Mystery lumps are washing ashore in New Zealand. What they are: large, barrel-shaped lumps of grease ("like rancid fat or lard") covered in barnacles. Where they come from: nobody knows. The theory that they could be ambergris from whales was quickly disproven. Some entrepreneurs are carving them up and selling the stuff as moisturizing sunblock. Link: stuff.co.nz.
Regret the brevity. Busy last night and this morning. Catch-up by tomorrow.
Worst idea of 2008
The Clown Conservatory in San Francisco announced it has become the latest outfit to try to raise money by selling its own fancy themed calendar . . of clowns . . naked clowns. Contra Costa Times///NakedClownCalendar.com[not exactly a surprise that that domain was available!] Comments 'naked_clowns'
Your Daily Jury Duty [no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Schoolteacher Alyson Perry-Jarvis has been accused of having sex with a kid, but the thing is, isn't she enough of a babe that she could pretty much have sex with any grown-up she wants? St. Petersburg Times Comments 'alyson_perryjarvis'
More Things to Worry About on Thursday
Woman sued Vibe magazine for publishing photos of her topless, in a mermaid outfit, at a big P.Diddy party, but the judge ruled by popping open a can of common sense (Bonus: Her day job is hedge-fund money manager) . . . . . Least competent traveler: A Buenos Aires woman, buying a plane ticket on the Internet for Sydney, Australia, wound up in Canada, on a puddle-jumper in Halifax that was taxiing for take-off to Sydney, Nova Scotia . . . . . Police sketch-artist technology gives way to a "composite image" of the perp (and what a perp!). Comments 'worry_080925'
Sure, we all love bacon! But who wants to live next to a pig farm? Not these folks in Massachusetts, who, according to today's Boston Globe (registration required), suffer smells like those "at the bottom of a dumpster." But this new Congressional report finds the EPA ready to relax their rules for such farms.
Here's an article about a manure lagoon spill in 2005 that released 3 million gallons of pig poop!
Mom helped arm a Columbine wannabe
Dillon Cossey, 14, has, as they say, "a weight problem," which provoked bullying, which he dropped out of school to get away from, but that apparently didn't end his revenge fantasies. He's going to juvy until age 21, but it turns out his mom had bought him gunpowder and a rifle with a laser scope, but, she said, only to "improve his self-esteem," as she had no idea what was bubbling in Big Dillon's mind. Associated Press via Charlotte Observer Comments 'dillon_cossey'
Chimps can recognize friends by their butts
If you're a primatologist (Emory Univ., Atlanta), this is probably a major piece of work. Actually, chimps don't just acknowledge a butt they've seen before; they recall a mental image of the entire chimp whose butt is in front of them. New Scientist Comments 'chimps_butts'
Roundup of new reports of old news
If you've been keeping up with your News of the Weird reading, you don't need to click these links, since there's nothing here I haven't already told you about. But if you've been bad . . lazy(!) . . disrespectful of the hard work I put in here(!), you can catch up on these recent stories and (better late than never) achieve the Total Consciousness that comes with reading NOTW regularly: (1) It's now surgically viable to remove gall bladders and kidneys not through cuts in the skin but via "natural orifices" (mouth, vagina, anus). (2) There's a kid in Washington state with a genetic anomaly that makes him so far almost as tall as Yao Ming. (3) More women are opting for designer vaginas despite the actual medical literature's being really thin on the subject. (4) The chaste-daughter movement is supposedly growing, where fathers step in and show the girls how to have fun (dancing, dining) without fooling around. Washington Post///Seattle Times///BBC News///The Times (London) Comments 'newold_updates'
Your Daily Loser
You're a loser if you're 21 years old and haven't learned how to spell your own name yet. (If you just started trying when you were, say, age 7, you'd have 7 yrs to practice your first name, then 7 more years to practice your last name, and there you go.) But Brandon Bethea, 21, Smithfield, N.C., was arrested when he didn't know how to spell whatever names he was trying to tell the cops were his. WTSB-AM (Smithfield) [click Local News, scroll down; link expires soon] Comments 'brandon_bethea'
Your Daily Jury Duty [no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Kathy Wilcox, 51, might possibly have driven through a locked, barbed-wire gate of a Tampa airport, right down the runway. But then again, maybe it's all a mistake. Up to you. WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg-Tampa) Comments 'kathy_wilcox'
More Things to Worry About on Wednesday
If your surgeon stapled your rectum shut, there's a good chance you'll have "bowel problems," as alleged by this 64-yr-old man's lawsuit against a doctor in western Maryland . . . . . After the head of an industrial plant in India announced layoffs of hundreds of workers, at least 60 of 'em beat him up and killed him . . . . . That iron-fisted Myanmar military junta (that refused almost all Western aid to their cyclone victims in May) turned all "loving" and emptied the prisons (but not the "political" prisoners, which the junta says they don't have, anyway) . . . . . An Australian woman reported being trapped in her house by a pig "the size of a Shetland pony," which neighbors have named Bruce . . . . . As part of the nightly Ramadan carnival in Kano, Nigeria, the town has a "bachelor catcher," whose job it is to shame men (aka "dogs") into tying the knot. Today's Newsrangers: Bruce Townley, Candy Clouston, Steve Passen, Mickey Lamm, Kathryn Wood, Jonathan Fox Comments 'worry_080924'
Expanding on the theme of strange candidates, here are some of the candidates that are (or were) seeking your vote in the current presidential election.
Gene Amondson, Prohibition Party
Amondson is running on a single issue: bringing back prohibition. He describes prohibition as "America's Best Years."
Donald K. Allen, Independent
One of the few candidates to have a position on puppy mills: "As President, I would appoint a secretary of agriculture that would effectively shut down puppy mills through true enforcement of existing law and national educational exposure of this despicable business. Instead of working from the bottom up, I would effectively mandate the dismantling of commercial interstate puppy trade from the top. This would be a no- or low-priority issue for any other candidate."
Bruce Bongardt, The Proudican Party
Bongardt describes himself as "a 42 year old middleclass creative problem-solving Mechanical Design Engineer." He describes the Proudican Party as "a new, self-started party focused on sustaining US Democracy principles through an independent platform of boldly aggressive technology-based prolutions (progressive solutions)." Some of his "prolutions" include expanding the standard week to 9 days and transitioning the currency to e-money.
James Harlin Carter, The Real Food Party
"The Real Food Party seeks to revise existing regulations to allow the sale of non-pasteurized milk and other 'food that is helpful.'" Carter has conceded that he's not going to win the 2008 election. Therefore, he's not going to participate in any debates and has no plans to raise any money.
Terry Lee "Tee" Barkdull, Unaffiliated
Barkdull's platform: "IT'S TIME WE ALL TAKE A STAND AGAINST THIS DICTATORSHIP GOVERNMENT THAT IS OUT OF CONTROL!! THESE SILVER SPOON BASTARDS AND BITCHES, CAN NOT CONTINUE TO RUN AMERICA ANYMORE." (Unfortunately, Barkdull has withdrawn his candidacy for the 2008 election.)
Matthew Borman, The American Party
Borman writes: "I am Matthew Borman. I am a 36 year old, who since the age of 14, had to work in order to survive. From the age that I was old enough to recognize government; the excitement about the politician, the writing of new law or the formation of government social program has eluded me. I am a simple working man. The people who seem so int rested in Governing my life have caused more hurt than help with their years of law making."
Borman has many positions, but apparently improving spelling and grammar is not one of them.
Jeff Boss, The Independent Party
Boss is going for the conspiracy theorist vote: "My Goal is to Save America, and make it a democracy again. I witnessed a person high up in the NSA planning the 9/11 attack. They were talking about helping Ramsi Yousef (responsible for the 93 bombing at the World Trade Center) call his uncle Kolid Sheik Mohammed (considered the mastermind of the 911 attack) from the NSA secret prison in Alexandria, VA, and they were talking about flying planes into buildings."
John Taylor Bowles, National Socialist Order of America
Going for the Nazi vote. From Wikipedia: "Bowles runs his campaign out of the "Redneck Shop" in Laurens, South Carolina, which features Nazi, Confederate States of America and KKK paraphernalia. As of March 2008, Bowles is the only listed individual contributor to his campaign." (Bowles suffered a heart attack in July, so he's off the ticket.)
Continuing the exploration of strange presidential candidates:
"Mighty Man of God" Homer Tomlinson (1892-1969)
Tomlinson was the founder of the Church of God (World Headquarters). His plan was to bring about the kingdom of God on earth by getting the members of his church elected to public office. Therefore, he ran for President in 1952, 1960, 1964, and 1968 as the candidate for the "Theocratic Party" (which he also founded).
His campaign promises included: substituting tithing for taxes, creating cabinet posts for "Secretary of Righteousness" and "Secretary of the Holy Bible," unifying church and state, and establishing Bible reading and prayer in all schools.
Tomlinson never won an election, though he did receive 24 votes in 1964. But that didn't matter, because in 1965 he declared himself "King of the World." He ruled the world from a hotel room in Jerusalem, wearing a gold-painted crown and sitting on a folding chair. From a 1966 New Yorker profile of him:
He founded the Theocratic Party and has been its candidate for U.S. President since 1952, has written many books and songs, speaks in some 20 or 30 languages. One of many wonders he has effected by being in the right place at the right time was a downpour in the desert, during a 1000 mile walk from Iran to Bethlehem in 1955.
Americans hate stinky things, and seek relief from bad odors in the most unlikely products. I've brought Poo-Pourri to your attention, and Alex has reminded us of Odo-Ro-No. And now we have Smelly Washer, which, according to this article, is selling like beer at Oktoberfest.