News of the Weird (January 12, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M353, January 12, 2014
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

[Ed. Note: The last item, Armed & Clumsy, does not have clickable citations. Too tedious to code.]

Lead Story

At least two U.S. medical schools so far are early adopters of Dr. Benjamin Lok’s and Dr. Carla Pugh’s “Robot Butt” for teaching doctors-in-training to properly (and compassionately) administer prostate exams. The robot, bent over a desk to simulate the patient profile, has sensors to alert the students if they dig too deeply or quickly for comfort. Other sensors enable a check on eye contact to evaluate “bedside manner.” (News of the Weird reported a similar innovation in 2012 by Nobuhiro Takahashi, whose model’s “sphincter” has the ability to “clench up” if the probing becomes too distressing.) [Huffington Post, 11-13-2013]

The Continuing Crisis

Neuroscientist James Fallon, fascinated by the brains of serial killers, experienced a seminal career moment in 2005 when he realized that his own brain scan was a dead-on match for the typical psychopath’s. Subsequent self-examination revealed him to be, he said, a “pro-social psychopath,” displaying traits similar to a killer’s (aggressiveness, low empathy) and different (“killing” only opponents in games and debate, with little compassion for their haplessness). “I’m kind of an asshole,” he admitted, according to a November report by The Smithsonian, “and I do jerky things that piss people off.” Fallon failed to break bad, he guesses, because he “was loved [growing up], and that protected me.” He figures he has not kicked his pathology but rather strives “to show to everyone and to myself that I can pull [this balancing act] off.” [, 11-22-2013]

Sucker’s Game: (1) Homeless James Brady had his New Jersey state benefits cut off in October for “hiding” income. He had found $850 on a sidewalk in April and turned it in; when no one came forward, it was returned to him, though he was unaware that he needed to report it as “income.” (2) A 16-year-old, Fox Chapel, Pa., boy realized at a football game in September that he was inadvertently carrying a pocket knife and conscientiously turned it in to a security guard--which earned him a 10-day school suspension. The school’s “zero tolerance” rule, said the boy, “sends a message [that] you should probably lie.” (3) Betty Green was fired as clerk at the Speedway gas station in Lexington, Ky., in November when she “just said no” to an armed robber, who smiled and walked out. Company rules require always giving up the money. Said Green, “I don’t think anybody knows what you are going to do until it happens to you.” [Associated Press via ABC News, 11-10-2013] [KDKA-TV (Pittsburgh), 9-16-2013] [WLEX-TV (Lexington), 11-6-2013]

In November, the senior class president of Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Ore., “came out”--as an atheist. Eric Fromm, 21, is apparently popular on campus, and an ABC News report revealed that he was under no pressure to resign or drop out. Said the director of university relations, “All of our students are on a journey.” “We as an institution meet students where they are at.” Fromm said he was impressed with the school right from his initial visit. “No one was speaking in tongues or handling snakes, so I decided to stay.” [ABC News, 11-11-2013]

Bright Ideas

Not the Usual Modus Operandi: (1) The vandalism of Marion County High School in Jasper, Tenn., on the eve of a big football game in November was not, after all, the work of arch-rival South Pittsburg--notwithstanding the clues. The “South Pittsburg” markings were apparently made by Marion County teacher-coach Michael Schmitt, who was arrested. He told officers he was only trying to inspire the team (which lost anyway, 35-17). (2) Police in Urunga, Australia, charged teacher Andrew Minisini in December with taking three female students to a motel, giving them alcohol, and seducing them--not into sex but into vandalizing the residence of one of Minisini’s former colleague-rivals. [Times Free Press (Chattanooga), 11-13-2013] [Sydney Morning Herald, 12-6-2013]

A government-subsidized, foundation-supported program for alcoholics in Amsterdam announced a “welfare”/”work” program offering the city’s drunks the equivalent of about $14 a day--and five free cans of beer--for several hours of street-cleaning. Some beneficiaries told London’s The Independent, in a November dispatch, that, of course, they intended to use the cash to buy even more beer. [The Independent, 11-20-2013]

Democracy Blues

In November, Dave Wilson, a white conservative candidate for the board of the Houston (Tex.) Community College System, pulled off an astonishing victory over the African-American incumbent--by distributing campaign materials that made him--Wilson--appear to be black and thus the favorite of African-Americans. Wilson’s brochures depicting black “supporters” were all, he later said, copied from the Internet. [KHOU-TV, 11-10-2013]

Recurring Themes

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: In 2001, German computer repairman Armin Meiwes captured world attention when he was convicted of killing, and then sauteeing and eating parts of, a Berlin engineer of particularly low self-esteem, who had offered himself on a German cannibal-fetish website. In November 2013, police in the German state of Saxony were investigating human body parts found at a bed-and-breakfast run by “Detlef G.,” suggesting the parts were from “Wojciech S.,” who frequented a cannibal-fetish website and who had traveled to meet Detlef--and that the parts had been found in an area of the grounds used for “grilling.” Wojciech had written recently about wanting “to be grilled alive” (but most visitors to the website are merely fantasy role-players) The investigation is continuing. [Spiegel Online, 11-29-2013] [Spiegel Online, 12-4-2013]

The Aristocrats!

Selfies: PREVIOUSLY: Cornelius Fergueson, 45, a psychologist for the Philadelphia Family Court System, was arrested in December for allegedly masturbating in front of his office window. Edward Alvin, 34, was arrested on a similar charge in November, in the lobby of the DMV office in West Palm Beach, Fla. PREVIOUSLY: Brian Hounslow, 37, was arrested in November (similar charge), in the ladies’ room at a Tulsa, Okla., Walmart. (Asked the bewildered woman who called security: “Who gets up at 8:30 in the morning and decides they’re going to go to Walmart, take off all their clothes, and masturbate in the woman’s bathroom?”) [, 12-5-2013] [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11-12-2013] [KJRH-TV (Tulsa), 11-20-2013]

People With Issues

PREVIOUSLY: A condominium association in Niles, Ill., is debating whether to pursue Norman Kazmierski since he has now moved. As a resident, he was accused of keying cars, egging hallways, disabling the emergency sprinkler system, and leaving several pounds of excrement in buildings in protest of alleged mistreatment. The association said it all started when one resident asked Kazmierski to please park his car between the lines so that parking spaces could be used more efficiently. [Chicago Sun-Times, 11-23-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: Police in Mayville, Wis., arrested John Grant, 42, in November for shooting his wife Nicole three times with a Taser gun. The couple tried to explain that Nicole (Green Bay Packers fan) had bet John (Chicago Bears fan) on the game, with the winner getting to Taser the loser (although she sheepishly said later that she didn’t think John would actually shoot her). (According to breath tests, neither of the Grants could have lawfully driven a car.) [KARE-TV (Minneapolis), 11-6-2013]

Suspicions Confirmed

During the September Guantanamo Bay trial of five people charged in connection in the 9-11 attacks, defense lawyers continued to complain that their “confidential” client information was being leaked from the poorly-secured “classified” Pentagon computer network. Said the lead defense counsel (Air Force Col. Karen Mayberry), the normal Department of Defense “classified” network is so porous that she has been forced to use the wi-fi at the local Guantanamo Starbucks, which she regards as more secure. [Reuters via (Singapore), 9-20-2013]

Armed & Clumsy (all-new!)

* Americans who accidentally shot themselves recently: A 31-year-old man, showing off his high-powered rifle to friends, shot off part of his face, Waterville, Maine (November). A 22-year-old woman, handing her brand-new assault rifle to her husband, shot herself (fatally) in the head, Federal Heights, Colo. (May). Two police chiefs shot themselves (Medina, Ohio, in April and Washington, N.H., in June). A a 66-year-old firearms instructor, Winona, Minn., shot his finger while explaining to his wife that it was impossible to pull the trigger while the gun is holstered (April). Awkward Wounds: A Columbia, Mo., man shot in the “posterior” while removing his gun from his back pocket (May); a 23-year-old man, Charleston, W.Va., shot in the groin while holstering his weapon (August); a 43-year-old man, Norfolk, Va., shot in the groin while waving his gun [CORRECTION] at a speeding driver at people yelling at him for driving too fast (August).
Waterville: [Morning Sentinel (Waterville), 11-8-2013]
Federal: [KMGH-TV (Denver), 5-16-2013]
Medina: [Medina Gazette, 4-18-2013]
Washington: [WMUR-TV (Manchester), 6-3-2013]
Winona: [Winona Daily News, 4-30-2013]
Columbia: [KMIZ-TV (Columbia), 5-30-2013]
Charleston: [Charleston Daily Mail, 8-28-2013]
Norfolk: [WTKR-TV (Norfolk), 8-7-2013]

Thanks This Week to Ernest Isaacs and Gerard Zavaski, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
     Posted By: Chuck - Sun Jan 12, 2014

robo-butt- Sounds like a sex toy for gay guys to me. :lol:

good psychopath- A catastrophic occurrence in his life could possibly turn him.

homeless- Yeah, the homeless guy is the one I'd be checking up on for fraud. :roll:

schools- Now-a-days the administrators seem to be the ones riding the short bus in in the mornings.

atheist- It works because he is not a militant atheist and the school is not run by shite Christians.

coach/vandal- What a sad man.

street cleaning- Sounds like a good program except that it is for alcoholics.

politician- That was a pretty dirty trick even for a politician.

cannibalism- What is it with Germany and cannibalism??

public masturbation- Its getting to be no longer weird.

moved away- I'd let it go it I was them or he might start making destructive visits. When you get rid of a crazy count yourself lucky and move on.

Guns don't shoot people, people shoot themselves!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 01/12/14 at 04:18 PM
Robo-butt Sounds like a sex toy for straight guys whos old lady won´t cooperate.
Posted by F.U.D. on 01/12/14 at 04:55 PM
That too!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 01/12/14 at 05:05 PM
RoboButt You'd think there's be enough buttophilliacs running around willing to be the subject for free that they wouldn't need the other dummy.

James Fallon If nothing else, it sounds like good PR.

Sucker’s Game #2 Now even our Nanny State is starting to bitch about Zero Tolerance.

Black Dave Wilson This kind'a proves that voters are racist, doesn't it?

A good week, Chuck.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 01/13/14 at 12:51 AM
On the "good Psycopath" studies have found that these people are also very often the most effective "profilers" as many Profilers do have the same tendancies and brain scans. This is one of the things that make them very effective at their jobs.
Posted by terry on 01/13/14 at 09:42 AM
And that's why any right thinking left wing mamby-pamby die-hard liberal thinks it should be illegal!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 01/13/14 at 09:46 AM
Patty - what are "shite Christians"?
Posted by RobK on 01/13/14 at 11:40 AM
RobK, That was a typo. She meant Shiite Christians.
Posted by Tyrusguy on 01/13/14 at 02:01 PM
Ohhh. Never heard of them. Are they related Pentecostal Muslims? What with the W and S keys so close, I thought the typo might be there.
Posted by RobK on 01/13/14 at 03:42 PM
Thanks Ty that is what I meant, but you know that because I borrowed the phrase from you honey. Rob its simply a tongue-in-cheek reference to excessive religious devotion.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 01/13/14 at 07:48 PM
Robot butt: spoilsports!

Psychopathy: surely it's been known for decades that you need both the born tendency and the failed upbringing to develop true, symptomatic psychopathy? If the failed upbringing was violent, you become a criminal; if it was unloving, you become a banker or politician (but I repeat myself); if it didn't fail, you apparently can become a neuroscientist and a valuable citizen. AFAIAA this isn't exactly news.

Fox Chapel: yes, that is a valuable life lesson. Lie through your teeth, and never trust a wannabe-cop.

Atheist: and this is how you should handle such situations. Well done on both sides.

Amsterdam: I've never even heard of this program. Or the charity. I suspect a councilmember's personal initiative.

Guantanamo Bay: Hanlon's Razor fails spectacularly. This is intentional.
Posted by Richard Bos on 01/17/14 at 08:14 AM
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