News of the Weird / Pro Edition (October 31, 2011)
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
October 31, 2011
(datelines October 22-October 29) (links correct as of October 31)
Trial of the Century Pile (Steaming) of the Century, plus More Things to Worry About
★ ★ ★ ★!
In Fairfax County, Va., Kimberly Zakrzewski was found not guilty of violating the county's poop-scooper ordinance
, in a citizens' complaint brought by her mortal enemies, the Cornell sisters, who introduced photos of little "Baxter"'s unscooped piles for the jury's edification. The dispositive evidence was testimony by Baxter's owner (Kimberly is just a walker) that the piles looked nothing like anything that had ever come out of Baxter. (Bonus: The owner had brought an actual pile to court that day to intro as evidence, but she decided to leave it in the car.) [ed: OK, OK, literary license on the word "steaming."] Washington Post
Student Loans' Perfect Storm: Like clockwork, college campuses continue to be recession-free zones
: Tuition rises (at public schools because governments need revenue; at private schools because it can
). Job prospects without degrees are more dismal than ever. Loans are floated like cocaine in front of worried, not-fully-formed adults. Proprietary schools convince marginal students they'll be superstars. Banks rake in low-risk money. But, Newsflash: Young adults can't pay it back right now. Banks: Great! More money for us in interest! (Newsflash: Maybe they can't ever pay it back. Banks: Wait . . what?) But . . why does tuition rise so faithfully? Here's one example: The University of California Berkeley has a new "vice chancellor for equity and inclusion," base salary, $194,000 (equal to 3½ new assistant professors), with his own "chief of staff" and 16 underlings. KausFiles via Daily Caller
Dictators Different From Us: Foreign Policy
reminded us, apropos of Col. Gaddafi's fondness for Condoleezza Rice mementos
, that other dictators had peculiarities, too. Saddam Hussein collected sleazy, tacky 1970s-style artwork (described by The Guardian
's critic as "art for the barely literate, or the barely sentient"). King Farouk of Egypt had a million-dollar stamp collection, among other excesses. Michael Jordan had no greater a fan than Kim Jong-Il. The Shah of Iran was Rolls Royce's best customer. Gaddafi was sui generis
, though, according to one BBC News reminiscence: "One day he was a Motown backing vocalist with wet-look permed hair and tight pants. The next, a white-suited comic-operetta Latin American admiral dripping with braid." Foreign Policy
/// BBC News
Readers' Choice [story from "The (Suspend-All-Skepticism) Zone"]: It says here that Mr. Sunday Mayo, 28, claimed in court in Mandava, Zimbabwe, that he did not know he was having sex with a donkey
--that it started out with him having sex with a female human prostitute. "Your worship, I only came to know that I was being intimate with a donkey when I got arrested." NewZimbabwe.com
If you happen to think America would have been better off merely (a) containing
Saddam Hussein instead of (b) upending the country / spending a trillion dollars / and losing 4,400 American lives, then Scott Ritter was on your side, if you had listened to him
. He was a no-BS United Nations inspector scouring Iraq for weapons of mass destruction and had concluded loudly
by 2002 that Saddam was empty, that he had tried to make them, produced a few, then given up and destroyed his stockpile but continued to bluff his neighbors, i.e., he was no threat to America or Israel or anyone else outside Iraq. Cheney and Rumsfeld knew better, though: They thought Saddam was cunningly oozing WMDs--just that Ritter couldn't find them. By May 2003, as we now know, game-set-match to Ritter. In celebration, Ritter . . retired . . to resume his beloved pastime . . of masturbating for underage girls over the Internet, or rather, for cops pretending to be underage girls. He was sentenced last week to a year and a half in prison in Pennsylvania. Associated Press via MSNBC
Detroit may not have enough in the budget for all the cops, firefighters, and schoolteachers it needs, but it now has handsome wheelchair ramps at 13 intersections . . which have no sidewalks for the ramps to lead to. (A lawsuit settlement with the Paralyzed Veterans of America requires that when any street gets re-paved, it must get ramps, period.) Detroit News
Recurring [from Pro Edition
, 9-26-2011]: Two more union lobbyists in Illinois got sweetheart deals, in 2007, based on a 1990s policy, to become state employees (for one day each)
, thus qualifying them for full state-worker pensions
based on their union
years rather than their state "years" ("years" here meaning "day"). (Seriously.) Chicago Tribune
On the Mississippi ballot in November: a constitutional amendment declaring that human embryos
have full citizenship. Everyone knows what the drafters have in mind, but Slate.com readers posed some of the many dilemmas that maybe the drafters hadn't thought much about, like "If I have a life-threatening pregnancy, can I use 'self-defense' to murder that little bastard?" Slate
Lt. Anita Van Buren [Law & Order]
isn't even retired three months now, and already NYPD is tanking . . having locked up Takesha Griffin, 35, for five days before bringing her to a judge (required: within 24 hours, not five days). (Bonus: She got shot
; the cops were holding her until she gave up the shooter, which they used-to could do in the old days, like 40-50 years ago.) New York Daily News
Brent Morgan, 20, was charged with trying to carjack a Corvette (foiled when, because of a dead battery, he couldn't start it nor operate the door locks to free himself, and was "trapped" inside until cops came). (Bonus: You're right; he could have flipped the lock up with his fingers.) Prince George Citizen
(Prince George, British Columbia)
So Antoine Willis, 19, is still in intensive care in Dakota County, Minn., because his mother's boyfriend set him on fire in retaliation for Antoine's coming to help his mother during a domestic fight. So people in the community are donating to the Antoine Willis fund to help out. So the grateful mother, and her brother . . steal Antoine's donations and go gambling. The Aristocrats
! Star Tribune
Accident Fund Insurance Company of America--sssssssss! The company handles worker compensation for an assisted living facility for developmentally disabled adults in Joplin, Mo. Mark Lindquist was on duty during the May tornado and tried to protect his three Down Syndrome charges. (A lesser man would've bailed out at first siren.) The home took a direct hit; they were killed; Mark, miraculously, survived, but is totally messed up, for life, to the tune of millions of dollars. Accident Fund's response: Um, well, we only pay for workplace
kinds of things, not tornado
kinds of things. (Reading Accident Fund's mind on this: There's no way Mark should even be alive. Just because a miracle occurred, why do we
have to pay for it?) (Update: Whoa! They changed their minds last week--four months later!) Associated Press via Washington Post
Stephen Comrie, 20, was sent to the ER at a Manlius, N.Y., hospital after being shot at a campsite. He had been making strange animal noises in the dark to scare his friends gathered around a bonfire, and one fearful guy grabbed his shotgun and fired toward the bushes. Syracuse Post-Standard
Mr. Sandro Michel was killed in an auto crash in Florida . . which he caused by punching the driver (his wife). She survived. And a married couple fighting in their car near Pineville, N.C., were both killed when they got out and continued their battle in the middle of Interstate 485 and were hit by different cars. New Times Broward Palm Beach
/// Charlotte Observer
The Pervo-American Community
Convicted sex offender Charlie Price, 57, pleaded guilty in Pittsfield, Mass., but with no enhanced penalty, since the victim of his breast-groping and face-licking this time was not a woman but a cardboard cutout
of a woman, in front of a Rite Aid pharmacy ("disturbing the peace"). Berkshire Eagle
Police in Indianapolis are looking for the man seen on a day care center's surveillance video breaking in and trying on little girls' swimwear before re-dressing and leaving. MSNBC
Thomas Davis, 63, has a different approach to guilt than other possessors of child porn. Say, if others were in the process of viewing child porn on a computer, they'd turn off
the computer before answering the door, so cops couldn't glimpse the screen. Second, if the police were knocking, "normal" child-porn addicts would not answer the door completely naked. WLWT-TV
Your Weekly Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Adam Eubank, 26, is the brother of the man who was roasting that raccoon in a parking lot in Memphis, but raccoon-roasting is OK. Adam, though, is the one with the meth-making equipment. WMC-TV
From The Smoking Gun's weekly collection comes this fella, charged with disorderly conduct and having drug paraphernalia, and looking remarkably like what a youthful Keith Richards looked like at age 25 or so. The Smoking Gun
Embarrassing: Fire rescuers in Ipswich, England, laboring for 20 minutes, managed to free a father (in front of his kids) stuck in the straw dispenser at a McDonalds. And a 21-year-old man in Vallejo, Calif., is sticking to his story that the reason he was trapped in a child's swing for nine hours was a bet gone south with friends, who decided to leave him twisting. Finally, in Laguna Hills, Calif., firefighters rescued a guy stuck in the hollow of a dead tree. (Rescuer: "Why he was in the tree, I have no idea.") East Anglia Daily Times
(Vallejo) /// Orange County Register
Not Worried Yet? Ryanair admitted that, yes, it did duct tape a cockpit window just before takeoff from Stansted, England, headed for Latvia. (Still, the pilot aborted the flight after 20 minutes because the window was flapping too loudly.) The Sun
Updates & Recurring Themes
The auction for a piece of Saddam's buttocks from the Baghdad statue pulled down in April 2003 [Pro Edition
, 10-17-2011] failed to attract its reserve bid at auction (about $400k). BBC News
Performance artist Marni Kotak [Pro Edition
, 10-10-2011] performed her childbirth last week, dropping little Ajax upon the gazes of 15-20 "art patrons" at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y. London's Daily Mail
's New York stringer has good background, including an unflattering portrait of the Microscope. Daily Mail
Former judge Donald Thompson [ed.: an insignificant Oklahoma state court judge but who is a News of the Weird staple, as he is the famous "penis pump" judge]
was ruled ineligible for his state pension. (Bonus: And if he even as much as stubs his toe in the future, you'll read about it here. "Penis pump.") Newser.com
/// Associated Press via USA Today
Newsrangers: Arpad Miklos, Andrew Hastie, Jeremy Taylor, Gerald Sacks, Telaraj Webster, Joe Kessler, Rand Eller, Christopher Lear, and Hal Dunham, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors
Listed in chronological order. Newest comments at the end.
Adam Eubank: looks like he's a perv.
Keith Richards guy: are we sure that's a guy?
Mississippi embryos: sounds like there's a plot afoot to garner more electoral college votes or something. Given the state's history, will they count for 3/5 of a person?
Posted by TheCannyScot in Atlanta, GA on 10/31/11 at 09:12 AM
college tuition- Higher ed is becoming a scam. Schools talk kids into going into debt in a big way for degrees for jobs that do not pay significantly more than non-degree jobs or for fields were there are no jobs. The kids believe these 'counselors' who are really just salespeople for the school. The next big bubble is what it is really. But worse than that for the debtors because you can not bankrupt on school loans. So kids today, in many cases, are being started out in life with a huge albatross around their necks and no real benefit in earning power to offset it.
NY victim- The thugs have people too scared of retaliation to witness anything. Putting her in jail just puts her with people who will reinforce the threat.
'vette- corvette with dead battery 1 idiot car thief 0
fire victim- The guy shoulda let his mom take the beat down! What a crying shame, I hope the mom and brother both go to jail.
bwc- Wow amongst you is surprised that it took public scrutiny for comp to do the right thing??
shot for scary campfire noises- he knew there were guns present and did this? Natural selection.
PSA- Do not fight in a moving vehicle. Wait till you are safely parked in a traffic free zone. Then fight away!
sex offender- Dude, steal the cardboard cut out and do that stuff at home.
JD1- Shoulda stuck with racoon roasting. Looks like a hill billy too.
JD2- That's a guy? Looks like an old woman to me.
Ryanair- Wonder what they fixed with the bubble gum and coat hangers.
Judge- No pension huh? I doubt if he will be able to pump up much support for his pre*dic*ament either.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 10/31/11 at 09:27 AM
OMG Scot, that's a trip!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 10/31/11 at 09:29 AM
This sounds like a job for ScatologyMan!
I've started thinking that a lot of these degrees are only good to get a job/position in academia. Sort'a like a circular argument.
Airways flooded with him and his. I'm over full!
Not all pervs are idiots & if anyone REALLY
believes that Iraq was about WMD, they're idiots!
They learned how to do that by watching the fools around our neighborhood. Maybe I should post some pictures!
That's why those of us from "down state" don't claim that sinkhole of graft!
A new carer, if he survives, as a sound effects dude!
He needs to go to Verona, Italy where groping statues is a subject of a Kodak Moment! (Juliette's no less)
Did they really need to use THE JAWS OF LIFE
on a straw dispenser?
A pretty good week, Chuck!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 10/31/11 at 12:00 PM
I live in Prince George now. It has one of the highest crime rate per capita in Canada. And the corvette kid demonstrates why I'm not too worried about living here. The criminal class in Prince George is sorta comical in its own sad way.
Posted by Virgil on 10/31/11 at 03:02 PM
Chris Harris, your comment was deleted NO AD LINKS PLEASE!!
Posted by Tyrusguy on 12/14/12 at 09:19 AM
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