News of the Weird / Pro Edition
September 28, 2009
(curious and/or absurd news from September 19-26)
Grand Marshal Gaddafi Returns to the Stage
In Yr Editor's Gallery of Megalomaniacs, Moammar Gaddafi occupies one of the top slots (with North Korea's K.Jay, the late Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan, and, y'know, Donald Trump, people like that), and his epic United Nations cabaret performance on Wednesday marked his return to glory. In addition to pissing off his interpreter and Gordon Brown by exceeding his 15-minute slot (by 82 minutes!), he demanded the UN pay Libya for past injustices, which he calculated to be precisely $7.7 trillion. He also caused a scene because he eschews 5-star hotels in favor of bedding down in his own tent, with his "elite virgin female bodyguard detail" providing safety. When he visits other African countries, Gaddafi famously makes friends in the countryside by tossing US$1 bills from his limo, but that won't work here. Washington Post
Mayors Gone Wild
Sallie Peake of Wellford, S.C., said she's got budget problems and can't afford for the police to be chasing suspects. (Oh, ya mean no more high-speed chases?) No. No chases. Just drive out to their homes and arrest 'em. And Mayor Eric Brewer of East Cleveland, Ohio, neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the photographs circulating around town of him dressed maybe like he's Erica Brewer and not Eric. And Mayor Bob Ryan of Sheboygan, Wis., was captured on an off-the-record video saying he's heard that his sister-in-law gives a good blowjob. (Mrs. Ryan couldn't be less amused.) WSPA-TV (Spartanburg, S.C.) /// WTAM Radio (Cleveland) /// WTMJ-TV (Milwaukee)
Do You Realize How Difficult It Is to Find Heartwarming Vulture Stories?
All right, so two male vultures at Israel's Jerusalem Biblical Zoo made headlines a couple of yrs ago when they incubated an "egg" and then raised a baby vulture. (Actually, they were playing mom with a fake egg; zookeepers slipped an actual itty bitty just-hatched vulture into the nest when the parents weren't looking. So, the two males think they've accomplished something.) OK, jump ahead a while, and the men grew apart and moved on to female partners. (It's unclear whether they had come to realize that their original mates weren't females or whether they just had an Anne Heche Moment.) The males knocked up the females, and the first actual babies of the original gay pair were (it says here, anyway) born on the same day as each other and weighed exactly the same thing. How 'bout that? Haaretz (Tel Aviv)
Three Australians Beg, "Please, Take Our Money"
In a Melbourne suburb, two grifters convinced at least three business operators to let them double their money . . chemically. It's a special substance! When currency soaks in it overnight . . each bill produces another bill of the same denomination! The artists even "demonstrated" it to each investor, with an A$100 bill. The three astute businessmen lost a total of A$160k, and now valuable police resources are being diverted, trying to get the money back. Stonnington Leader via News.Com.au
What a Dork that Guy Is, with that Metal Detector
Oh, wait. Terry Herbert, 55, just found at least $1.6m worth (probably much more) of gold and silver in Staffordshire county, England, probably buried there in the 7th century by a successful Anglo-Saxon warlord. Archaeologists' toes are still curling over this. New York Times
Remember the Indonesian with Warts Like a Bad Case of Barnacles?
That guy is doing better, but now comes Lin Tianzhuan, 38, in southern China, aka Coral Boy, whose growths on his legs and arms more resemble stone or shells. [Links are Not Safe for Stomachs] Daily Telegraph (London) /// Metro (London) [tree man Dede Koswara]
Every year the people of Massachusetts celebrate one of their most noble products, Marshmallow Fluff, in a festival called "What the Fluff." A prime component of the festival are the dancers known as the Flufferettes. Watch them below, then take a tour of the Fluff factory.
Five more mugshots from Greensburg, Indiana. Now we have five alleged meth users, possessors, manufacturers, etc., The mugshots remind me of a photographer attempting to take pics of toddlers and infants that just won't look at the camera. And what's with that girl at the end? What does she have to smile about? In 1890, The Mean Center of United States Population was Greensburg, Indiana. With today's reports, is the town trying to become the Mean Center of Drug Users in the United States? Greensburg Daily News
Police in Greensburg, Indiana raided what the local paper dubbed a "Heroin House." Of course, this choice of alliteration brought to mind The Doors' song, "Hyacinth House." The police noted the men weren't cooperative, but didn't put up a fight either. I guess that's what could be expected of heroin users. Now it's up to you to decide if these are what you would expect the mugshots of heroin users to look like. Greensburg Daily News
Viewing this clip is a Twilight Zone experience for me--and, I expect, for others of my generation. I grew up watching ROMPER ROOM, but the Aussie accent of this gal on the Downunder version jars with my nostalgia. I've fallen into some alternate timeline.
Intelius, a Washington State information commerce company, is offering a new iphone application. Date Check allows singles to do a quick background check on someone they are considering going out with. Input the person's name or cell phone number to begin. The Net Worth function checks on any monetary and property holdings. Sleaze Detector looks for criminal records such as assault, drug or sex offences, drunk driving and such. It even checks networking sites and reports on job status and education. John Arnold, co-founder and executive vice president of Intelius, says it's like having a private investigator in your pocket. Doesn't sound very romantic to me. http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2009/09/24/iPhone-app-investigates-dates/UPI-77901253829286/
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.
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