and the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Monday, December 8, 2008
Australia's human rights commission proposes to create an official "third gender" for gov't documents, but then the transgender people complained that there are really four because some people just don't know what they are (or change their minds from day to day). Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
Motorist Michael Montgomery was arrested for doing donuts on the Beaver County (Pa.) Airport runway, but it's OK 'cause the FAA gave him permission. Associated Press via WEWS-TV (Cleveland)
Deborah Tanner, 56, was charged with trying to kill her husband (though she said he welcomed it, because of poor health), even though she didn't do it right (overdose, three neck stabbings, with two of the knives still impaled when she gave up and called police). Bradenton Herald
Bailout Prayer Day at Detroit's Greater Grace Pentecostal Temple had auto workers gathered 'round the altar of three sparkling-white, hybrid SUVs to receive consecrated oil anointments. New York Times
A farmer in southern Lebanon claims the Guinness Book record for largest potato and . . Aiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!, what is it! Arrrghhhhh!!! Aarrrghhhh!!!!!! . . Middle East Online[link from Arbroath]
Daily "tick off Evangelicals" news: Britain's Oxford University Press, which chooses words carefully for its junior dictionaries (small enough to fit in little hands), added a lot of techno-secular words this year and cleared out the useless ones, like "bishop," "saint," "sin," and "minister." Daily Telegraph
A startup called Virtual Greats expects to make money selling celebrity-licensed merchandise except it's not real, i.e., your avatar buys the right to wear Justin Timberlake's fedora (and/or to sell it in the secondary market under the Greater Fool Theory). New York Times
Professor Music's Weird Link o' the Day
This is an example of the American ingenuity that will bring us out of this economic crisis: the combination AR-15/chainsaw ("firearm-mounted anti-zombie device"). AR15.com
Today's Newsrangers: Tom Barker, Stephen Taylor, Philip Urban, Larry Ellis Reed, Bruce Leiserowitz Comments on the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Monday? Comments 'cycle_081208'
If you wear one of our sweaters, you'll look like a ridiculous chimp.
"Me Retailer, you Jerk!"
ADDENDUM: Reader Vern notes that the text ridicules the chimp as wearing an older, out-of-style sweater, while the man sports the manufacturer's sleek new model. That's a good point. Nonetheless, how convincing is the comparison, when the human's rival is a monkey?
On February 4, 1912 Franz Reichelt fell to his death from the Eiffel Tower. From Wikipedia:
Reichelt, known as the flying tailor, designed an overcoat to fly or float its wearer gently to the ground like the modern parachute. To demonstrate his invention he made a jump of 60 meters from the first deck of the Eiffel Tower, at that time the tallest man-made structure in the world. The parachute failed and Reichelt fell to his death. The jump was recorded by the cameras of the gathered press.
File this under Weird Medical Conditions. Piblokto is the Eskimo word for Arctic Hysteria. From Wikipedia:
Symptoms can include intense hysteria (screaming, uncontrolled wild behavior), depression, coprophagia [feces eating], insensitivity to extreme cold (such as running around in the snow naked), echolalia (senseless repetition of overheard words) and more. This condition is most often seen in Eskimo women. This culture-bound syndrome is possibly linked to vitamin A toxicity (hypervitaminosis A). The native Eskimo diet provides rich sources of vitamin A and is possibly the cause or a causative factor.
From a 1965 newspaper article:
Scientists (lucky enough to see Eskimos with piblokto) listed these characteristics:
"Tearing off clothing.
"Fleeing, nude or otherwise, across ice and snow.
"Rolling in snow.
"Jumping into icy water.
"Picking up loose objects and tossing them in the air.
"Kicking all sorts of loose objects, particularly dogs.
Between Piblokto and Windigo Psychosis the Arctic sounds like a great place to spend some time.
and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Monday, December 8, 2008
Un-American Christmases (1) In the Netherlands, enforcement against the list of "naughty" kids is carried out by Zwarte Piet ("Black Pete"), the errant former slave of Sinterklaas (but post-racially, ZP is just a booby-prize-delivering chimney sweep who, unlike Sinter, gets all sooted up when he slides down). (2) In Austria, it's the 7-ft-tall horned devil, Krampus, who roams the countryside swinging chains and switches against the bad kids. SpiegelOnline (12-5-2008) ///SpiegelOnline (12-2-2008) Comments 'unamerican_christmases'
Christmastime means a more pro-active, micromanaging Lord (1) Pelahatchie, Miss., student Lashaundra Clanton made classmates uneasy last week as she slipped into tongues and a Linda Blair voice for a couple of days and told 'em when they were going to die (but it wasn't Satan talking because Satan only tells lies, and Lashaundra says she was telling the truth) (2) Ron Mlodzik apparently had God's help winning the Reader's Digest's "Tell Us a Joke" contest (since it was an excruciatingly stupid joke) so he's giving the $3k prize money away to charity: "God played a role in this [so] I'll give it back to God." (3) God came through with help for this F State woman's mounting medical bills: He placed an image of the Virgin Mary on the woman's MRI scan so she can sell it on eBay. WAPT-TV (Jackson, Miss.) ///Kenosha (Wis.) News///TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.) Comments 'proactive_christmastime'
Usually, stabbing a guy 39 times would undermine your murder claim of "self-defense"
Eugene Falle, aka Preacher, made it work, though. "I told him just hurry up and die already . . .. So I keep stabbin' him and stabbin' him and stabbin' him and stabbin' him and stabbin' him . . .. He wouldn't bleed properly the way he should've bled, according to the movies." Edmonton Journal Comments '39_stabbings'
Another contender for a news-story Lede of the Year
"A hooker and a Baptist minister having sex in a seedy motel room, where a camera was hidden in a clock radio. A videotape delivered to a radio talk show host by someone wearing oversized glasses, a fake beard, and surgical gloves." And so, another Atlantic City, N.J., official was caught doing something bad, by another Atlantic City, N.J., official doing something bad. Associated Press via The State (Columbia, S.C.) Comments 'another_lede'
People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Victor Brown, 35, a suspended cop, was charged with impersonating a cop by checking into a Rosemont, Ill., hotel, telling the clerk he was working undercover vice. But then, apparently, he called down and ordered "lotion and on-demand movies" for his room. Chicago Tribune Comments 'victor_brown'
Your Daily Jury Duty [no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Brit Peter Trigger's version: He has a perfect right to dress as he wishes and that he's no harm to anyone. Police version: A 59-yr-old man can't stand around outside the entrance to a primary school, wearing a short skirt with nothing underneath. Evening Telegraph (Kettering, England) [mug]///The Sun (London) [Trigger in action] Comments 'peter_trigger'
More Things to Worry About on Monday
People with arthritis in the hand can't grip their Glocks and SIG Sauers properly so a New Jersey company has developed the Palm Pistol gun ("Point and shoot couldn't be easier," the company says). (Bonus: They say it oughta be a medical-assistance device, paid for by Medicare.) New Scientist
In Bonn, Germany, a 54-yr-old man suffered a fatal heart attack inside a porno shop booth[Ed.: but poor news-reporting has deprived us of the name of that video so we could order it ourselves, er, for investigative purposes, of course]. The Local (Berlin)
In 2006 scientists grew barley on the International Space Station as part of an experiment to determine whether crops can survive in space (and one day feed astronauts living up there). They found that "the barley showed almost no ill effects from growing in microgravity or radiation. The scientists found only one enzyme increased from slight oxygen deprivation, but the plants did well." Back on Earth Sapporo recently brewed 100 bottles of "Space Beer" from the barley.
An increase of only one enzyme? This must be disappointing news to the Chinese, who for decades have been blasting seeds and sperm into space, in the theory that the combination of cosmic radiation and microgravity will produce mutations that will yield larger, stronger varieties. They even have a Center for Space Breeding. I think they've been watching too many 1950's science-fiction movies.
Back in 2007 a purple "space potato" grown from seeds taken onboard the Shenzhou IV space mission were all the rage in Shanghai restaurants. (Reportedly they tasted more "glutinous" than normal potatoes.)
And in 2005, as I've noted before, there were reports the Chinese had carried pig sperm into space, in the hope of breeding larger, tastier pigs.
and the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Friday, December 5, 2008
Chris Woodruff, 22, busted already three times for no car insurance, printed up his own policy all official-looking and mostly fooled the cop (except for its expiration date, February 31). Daily Telegraph (London)
The famous patient "H.M." died at a nursing home at age 82, the fella with "profound amnesia," meaning not only that he recalled only a couple of sketchy things from early in his life but that he had lost the ability to form new memories (sorta like Drew Barrymore in "50 First Dates"). New York Times
There's also "toxic epidermal necrolysis," which can be caught from ordinary medications (like ibuprofen, for instance), yet can result in the outer layer of skin separating from the body, and as with this Newfoundland girl, survival is touch and go. St. John's Telegram via Vancouver Sun
Several Aussie Members of Parliament demand breathalyzer testing of MP's before votes (if we have them for "people driving cranes [we] should have [them] for people writing laws"). Agence France-Presse via Yahoo
"It's not a 'second chance.' It's more like a 22nd chance." (That was a teacher's union official in Grand Rapids, Mich., complaining about a proposal that would give most high school students who actually earn "F" grades on a course to get an "H" instead and thus have the option of a second bite at the course in summer school with no H or F on the record [unless, presumably, they fail in the summer, which would be, maybe, a "K" and then . . ah, never mind]. WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids)
Carla Maldonado, the 40-yr-old wife of David Maldonado, was arrested when their DVD collection turned up images of Carla servicing dogs (with mugshot [of Carla, not a dog . . I think]). WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)
Professor Music's Weird Link o' the Day
Speaking of the renewable-amnesia guy (above) and the woman whose disease trashed 3/4 of her outer layer of skin (above): ABC's crack Health unit has a handy list of 10 Baffling Medical Conditions, ranging from the fairly familiar (Foreign Accent Syndrome and Music-Induced Seizures) to the, well, baffling (can't open your eyes for 3 days at a time, can't ever forget anything). [Capital punishment, though, for the ABC webmaster, 'cause it's a mothercheneying "slideshow."]ABC News
Today's Newsrangers: Gary Davidson, Mindy Cohen, Billy Ray, H.Thompson, Mark Neunder, Gil Nelson, Karl Olson, Gary Goldberg,
Yesterday's Newsrangers: Rick Duff, Dave Abdoo, Kurt Knochel, Perry Levin, John Holsinger Comments on the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Friday? Comments 'cycle_081205'