News of the Weird 2.0
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule
Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
May 27, 2013
(datelines May 18-May 25) (links correct as of May 26)
© 2013 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
★ ★ ★ ★!
Ever heard of Keith Judd? He was in the news last week for suing in Iowa to, in essence, invalidate the 2012 election on the ground that our President is really a Kenyan. But wait, there’s more!
He’s serving 17 yrs in the federal pen for threatening a woman on the basis that she (a clone of Stevie Nicks!) tried to sabotage his home improvement company. But wait, there’s more!
In the 2012 Democratic presidential primary in West Virginia, Judd, a write-in candidate, kicked the President’s butt in nine counties and lost by only 33,000 votes statewide. Des Moines Register
Perspective: (1) Army Maj. Nidal Hasan (aka “Fort Hood Shooter”) continues to be “Maj. Hasan” until such time as he is convicted, and these high-profile prosecutions take time. Thus, as of last week, as a KXAS-TV investigation found, he has been paid $278k (and counting) in salary and benefits since he mowed down 45 people (13 fatally). (2) Here’s the catch: The U.S. Army, oozing political correctness, has called Hasan’s jihad only “workplace violence” and not a “terrorist attack.” What’s the difference? Those of the 45 who were on active duty lose out on an array of extra money and medical services that they would receive if it had been a terrorist attack. (Many of them are suing the Army, but those things, too, take time.) KXAS-TV
From NOTW .M081 (10-26-2008):
* Legendary banjo player Eddie Adcock, age 70 and suffering hand tremors that failed to respond to medication, volunteered for a revolutionary neurosurgery in August in which he finger-picked tunes while his brain was exposed and Vanderbilt University Medical Center surgeons tried to locate the defective area. In "deep brain stimulation," doctors find a poorly-responding site and use electrodes to arouse it properly. As Adcock, conscious but pain-free, picked out melodies, doctors probed until suddenly Adcock's playing became disjointed, and electrodes were assigned to that spot. By October, according to an ABC News report, Adcock, with a button-activated chest pacemaker wired to his head, was back on stage, as quick-fingered as ever. [ABC News, 10-3-08; The Bluegrass Blog, 9-9-08]
Well, they did that surgery again last week, at UCLA Med Center--except they also live-tweeted it. Musician Brad Carter, with early Parkinson’s at age 39, was the patient, and there are photos. [ed. No one wants to talk about the obvious: how much better off we’d be if some of us could carry around controllers to “deep brain stimulate” stupid people we run into.] World’s Greatest Newspaper
More Things to Worry About
Suspicions Confirmed: A New York Civil Liberties Union report on last yr’s 532,911 street stops by NYC cops was successful, for finding 729 illegal guns, but with the complication that more than 5,000 people were also arrested only for marijuana possession, among them an unknown number who were never in trouble before but who now face trying circumstances for the next few years, at least--and of course the vast majority of them blacks and Hispanics. Gothamist.com
they tell us! “We cannot have an Islamic country with basically Western laws,” said a legislator in our friendly ally Afghanistan, after rejecting President Karzai’s reforms. Hence, the legislature will not budge on changing child marriage, forced marriage, families exchanging girls/women to settle disputes, wife-beating, and punishing females for being raped. Associated Press via ABC News
The best time for free-lance insurance adjusters, restoration workers, and other contractors to make sales pitches, apparently, is while firefighters are still on-scene fighting the fire--because if they don’t, competitors will get the business. “They are very aggressive” said a fire lieutenant, nodding to the salesmen’s use of police scanners to beat them to the fires. Florida used to have a 48-hour-keepaway rule to let the bereaved settle in, but the state supreme court said that violated free speech. U-S-A! U-S-A! South Florida Sun-Sentinel
There’s an Inter-agency Working Group of federal departments, developing guidelines encouraging nutrition and obesity avoidance, but there’s also Big Food--lobbyists for companies that find it quite profitable for you to keep eating what you’ve been eating. General Mills calculated that if every American started eating by IWG guidelines, it’d cost the company $503bn a yr (and raise the average food bil $1,632 a yr). Scientific American
The F State: The 13 northeast counties in Florida’s Redneck Belt have created their own little online database (seriously!) to warn each other in case of terrorist suspicions. Will the crackers overreact when they “see something” and thus “say something” about every paranoided-up thing? Said one sheriff, “The majority of citizens want to do what’s right.” [ed. The population of the 13 counties is more than 1.8m, leaving a lot of leeway for paranoids.] Florida Times-Union
Four American tourists got the bright idea to set up a table and chairs for a formal dinner on a piece of ice in a lagoon while visiting Iceland last week, and the wind shifted. Oh, those Americans! One had to
freeze his cojones off
swim 10 yards to call for help. IcelandReview.com
Lovers Karen Harrelson, 48, and Gregory Stambaugh, 57, face charges as soon as authorities in York, Pa., can figure out which one stabbed the other one first in their knife fight over whether Candice or Kree should have won “American Idol.” KDKA-TV
DeWayne Eddy, 54, was arrested in Yuba County, Calif., for giving his adult daughter a couple of WWE-style steel-chair shots (and a can-of-beans shot) because he was angry at having discovered a bolt missing from the feeder at the home’s chicken coop. Appeal-Democrat
In the mayoral race in Harrisburg, Pa., one candidate himself (i.e., not an overzealous supporter) was caught touching up his opponent’s yard signs (changing “Papenfuse” to “Papenpuss”). (Bonus: The candidate-vandal: Lewis Butts.) PennLive.com
Erica Nigrelli, Pregnant Teacher, Gives Birth While Dead, Coworkers Help Bring Her Back to Life --- International Business Times
Shoplifter Said Stolen Joint of Beef Reminded Him of His Dead Grandmother --- Sunderland Echo
Man Runs Out of Gas, Sets Up Drum Kit on Interstate 695 --- Baltimore Sun
EU [researchers] in Plan for ‘More Nutritious’ Horsemeat Ice Cream --- The Register
Hedgehog Deflated by Vets in Life-Saving Procedure --- ThisIsCornwall.co.uk
Council Members Abstain from Vote on Abstaining --- WHTH-TV
Strange Old World
It’s not quite Norway (whose “prison” accommodations resemble two-star hotels in America), but Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture “has a bit of a reputation for culinary excellence” that extends to the local lockup. Jailhouse food consists of a deluxe bento box from a nearby eatery, and a 32-yr-old thief arrested May 12th said he committed the crime in part to get some delicious grub. Japan Today
Your Weekly Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
The ungifted Ms. Prilla Coslett and her significant-yet-remorseful other, Clint, 48, have been arrested after a police chase over a stolen computer printer (value: $37). [ed.: All right now, no profiling!] WWL-TV
Newsrangers: Bill Thomas and Russell Bell and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors
News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M320, May 26, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd
* The Department of Agriculture reported recently that in four of America’s largest cities--New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Denver--nearly one home out of 100 keeps chickens either for fresh-egg supply or as pets, giving rise to chicken services such as Backyard Poultry magazine, MyPetChicken.com, and Julie Baker’s Pampered Poultry store. Among the most popular products are strap-on cloth diapers for the occasions when owners bring their darlings indoors, i.e., cuddle their “lap chickens.” Also popular are “saddles” for roosters, to spare hens mating injuries--owing to roosters’ brutal horniness, sometimes costing hens most or all of their back feathers from a single encounter. [NPR, 5-1-2013
Government in Action
* “Consider the ways we’re taxed,” wrote Maryland’s community Gazette in April--when we’re born, die, earn income, spend it, own property, sell it, attend entertainment venues, operate vehicles, and pass wealth along after death, among others. Maryland has now added a tax on rain. To reduce stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay, the Environmental Protection Agency assessed the state $14.8 billion, which the state will collect starting in July by taxing “impervious surfaces”--any land area in its 10 largest counties that cannot directly absorb rainwater, such as roofs, driveways, patios, and sidewalks. [Gazette.net (Gaithersburg, Md.), 4-5-2013
* The Washington Post reported in April that the federal government is due to spend $890,000 this year to safeguard . . nothing. The amount is the total of fees for maintaining more than 13,000 short-term bank accounts the government owns but which have no money in them and never again will. Closing the accounts is easier said than done, according to the watchdog Citizens Against Government Waste because the accounts each housed separate government grants, and Congress has required that, before the accounts are closed, the grants must be formally audited--something bureaucrats are rarely motivated to do, at least within the 180 days set by law (though there is no penalty for missing the deadline). [Washington Post, 4-24-2013
* It's good to be the County Administrator of Alameda County, Calif. (on San Francisco Bay, south of Oakland). The San Francisco Chronicle revealed in March that somehow, Susan Muranishi negotiated a contract that pays her $301,000 a year, plus "equity pay" of $24,000 a year so that she makes at least 10% more than the next highest paid official, plus "longevity" pay of $54,000 a year, plus a car allowance--and that she will be paid that total amount per year as her pension for life (in addition to a private pension of $46,000 a year which the county purchased for her). [San Francisco Chronicle, 3-25-2013
* The Way Washington Works: (1) Congress established a National Helium Reserve in 1925 in the era of “zeppelin” balloons, but most consider it no longer useful (most, that is, ranging from President Reagan to the Democratic congressman who in 1996 called it one program that, if we cannot undo it, “we cannot undo anything”). The House of Representatives recently voted 394-1 to continue funding it because of “fears” of a shortage that might affect MRI machines and, of course, party balloons. (2) In rare (these days) bipartisan action, Congressional military “experts” of both parties are about to force the Army to continue building Abrams-era tanks--when the Army said it doesn’t want them and can’t use them. The tank manufacturers, of course, have convinced Congress that it needs the contracts, no matter what the Army says (according to an April Associated Press analysis). [Washington Post, 4-26-2013
] [Associated Press via Yahoo News, 4-29-2013
* The Jewish Museum in Berlin is currently staging what has become popularly known as the “Jew in the Box” exhibit to teach visitors about Judaism--simply featuring one knowledgeable Jewish person who sits in a chair in a glass box for two hours a day and answers questions from the curious. Both supporters (“We Germans have many insecurities when it comes to Jews”) and critics (“Why don’t they give him a banana and a glass of water [and] turn up the heat?”) are plentiful. [Daily Mail (London), 3-29-2013
* The weather in Hong Kong on April 25th wreaked havoc on American artist Paul McCarthy’s outdoor, 50-foot-tall piece of “inflatable art” in the West Kowloon Cultural District. “Complex Pile” (a model of an arrangement of excrement) got punctured, which mostly pleased McCarthy’s critics since his recent work, reported the South China Morning Post, has often centered around bodily functions. [South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), 4-26-2013
* News of the Weird has reported several times on the astonishing control that inmates have at certain prisons in Latin American countries, with drug cartel leaders often enjoying lives nearly as pleasurable as their lives on the outside. However, according to an April federal indictment, similar problems have plagued the City Detention Center in Baltimore, Md., where members of the “Black Guerilla Family” operated with impunity. Between 2010 and 2012, corruption was such that 13 female guards have now been charged, including four women who bore the children of the Family’s imprisoned leader, Tavon White. Cellphones, drugs, and Grey Goose vodka were among the smuggled-in contraband, and the indictment charges that murders were ordered from inside. (Baltimore City Paper had reported 14 stories in 2009 and 2010 on the gang-related corruption at the Center, but apparently state and federal officials had failed to be alarmed.) [DailyBeast.com, 4-26-2013
; Washington Post, 5-6-2013
* Frequent Flyers: (1) Chicago police have arrested Ms. Shermain Miles, 51, at least 396 times since 1978, under 83 different aliases, for crimes ranging from theft (92 times) to prostitution and robbery. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, she is a virtuoso at playing “the system” to delay her proceedings and avoid jail time. (2) Alvin Cote, 59, passed away in February of poor health in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, following a “career” of 843 public-intoxication arrests. [Chicago Sun-Times, 4-20-2013
] [Star Phoenix (Saskatoon), 2-13-2013
* Somewhat Backwards DUI: Danielle Parker was hospitalized, and awaiting DUI charges, after a crash near Gaston, N.C., in March even though she had been in the passenger seat of the car. She had handled the wheel momentarily because Brittany Reinhardt, 19, in the driver’s seat, was busy texting. (Reinhardt, apparently sober, was charged with “aiding and abetting” a DUI.) [Gaston Gazette, 3-29-2013
The Weirdo-American Community
* The biggest news out of Newtown, Conn., recently--not involving the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School--came when local environmental officials announced on April 29th that they were investigating the finding of “200 to 300 one-gallon plastic jugs” filled with urine in a home “in a state of disrepair.” No charges were filed against the homeowner, but officials sought to assure neighbors and users of the property that no health hazard was present. (The average person, reported the Connecticut Post, produces about six cups of urine a day.) [Danbury News Times, 4-30-2013
Strange Old World
* Mr. Datta Phuge perhaps overly personifies India’s national obsession with the beauty of gold. For special occasions, he outfits his “knuckles, neck, and wrists” with golden “signet rings, chunky bracelets, and a medallion,” wrote BBC News in April after Phuge had also purchased a crinkly-gold tailored shirt made for him for about US$250,000. The 7-lb. shirt (from Rankar Jewellers in the city of Pune) has a velvet lining to keep it from irritating his skin, and he must of course always travel with a bodyguard. [BBC News, 4-14-2013
* (1) Sam Worby, 39, made headlines internationally in February when, dressed as Batman, had hauled fugitive Daniel Frayne, 27, into a Bradford, England, police station. It turns out he was just helping his friend Daniel turn himself in (on an outstanding arrest warrant). In a separate incident in April, the two “friends” were arrested together and charged with burglarizing a garage in Bradford. (2) In a confessional in the April GQ magazine, the sports writer Buzz Bissinger (creator of TV’s “Friday Night Lights”) admitted that his later-in-life fame had enabled a narcissism that caused him to impulsively buy 81 leather jackets in a three-year period, plus 75 pairs of boots, 41 pairs of leather pants, 32 pairs of upscale jeans, 10 evening jackets, and 115 pairs of leather gloves, among other extravagances and aberrations. [Daily Telegraph (London), 4-16-2013
] [GQ, April 2013
Thanks This Week to Hal Dunham, Thomas Wyman, David Henshaw, and Thomas Goodey, and to the News of the Weird Senior Advisors (Jenny T. Beatty, Paul Di Filippo, Ginger Katz, Joe Littrell, Matt Mirapaul, Paul Music, Karl Olson, and Jim Sweeney) and Board of Editorial Advisors (Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Harry Farkas, Sam Gaines, Herb Jue, Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Steve Miller, Christopher Nalty, Mark Neunder, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Rob Snyder, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, and Jerry Whittle).
Training dolphins to find underwater mines can yield some unexpected results. When they indicated to their trainers they had found a mine, the team dismissed it as a false positive.
Finding an old torpedo last made in 1889 was a surprise.
This 130 year old Howell torpedo is the only other one still around, on display in the Navy Museum.
Here's the link to the story and details about what happens to this rare object:
The dolphins also found a lobster trap where it wasn't supposed to be.
And a car.