July 31, 2013
The makers of Clorox Bleach are urging everyone on the internet to share their "bleachable moment."
Because who hasn't shared a special moment with their bottle of bleach? Like the time you tried to hide those blood stains, perhaps, or had to clean up after an ebola outbreak.
July 30, 2013
According to the rules of the All-American Soap Box Derby, the racing cars had to run by gravity alone. But in 1973, suspicion fell on the winner of the Derby, 14-year-old Jimmy Gronen, when officials noticed that his car mysteriously "surged forward" at the start. Inspection uncovered a powerful electromagnet installed in the nose of his car. A switch behind the headrest activated the electromagnet, attracting it to the metal rod used to hold back the car at the starting line, giving it an initial boost of speed. The cheating scandal shocked the nation. An Ohio prosecutor said, "It's like seeing apple pie, motherhood and the American flag grinding to a halt." [via dailycamera.com
Mysterious infinite regress indicates magnitude of the horror of bad breath?
Original ad here.
July 29, 2013
You don't often see musical duels on this instrument--especially between a sixty-two-year-old woman and a seventy-year-old man!
Shirley Scott, Jack McDuff
and Duke Jethro.
("Jazz/blues organist/pianist Duke Jethro has played with artists such as Bobby Bland and Freddie King but he's most recognized for his time in B.B. King's band. He was organist for King's classic 'Live at the Regal,' recorded in 1964 in the famous Southside Theater in Chicago.")
"The action of certain foods in influencing the formation of the features has been watched, with highly interesting results. The growth of the chin has been discovered to bear a very striking relation to the amount of starch consumed, and particularly when the starch takes certain forms or is combined with other properties....
It has been shown, and seemingly conclusively, that a flesh or greatly mixed diet promotes angularity in the face generally, while the nourishment obtained from a single article, commonly of a starchy nature, coarsens the features. Thus we have the potato lip, the oatmeal lip, the maize lip."
From Fauconberg, W. (1905). "The effect of diet and climate on the face." The Strand Magazine: 418-423.
News of the Weird 2.0
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule
Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
July 29, 2013
(datelines July 13-July 27) (links correct as of July 28)
★ ★ ★ ★!
“The NSA is a ‘supercomputing powerhouse’ with machines so powerful their speed is measured in thousands of trillions of operations per second,” Salon.com’s Justin Elliott explained. However, as to Elliott’s Freedom of Information Act request for certain e-mails, NSA replied, “There’s no central method to search [our e-mails as a whole] at this time with the way our records are set up”--even though most federal agencies can do that. (Searching is by name only, e.g., one down, 29,999 employees to go.) Salon.com
A bill was introduced in Congress to strip rapists of any custody rights to the children they father. (Buried Lede: Most states allow rapists to claim rights--even futilely--thus “tethering” themselves to their victims through years of court tests.) Ariel Castro is currently trying to visit his daughter (that he fathered with his imprisoned victim). CNN
Problem: The Pentagon has paperwork stemming from the Afghan and Iraq excursions and needs to save money. Helpful: For 31,000 of the vets claiming post-traumatic stress disorder, rule that they have a (pre-existing) “personality disorder,” which boots them out with none of those pesky, costly “benefits” (even if the PTSD, for example, came from being raped by a colleague). (A U.S. House bill now addresses that, but the question is, even though we all “support the troops,” why are we just now addressing it?) WTKR-TV
(Hampton Roads, Va.)
Fine Points of the Law: Ronald Strong was charged with damaging gov’t property (namely, the federal courthouse in Portland, Me.) by pooping all over a men’s room and only partly cleaning it up. Since he’s been feuding with the Social Security Admin., the feds thought he was, umm, making a statement, but he said it was a medication that gave him uncontrollable diarrhea. The majority of judges said the pooping looked purposeful (and gave their logic!), but the dissenter said it looked like legitimate diarrhea (and gave his logic!). Salon.com
Can’t Be Too Careful: (1) India admitted that an outpost on the Chinese border spent six months tracking “Chinese spy drones” that were really . . Jupiter and Venus. (2) Turkish authorities finally let the kestrel-type bird fly away after detaining it for months as a possible Israeli spy. (It had an Israeli leg band.) (At the link, there’s a super-privacy-violating x-ray of the bird.) BBC News
/// Hurriyet Daily News
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that it is, indeed, a human right to be rude to all
Often, it even feels like a duty.
Parliament has agreed to overturn the 1881 law that exempts the French president from being a fair target for rudeness. Reuters
More Things to Worry About
The U.S. Dept. of Education is investigating Univ. of Southern California campus police for, among other things, taking student rape reports rather unseriously. (Helpful legal hint: No, the rapist is not home-free just because he’s already inside and hasn’t finished up yet.) Huffington Post
The 2012 “Ransomware” virus locks a computer and “requires” a $300 payment (bogus) to unlock it, all because (it says) the FBI has detected child porn on your machine. Annoying, but bogus. Except Jay Matthew Riley, 21, fell for it and asked Woodbridge, Va., police if the FBI really
had a warrant out for him. Intrigued police got a search warrant, and it just happened that Riley had child porn--irrespective of the bogus virus. He was arrested. Washington Post
Perspective: The least sympathetic victims of October’s Hurricane Sandy were likely the customers at the upscale wine storage warehouse in lower Manhattan, who paid enormous fees to have their rare wines stored at perfect temperature and humidity. Problem: The warehouse is 100 yds. from the Hudson River, which flooded. “95%” of the wine was saved, said the owner, but he’s not ready to prove that yet and has filed for bankruptcy while he inventories. (In addition to temperature and humidity loss, some labels were washed off.) The horror! New York Times
Dr. Timothy Sweo of Jackson, Tenn., was only trying to help his patient, Terry Ragland, 55, understand her backache. (Who the hell knows what “lumbar lordosis” is?) Ms. Ragland, Sweo told her, you have “ghetto booty” (a curve in your spine that makes your butt stick out). She has complained to the state Dept. of Health. WREG-TV
Oops! (1) An inner-tuber floating down the Clark Fork River near Missoula, Mont., was hurt badly when a frolicking man jumped, without looking, off of a bridge into the river and landed on him. (2) College shortstop Mattingly Romanin suffered a concussion when a special-event skydiver clumsily landed on him during the pre-game flyover in Hannibal, Mo. Associated Press via Great Falls Tribune
/// Associated Press via Kansas City Star
Mr. Jemal Tkeshelashvili, from Georgia (Republic), was announced as the official Guinness Book record-holder for most hot water bottles (i.e., those heavy rubber heating pads) he could burst in one minute by blowing into them only from his nose. OddityCentral.com
At Canada’s Winnipeg Fringe Festival, the “edgy” performers Ian Mozdzen and Doug Melnuk startled, as usual. The oral sex was “simulated,” they said, but the three mayonnaise enemas were real. Art should be challenging, they said. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reported the video-backed complaint of a local man whose house apparently lies strategically far enough down the road from a female jogger’s weekend starting point but not close enough to the jogger’s end point to enable her to make it home before her fiber breakfast kicks in. At least four times, he said, the jogger has dropped logs on his property. KOAT-TV via WCVB-TV
"Kosher Lube Puts Oral Sex on the Menu for Orthodox Jews" --- The Guardian
"A Japanese Woman Is Suing the Country’s Biggest Crime Boss for a Refund of Protection Money" --- Quartz
"Rich Parents Hire Play-Date Consultants to Help Kids Play Better for Private-School Admissions" --- New York Post
Strange Old World
A British woman on holiday in Peru walked innocently through a swarm of flies but caught maggots of the (flesh-eating) New World Screwworm Fly, which bored a 12mm hole in her ear canal. Owww! BBC News
It says here that “Mr. Lee” of Nanjing, China, who was caught after swiping more than 800 social science textbooks from a store, said he was merely looking for the “meaning of life.” However, he said, he still . . hasn’t found . . what he’s looking for. RocketNews24.com
Meanwhile in Xinjiang, China, the chief cop unveiled a force of
police geese. “Among all poultry,” he supposedly said, “geese [are known] for being extremely vigilant and having excellent hearing.” They will spread their wings, shriek, and attack. People’s Daily via Daily Telegraph
Your Weekly Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Wait--You Think I’m Guilty? Attempted Murder? Really?
/// Resisting Arrest? Me?
Felony Hair-Styling? There’s no such thing . . is there?
/// Well, is there?
/// C’mon, there isn’t!
Newsrangers: Kenneth McClellan, Kevin Leaptrot, and Dave Shepardson, and the News of the Weird Senior Advisors (Jenny T. Beatty, Paul Di Filippo, Ginger Katz, Joe Littrell, Matt Mirapaul, Paul Music, Karl Olson, and Jim Sweeney) and Board of Editorial Advisors (Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Harry Farkas, Sam Gaines, Herb Jue, Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Steve Miller, Christopher Nalty, Mark Neunder, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Rob Snyder, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, and Jerry Whittle).
July 28, 2013
[Click to enlarge]
An illustration from Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables
Maybe it's just me, but the notion of carrying a "vivacious chicken" around on one's shoulder strikes my funnybone just perfectly.
The latest news of Justin Bieber is that while staying in Toronto, he leaned off his hotel balcony and spat on fans gathered below. This isn't his first spitting incident. He's recently been reported spitting at a neighbor, a DJ, and a woman at a gym.
Fans don't seem to mind his spitting. One posted on twitter: "IF JUSTIN BIEBER SPIT ON ME ID SAVE IT AND NEVER COMPLAIN." [cbc.ca
This brings to mind the Irish singer Dickie Rock
from the 1960s who was known for spitting on his fans, and his fans loving it (begging him to do it). I'll just repost part of Dr. Mark Griffiths' observations on spitting fetishes which I previously posted with regard to Dickie Rock:
much of the online literature on spitting fetishes (as opposed to saliva fetishes) appears to be rooted in BDSM and is usually referred to as 'spitting domination'. The dominant partner may spit into their submissive partner's face and/or mouth. The submissive partner may also be forced to swallow the liquid spit if their mouth is spat into. Many of the online articles about spitting fetishes see parallels between the act of spitting and the act of ejaculation – particularly in relation to 'facials' (i.e., the act of men ejaculating onto someone's face) and the practice of bukkake (i.e., the act of many men simultaneously ejaculating onto someone's face and/or body)...
News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M329, July 28, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd
PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Although Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (the alleged 9-11 mastermind) was waterboarded 183 times among several extreme interrogation techniques, he and his CIA captors eventually reached a moderated state. In 2009, though still housed in a “black site” in Romania, “KSM” asked permission to design a household vacuum cleaner, and the highest echelons of the agency co-operated, according to a former senior CIA analyst, speaking to the Associated Press in July. In reality, when a detainee exhausts his intelligence value, the agency’s main mission is to keep him “sane,” in case he is later put on trial, and the vacuum cleaner project was thought likely to engage KSM, who, 15 years before the murders of nearly 3,000 people on September 11th, had earned a mechanical engineering degree from North Carolina A&T State University. [Associated Press, 7-11-2013
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
PREVIOUSLY: The gourmet lollipop company Lollyphile announced its latest favor in June: Breast Milk Lollypops ($10). Owner Jason Darling said it “slowly dawned on” him that his friends were “producing milk so delicious it could turn a screaming, furious child into a docile, contented one. I knew I had to capture that flavor.” [Lollyphile press release, 6-4-2013
Marketing Challenges: (1) The Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop franchisers, already with a lineup of sometimes-unappreciated favors such as buffalo chicken wing soda, briefly experimented in June with “ranch dressing” soda, a mistaken adventure which co-founder Rob Powells jokingly blamed on his business partner. (2) Brewmaster John Maier of Rogue Ales in Newport, Ore., pointed out that “wild yeasts” have been used in beer for centuries and thus (according to a June report on FoodBeast.com) that his company’s Beard Beer (from yeast of beards, including at one time, his own) should be regarded as a traditional brew. [Huffington Post, 6-14-2013
] [Food Beast, 6-5-2013
Science on the Cutting Edge
Carnivorous Vegetation: It was a special occasion in Surrey, England, in June as a rare plant prepared to bloom. The three-foot-tall Puya chilensis, native of Chile, features neon-bright greenish-yellow flowers with blooms large enough to yield drinkable nectar, but its most startling distinction is its ability to nourish itself by trapping small animals in its razor-sharp spines, leaving them to decay. (At Britain’s Wisley Garden, it is fed with ordinary fertilizer rather than animals.) [The Independent (London), 6-17-2013
Too Much Information: During a June debate in a House Rules Committee hearing on abortion legislation, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas, himself an obstetrician/gynecologist, criticized a proposal to outlaw abortion at the 20-week limit (where a fetus is said to begin to feel pain), insisting on an earlier ban, at 15 or 16 weeks. “Watch a sonogram of a 15-week-old baby,” said Burgess, “and they have movements that are purposeful.” “If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs.” Thus, “If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?” [RawStory.com, 6-17-2013
PREVIOUSLY: Physicians at Kwong Wah Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, publishing in the Hong Kong Medical Journal recently, described a 66-year-old man seeking relief from a swelling in his abdomen (after having had a sparse history with doctors). They concluded that the man was basically a woman and that the cause of the swelling was an ovarian cyst. The patient had both “Turner syndrome” (which causes women to lack some female features) and “congenital adrenal hyperplasia,” which boosts male hormones. (While females have two X chromosomes, and males an X and a Y, Turner syndrome patients have one X and no Y.) [South China Morning Post, 6-4-2013
Animals in the News
Alarming Headlines: (1) “Koala Chlamydia: The STD Threatening an Australian Icon” (BBC News). (2) “Super-Sized Crabs and Oysters with Herpes” (Field & Stream). (3) PREVIOUSLY: “Far-Right Extremists Chased Through London by Women Dressed as Badgers” (International Business Times, reporting June rallies of two British nationalist parties occurring at the same time and place as a better-attended demonstration against the government’s cull on badgers). [BBC News, 4-24-2013
] [Field & Stream, 4-10-2013
] [International Business Times, 6-1-2013
Horse Bullies: In June, Barbour County, W.Va., firefighters, called to a farm in Belington, rescued the horse “Rowdy,” whose entire body was somehow trapped inside an industrial-sized tire. Rowdy’s owner said she believes Rowdy had an altercation with some of the other horses. [The Inter-Mountain (Elkins, W.Va.), 6-19-2013
A staff report of Democrats on the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce released in June and using data from Wisconsin (because of the state’s comprehensive record-keeping) found that taxpayers wind up paying out at least $75 million a year in “safety net” assistance to the state’s Walmart workers (food stamps, Medicaid, school lunches, earned-income tax credits, etc.) allegedly because the company’s wages and benefits are so meager. The report, an update on 2004 numbers that were less than half those found this time around, estimated that Walmart families accounted for more than 9,000 Wisconsin Medicaid enrollees. The $75 million, covering 75 stores, represents a low-end estimate with the high end about $130 million. [The Capital Times (Madison), 6-7-2013
; Los Angeles Times, 6-7-2013
People Different From Us
Melanie Typaldos, 57, and her husband Richard Loveman, 54, in Buda, Tex., are supposedly part of a growing trend of people keeping pet capybaras (giant, semi-aquatic guinea pigs that are the world’s largest rodents, at more than 100 pounds). “Gary” sometimes lounges on the couple’s marital bed and frolics in the above-ground pool the couple installed for him. Although Melanie and Richard keep other, more traditional, animals at their home (they told London’s Daily Mail in June), Gary is of course the only one as large as a human but with the distinctive body and head of a rat. [Daily Mail, 6-21-2013
Least Competent People
(1) PREVIOUSLY: Apprentice Brooklyn, N.Y., tree-trimmer David Fleischer, 21 and son of the company owner), had to be rescued by firefighters in July after he apparently violated the cardinal rule in the business by cutting lower branches first--until he was stranded at the top of the tree. “He is a good boy,” said “Izzy” Fleischer, “but he is learning.” (2) Emergency crews in Fort Worth, Tex., responded to a Quik Trip gas station in June when an unidentified man got his finger caught in his car’s gas cap after he poured in some additive. Rescuers had to use a hammer and screwdriver to break the plastic around the cap and finally freed the man’s hand, unscathed, after a 20-minute struggle. [New York Post, 7-6-2013
] [KRLD-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth), 6-18-2013
PREVIOUSLY: “Breatharianism” Revisited: Kirby de Lanerolle of Sri Lanka appeared on National Geographic television in June to claim that he had lived without food for five years--on only the nourishment from sun, wind, and the “vibrations of God,” but his story provoked the same skepticism faced by other breatharians--that who can know if he cheated? In May, Ms. Naveena Shine, a breatharian in Seattle, attempted to head off that criticism by installing 24-hour cameras throughout her home for her upcoming 4-to-6-month regimen consuming only air and sunlight. However, she called off her project after 47 allegedly-pure days (and a 33-pound weight loss) because, she said, she was out of money and because people seemed no less skeptical that she was somehow cheating. (de Lanerolle, interrogated on the TV show, actually confessed to minor cheating but insisted that science’s two-month maximum for surviving foodlessly is wrong.) [The Sun (London), 6-27-2013
] [Seattle Times, 6-17-2013
A News of the Weird Classic (October 2009)
What is believed to be the world's only commercial lounge openly serving cocaine operates in La Paz, Bolivia, though the owners of "Route 36" have to change locations from time to time, depending on the moods of the bribed authorities. An August  dispatch in London's The Guardian reported that a nearly-pure gram costs the equivalent of about $14 ($22 for "premium"), served by waiters in an empty CD case, with straws, but bar drinks are also available. Route 36 is well-known to backpacking tourists. Recalled one waiter, "We had some Australians; they stayed here for four days. [T]he only time they left was to go to the ATM." [The Guardian, 8-19-2009]
Thanks This Week to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.