[Weird 2.0: No perverts, no drunks, no stupid criminals. Worse!]
"To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle"—George Orwell
"A little learning is a dangerous thing"—Alexander Pope
"Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns"—Rome Daily Inquirer, 7-18-64A.D.
Pat Robertson accidentally faced reality, concluding on his 700 Club that America's anti-marijuana laws are fercockta. "I'm not exactly for the use of drugs, don't get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing, it's just, it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people. . . . That's not a good thing." Los Angeles Times
Another Black Helicopter Theory Dies: A big field of old Russian and Eastern bloc trucks piled up in Mississippi means, obviously, that then-President Clinton was selling us out to the United Nations! No other explanation! Patriots . . lock and load! Turns out it was part of a failed business venture in young Russia after the fall of communism, and the idea (as well as the trucks) have now died of old age. But, boy, in their time, the presence of those trucks caused a lot of people to buy more camo. New York Times
Government Accountability Office took an official position on the federal government's finances . . er, an official position that no official position was possible: (1) Department of Defense is "inauditable." (2) No reconciliation is possible among interagency activities. (3) There's too much fudging of Uncle Sam's projected assets and liabilities. TaxProf Blog
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
January 3, 2011
(datelines December 25-January 1) (links correct as of January 3)
K.Jay Is #1 in the World in #2, Plus Cultivating Fist Fights and Understimulation
★ ★ ★ ★!
Leading Economic Indicator (in North Korea): Gradually, the authorities are permitting outside goods into the country, with the latest being "skinny jeans" (after a relaxation of the skirts-only rule for female workers). Also new: a home-grown commodity--actual human poop--for garden fertilizer (since there's an animal shortage, owing to a prior meat shortage). Agence France-Presse via Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The Science of Boring: When faced with overwhelming banality and tedium, you have two choices: kill yourself or get really into it. Brit James Ward took the latter course, and with a vengeance. At his London conference on "boring" on December 11th, attendees experienced:
* a recitation of the names of the 415 colors in a paint catalog;
* presentations including "The Intangible Beauty of Car Park Roofs" and "My Relationship with Bus Routes";
* a PowerPoint pie-chart assembly of changes from year-to-year in colors selected and material preferred in Ward's collection of neckties;
* a report on a man's three-year, detailed charting of all of his sneezes.
Rationale, by an attendee: "We're all overstimulated. [I]t's important to stop all that for a while and see what several hours of being bored really feels like." Wall Street Journal
Ce-le-brate, Good Times! Y'all probably missed the big festival on December 28th in Ibi, Alicante, Spain--the 200-year-old tradition of mass flour-fighting. (Eggs were also involved.) And in Cusco, Peru, last week, they played in pain. The Chumbibilca community's annual Takanakuy--to bring all grudges from this past year to closure in order to start 2011 fresh--involved actual, no-pulled-punches fist-fighting. BBC News /// BBC News
That's Some Catch, That Catch-22: In New York prisons, if the sick-call doctor misdiagnoses a scumbag inmate, and the prisoner sues for negligence and wins, the scumbag keeps the payoff. However, in New York mental hospitals, if the vulnerable patient wins a lawsuit, the government gets to reduce the payoff by howevermuch it "costs" to "care" for the patient, thus leaving the patient with less money (sometimes much less) and the state relieved of bearing the full cost of its negligence. Will the policy ever be changed? Millions of taxpayers, handful of mental patients. Do the math. New York Times
Best Baseball Injuries of 2010 (certainly delighting their salary-paying owners!): Kendry Morales (Angels), who broke his leg jumping on home plate after hitting a home run; Brian Roberts (Orioles), who was out a week with a concussion after smacking himself in the head with his bat when he struck out; Chris Coghlan (Marlins), who needed knee surgery after playfully giving a teammate a congratulatory post-game shaving-cream pie; Geoff Blum (Astros), who needed elbow surgery after straining his arm putting on his shirt. St. Petersburg Times [scroll down]
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.