Always better to be able to pay full price for the funeral. Watch out if you prepaid, or, even worse, get an indigent's burial. In Allendale, S.C., a home might have fit a 7-footer into a 6-foot, prepaid coffin, and in Houston, a home might have confused a male with a female and cremated the wrong one. Associated Press via Charlotte Observer///Houston Chronicle
In the last 6 yrs in hospital ERs in and around Austin, Tex., a total of 2,678 of the visits were made by only 9 people, who of course know the secret words that require the hospital to treat them ("chest pain"). American-Statesman
Indonesia apparently permits criminals to profit from their "celebrity," so "Ryan," the gay serial killer awaiting sentencing (which could be "firing squad"), whose autobiography is already on the shelves, is set to debut his angelic voice in an album of pop songs, My Last Performance. Agence France-Presse via Herald Sun (Melbourne)
It was published yesterday, but The Sun's story is certainly real, about one of Sir Richard Branson's health clubs in Acton, England, starting a program for pets. It's just that the pictures look a little April-Fool-ish (but, as with the health clubs themselves, the pets in the pictures all seem to be buff). The Sun
Comments on Things to Worry About Today? Comments 'worry_090402'
Your Daily Loser
This one's a tossup: (1) There's poor Edwin Calix, 19, who tried to snatch a bottle of Hennessey cognac and run out the front door of Sykes Liquor Store in Trenton, N.J., but the clerk pushed the auto-lock, sealing the door. Calix's backup plan was a gun, which he pointed at the clerk, but that only allowed him to see that it wasn't a real gun, and by then, he had 911 on the phone, anyway. Said the clerk, "[Calix] just came up and sat on the floor and started crying." Among Calix's mumbles, the clerk said, was, "I have a child," which complicates the question of why he wanted the Hennessey's. Times of Trenton///KYW-TV (Philadelphia) [mugshot]
(2) The other contenders are two unidentified men captured on surveillance video trying to break into an alarmed private residence in St. Petersburg in daylight. WFTS-TV: "One placed himself in a football stance and ran the length of the yard into the porch door with his body. The latch held quite nicely. The impact sent the would-be thief flying backwards and onto the ground, where he is seen writhing in pain." The alarm sounded; they gone. WFTS-TV (Tampa) Comments 'losers_090402'
Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Arlene Smith, 47, stands accused of several petty thefts from the little store located inside the courthouse in Cincinnati (Reese's cups, Slim Jims, etc.), but let's be fair: No one could possibly be so heartless as to shoplift from a store run by an obviously-blind proprietor, right? Cincinnati Enquirer Comments 'arlene_smith'
Today's Newsrangers: Kurt Knochel, Neil Gimon, Ginger Katz, Stephen Taylor, Paul Blumstein
Two television-related disorders reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Television Angina: Observed at a clinic for coronary diseases... This affected 20% of those patients with angina pectoris who watched television programs and was provoked by seeing violent incidents on the screen... commercials were innocuous, but Westerns and plays or films depicting violence or excitement often provoked anginal attacks. (JAMA, Apr 25, 1959)
Television Legs: Canada has discovered the syndrome of "TV legs," thereby demonstrating what should have been obvious, namely, that if a youngster habitually slumps in front of a TV screen for hours at a time, he will not end up as physically fit as his forefathers did. A physical fitness director in a thriving Toronto suburb surveyed 300 children in a day-long series of tests, and showed that 55% could not pass the minimum tests and 85% failed the maximum tests. The most common fault was a lack of flexibility in the legs and lower back, traceable to spending long hours sitting in front of TV sets... It is going to be difficult to find a set of controls who do not view TV and thus to assess the exact part played by this pastime in promoting ill-health. (JAMA, Apr 19, 1958)
The title is from the Globe & Mail's story yesterday about the "consensual living" philosophy as it applies to your little urchins, who are presumed, even the toddlers, to be rational people with at least substantially well-developed senses of perspective. CL says every family member's needs are equally valid, regardless of age. No reward and punishment, no coercion, direct or indirect. Everybody–even the babbling 2-yr-old—is assumed to be in command of himself and to know what's good for him (or to realize that some decisions are beyond his 2-yr-old brain but that he'll have the sense to raise the issue politely with the other members of the family). The Globe & Mail's lede: Savannah Leavey, 6, has worn her Halloween cat costume all the time (except for washing) every day for nearly six months, and mom's fine with this (though mom sounds like she's got an issue or two, herself). Not sure how many devotees there are, but the Yahoo Group has 900 members.
(1) Everyone's wants and needs are equally valid, regardless of age.
(2) Children can be trusted to know their own minds and bodies.
(3) Punishments and rewards are tools of manipulation, unneeded when family members work as a team.
(4) There is a creative solution that works for everyone.
(5) Each family member has a positive intent and desires harmony.
(6) When all are secure that their needs will be met, they will branch out and help others meet their needs.
Thomas Meehan, 59, drove to the State Patrol office in Tacoma, Wash., to register his car, as required by law, but you'd think he would've sobered up first. KIRO-TV (Seattle)
A Brookeville, Ind., couple (Lloyd Conn, 34, and Tiffany Hollins, 21), who are registered with the local parole office and theoretically know they can be visited at any time, were visited Monday (and troopers found a gun, a meth lab, and five pickup-truckloads of what they suspect are stolen goods). Kentucky Post
Apparently Walter Aaron, 26, couldn't think of a better way to pick up quick money than to steal an excavator from a construction site and smash through a SunTrust bank in Atlanta. (He was still behind the wheel when cops arrived.) WGCL-TV (Atlanta)
Recurring: Two men in Austin, Minn., called police to report that someone broke in and stole their marijuana (along with smoking devices that had "sentimental value"). They can't be charged with a crime, though, because, well, the thief completely cleaned 'em out. Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.)
Recurring: Eric Fortune, 19, Denmark Township, Ohio, goaded his stepbrother to shoot him in the leg so he could see what it felt like. (It hurt a lot; he started crying.) Star Beacon (Ashtabula)
Your Daily Jury Duty ["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Here's a chance for Jury Nullification: Could it really be a crime that a woman happens to be completely naked below the waist in public as she is picking up dog litter? Oughtn't we to free Susan Bell? Portsmouth Herald[LINK FIXED]
Readers' Choice: DUI on a lawnmower, a mobility scooter, a horse, fine. Now, DUI on a tricked-out barstool. Associated Press via CBS News[photo!]
I've known 100 lawyers who'd take this case for free: Air-O-Matic's iPhone app Pull My Finger was the best-selling electronic whoopie-cushion until recently when InfoMedia's iFart overtook it, but it wasn't fair, said A-O-M because InfoMedia was using its "trademarked" p-m-f phrase in its marketing (because InfoMedia says the phrase is way-generic and therefore un-trademarkable). Denver Post
Your Daily Loser
Marckenly Estima, 23, an enterprising rapper in Port St. Lucie, Fla., wanted police cars in the background of his new video, and he and his cameraman were chatting it up with officers in the parking lot of the police station when the cops ran his name through the computer and found a warrant for skipping out on a trial. TCPalm.com
Today's Newsrangers: Paul Music, Bruce Alter, Gerald Sacks, Karl Olson, Emory Kimbrough, Gary Goldberg, Scott Langill, and many finders of the barstool story.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.