News of the Weird (September 27, 2015)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M442, September 27, 2015
Copyright 2015 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

One of the remaining 116 Guantanamo Bay prisoners (a man suspected of having been close to Osama bin Laden) has a dating profile on captioned “detained but ready to mingle,” the man’s lawyer Carlos Warner told Al Jazeera America in September. Muhammad Rahim al-Afghani has relentlessly proclaimed his innocence, and Warner released a series of charming letters from his client intended to humanize him. Al-Afghani commented on Lebron James, Caitlyn Jenner, the Ashley Madison website, and for some reason, “South Dakota,” but with the recent publicity, appears to have suspended the account. [AlJazeera America, 9-11-2015]

The Continuing Crisis

“Let me get this straight,” wrote an incredulous commenter in September. “[T]hose who oversee” the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, in Ann Arbor, Mich., have the park “populated with snakes that can bite and inflict serious wounds.” The remark was in response to a visitor’s having been bitten by one of at least 27 rattlesnakes loose (by design) on the grounds. (The Eastern Massasauga rattler is protected by state law.) On the other hand, the park has posted many snake-warning signs, and the woman who was bitten had removed her shoes to walk in the lush grass. [Detroit News, 9-15-2015]

Aluminum Foil Makes a Comback: (1) City officials in Tarpon Springs, Fla., scrambled in May to find an ordinance that artist Piotr Janowski might have violated when he covered two palm trees, and then three sides of his rented home, in heavy-duty aluminum foil, to the consternation of neighbors. Janowski is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his work has been shown in that city’s Polish Museum of America. (2) National Forest Service officials announced success in fire retardation in August by protectively sealing a remote structure near an Idaho wildfire in multi-ply foil. (3) And then there is Arthur Brown, 78, also “successful” in having kept his house in Hermitage, Pa., free of “aliens” by sealing it in foil (although neighbors griped in September about falling property values). [Tampa Bay Times, 5-29-2015] [KREM-TV (Spokane), 8-27-2015] [WKBN-TV (Youngstown, Ohio), 9-10-2015]

Latest Self-Declared Right

Officials in Carroll County, Md., finally released a woman in August after she had been detained for 67 days--just for declining to give her name to a traffic patrolman (who had stopped her for a broken taillight). In her idiosyncratic understanding of the U.S. Constitution’s 5th Amendment, “not be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against [herself]” means keeping her identity hidden from police. Eventually, sheriff’s deputies captured her fingerprints, and since they matched no outstanding warrants, she was released. [Carroll County Times, 9-1-2015]

Leading Economic Indicators

Adam Partridge Auctioneers in Liverpool announced in September that the equivalent of $10,000 would be the starting bid on a two-pound mass of whale vomit (hardened into a chunk by aging in ocean waters) picked up by a beachcomber in Wales. BBC News reported that a six-pound hunk once sold for the equivalent of $150,000, in that once aged into “ambergris,” the putrid waste product turns waxy and sweet-smelling and proves valuable to “high-end perfume houses.” [Washington Post, 9-9-2015]

An international property-rental service recently found a seven-bedroom castle on 200 acres in Ringuette, France, for the equivalent of $2,925 a month--which San Francisco’s KNTV immediately contrasted with the listing of a 401-square-foot apartment in the city’s Lower Haight district, offered at $3,000 per month. Another French castle (six bedrooms, a pool, three-acre garden, “several lawns”) rents for the equivalent of $4,940--about what a three-bedroom on Collins Street in San Francisco goes for. [KNTV, 9-9-2015]

Marie Holmes tearfully disclosed in March how the $88-million Powerball lump sum she had won would allow her to finish college and help her four kids (one with cerebral palsy). Right away, though, her boyfriend Lamar “Hot Sauce” McDow was charged with drug trafficking and needed $3 million bail, which she took care of. Then, in August, in Brunswick County, N.C., “Hot Sauce” was arrested again, for selling heroin, and reporters surmised that Holmes must have been the one who posted that $6 million bail. (Holmes addressed her critics on Facebook: “What Y’all need to be worried about is Y’all money . . ..”) [New York Daily News, 8-13-2015] [WWAY-TV (Wilmington, N.C.), 8-5-2015]


Military veteran Gary Dixon, 65, has multiple medical issues, the worst of which is stage-four lung cancer, which he says he got from Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. He takes from 10 to 15 meds a day, previously supplied by the Veterans hospital in Topeka, Kan., but for post-traumatic stress and anxiety, he also smokes marijuana when he can get it. (Kansas has not legalized “medical” marijuana.) A recent policy change by the VA bars pain meds for marijuana users, leading Dixon to fend for himself for the meds (about $400 a month, he said), because he so badly needs the marijuana. [KSNT-TV (Topeka), 9-9-2015]

Can’t Possibly Be True

An ovipositor is the organ that inserts or receives an egg (especially from parasites like bees--and that thing in “Alien”). A spokesperson from a startup firm called Primal Hardwere (in an August interview with assumes a human market for ovipositors and is now selling two hollowed-tube models at $120-$140 pricetags (along with advice on creating insertable gelatin “eggs”). The product, acknowledged the Primal Hardwere rep (to the wary interviewer), “can be . . . off-putting” to anyone who might not “fantasize about being the willing or unwilling host of alien beings inside them.” [, 8-13-2015]

Recurring Themes

More than three-fourths of civil cases filed in the busy Tucson, Ariz., federal court in 2014--nearly 3,000 in a courthouse open only about 250 days a year--were filed by one man, a prisoner named Dale Maisano, who was expressing disappointment with his health care as he serves his 15-year term for aggravated assault. Maisano said in July 2015 he was still getting little help for his valley fever, gallstones, sun sensitivity, leaky bladder, and nerve problems in his feet. [, 7-11-2015]


“We will not forget [rape victims].” “We will not abandon you.” So said Vice President Biden and Attorney General Lynch at a September self-congratulatory press conference announcing $78 million in grants for testing “rape kits” that had been gathering dust for years around the country (surely allowing hundreds of rapists to have escaped punishment and some to re-offend)--except that these victims have already been “forgotten” and “abandoned” for more than five years. Biden was Vice President in 2010 when News of the Weird pointed out that Illinois was violating state law by ignoring 80 percent of its rape kits, and then in 2012 when Houston, Tex., revealed it was sitting on 6,663 kits (and Detroit 11,000). (News of the Weird’s understated 2010 headline: “Things That Shouldn’t Get Backlogged”). [Huffington Post, 9-10-2015]

Least Competent Criminals

Pamela Downs, 45, was arrested in Kingsport, Tenn., in July and charged with using a counterfeit $5 bill at a gas station (a bill that was merely two photocopied sides poorly glued together, with one side upside down). Downs explained as she was being cuffed, “[A]ll these other bitches get to print money so I can too.” (She told officers later that she had read “online” that “President Obama” had “made a new law” allowing people to print money if they were on a fixed income. [Kingsport Times-News, 7-13-2015]

A News of the Weird Classic (April 2010)

The city health office in London, Ontario, created an online sex-education game that officials hope will appeal to teenagers in that its messages are delivered by a cast of iconic superheroes. According to a February [2010] report by Canwest News Service, the players are Captain Condom (who wears a "cap"), Wonder Vag (a virgin girl), Power Pap ("sexually active"), and Willy the Kid, with each fighting the villain Sperminator, who wears a red wrestling mask and has phalluses for arms. The characters answer sex-knowledge questions and, with correct answers, obtain "protection," but a wrong one gets the player squirted with sperm.
(The game, still online as of April 2010, is hard to find today, but Captain Condom lives on in Canadian sex education imagery.) [Montreal Gazette-Canwest, 2-12-2010]

Thanks This Week to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
     Posted By: Chuck - Sun Sep 27, 2015

POW's: These guys are the tail wagging the dog, at great expense and trouble to us. Why not just let the Castro brothers have them?

Snakes: Some people have yet to master reading signs.

Foil: I'm convinced people wrap their home to keep the aliens inside. The layered foil the forest service uses is the same stuff our personal fire shelters were made of, we called them shake and bakes. Not fire proof by any means, just designed to reflect heat and give you a small air pocket for a while.

VA: Sometimes I think they are still fighting the civil war. It took them forever to figure out the effects of Agent Orange. But being a large governmental agency they see their goal as to move along as slowly as possible, much like congress. Marijuana, been used for years as a effective drug for some types of pain.
Posted by Gator Guy on 09/27/15 at 09:03 PM
Guantanamo Bay I've been there and IIRC the terrain & climate should suit the guests staying there so I see no reason to release any of them, ever.

Snakes in a Park Why? I ask for both sides of that idiocy.

Foiled Again
1) Piotr Janowski: Polak foiled Flori-Dah city. (get it?)
2) Couldn't've thought of that BEFORE the fire? Like, when it was built out of wood, in a forest, where fires happen? Just askin'.
3) You know a better way to keep aliens out??? Better tell Kerry he wants another 185,000 to join the ranks of proto-democrats.

Ms X The Miranda warning says, WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU that's a positive statement not a conditional one.

Whale Puke Listen!

San Francisco’s Rent So, how are those umteen million illegals paying these kind of prices?

Marie Holmes "A fool and his money is soon parted.", Poor Richard.

The VA How @@#$@ing dumb do you have to be to piss off on the most advanced army in the world?

Ovipositor Butt, where would one store it?

VP Biden Jimmy Carter's back-up plan in case Obama finally gets something right.

Pamela Downs I rest my case.

Thanks, Chuck!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 09/28/15 at 12:40 AM
I've walked around in areas with rattlesnakes, but not in my bare feet.

The Supreme Court has ruled that you have to give your name to the police, but have not ruled on a requirement to provide any other information.

$3K/month is about $100/night, about the same as an okay hotel room.

Why do you have to sell drugs if you have $88M?

Gelatin Ben Wa?

Maisano - each frivolous suit should add a week to his sentence.

Instead of an Obama phone, make your own Obama bills (and buy an iPhone).
Posted by RobK on 09/28/15 at 11:35 AM
@Expat47 In re: San Francisco's Rent:
It's a volume thing. Kind of like how many people can you fit in a VW Bug. They tend to crowd together so they can save money to send back home.
Posted by GFnKS on 09/28/15 at 11:49 AM Hobbies: reading the Koran and running in place. Turn ons: A woman covered from head to toe and young boys. (look it up before yelling at me folks)

rattlers- In a public garden that visitors, including small children, are encouraged to visit? So if the zoo puts up signs stating the li0ns are free range that frees them from responsibility for the bad judgement involved too right??

tin foil- What can't it do???

67 days- Ignorant police, obstinate woman 0/0 nobody wins.

whale vomit/perfume- :sick:

San Fran- Overpriced, pretentious, and ridiculous is no way to go through life people. Watch the South Park about hybrid cars for a great take on SF.

power ball- She will be back on public assistance in her lifetime, you can't give some people money. Sorry for her kids.

VA- Its all about finding a plausible excuse to deny justified claims. The more stuff they can deny the less it costs and the sooner (they hope) the patient expires thus costing them no more. It is a damn crime and even worse that it is done to our vets.

litigation- There are charges that can be filed for this kind of bogging down of the courts with frivolous suits, someone just has to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Rape kits- Chuck is better informed and smarter than Joe Biden, no surprise there.

print your own $- Bet she thought Obama was gonna send her a reparations check too. Last one to get the memo, he has done nothing for anyone.

Captain Condom- WHAT?
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/29/15 at 08:08 PM
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