September 13, 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
September 13, 2010
(datelines September 4-September 11) (links correct as of September 13)
Bite Me, Plus A Solution to the Ground-Zero Mosque and Lawyers Who Hear the Dead
★ ★ ★ ★!
In Mississippi, "Conviction System" or "Justice System"?
The former is operating smoothly in the case of "bite mark" analysis that has been ridiculed by actual "justice systems" elsewhere in America. Reason.com's Radley Balko explains how the state attorney general is pushing to execute yet another man based on scant "real" evidence but on the assurances of two hick local-yokel "experts" that tooth marks on the corpse could only have come from the man on trial (alone among everyone walking the earth). The A.G. may now even have reached Stage 5 Acceptance that his "experts" were not--but still believes that his oath of office requires him to preserve previous convictions rather than to "do justice." ("Doing justice" would require, at the very least, not executing
Eddie Lee Howard on the basis of pseudo-science.) Ugly. Reason.com
Only in San Francisco:
(1) To serve the city's jailhouse population (where romance is discouraged and interpersonal sex is illegal), the city government's health obsessives have installed 16 condom machines (as if Leroy and Big Wayne care). (2) Normally, if a business owner raises prices, it's supply and demand. In Haight-Ashbury, though, the obstreperous homeless who litter in front of the local McDonald's aren't sitting still for this obvious plot against them. Pushing the 99-cent hamburger back to $1.49 insults their dignity and drives them to the Dumpsters. San Francisco Chronicle
/// San Francisco Chronicle
TPM's Muckraker (the investigative arm of Talking Points Memo's liberal-leaning political blog) discovered TeaPartyBizOpp.info, which looks like a blatant pyramid scheme and is cheerfully acknowledged by the founder to function like one--but that's all right, Mike Patterson blissfully says, because he's a "patriot," and you'll hardly notice he's ripping you off because some of the money collected will go to support "patriotic" programs. There's even a helpful chart on how much you and your sign-ups can earn each other through the first 11 levels, topping out at $53,000. TPMMuckraker
Solution for the "Ground Zero Mosque":
CNN reported last week from Amsterdam that a Muslim had opened an Internet site selling Shariah-compliant sexual aids for marrieds--lubricants and lotions, with lingerie coming soon--vetted by Saudi scholars. (And the site is tasteful--no videos or dildos.) [ed.: So if proprietor AbdulAziz Aouragh could buy into a storefront at the Park51 (mosque) site, a beautiful convergence would result--of Islam, tolerance, self-awareness, private enterprise, man-woman-supporting marriage, New York City sex! Win-win-win! Please, I'm much too modest to accept the lavish praise you're about to bathe me in.] CNN
More in extended >>
September 12, 2010
Dresden art dealer Petra Kujau was found guilty of forgery this week, after passing off three hundred paintings she had come into possession of as the work of her "great-uncle", Konrad Kujau. The 51 year-old singer turned dealer would add a facsimile of Kujau senior's signature to the paintings, then sell them on at a greatly inflated price.
So far, so mundane. What makes this story particularly WU worthy is that Konrad Kujau was himself a forger, and his self-proclaimed niece was selling her forgeries as "genuine forgeries" created by her famous uncle Konrad. It all begins to make sense once you learn that Mr. Kujau did not limit himself to forging paintings, but was also known to forge the odd diary or two, specifically those of one Adolf Hitler. Although ultimately unsuccessful, his forgeries of the Hitler Diaries
were good enough to fool not just many newspapers and magazines, but also at least two historians, and the unmasking of the hoax caused many a journalist and editor a red face. But the notoriety afforded Konrad Kujau as the man "behind" the Hitler diaries meant that he could command considerable sums for something a small as Hitler's signature on a card, and original "Kujau forgeries" soon became enough of a collector's item that he could make a comfortable living from them after his release from prison in 1987.
After his death in September 2000 his business was carried on by Petra Kujau, who evidently decided that one forgery was as good as another, and began importing cheap copies of famous works from Asian suppliers and passing them off as eminently more desirable "Kujau forgeries", which in one sense they were. But soon the sheer volume of Kujau forgeries on the market aroused the suspicions of at least one collector, who tipped off the police to the double forgery.
Which just leaves the question, just where can I get hold of a genuine Petra Kujau double forgery? Now that's something I'd like to own!
As a creator of "mail art" (you can see some of my stuff here
), I immediately dived upon the book pictured to the right. It tells the life story of W. R. Bray, who invented the concept of messing with the mails, even going so far as to mail a live dog and himself! It's full of Grade-A weirdness, and beautifully illustrated.
September 11, 2010
Grand Candy Company
in Armenia has produced a giant chocolate bar to celebrate their 10th anniversary in business. 18.4 feet long x 9 feet wide x 10 inches thick! 9,702 pounds of chocolate to be cut up and given out on October 16th. Expat we gotta get to Armenia!!!
September 10, 2010
When you think of the periodic table, a bunch of blocks may pop into your mind. It's time to revise your thinking, and you may be the next to invent a new design. I like this galaxy model.
This arrow shaped one has even more information you really don't see in the lego version.
Yet another try in a circular pattern.
Here's a link to a story from the New York Times about developing a new shape.
I especially like the question marks. Does this mean new elements -- maybe discovered by you?
September 9, 2010
The dark heart of a popular British pass-time was thrust into public view this week when allegations of sabotage, rustling and murder shook the world of... competitive budgerigar breeding.
On the eve of the prestigious Cornwall Budgerigar Show, the aviary of Andrew Pooley, one of South England's top budgie breeders, was broken into and 21 of his best birds were stolen. Worse still, several birds were badly injured and one, reigning "best of breed" title holder Penmead Pride, had been killed. Stamped on by the callous intruders.
Because their distinctive markings would be instantly recognised among the close-knit budgie fancying community, the score of stolen budgies are unlikely to ever make another show appearance. And that might suit the culprit just fine, if his intention was to eliminate the competition by fair means or (can't resist, sorry) fowl. Pooley had left the shed unlocked briefly when he ran an errand to the nearby town of Camelford from his home in Delabole in Cornwall, and only noticed something was wrong at 9.45 that evening, when he came to make a final check on his prized birds and was - in an suitably Harrissian moment - startled by the silence of the budgies. Police are still investigating whether this is the work of a competitor but Mr. Pooley is in no doubt.
"The person or people who did this must have known exactly which ones to take because they only targeted my show team," he told reporters (Daily Mail
Just to reconfirm how many stupid people there are in the world, laser pointers
being directed at planes and helicopters is becoming an increasing problem. The incidence of laser pointers being shone into cockpits is up more than six times since 2005. Darwin by proxy?
picture from Yahoo images
September 7, 2010
are adopting an idea that is in use in some German cities already. Prostitution has become such a problem that it is taking place right out in the open. It has become unsightly enough that booths, like the one pictured, have been built so that liaisons in cars can take place out of view of the general public. How thoughtful.
Link provided by BD, many thanks my friend.