was pretty harsh. Here, relax a bit, with some Japanese Fart Art. Tofugu.com

Thanks to John Egan, Jim Dukes, and Carol Taylor, and the mighty NOTW Board of Editorial Advisors.

Monday, February 20, 2012

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

Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
February 20, 2012
(datelines from February 10 or later) (links correct as of February 20)
© 2012 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

San Luis Potosi, Mexico: U.S. Immigration agents in a $160k, heavily-custom-armored Chevy Suburban (i.e., specifically designed to protect from attack by, say, kidnapers) became kidnapers' sitting ducks when no one realized that every time ya shift into "Park," the door locks pop open. Washington Post

Betws-y-Coed, Wales: Your guess about pronunciation is as good as mine, but its tourist website found 364 different misspellings by people on search engines looking for it. BBC News /// List

Seattle: "Sovereign" David Myrland, in prison for threats against the mayor of Kirkland, Wash., filed a lawsuit claiming he's been wronged, and Yr Editor is hereby rendered totally speechless in attempting to describe how incomprehensible it is. Seattle Weekly /// Scribd.com [the filing] (Seriously)

Helena, Mont.: Sherwin Shayegan [NOTW M131, 10-11-2009] is back. He's the overweight 20-something who gets off . . by getting on . . the backs of high school athletes, begging them for piggyback rides. That's his deal. He's from Bothell, Wash., but avoids restraining orders by moving eastward, and this time made it as far as Minneapolis. (Recall that the legendary illustrator R. Crumb liked to get piggyback rides, according to an ex-girlfriend in the 1994 documentary "Crumb.") Associated Press via KOMO-TV (Seattle)

Kunming, China: Soon to be a Santorum campaign ad . . a Valentine's Day wedding of a sheep and a deer at a zoo to highlight diversity in the zoo's menagerie. Good for Santorum: One was male, one female. Bad: The male had an affair with another sheep. BBC News

Collingwood, Australia: Mark Read complained of being rebuffed in offers to help out at his son's youth sports. Specifically, no, he can't fire the starter gun for races. (Read had been recently released from prison and once boasted of murdering 19 people.) The Mercury (Hobart)

Phoenix, Ariz.: Pushing the legislative envelope once more, state senators introduced a bill requiring the suspension (or firing) of professors who, in lectures, violate Federal Communications Commission family-oriented language for broadcasters. Huffington Post

Whiteclay, Neb.: Anheuser-Busch, Coors, Miller, and four retailers were sued ($500 million) for turning Oglala Sioux into drunks by distributing 13,000 cans of beer a day to the rez's closest town (a "town" with an actual population of 10). Reuters via Yahoo News

St. James City, Fla.: They say Alicia Martin, 28, and Kathryn Rayannic, 23, assaulted various people out of anger that no one at The Waterfront bar wanted to see their breasts. WZVN-TV (Fort Myers)

Phu Tho Province, Vietnam: At the annual Linh Tinh Tinh Phoc festival, a chosen man thrust a wooden phallus into the wooden orifice thingie held by a chosen woman. It says here that if it gets in, crops will be abundant. [ed.: It doesn't say how it could not happen, like, does the man have to be drunk and miss, or does the woman Lucy-up Charlie Brown, or what? Have there ever been unabundant crops?] Thanh Nien Daily (Ho Chi Minh City)

Houston, Tex.: Houston women need to take special care after the Houston PD acknowledged that it was somewhat behind on processing "rape kits" . . with a backlog of 6,663. Of course, some of them are no longer necessary (maybe rapist pleaded guilty or there was other evidence), but rape-inclined Houstonians may be emboldened. KPRC-TV (Houston)

Bluff, New Zealand: A 3-year-old kid was caught in an automatic-cleaning public toilet and screamed in terror as he went through two wash cycles before his mother could unlock the door. (Monty Python Version: Probably the first good bathing the little urchin's had in a fortnight! [But he's 3! He's scared!] Come on, just one more!) Southland Times

Paris: American expat Clare Lundberg has high praise for the French safety-net program for post-partum mothers, of la rééducation périnéale, or, France's entitlement program (paying for 10-20 sessions) to help recent mothers re-tone their vaginas. Slate

White Lake, Mich.: You must see the photo of the sign setting the times (during school days) for a 25 mph speed limit, obviously drawn up by the town's autistic detail-oriented traffic director. WJBK-TV (Detroit)

TLC Cable Channel: The third season of "My Strange Addiction" debuted last week. This year's selections: a car lover, eaters of (a) cat food, (b) adhesive tape, and (c) dirt; a nail polish drinker, a mothball huffer, and Ms. Sheyla Hershey, she of the MMM-cup breasts (after 30 implant procedures) [NOTW M178, 9-5-2010]. ABC News

Latimer County, Okla.: Sheriff Robbie Brooks, knocking on doors for his re-election campaign, noticed an aroma and busted Jerry Paulk, 65, and two young women for operating a grow house. Paulk's mug shot says he's been sampling inventory. (Bonus: Brooks said Paulk still promised to vote for him.) KFSM-TV (Fort Smith, Ark.)

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

Chattanooga, Tenn.: Kathleen Mathews . . sweet thang sticking up for her misunderstood son or . .? Times Free Press (Chattanooga) (Bonus: Kathleen sez that Tennessee is a "stupid hillbilly Jack Daniel selling yet considered a blue state backward Bible belt inbred church on every corner yet no forgiving Christian in sight rush to judgment bunch of haters Tennessee [ed.: deleted, probably the A-word].")

From The Smoking Gun collection: He's wanted on a judicial warrant, but there's--OhdearGodinheaven! What is that growth on top of his head?.

Thanks to Kyle Gray, Kathryn Wood, Perry Levin, Lance Allen, Kent Heustess, and Joel Rippel, and the mighty NOTW Board of Editorial Advisors.

Monday, February 13, 2012

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

Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
© 2012 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved
February 13, 2012
(datelines from February 3 or later) (links correct as of February 13)

Houston, Tex.: Ms. Donnicia Venters can't sue for being fired for suggesting she needed a room at work for breast-feeding. Federal EEO law protects "pregnancy" things, and Judge (Mr.) Lynn Hughes ruled that "pregnancy" ends when the kid drops. Houston Press

Brooklyn, N.Y.: Fausat Ogunbayo, 46, sued in federal court to get her kids back from child welfare . . and besides that, wants, umm, $900,000,000,000 in walking-around money). Staten Island Advance

San Diego, Calif.: PETA got a formal hearing (more than it usually gets in cases like this) but was ultimately rebuffed by a federal judge on its argument that Amendment XIII (abolishing slavery) protects SeaWorld whales. Associated Press via CBS News

New Castle, Ind.: Another recent denture-only theft. No, not the same as that other guy. And not that third one, either. The Star Press (Muncie, Ind.) /// Observer-Reporter (Washington, Pa.) /// Associated Press via WPVI-TV (Philadelphia)

Ellisville, Miss.: Harold Hadley Jr., 19, was charged with a bomb threat at Jones County (Miss.) Junior College. Friends and family point out that Hadley is a notorious wind-breaker and that when he wrote that he "passed a bomb" in the library, it was methane and not sarin. WDAM-TV (Hattiesburg) via WLOX-TV (Biloxi)

Washington, D.C.: U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex), defending the Alaskan oil pipeline at a hearing, pointed out a little-realized benefit: rescuing caribou from impending extinction. The pipeline, he said, radiates warmth. "So when they want to go on a date [ed. that's Republican for "hit it"], they invite each other to head over to the pipeline." Washington Post

Butte, Mont.: John Hughes, 55, pleaded guilty to reckless driving and paid a fine. He had led police on a 100-mph-plus chase because, he said when stopped, "I just always wanted to do that." Montana Standard (Butte)

Bridgeport, Conn.: Norberto Millet, 60, was charged with rape of an underage girl. Oh, no, he said. She attacked him, and he desperately tried to fight her off. In fact, he said, lots of 8- to 10-yr-old girls mess with him. Connecticut Post [bonus explanatory mugshot]

Port St. Lucie, Fla.: Bad, Bad Boys: (1) He was charged with stealing $40k from the trust fund of his cerebral-palsied daughter. (2) These four (three men, one gal) were charged with intra-family credit-card theft from a blind couple in their 80s. (3) A Lakewood, Wash., cop was charged with embezzling $120k from a fund collected for four cops killed on the job. (Bonus: The defendant is Officer Skeeter Manos.) WPTV (West Palm Beach) /// Daily Gazette (Schenectady, N.Y.) /// Associated Press via WHBF (Quad Cities, Ill.)

Washington, D.C.: So far, 130 employees have been rounded up for ripping off the city government on unemployment compensation (continuing to draw checks after finding work). [ed.: This is unsettling. For years one of the Sure Things in American Life was that "the D.C. government" was oblivious of all internal fraud. Coming on the heels of Arab Spring and impending European defaults, this is change too abrupt to bear.] Washington Post

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

Cambridge, Ohio: You decide--Is Jamial Bayly, 40, a conscientious family disciplinarian or guilty of domestic violence? WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.)

From the latest Smoking Gun collections: (1) He was charged with public intoxication, but intoxication appears to have played no role in any of the several things wrong with his face. (2) There's a warrant out on him, perhaps as "hairstyle" violation. (3) He was charged with failing to pay court fines . . like they expected this guy was going to pay?

Thanks to David Henshaw and the mighty NOTW Board of Editorial Advisors.

Monday, February 06, 2012

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

Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
February 6, 2012
© 2012 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
(datelines from January 27 or later) (links correct as of February 4)

Doha, Qatar: The government paid $250m for a Paul Cézanne painting, making it the most expensive single piece ever--unless David Choe surpasses it for his wall-tagging at the original Facebook headquarters, for which he took back stock instead of cash and now owns around 0.10 to 0.25 percent of the company, or possibly "upward of $200 million." Vanity Fair /// New York Times

Sodeto, Spain: Everyone in the 250-person farm village bought into a jointly-held set of lottery tickets in the El Gordo lottery--and won. Everyone got at least $130k, some more . . except that one guy in town who didn't play (though he said he's OK with it.) New York Times

Palm Bay, Fla. /// Seattle: Here's a distinction between "coincidence" and "irony." In Palm Bay, Earl Persell was charged with battery for beating up his girlfriend during an argument . . about Ike and Tina Turner. However, in Seattle (as, actually, is the case in other places), you can't disturb library patrons by talking too loud, but you can gross them out all you want by browsing computer porn. Florida Today (Melbourne) /// Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Palm Beach, Fla.: A really-rich guy legally adopted his 42-yr-old girlfriend in order to worm his way around Florida law. (As his daughter, she can take money from his estate that won't thus be available to the family that's suing the rich guy for a DUI crash.) Palm Beach Post

Police Blotter: (1) It's illegal to steal ice from a glacier. (2) The chocolate/peanut butter/Nyquil burglar. (3) DUI . . on a Zamboni. (4) I robbed the bank, she said, but only by "accident." BBC News /// The Smoking Gun /// The Smoking Gun /// Daily Herald (Everett, Wash.)

Caracas, Venezuela:: Take a look at Mexican Maria Jose Cristerna, 35, whose body is 98-percent-covered in tattoos (and also various piercings, prosthetic fangs, and platinum forehead implants). (Bonus: She's a lawyer.) KABC-TV (Los Angeles)

Sydney, Australia: The Lyonswood Investigations and Forensic Group said the job was quickly filled, but it did advertise in late January to hire, at A$70,000 annually, a brothel inspector. (Unlike the pesky law that restrains police officers, this inspector is required to try out the hookers.) Ninemsn.com (Sydney)

Katrineholm, Sweden: Cupid struck two famous Swedish nutcase murderers now safely behind locked hospital doors. The Skara Cannibal and the Vampire Woman are hoping to get hitched. (The Cannibal said the only reason he cut off, and ate, his ex-girlfriend's head was to convince doctors to give him "hospital" instead of "prison.") The Local (Stockholm)

Raleigh, N.C.: At N.C. State University, Big Cyrano, 10, became the first kitty cat to get knee-replacement surgery. He'd really let himself go and was up to 20 lbs. Associated Press via Daily Mail (London)

Newtown St. Boswells, Scotland: Local councillor Kenneth Gunn blasted budget cuts that closed down the office that reports marriage notices. That means, he said, a lot more incest--because how can people be certain they're not marrying a relative? Scottish Daily Record (Glasgow)

Huntington, W.Va.: Marshall University frat boy Louis Helmburg III is suing his fraternity after he fell off of a rail-less balcony at the frat house, startled by a bottle-explosion. (Bonus: A frat brother in a hey-check-this-out moment, was about to shoot the lit rocket out of his butt when it exploded.) (Is there anything alcohol can't do?) Courthouse News Service

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

Hudson, Fla.: They say Joseph Tarochione, 73, was pulling cars over into a strip-club parking lot in the middle of the day. He said he was patrolling for terrorists. (Defense: He didn't actually search the drivers; he just held them and radioed in for a trooper come look for bombs.) WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

Thanks to Gary Locke, Sergio Brusin, Gary DaSilva, and Richard Zehr, and the mighty NOTW Board of Editorial Advisors.