Weird Universe Archive

September 2013

September 9, 2013

News of the Weird 2.0 (September 9, 2013)

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
September 9, 2013
(datelines August 31-September 7) (links correct as of September 8)
© 2013 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

★ ★ ★ ★!

Law school grads with traditional disabilities (i.e., not the morally disabled) typically get accommodations to take state bar exams--because, after all, they’ve already endured the challenging tedium of law school and seek only to earn a living. But Joan Hoyt, 61, wants accommodations just to take the law school admissions test!. She has “difficulty writing, is easily distracted, needs frequent breaks, and reads about two-and-a-half times slower than her peers,” her lawyer wrote in a lawsuit against the test administrator after they turned down some of her demands. It strains the imagination wondering what kind of work a 64-yr-old with those disabilities might put a law degree toward. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Among America’s 99 Problems is surely not the overregulation of imports from China--and especially overregulation of food imports. Proposed USDA rules lighten up on Chinese chicken, of all things, by allowing four specific companies to do their own regulation and by scrapping required, consumer-friendly “country of orgin” labels for Chinese chicken. (On the other hand, if you feel secure at USDA’s current, traditional regulation of chicken, you need to cut back on your tranquilizers.) NPR

God’s Will: The U.S. eradicated measles more than a decade ago, but it’s coming back in large part because the War Against Science has spawned anti-immunization “experts” like Professor Jenny McCarthy, who “protect” our urchins from the pandemic of immunization-caused autism. This measles outbreak in small-town Texas consists of members of the Eagle Mountain International Church, about half of whom are McCarthyites. NPR

Non-Discriminatory America: If plaintiff Brandi Johnson (a black woman) gets called a you-know-what by her ex-boss, she will win her lawsuit for his hateful tirades, even if her ex-boss is also black and claimed that that gave him a free pass to play. [LINK REPLACED] CNN

More Things to Worry About

The George W. Bush Doctrine (that the U.S. could legally, anticipatorily defend itself even from an “attack” that seems to be mostly in the minds of ‘fraidy cats who always imagine that America’s about to be attacked): In Titusville, Fla., William Woodward sorta used that principle to say that he did not fire prematurely at the three people he shot last yr. He was just anticipatorily standing his ground. (Bonus: Woodward’s lawyers actually said “Bush Doctrine.”) Florida Today (Melbourne)

Officials in Washington City, Utah, have approved constructing a gun range between the Dixie GunWorx store and a women’s domestic-abuse shelter. Natural fear: Gunshots are not what abused women need to hear. GunWorx customers: “Well, if the ladies’d had guns in the first place, problem solved." Salt Lake Tribune

He, Too, Has A Dream: Christopher Cleveland was arrested at the Lincoln Memorial only days after the 50-yr commemoration of The March . . . for taking upskirt pictures of female tourists lounging on the steps. A search of his car turned up 150 PowerPoint presentations (x 30 shots each) of upskirt. [Too much time on his hands. He needs a hobb--Oh, right, a different hobby.] Washington Post

Your Weekly Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]

No doubt Finn McCool, 38, is guilty of something, but take a look at this news report for examples of the journalism stylings of Will Greenlee, writing in his super-reader-friendly way. (Stuart, Fla.)

Still More Stuff Chuck Learned Last Week

(1) Jian Yang, 33, of Singapore worries that Mattel is de-emphasizing Barbie for Twilight dolls, insulting his collection of 6,000 Barbies. /// (2) A race-car driver had accelerator trouble but had to complete laps to earn a spot for the next race so his partner jumped onto the engine and worked the accelerator by hand; they finished. /// (3) The London sewer system gets clogged by 40,000 “fatbergs” (congealed lard) a year from fat, oil, and grease. /// (4) Anthony Alleyne, famous long ago for turning his home into a replica of the command room of the Starship Enterprise, was arrested for child porn possession. /// (5) (6) (7) A measurable percent of the world’s problems are caused by squirrels--50 power outages in 24 states so far this yr, or threatening America’s ballistic missile defense, or causing bus crashes.
(1) Reuters, (2) [Sorry!], (3), (4) BBC News, (5) New York Times, (6) [Aug. 30], (7) The Local (Stockholm)

Newsrangers: Kathryn Wood and Carl Reine and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Sep 09, 2013 - Comments (6)

Wanna Go For A Ride?

Some random person saw a lion running loose on a Kuwait City suburban street and took action. He lured the cat into a car then jumped in himself and sat with it. Getting the animal contained makes sense but containing one's self with it, not so much.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 09, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals

September 8, 2013

21 Beach Cells

"Gregor Schneider transformed Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach in 2007 with a giant cage titled 21 beach cells. The 4 x 4 metre cells contained amenities for visitors – an air mattress, beach umbrella and black plastic garbage bag – and were soon inhabited by beachgoers looking for a site to rest and find shelter from the sun."

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 08, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Art

Kangaroo Scrotum Pouch


And their motto should be, "Lucky for you, but not for the 'roo!"

Buy yours here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 08, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Fashion, Australia, Genitals

News of the Weird (September 8, 2013)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M335, September 8, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Loco Parentis: First-time mother Amy Webb proudly notates dozens of data points about her child each day and obsessively tracks their detailed progression by computer on spreadsheets, according to the provocative first-person account she wrote for in July. In categories ranging from ordinary vital signs, to the kid’s progress in sound-making, to dietary reactions, to quantity and quality of each poop, stats are kept 24/7 (even with a bedside laptop to facilitate nighttime entries). She began tracking her own health during pregnancy but then decided, “Why stop now?” when her daughter was born. Webb’s pediatrician rated the kid’s health as “A-minus” but the parents’ as “C,” adding “You guys need to relax. Leave the spreadsheets [out].” Webb and her husband remain confident that their extreme tracking optimizes their chances to raise a healthy daughter. [, 7-9-2013]

Compelling Explanations

PREVIOUSLY: Dr. Timothy Sweo said later that he was only trying to make his diagnosis of “lumbar lardosis” “less technical” for patient Terry Ragland when he described her condition as “ghetto booty.” The shape of her spine makes her buttocks stick out more, he said, and he prescribed pain medication as there is no cure, per se. Nonetheless, Ragland felt insulted and filed a complaint against Dr. Sweo with the Tennessee Department of Health in July. Said she, “I couldn’t believe he said that.” [WREG-TV (Memphis), 7-13-2013]

An Anglican parishioner complained in August about the “blasphemous” bumper sticker that she saw on the car of Rev. Alice Goodman of Cambridge, England, but Rev. Goodman immediately defended it as not irreligious (although, she conceded, perhaps “vulgar”). The sticker read “WTFWJD?” which is a play on the popular evangelical Christian slogan “WWJD?”--“What Would Jesus Do?” (“WTF” is a vulgar but omnipresent acronym on the Internet.) Rev. Goodman pointed out that even Dr. Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, seemed unshocked by her sticker when he saw it. [Daily Telegraph, 8-8-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: The wife of Valentino Ianetti was found dead in Stanhope, N.J., in 2010 with 47 stab wounds, leading police to immediately suspect her husband, who was at home with her. However, after three years’ incarceration, Ianetti, 63, won release in August by finally convincing prosecutors that his wife actually committed suicide. Although the case is still officially “under investigation,” the medical examiner concluded that 46 of the wounds were superficial--“hesitation” cuts perhaps self-inflicted as the wife built up the courage to administer a final thrust. Also, the wife was found with a heavy dose of oxycodone in her system and likely hardly felt pain from any of the 47 wounds. [Star-Ledger (Newark), 8-16-2013]


Germany’s “center-left” Social Democrats posted about 8,000 campaign placards in July that it proudly hailed as “eco-friendly,” biodegradable, to attract support of environment-concerned voters. However, 48 hours later, at the first rainfall, the posters became waterlogged and, indeed, biodegraded. Reported Hamburg’s Spiegel Online, “None of the campaign workers could have guessed . . . how quickly the environmentally friendly process . . . would begin.” [Spiegel Online, 8-2-2013]

Actually, That’s Why She’s in Trouble: In August, a federal judge in Seattle sentenced Alicia Cruz, 31, to four years in prison for violating court-ordered drug treatment stemming from a 2011 conviction for stealing the identifies of more than 300 people. Cruz had won a second chance (drug treatment, instead of prison) by convincing the judge that she was no longer a crook--that this time, she would abandon her identity-theft life and go straight. Added Cruz, “I’m a different person now.” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 8-9-2013]

James “Sonny” McCullough, the mayor of the New Jersey shore town of Egg Harbor (pop. 4,240), announced in August that he was selling his waterfront home--because real estate taxes were too high (more than $31,000 a year) following a recent re-assessment and that he could no longer afford it. The mayor, 71, told The Press of Atlantic City that he had planned to live the rest of his life in the home but was not even certain he could afford to live anywhere in Egg Harbor. [ (Somerville), 8-21-2013]

The Litigious Society

A lawyer and former spokesman for the judiciary of Kenya filed a petition in July with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, seeking a re-trial of Jesus Christ and naming as defendants the state of Israel, King Herod, various Jewish elders, the former emperor of Rome (Tiberius), and of course Pontius Pilate. Dola Indidis claims that the proceedings before Roman courts did not conform to the rule of law at the time. (Indidis’s claim had been dismissed by the High Court in Nairobi, and a spokesperson for the ICJ said the court has no jurisdiction in such a case, for it is is not one between governments.) [Jerusalem Post, 7-30-2013]

Fine Points of the Law

PREVIOUSLY: No Profiling, Please: In August, minutes before a scheduled Mixed Martial Arts fight in Immokalee, Fla., the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation canceled it as “unsanctioned.” Contestant Garrett Holeve, 23, who has Down syndrome, was to fight David Steffin, 28, who has cerebral palsy, and both had trained intensively for eight weeks and were outraged by the decision. Said Holeve’s father, of his son’s reaction, “[T]hat hurts his feelings and angers him.” “Their decision is pretty arbitrary [and] discriminatory.” [WINK-TV (Fort Myers), 8-5-2013]


Researchers can accurately estimate a person’s economic status just by learning which environmental toxins are in his body, concluded a University of Exeter (England) research team recently, using U.S. data. Although “both rich and poor Americans are walking waste dumps,” wrote the website Quartz, reporting the conclusions, poorer people’s typical food leaves lead, cadmium, and the banned Bisphenol-A whereas richer people more likely accumulate heavy metals (mercury, arsenic, thallium) from aquatic lean protein (and acquire oxybenzone from the active ingredient in sunscreens). Previous research was thought to show that richer Americans ate healthier (for example, eating fruits and vegetables instead of canned foods), but the Exeter research shows they merely house different toxins. [Quartz (, 8-5-2013]

Strange Old World

PREVIOUSLY: In May, a Brazilian cancer-fighting foundation, AAPEC, published a series of photos of its new mascot that it hopes will call attention to the dread of testicular cancer, and the initial worldwide reviews demonstrate that, indeed, people may never, ever forget their first glance at “Mr. Balls.” AAPEC described its character as a “friendly snowman in the shape of testicles”--friendly in the sense of a buck-toothed humanoid with a puffy-cheeked smile and the body of a huge scrotal sac dotted with small curly hairs and rough skin. As photos of the genial “Senhor Testiculo” circulated in June, he was variously described as “disturbing,” “horrifying,” “terrifying,” and “a nightmare.” [ via Buzzfeed, 5-8-2013]

Least Competent Criminals

Recurring Themes: (1) PREVIOUSLY: Vade Bradley, 39, was arrested on arson charges in Hayward, Calif., in August after burning down an apartment house carport, totally destroying six vehicles. He was siphoning other people’s gasoline in the carport when he decided to light a cigarette. (2) Richard Boudreaux was charged in January with burglarizing Kenney’s Seafood (where he previously worked) in Slidell, La., when he became the most recent perp to fail to outflank surveillance cameras. He had thought to wear a bucket over his head as he moved through the store--except he had waited until well inside (within camera range) before actually putting it on. [Contra Costa Times, 8-2-2013] [Times-Picayune, 1-15-2013]

A News of the Weird Classic (April 2010)

Computer hardware engineer Toshio Yamamoto, 49, this year [2010] celebrates 15 years' work tasting and cataloguing all the Japanese ramen (instant noodles) he can get his hands on (including the full ingredients list, texture, flavor, price, and "star" rating for each), for the massive 4,300-ramen database on his website, expanded recently with "hundreds" of video reviews and with re-reviews of many of previously appearing products (in case the taste had changed, he told journalist Lisa Katayama, writing in April [2010] on the popular blog Boing Boing). Yamamoto said he had always eaten ramen for breakfast seven days a week but cut back recently to five. "I feared that, if I continued at [the seven-day] pace, I would get bored." [, 4-6-2010, 2-22-2010]

Thanks This Week to David Swanson and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Sep 08, 2013 - Comments (2)

September 7, 2013

Brains and Bacon

I like bacon, but I think I'll take a pass on this. (via yuckylicious)

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 07, 2013 - Comments (13)
Category: Bacon, Brain

Chrome and Hot Leather

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 07, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Scary Criminals, Exploitation and Grindhouse, 1970s, Motorcycles

September 6, 2013

Jii! Jii! Jii!

A dose of weirdness from Japan:

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 06, 2013 - Comments (8)
Category: Advertising, Asia

Detect Dangers Before They Happen!

MCP from dath - Tobias Haase on Vimeo.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 06, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Death, History, Humor, 1900s, Cars

September 5, 2013

Remote Control Chopper

A 19 year old remote control helicopter enthusiast lost control of his RC and lost his head. That has to be a one of a kind exit from this mortal coil.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 05, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Death

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Chuck Shepherd
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

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