News of the Weird (May 12, 2013)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M318, May 12, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

* Caribou Baby, a Brooklyn, N.Y., "eco-friendly maternity, baby, and lifestyle store," has recently been hosting gatherings at which parents exchange tips on "elimination communication"--the weaning of infants without benefit of diapers (as reported in April by the New York Times). Parents watch for cues, such as a certain "cry or grimace" that supposedly signals that the tot urgently needs to be hoisted onto a potty. (Eventually, they say, the potty serves to cue the baby.) Dealing with diapers is so unpleasant, they say, that cleaning an occasional mess becomes tolerable. The little darlings’ public appearances sometimes call for diapers but can also be dealt with by taking the baby behind the nearest tree. One parent even admitted, "I have absolutely been at parties and witnessed people putting their baby over the sink." [New York Times, 4-19-2013]

Can't Possibly Be True

* Washington, D.C.'s WRC-TV reported in March that a woman from the Maryland suburbs showed a reporter a traffic citation she had just received, ticketing her for driving in the left lane on Interstate 95 in Laurel while going only 63 mph--compared to the posted ("maximum") speed of 65. The citation read, "Failure of driver . . . to keep right." The station's meteorologist noted that winds that day were gusting to 40 mph and that the woman might simply have been trying to control her car. [WRC-TV, 3-12-2013]

* The principal and head teacher at a Godalming, England, special-needs school were reported by employees in March for allowing a student with self-harm issues to cut herself, under staff supervision. (Unsted Park School enrolls kids aged 7-19 who have high-functioning autism.) Teachers were to hand the girl a sterilized blade, wait outside a bathroom while she acted out, checking up on her at two-minute intervals, and then dressing the girl's wounds once she had finished. The school reportedly abandoned the policy six days after implementing it. [ (Guildford, England), 3-25-2013]

* Last year, according to Chicago's WBBM-TV, Palmen Motors in Kenosha, Wis., sold a brand-new GMC Terrain SUV to an elderly couple, 90 and 89, in which the husband was legally blind and in hospice care, on morphine, and the wife had dementia and could barely walk. According to the couple's daughter, it was her brother, David McMurray, who wanted the SUV but could not qualify financially and so drove his mother from Illinois to Kenosha to sign the documents while a Palmen employee traveled to Chicago to get the father's signature (three weeks before he passed away, it turns out). An attorney for Palmen Motors told the TV station that the company regretted its role and would buy the vehicle back. [WBBM-TV, 3-13-2013]

Democracy Blues

* The city council of Oita, Japan, refused to seat a recently-elected member because he refused to remove the mask he always wears in public. Professional wrestler "Skull Reaper A-ji" said his fans would not accept him as authentic if he strayed from his character. Some masked U.S. wrestlers, and especially the popular Mexican "lucha libre" wrestlers," share the sentiment. (At press time, the issue was apparently still unresolved in Oita.) [Daily Telegraph (London), 3-13-2013]

* At the January 8th public meeting, Cooper City, Fla., Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi, annoyed with local activist (and former commissioner) Gladys Wilson, told her (according to video and audio of the meeting), "low me." Wilson, 81, said later she did not understand what the phrase meant; Mallozzi said later that she meant only that she needed to blow her nose. [WPLG-TV (Miami), 1-14-2013]
Unclear on the Concept

* Passive possession of child pornography is not a victimless crime, authorities say, because by definition a child had been abused in the creation of the image, but that reasoning was no relief for New Zealander Ronald Clark, who was sentenced to three months in jail in Auckland in April for watching pornographic cartoon videos of short-statured elves and pixies. A child-protection activist acknowledged that no child was harmed in the creation of the Japanese anime artwork but insisted that it was still injurious because "t's all part of that spectrum." Clark said he wondered if he might also be convicted for viewing sexual stick-figure drawings. [ (Auckland), 4-21-2013]

* John Leopold, the former County Executive of Anne Arundel County, Md., serving 30 days in jail for illegally forcing his government security detail and another employee to perform personal errands, apparently wasted no time in March displaying a similar attitude toward his jailers. He quickly demanded that the jailers serve him a breakfast of Cheerios, skim milk, bananas, and orange juice, instead of the scheduled fare. (Last year, Anders Breivik, the imprisoned 2011 mass murderer of 77 in Norway, famously began a hunger strike when rebuffed over his 27-page list of demands, including internet access and a series of menu and climate-control improvements.) [Associated Press via Yahoo News, 3-20-2013] [BBC News, 11-9-2012]

Suspicions Confirmed

* California street gangs stage fights whose locations can be accurately predicted using the same algorithm that anthropologists use to predict where lions and hyenas will fight in the wild to protect their own territories. A UCLA researcher, using the standard “Lotka-Volterra” equation on 13 equal-sized criminal gangs in the Boyle Heights neighborhood in east Los Angeles produced a table of probabilities of how far from each gang’s border any fights were likely to occur. In the period 1999-2002, the formula correctly showed that about 58 percent of shootings occurred within 0.2 miles of the border, 83 percent within 0.4 miles, and 97 percent within one mile. [Daily Mail (London), 3-26-2013]


* Animal-rights activists have had success in recent years making covert videos of abuses on farms and in slaughterhouses, showing defenseless animals being cruelly mistreated in patterns unlikely to be caught by government inspectors making orderly, rare visits. However, as the New York Times reported in April, legislators in Iowa, Utah, Missouri, and almost a dozen other states believe that the greater problem is that such videos “defame” the operators of these farms and slaughterhouses, and the states have proposed to criminalize the activists’ conduct, which might be “trespassing” in that they gain access only by subterfuge, for instance, pretending earnestly to apply for jobs. The typical state legislation would also require that any such video must immediately be turned over not to the media but to law enforcement--allegedly, so the abuse could be dealt with but also coincidentally denying the activists their most valuable tool for strengthening the laws. [New York Times, 4-7-2013]

Least Competent Criminals

* Just Because It Worked Once--: Carl Bellenir, 48, was arrested in San Luis Obispo, Calif., in February after he had successfully cashed in, at a Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, several rolls of pennies that had been stuffed into rolls labeled for dimes. Bellenir apparently did not realize that the rolls would be examined later in the day and so returned the very next morning to the same bank and tried it again. Police were called, and Bellenir fled, but he was captured down the street at a Bank of America trying the same trick. [Tribune News (San Luis Obispo), 2-7-2013]

Strange Old World

* Dateline Saudi Arabia: (1) A newspaper in the capital city of Riyadh reported in April that three men from United Arab Emirates were booted out of a religious festival by Saudi morality police because they were thought to be “too handsome” and would make Saudi women improperly attracted to them. (2) Another Saudi daily reported in April that a schoolteacher had agreed to marry her suitor but only provided that the man take on two of her colleagues as extra wives. (Saudi Arabia allows men as many as four.) The newspaper reported that the woman had rented three apartments in the same building, signaling that the deal had perhaps been sealed. [, 4-16-2013] [Gulf News, 4-21-2013]

Readers’ Choice

* Kent Hendrix heroically rushed to the aid of a female neighbor being assaulted by an acquaintance on their residential street in Millcreek, Utah, in April and scared the man off (though he soon turned himself in). Hendrix is a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and, more to the point, a black belt in karate, and even more to the point, was aiming his favorite samurai sword at the attacker. Said Hendrix, “His eyes just got huge . . . that he was staring down 29 inches of razor.” [KSTU-TV (Salt Lake City), 4-23-2013]

Thanks This Week to Cheryl Juba, Kevin Kawaguchi, Peter Wardley, and Paul Krause, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
     Posted By: Chuck - Sun May 12, 2013

Caribou Baby Raising a 3rd generation of tree huggin' nuts!

Only 63MPH If traffic was flowing at 70+ then write her one for me! My scoot doesn't slow down for 40 MPH winds!

Godalming, England Those English are such cut-ups!

Palmen Motors So what!?! Owning a car and driving it are 2 different things. Remember Miss Daisy?

Cooper City, Fla. Ah, come on! Y'all can do better than that!

NZ Kiddie Pixie Porn God forbid anyone import Felix The Cat down there.

John Leopold Yo! John! Take a deep breath and don't breathe til you get what you want. That'll show'em!

California Street Gangs But can you predict when and where Mexico will reclaim Mexafornia for its own?

Pennies for Dimes "Teller Training" must not translate into Mexican.

Dateline Saudi Arabia And yet, our politicians think they can understand these people enough to negotiate with them. Pure hubris!

Kent Hendrix A sword member of the church.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 05/12/13 at 11:11 AM
63mph- unless there is a law about the left lane being for passing only that ticket is total bs. If the ticket for speeding at 70 (they do here) then that means there is an 7mph window to be considered within the law on that road.

cutting- they are nuts over there, and getting worse by the day apparently.

pixies and elves- Really? Come on, that is going way to far. Those are imaginary creatures, not humans or children.

blow me- great to hear how responsive that politician is to the area constituents.

jail food- eat or starve, the choice is yours.

criminal gangs- gangs and animals follow the same set of rules, the strongest rule. Challenges are fights to the death and territory is jealously guarded.

The Church of Latter Day Samuris!!!!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 05/12/13 at 11:04 PM
Oh Patty, Say it isn't so. Tell us all who love your wit and sense of humor that you are not part of the problem. It is always keep right except to pass unless traffic conditions otherwise warrant (like a traffic jam). There is no slow, fast or cruising lanes. If you are not overtaking another vehicle on your right you should be there. This is also an international standard except of course where one drives on the left side of the road.
Posted by Billy on 05/14/13 at 04:16 AM
Perhaps this will help, Maryland,(where I grew up).And Virginia(where I live now) Both have very straight forward laws in this regard stated on signs along the major highways, "SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT". Your speed ONLY matters in relation to the speed of the overtaking vehicle. If the overtaking vehicle is moving faster than you, you are required to give way by moving to the right. EVEN IF you are doing the speed limit and the overtaking vehicle is speeding!
Posted by Tyrusguy on 05/14/13 at 08:32 AM
Oh no Billy, I totally agree that slower traffic should move over, I just think a warning would have been sufficient considering that the lady was going very close to speed limit. Also, keep in mind that sometimes there are left turns off the highway too. Good explanation Ty.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 05/16/13 at 10:01 PM
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