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
July 29, 2013
(datelines July 13-July 27) (links correct as of July 28)
★ ★ ★ ★!
“The NSA is a ‘supercomputing powerhouse’ with machines so powerful their speed is measured in thousands of trillions of operations per second,” Salon.com’s Justin Elliott explained. However, as to Elliott’s Freedom of Information Act request for certain e-mails, NSA replied, “There’s no central method to search [our e-mails as a whole] at this time with the way our records are set up”--even though most federal agencies can do that. (Searching is by name only, e.g., one down, 29,999 employees to go.) Salon.com
A bill was introduced in Congress to strip rapists of any custody rights to the children they father. (Buried Lede: Most states allow rapists to claim rights--even futilely--thus “tethering” themselves to their victims through years of court tests.) Ariel Castro is currently trying to visit his daughter (that he fathered with his imprisoned victim). CNN
Problem: The Pentagon has paperwork stemming from the Afghan and Iraq excursions and needs to save money. Helpful: For 31,000 of the vets claiming post-traumatic stress disorder, rule that they have a (pre-existing) “personality disorder,” which boots them out with none of those pesky, costly “benefits” (even if the PTSD, for example, came from being raped by a colleague). (A U.S. House bill now addresses that, but the question is, even though we all “support the troops,” why are we just now addressing it?) WTKR-TV
(Hampton Roads, Va.)
Fine Points of the Law: Ronald Strong was charged with damaging gov’t property (namely, the federal courthouse in Portland, Me.) by pooping all over a men’s room and only partly cleaning it up. Since he’s been feuding with the Social Security Admin., the feds thought he was, umm, making a statement, but he said it was a medication that gave him uncontrollable diarrhea. The majority of judges said the pooping looked purposeful (and gave their logic!), but the dissenter said it looked like legitimate diarrhea (and gave his logic!). Salon.com
Can’t Be Too Careful: (1) India admitted that an outpost on the Chinese border spent six months tracking “Chinese spy drones” that were really . . Jupiter and Venus. (2) Turkish authorities finally let the kestrel-type bird fly away after detaining it for months as a possible Israeli spy. (It had an Israeli leg band.) (At the link, there’s a super-privacy-violating x-ray of the bird.) BBC News
/// Hurriyet Daily News
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that it is, indeed, a human right to be rude to all
Often, it even feels like a duty.
Parliament has agreed to overturn the 1881 law that exempts the French president from being a fair target for rudeness. Reuters
More Things to Worry About
The U.S. Dept. of Education is investigating Univ. of Southern California campus police for, among other things, taking student rape reports rather unseriously. (Helpful legal hint: No, the rapist is not home-free just because he’s already inside and hasn’t finished up yet.) Huffington Post
The 2012 “Ransomware” virus locks a computer and “requires” a $300 payment (bogus) to unlock it, all because (it says) the FBI has detected child porn on your machine. Annoying, but bogus. Except Jay Matthew Riley, 21, fell for it and asked Woodbridge, Va., police if the FBI really
had a warrant out for him. Intrigued police got a search warrant, and it just happened that Riley had child porn--irrespective of the bogus virus. He was arrested. Washington Post
Perspective: The least sympathetic victims of October’s Hurricane Sandy were likely the customers at the upscale wine storage warehouse in lower Manhattan, who paid enormous fees to have their rare wines stored at perfect temperature and humidity. Problem: The warehouse is 100 yds. from the Hudson River, which flooded. “95%” of the wine was saved, said the owner, but he’s not ready to prove that yet and has filed for bankruptcy while he inventories. (In addition to temperature and humidity loss, some labels were washed off.) The horror! New York Times
Dr. Timothy Sweo of Jackson, Tenn., was only trying to help his patient, Terry Ragland, 55, understand her backache. (Who the hell knows what “lumbar lordosis” is?) Ms. Ragland, Sweo told her, you have “ghetto booty” (a curve in your spine that makes your butt stick out). She has complained to the state Dept. of Health. WREG-TV
Oops! (1) An inner-tuber floating down the Clark Fork River near Missoula, Mont., was hurt badly when a frolicking man jumped, without looking, off of a bridge into the river and landed on him. (2) College shortstop Mattingly Romanin suffered a concussion when a special-event skydiver clumsily landed on him during the pre-game flyover in Hannibal, Mo. Associated Press via Great Falls Tribune
/// Associated Press via Kansas City Star
Mr. Jemal Tkeshelashvili, from Georgia (Republic), was announced as the official Guinness Book record-holder for most hot water bottles (i.e., those heavy rubber heating pads) he could burst in one minute by blowing into them only from his nose. OddityCentral.com
At Canada’s Winnipeg Fringe Festival, the “edgy” performers Ian Mozdzen and Doug Melnuk startled, as usual. The oral sex was “simulated,” they said, but the three mayonnaise enemas were real. Art should be challenging, they said. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reported the video-backed complaint of a local man whose house apparently lies strategically far enough down the road from a female jogger’s weekend starting point but not close enough to the jogger’s end point to enable her to make it home before her fiber breakfast kicks in. At least four times, he said, the jogger has dropped logs on his property. KOAT-TV via WCVB-TV
"Kosher Lube Puts Oral Sex on the Menu for Orthodox Jews" --- The Guardian
"A Japanese Woman Is Suing the Country’s Biggest Crime Boss for a Refund of Protection Money" --- Quartz
"Rich Parents Hire Play-Date Consultants to Help Kids Play Better for Private-School Admissions" --- New York Post
Strange Old World
A British woman on holiday in Peru walked innocently through a swarm of flies but caught maggots of the (flesh-eating) New World Screwworm Fly, which bored a 12mm hole in her ear canal. Owww! BBC News
It says here that “Mr. Lee” of Nanjing, China, who was caught after swiping more than 800 social science textbooks from a store, said he was merely looking for the “meaning of life.” However, he said, he still . . hasn’t found . . what he’s looking for. RocketNews24.com
Meanwhile in Xinjiang, China, the chief cop unveiled a force of
police geese. “Among all poultry,” he supposedly said, “geese [are known] for being extremely vigilant and having excellent hearing.” They will spread their wings, shriek, and attack. People’s Daily via Daily Telegraph
Your Weekly Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Wait--You Think I’m Guilty? Attempted Murder? Really?
/// Resisting Arrest? Me?
Felony Hair-Styling? There’s no such thing . . is there?
/// Well, is there?
/// C’mon, there isn’t!
Newsrangers: Kenneth McClellan, Kevin Leaptrot, and Dave Shepardson, and 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).