News of the Weird/Pro Edition You're Still Not Cynical Enough
Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
August 2, 2010
(datelines July 24-July 31) (links correct as of August 2)
Scuzzy Brits Get Do-Overs, Plus Momma's Gone, Penile Electrosurgery, and a Violent Buddhist
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It's Fabulous to Be a British Criminal: Here's how it goes down for a British pedophile child-killer: If the "justice" system says he's "paid his debt to society" for his crime, he has a right to a quiet, uneventful life, and if he's so notorious that he can't have it, the government pays for a new identity (estimated cost: £250,000) plus continuing "privacy" protection (estimated cost: £1,000,000 a year). Jon Venables "paid his debt" for killing that two-year-old boy, and then he "paid his debt" for being a serial child-porn-downloader, and he's about to become a free (and expensive to keep) man. Daily Telegraph (July 23)
Garden of Eden "Too Polluted" for Baptisms: Friends of the Earth Middle East made the charge. Apparently, Jesus was baptized just in time, before the sewage and runoff into the Jordan River got too bad. Israel Today
World-Class Optimism: Here's Sgt. Jerry Goodin of the Indiana State Police, sincerely hoping that "victims" will come forward with evidence against counterfeiters he just arrested (and he thinks the most likely victims were local drug dealers): "What we are asking today is we want all the drug dealers to call us [if you might have accepted this counterfeit money]. Trust us. Call us." WAVE-TV (Indianapolis)
Those Hardy New York Firefighters: John Giuffrida, 42, retired on a disability pension of about $75,000 a year in 2003, based on asthma and other lung ailments from cleaning up the Sept. 11th Ground Zero. Two years later, he was a regular on the mixed-martial-arts circuit. (Bonus: Still got FDNY attitude! "It's completely different," he says, (a) beating the crap out of people and (b) "running into a building that is on fire with a smoke condition and toxins in the air.") New York Post
Life Imitates a Rodney Dangerfield Joke: An unusual 1922 law in British Columbia obligates adult children to support their parents in hard times, and times are now indeed hard for Shirley Anderson, 71, and she's suing, and there'll be a hearing this week in Vancouver. Shirley and her hard-drinking old man had five kids, and one day, they moved--without telling four of them. Gone for good. On their own. The four grew up OK, if emotionally scarred, and now they're doing much better than Shirley is, but Shirley has that law going for her. PostMedia News via Montreal Gazette
Just, exactly, what's supposed to be WEIRD about this collection of photos on The Denver Post's site I've no real idea. Maybe it's that they're all in color. Or, maybe it's just that they're all from 1939 to 1943. Or, maybe it's that they show us, in stark realization, just how much advancement has been made in the last 70 years. Or could it be that most of us, living today, weren't around to experience this America? You've got to decide on your own but to do that you've got to GO VISIT the site and spend a quarter of an hour in awe of our past.
A company called Anybots is coming out with a workplace robot for the office. An employee, or the boss, can remotely control the robot from home with a laptop. Wi Fi is the only necessity for operation. The robot sends video and audio to the user and verbally communicates the users words. The CEO of Anybots uses one to work from home already. Not even safe when the boss doesn't come in anymore!
Bonus: There is a link in the story that takes you to a neat video of QB (the robot).
Link provided by danny53, thanks Dan.
There has been some discussion in the DC area about a snazzier nick name than 'the nation's Capitol' for it. Some are using DMV for DC/Maryland/Virginia but I felt we here at WU could come up with some better ideas. Ideas more in line with California's 'home of the fruits and nuts' than NY's 'The big apple". Whadda ya say WUvians?
While it might be fairly common for couples to get a divorce in the United States these days, it's certainly not easy. There are questions of support, custody issues if there are children involved, and bitter arguments over who gets to keep what; all of which can drag a divorce into months of stress. But what is it like in other cultures and in other times? In centuries past, in China, a divorce could be granted for any number of reasons, so long as the bride's family agreed to take her back. Aborigine women in Australia can convince their husbands to grant a divorce but if that's not working, then all they need to do is elope with someone else. The ancient Athenians and modern-day Eskimos share an extremely simple divorce process - live separately as though they were never married. In the UK, a man tired of his wife could slip a halter around her neck, lead her into town to the cattle market, and sell her to the highest bidder. Japan had a much more advanced view, however. Marriage was not sacred and divorce was not immoral - it was merely a mismatch between families. Women's dowrys were returned in the hopes of encouraging re-marriage. You can read more on Purple Slinky, and on Hope's Blog, and in this review.
An Austrian beer that includes cheese as an ingredient is supposed to positively affect sexual performance. After a night of the cheese infused ale men are still able to perform, unlike what often happens when a guy has too much regular beer or other drink. At least that is the brew maker's claim.
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.