News of the Weird / Pro Edition (December 27, 2010)

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
December 27, 2010
(datelines December 18-December 25) (links correct as of December 27)

SPECIAL [BRIEFER] HOLIDAY EDITION: Less for you to read! Fewer distractions for those with other holiday duties! (Regular-length distractions resume January 3rd)

The Vaginal Steam Bath, Plus Mice That Chirp and the Church of Scum

★ ★ ★ ★!

The Concept Is "Not Insane": A California M.D. gave that reassuring endorsement to the latest health craze in L.A.: the vaginal steam bath (with mugwort tea and wormwood, among other herbs, wafting up into the nether region). (Men can lower themselves onto the vapors, too, to soothe the perineal area, especially those with a super-active perineal area.) It's an ancient Korean treatment, at about $50 for a half-hour squat (or, for Koreans in the ethnic shops, $20). (The question is why, since Koreans have been populating Los Angeles for 50 years, we're only now being told of this essential therapy.) Los Angeles Times

If the Extraterrestrials Check Who's Outside, They May Change Their Minds: Word-of-mouth (some of the mouths agape with vacancy) has prompted a growing population of conspiracists to congregate in Bugarach, in southwestern France, near the mountain inside which (as everybody knows) extraterrestrials have been holing up, waiting for the signal (hint: 12-12-2012) to come out, gather the chosen Earthling survivors, and head back to the Mother Planet. Probably, the idea was for them to select smart, hardy people, but peering at who's assembling around Bugarach, they may just flee in despair. (Or, normal people could be wrong, and Bugarach could be the only place to survive Armageddon.) The mayor is starting to worry, though, as his lovely village of 189 is slowly overrun with conspiracists. Daily Telegraph (London)

Update: They Say You'll Be Able to Make Dinner in a Printer: A lab at Cornell University is said to be leading the field in developing a 3-D Food Printer, which outputs sort of a schematic (the exact recipe for the dish), and you squirt some artificial food from a syringe onto the proper places, and cook it up, and voila! It's good that we have people who think of stuff like this. BBC News /// BoingBoing [Oh, dear! More 3-D printing!]

The Church of Tell It Like It Is: Denver's Christian catch-all for society's misfits and ne'er-do-wells is thriving after 10 years: the Scum of the Earth Church (its real name!) (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:11-13). It must have been a cool assignment for a writer to compose a story with so many "Scum [this]" and "Scum[that]" references, but on the ground, there's quite a bit of salvation going on, backed by "authentic" Christianity (instead of mindless ritualization), and as a fallback position, it's a magnet for the area's disaffected youth (as in, what could a kid possibly do to tick off his parents more than to join the Scum of the Earth Church?). Westword (Denver)

Coming Soon to Everywhere: The UK just experienced its first successful "savior sibling" procedure in which parents bred a second kid for the main purpose of creating cells to treat an already-endangered kid. That has been legal in the U.S. for a decade but kept low-key so as not to annoy the you-know-whos, who seem not to be fully aware that this happens when the in-vitro-fertilization doctor grows multiple embryos, tests each one to find the one or two with the proper cells, implants those, and then--oh, dear!--discards the others. Plus, the Los Angeles lab Fertility Institutes announced in 2009 that it would accept clients who weren't interested so much in savior-ing as they were in, um, creating babies with, y'know, blonde hair and blue eyes, or whatever. BBC News /// Fertility Institutes [a free Fox News summary of a not-free 2009 Wall Street Journal article]

And Still More Things To Worry About

Burger King UK's big holiday promotion this season: a regular Whopper adorned with Brussels sprouts! Marketing Magazine (UK)

Oops! A prominent Boston hospital admitted that three times in the last three months, surgeons had miscounted vertebrae and screwed the patient up worse than when they started. (Spine surgery is apparently one of the easier procedures to get completely wrong--for those of you out there needing such surgery.) They have checklists and "time outs" for doctors to count the vertebrae, but obviously . . ..) Boston Globe

Oops, Again! Minor-league rap artist Trevell Coleman wanted merely to get right with the Lord, to get "closure" for having shot a man 17 years ago, and so turned himself in to the NYPD--only to be told for the first time that his victim had actually died in the shooting. (Uh-oh, he said. Guess "I'm not going home after this.") New York Post

Dilettante researchers at the University of Osaka, doing waves of genetic modifications just to see what they come up with, intended to grow mice with distorted limbs but produced about 100 that "tweeted" like birds. Oh, well. Agence France-Presse via Google News

Is There an Easier Buck in America?: Doctors who overbill Medicare seem to do it effortlessly, with impunity, owing to a near-perfect storm of regulation: Medicare must pay bills within 30 days (limiting government's ability to red-flag), and billing records are by law confidential, even with no patient ID's on them. That's why a spiked-hair, leather-and-chained doctor in South Beach took in $1.2 million in 2008 from basically "rub[bing patients] backs and hav[ing] the government pay for it." In other areas of government excesses, the press and private organizations energize whistle-blowing; for Medicare, doctors know they need "fear" only beleaguered, underfunded federal investigators. Wall Street Journal

Physician-attorney Michael Newdow rings in the new year with his 14-year streak of never having won any of his lawsuits chastising America for insufficiently separating church and state. Estimated time gloriously spent: 10,000 hours (about five years' worth of full-time employment). 2010 mission: to ask SCOTUS to have "In God We Trust" removed from U.S. money. (Bonus: Many atheists wish he'd go away because if he actually wins one, Americans might just amend the U.S. Constitution and explicitly permit U.S.-God relations.) ChristianCentury.Org

Judge, to jury pool in Missoula, Mont.: "Can you pledge to take seriously this charge of possession of one-sixteenth of an ounce of marijuana?" (Substantial part of the jury pool: "Hell, no.") (Judge: How dare you! This is unprecedented!) (Bonus: Pat Robertson might not convict the little bugger, either.) (Double Bonus paraphrasing of comedian Ron White: "When I have one-sixteenth of an ounce of marijuana, I consider myself to be out of marijuana.") Billings Gazette /// Mediate (Pat Robertson on TV)

Indictments are so easy that, it is said, a good prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich. In rural Florida, obscenity convictions are so easy, a mediocre prosecutor might possibly convict even a guy like Phillip Greaves (the author of that guide for pedophiles that Amazon famously yanked off in November [Pro Edition, 11-15-2010]), who wasn't even doing anything and who doesn't even live here. [ed.: Greaves has a number of well-established Constitutional rights working for him, but those are not recognized in Florida until the case makes its way through an appeals court or two.] WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)

Redneck Chronicles: (1) Never fails--a little cat-litter-dumping spat turns ugly. (2) Direct-from-Central-Casting father and son fought with the son's missus after they gave her the "cheap beer" instead of the "good beer" (Bud). (3) County commissioners in Jackson, Ga., delayed a vote on new cell-phone towers, at the request of Commissioner Gator Hodges. (4) Ms. Brazzilia Rutherford, 35, was arrested after kicking the bedroom door off the hinges and terrorizing her whimpering husband with her guns. (5) A pissed-off female customer, ordered out of the Country Fair store, ran into the freezer and pissed-on $500 worth of food. (6) A big meth-lab bust in Rogersville, Tenn., was hampered by all the perp's monkeys that were running around the house. (1) Redding Record Searchlight /// (2) Orlando Sentinel /// (3) Jackson Progress-Argus /// (4) Philadelphia Inquirer /// (5) The Smoking Gun /// (6) Johnson City Press

     Posted By: Chuck - Mon Dec 27, 2010

Korean Squat They most likely got a $1.5B stimulus boost from, ah... Oh, hell! Forgot his name again!

Froggy ETs 12-12-12? I had a girlfriend with those numbers. Met her on the internet and she said she had the perfect 36 figure!

3D Printing I can think of, at least, one better use for it than food!

Hallelujah! And pass the DNA tester! (2 for the price of one!)

Rap "Artist" Does a Dumb-dumb And so???????

1/16th Ounce Remember it is a LEGAL SYSTEM and may, or may not, have a damned thing to do with JUSTICE.
(or intelligence)

And, thus, ends a good year.... Thanks Chuck!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/27/10 at 10:19 AM
Josh--I'm guessing Chuck found the name "Gator" humorous enough to warrant inclusion. I could see if it was given as a nickname in quotes in the original article--it's not--but as a parent-given legal name, it's pretty much hardcore redneck weird.
Posted by Paul on 01/28/11 at 01:38 PM
I'm not stupid: I realise this is a humour site, and as such, probably doesn't take itself very seriously. But it's a little...hurtful, actually, when the writer refers to the discarding of human embryos as being of little significance, and not worth taking seriously. I was conceived through IVF, as were nine of my siblings, over the course of three IVF cycles. I'm the only survivor of the process, something which is very difficult for me to come to terms with. It doesn't really help to hear about human embryos no different from my siblings being deliberately killed.
Posted by Ersatz on 08/07/12 at 07:16 PM
Honey, you need someone to talk to about those feelings. We are all about humor here, but I am sorry if it hurt you. Find a good counselor or perhaps a religious adviser if you are a believer. You need to get that hurt and confusion out. It is ok to be glad you survived, that does not make you a bad person. We are all glad to be alive, its human to feel that way. I hope you find a way to make peace with your beginnings my friend.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/07/12 at 08:21 PM
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