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.") Gothamist.com

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).

Monday, March 19, 2012

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

Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
March 19, 2012

(datelines from March 9 or later) (links correct as of March 19)
© 2012 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Embden, Maine: Nobody remembers how the road got its name, but most residents want to leave it as is: "Katie Crotch Road." Kennebec Journal

Springfield, Mo.: Race, gender, religion, nationality? No problem with those as "protected classes" in anti-discrimination law. The Missouri House just added gays and lesbians "gun owners" to the list. St. Louis Public Radio

Houston, Tex.: You'll need to buy a program to get it straight. Lawyer and his squeeze put a hit on lawyer's wife. Hitman [Ed.: a real hitman, not an undercover cop!] wings her. Lawyer and wife reconcile. Wife sues squeeze. Depositions galore. ABA Journal

Denver, Colo.: Apparently, the best that cop Michael Nuanes Jr., 37, could do to defend against domestic abuse charges was to complain that she started it by hitting him in the foot with a Justin Bieber doll. (Nuanes's "Man" ranking in jeopardy.) KMGH-TV (Denver)

Davis, Okla.: Hawkeye Jeter, 77, was spotted doing a no-no with a show pig, but "all [I] did" was "I stuck my finger up her private" and "poured corn out to hold the gill still." [Ed.: Yee-hah, I wish I understood any of that that!] Alas, yes, he said, it was for sexual gratification. KFOR-TV (Oklahoma City)

Chicago: Fistfight over whose seat is whose, at a Chicago Black Hawks hockey game the Chicago Symphony. (Bonus: Conductor didn't miss a beat.) Chicago Sun-Times

Des Moines, Iowa: Barbers and beauticians need 2,100 hours of schooling for a state license (plus 8 continuing education hours every 2 years). Body piercers, not so many none at all, no license required. Des Moines Register

New York City: (Leading Economic Indicator) Total New York Times Company net profits over last four Internet-challenged years: $3 million. Exit package paid last year to retiring CEO Janet Robinson: $23.7 million. Bloomberg News

Palo Alto, Calif.: Someone stole an iPad, but the joke was on him, as police tracked it via GPS. Also in the house with the iPad: 780 lbs. of crystal meth. Victim: "They have $35 million [worth of meth], and they can't go out and buy an iPad?" Mercury News (San Jose)

Eugene, Ore.: Damien Bittar's Excellent Adventure: Get drunk on March 14th in the evening, then celebrate 21st birthday at midnight, then crash car at 1:30 a.m. (Bonus: crashed into an alcohol rehab facility.) KVAL-TV (Eugene)

Brisbane, Australia: [Ed.: We've reached the End Game in stories about overreliance on GPS navigators; with this one, the genre is officially No Longer Weird.] Three Japanese tourists tried to drive to North Stradbroke Island (15 km away). (Yes, stuck in the sand, plenty of time for photos!) Bayside Bulletin (Cleveland, Australia) [link from Nothing to Do with Arbroath]

Bolivia: Judge Gualberto Cusi, hailing from the indigenous Aymara community, admitted that sometimes, on difficult cases, he relies on coca-leaf readings. BBC News

Nantes, France: Just flew in from Paris, and, boy, is my nutsack tired! Jocko the Bull passed away, said to have fathered at least 161,888 calves (possibly 400,000). And in a report on the science of electro-ejaculation to increase the zoo populations, it was noted that the superstud "Jackson" has almost single-handedly kept U.S. zoos in the elephant business over the last ten years. Reuters /// The Local (Berlin)

London: It's not exactly a "news" story, but Vice.com says it's real--a public restroom outfitted as a sex dungeon, with photos galore. Best if you don't use your imagination. Vice.com [link from BoingBoing]

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

Sardinia, Ohio: It's unclear whether Christopher Tolle, 23, is guilty of the burglaries, and it's also unclear how far away the headlights were when he posed for his mugshot. WLWT-TV (Cincinnati)

The Smoking Gun: Charged with maintaining a drug house and making marijuana (and perhaps suspected of eating several of the arresting officers).

Thanks to Sandy Pearlman, Geoff Egan, and Gerald Sacks, and the mighty NOTW Board of Editorial Advisors.

Monday, March 12, 2012

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

Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
March 12, 2012
(datelines from March 2 or later) (links correct as of March 12)
© 2012 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Kantale, Sri Lanka: Mr. Janaka Basnayake, 24, passed away. He was trying to establish a world's record for surviving being buried alive. (Note to File: 6½ hours, too long.) Associated Press via Huffington Post

Tacoma, Wash.: Alan O'Neill, 41, was charged with bigamy after his first wife found out about the second when Facebook recommended that she and the second become "friends." Associated Press via Oregon Live

Detroit: In the District of Calamity II, an independent audit reported that a $148,000 grant to help 400 unemployed people get better clothes for job interviews provided clothes for exactly 2. Detroit News

Ottawa: The city government ordered Doug Rochow to stop clearing snow near his home, that that's the city's job even when the city's not doing it. (The city's afraid Rochow will make the pathways more inviting, which increases the possibility of lawsuits. Snowbound pathways create no "paths.") Toronto Star

Edmonton, Alberta; More name frivolity, this time from the 50,000 babies born in Alberta last year. Boys: Moo, J-Cub, Tuff, and R. Girls: Tuba, Camry, Unique, and J. Said one man on the street, "Those look like dogs' names." Edmonton Journal

Washington, D.C.: (Can't Possibly Be True?) USDA has purchased 7 million pounds of "pink slime," destined for school lunches. Even Taco Bell won't touch the stuff. It's animal connective tissue, not muscle, but oh-so-cheap, and it's been sanitized--mostly, except for, y'know, occasional e.coli. Huffington Post [citing the Evil Empire's tablet app The Daily]

Leicester, N.Y.: Mark Biondolillo, 41, had his (alleged) marijuana growhouse operation busted simply because his kid showed up for kindergarten class reeking of scent o' home. Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester)

Eureka, Calif.: Jason Bacon was allegedly overheard after his arrest for trading marijuana for a motorcycle: "I know you can't sell it, but I thought it was OK to trade it." Times-Standard (Eureka)

Cardiff, Wales: Polish off this year's Nobel--for local authorities tired of teen punks' rowdiness. They are set to install pink street lighting in the neighborhood . . because it highlights acne. BBC News

Reading, England: Melvyn Webb, 54, vehemently denied in court that he was pleasuring himself on the train. Rather, he said, he was playing air banjo under his newspaper. Seriously. (Bonus: Jury acquitted him.) World's Greatest Newspaper

Brevard County, Fla.: Bill Dillon will get $50k for each of the 27 wrongfully-imprisoned years that John Preston's forensic wonder dog cost him. As noted previously [NOTW M122, 8-9-2009], Preston's dog could supposedly find crime-scene scents anywhere it was convenient, and helped convict up to 60 people (some of them actually guilty, of course). Orlando Sentinel

Lifetime Channel: It's not just TLC embarrassing America in the eyes of the satellite-linked world. Lifetime's "Dance Moms" recently showed an instructor teaching burlesque to age-8-ish girls by having them simulate nudity with skin-colored bikini tops and bottoms, hopping and flopping their feathers. World's Greatest Newspaper

Bundoran, Ireland: (and coming soon to America!) At a testy town meeting, Councillor Michael McMahon opined that a new law provided sufficient government openness and that the country "doesn't need whistleblowers," to which exasperated councillor Florence Doherty replied, "Of course it does, you [a-word]." Donegal Democrat [censored by Yr Editor, to avoid e-mail filters]

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

Danbury, Conn.: There's someone for everyone, even Jonathan Price, 41, and Shannon McClung, 38. World's Greatest Newspaper

Thanks to Steve Dunn, George Elyjiw, Chip Sharpe, Bob Smakula, and Pete Randall, and the mighty NOTW Board of Editorial Advisors.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

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

Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
March 5, 2012
(datelines from February 24 or later) (links correct as of March 5)
© 2012 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Heber City, Utah: A tough-fact-check car crash killed one (Ms. Mula Er) and injured four (Ms. Me Htwe, Mr. Hsar Kpaw Doh, and two of unreported gender, W.T. Htoo and Tar Eh). Salt Lake Tribune

Baton Rouge, La.: In the alcohol-sophisticated Louisiana legislature, the debate was over whether drive-through daiquiri bars could sell go-cups with straw holes (to facilitate DUIs). WWL-TV (New Orleans)

Gainesville, Ga.: West High School and middle school were locked down. Reason: A cell phone's auto-correct had changed a text from "gunna be at west hall" to "gunman be at west hall." Gainesville Times

Seattle: (This--and not abortion counseling--is a reason to de-fund Planned Parenthood.) A PP group distributed 55,000 condoms with QR codes so users could scan in the locations in which they were having sex. New York Daily News

Shandong Province, China: Villagers who can't afford to heat their homes take huge condom-like inflatables to a natural gas substation every few days, fill them up, and take them home. ChinaSmack via Gizmodo

Hobe Sound, Fla.: Not sure about cause-and-effect here, but a highly intoxicated (0.409) Kevin Brann, 41, was arrested behind the wheel and with a butt plug in place. TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

Harare, Zimbabwe: The prostitutes are truly full-service. A woman was accidentally electrocuted while hanging a client's just-washed clothes out to dry as part of his all-nighter. Newsday (Harare)

Swindon, England: The borough council has discovered that the 1992 Protection of Badgers Act bars any action to stop badgers from burrowing into graves at the Radnor Street Cemetery. BBC News

Gastonia, N.C.: In a location usually reserved for cocaine or heroin, Asheton Biggerstaff, 24, apparently used his butt cheeks to smuggle in . . chewing tobacco. Gaston Gazette

Bradenton, Fla.: What can $15 buy you these days? For Adrian Baltierra, 51, one whiff of a street lady's intimate part (actually, an undercover cop's). The Smoking Gun

Miami, Fla.: Behold Braco! No matter what, people apparently need to find somebody to believe in, even if it's just a guy who stares at you for a few minutes and then walks away. (Certainly! DVDs and jewelry are available in the lobby!) Miami Herald

Lafayette, Ind.: White Castle is test-marketing sliders plus onion rings barbecue appetizers wine, with table service. Wall Street Journal

San Bernardino, Calif.: Someone ratted out smart-guy Stephen Hawking for visits to the Freedom Acres strip joint, where he allegedly enjoys private dancing and admiring the proton growth in various girls' body parts. World's Greatest Newspaper

Toronto: Would an infinite number of orangutans with an infinite number of iPads re-create all the great works of art? Better that they draw on an iPad (said a spokesman for Orangutan Outreach) because there's "no paint to eat." Toronto Star

Salisbury, N.C.: Hard times here. Who counterfeits $1 bills? Salisbury Post

Dublin, Ohio: Eliminating the middle man. County coroner crashes into pedestrian (but the victim will recover). Columbus Dispatch

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

Matthew Miranda, 25, was charged with dine-and-dash in Milford, Conn. (Bonus: The diner actually thought this guy was a good risk to pay the check). /// Y'all be on the lookout for this guy in the police sketch, OK? Connecticut Post /// WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Editor's Notes: The TLC channel is officially designated cable TV's most important service. Hoarders! My Strange Addiction! Toddlers and Tiaras! Now, debuting this coming Wednesday, My Crazy Obsession profiles the couple who estimates they've spent $1m on 5,000 Cabbage Patch kids and who ritually mingle with them. MSNBC /// TLC Channel

Unofficially: (1) world's ugliest animal (its face, anyway). /// 10 Chinese drinks you mustn't try. National Geographic /// Inventors Spot

Thanks to Matt Rushing, Dave Henshaw, Dave Scallon, and Elaine Weiss and the mighty NOTW Board of Editorial Advisors.