News of the Weird (September 22, 2013)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M337, September 22, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

First Amendment Blues: In the public libraries of Seattle (as in most public libraries), patrons are not allowed to eat or sleep (or even appear to be sleeping) or be shirtless or barefoot or have bad body odor or talk too loudly--because other patrons might be disturbed. However, in Seattle, as the Post-Intelligencer reported in September, librarians do permit patrons to watch hard-core pornography on public computers, without apparent restriction, no matter who (adult or child) is walking by or sitting inches away at the next screen (although librarians politely ask porn-watchers to consider their neighbors). Said a library spokesperson, “[P]atrons have a right to view constitutionally protected material no matter where they are in the building, and the Library does not censor . . ..” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9-8-2013]

Cultural Diversity

Japan and Korea seem to be the birthplaces in the quest for youthful and beautiful skin, with the latest “elixir” (as usual, based on traditional, centuries-old beliefs) being snail mucus--applied by specially-bred live snails that slither across customers’ faces. The Clinical Salon in central Tokyo sells the 60-minute Celebrity Escargot Course session for the equivalent of about $250 and even convinced a London Daily Telegraph reporter to try one in July. (Previously, News of the Weird has informed readers of Asian nightingale-feces facials and live-fish pedicures.) [Daily Telegraph, 7-13-2013]

Unclear on the Concept: Among people earnestly devoted to palmistry (the foretelling of the future by “expert” examination of the inner surface of the hand), a few in Japan have resorted to what seems like cheating: altering their palm lines with cosmetic surgery. According to a July Daily Beast dispatch from Tokyo, Dr. Takaaki Matsuoka is a leading practitioner, preferring an electric scalpel over laser surgery in that the latter more often eventually heals over, obviously defeating the purpose. He must be careful to add or move only the lines requested by the patient (e.g., “marriage” line, “romance” line, “money-luck” line, “financial” success line). [, 7-12-2013]

Latest Religious Messages

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Iran’s INSA news service reported in January that officials in Shiraz had acquired a finger-amputation machine to perhaps streamline the gruesome punishment often meted out to convicted thieves. (A masked enforcer turns a guillotine-like wheel to slice off the finger in the manner of a rotary saw.) Iran is already known for its reliance on extreme Islamic Sharia, which prescribes amputations, public lashings, and death by stoning, and Middle East commentators believe the government will now step up its amputating of fingers, even for the crime of adultery. [Daily Telegraph (London), 1-28-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: Smiting Skeptics: Measles, despite being highly contagious, was virtually eradicated in America until a small number of skeptics, using now-discredited “research,” tied childhood vaccinations with the rise of autism, and now the disease is returning. About half the members of the Eagle Mountain International Church near Dallas have declined to vaccinate their children, and as of late August, at least 20 church families have experienced the disease. The head pastor denied that he preaches against the immunizations (although he did tell NPR, cryptically, “[T]he [medical] facts are facts, but then we know the truth. That always overcomes facts.”). [NPR, 9-1-2013]

Outraged Jewish leaders complain periodically about Mormons who, in the name of their church, posthumously baptize deceased Jews (even Holocaust victims)--beneficently, of course, to help them qualify for heaven. In 2012, church officials promised to stop, but reports still surface that not all Mormons got the memo. Thus inspired, a “religious” order called the Satanic Temple conducted a July “pink mass” over the Meridian, Miss., grave of the mother of the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, Rev. Fred Phelps Jr.--posthumously “turning” her gay. (Westboro infamously stages small, hate-saturated demonstrations denouncing homosexuals and American tolerance.) Ten days later, Meridian prosecutors charged a Satanic Temple official with misdemeanor desecration of a grave. [Huffington Post, 7-24-2013] [New York Times, 3-2-2012]

Questionable Judgments

Australia’s chief diplomat in Taipei, Taiwan, said in August that he was suing local veterinarian Yang Dong-sheng for fraud because Dr. Yang backed out of euthanizing the diplomat Kevin Magee’s sick, 10-year-old dog. Instead, Dr. Yang “rescued” the dog, who is now thriving in a several-rescued-dog kennel he maintains after he patiently treated their serious wounds and illnesses. Magee’s lawsuit claims, in essence, that his family vet recommended euthanization, that he had paid for euthanization, and that “Benji” should have been put down. Dr. Yang said the fee Magee paid was for “medical care” and not necessarily euthanization. (Benji, frolicking outside when a reporter visited, was not available for comment.) [Taipei Times, 8-17-2013]

In August, a prosecutor in Houston, Tex., filed aggravated rape charges against a 10-year-old girl (“Ashley”) who had been arrested in June and held for four days in a juvenile detention center. A neighbor had seen Ashley touching a 4-year-old boy “in his private area,” according to a KRIV-TV report--in other words, apparently playing the time-honored, rite-of-passage game of “doctor.” [KRIV-TV (Houston), 8-21-2013]

Squirrels Gone Wild

PREVIOUSLY: Smithsonian magazine detailed in August the exhaustive measures that military officials have taken to finally block relentless Richardson’s ground squirrels from tunneling underneath Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and interfering with the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles on 24/7 standby. For example, officials had to use trial-and-error to plant underground screens deeper into the ground than the squirrels cared to dig. A day after that report was published, a bus driver in Gothenburg, Sweden, crashed into a tree (with six passengers requiring hospital treatment) after swerving to avoid a squirrel in the road. On the same day, a New York Times reporter disclosed that his own news monitoring for 2013 revealed that squirrels have caused 50 power outages in the U.S., in 24 states so far this year after invading electric company substations. [Smithsonian blog, 8-30-2013] [The Local (Stockholm), 9-1-2013] [New York Times, 8-31-2013]

Progressive Governments

PREVIOUSLY: In July, the Czech Republic approved Lukas Novy’s official government ID photo even though he was wearing a kitchen colander on his head. Novy had successfully explained that his religion required it since he is a “Pastafarian”--a member Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (a prank religion pointing out that all deities’ power and wisdom comes from followers’ faith rather than from tangible proof of their existence). [Daily Mail (London), 8-1-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: In August, a judge in Voronezh, Russia, accepted for trial Dmitry Argarkov’s lawsuit against Tinkoff Credit Systems for violating a credit-card contract. Tinkoff had mailed Argarkov its standard fine-print contract, but Argarkov computer-scanned it, changed pro-Tinkoff provisions into pro-Argarkov terms, and signed and returned it, and Tinkoff accepted it without re-reading. At least at this stage of the lawsuit, the judge appeared to say that Argarkov had bested Tinkoff at its own game of oppressive, fine-print mumbo-jumbo. [Kommersant (Moscow) via Daily Telegraph (London), 8-8-2013]

The Pervo-American Community

PREVIOUSLY: He Had A Different Dream: Barely two months before the 50-year commemoration of the “March on Washington,” Park Police arrested Christopher H. Cleveland and charged him with shooting “upskirt” photos of unsuspecting women lounging on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. According to the officers, Cleveland (who said he was unaware that the photos were illegal) had a computer in his car that contained at least 150 PowerPoint slide presentations of at least 30 images each of his multitude of female photo victims. [Washington Post, 9-5-2013]

A News of the Weird Classic (July 2010)

While the morbidly obese struggle with their health (and society's scorn), those who eroticize massive weight gain are capturing increased attention, according to a July [2010] ABC News report. Commercial and personal websites give full-bellied "gainers," such as New Jerseyan Donna Simpson, and their admiring "feeders" the opportunity to express themselves. Simpson became a 602-lb. media sensation in March [2010], when she began offering pay-per-view video of herself to an audience of horny feeders. Wrote another gainer-blogger, "Lately, I've been infatuated with the physics of my belly . . . how it moves with me." When he leans to one side, he wrote, "I feel a roll form around my love handle." One sex researcher called it a "metaphor of arousal." In the end, though, as a medical school professor put it, "The fetish may be in our heads, but the plaque is going to be in [their] arteries." [ABC News, 7-1-10]

Thanks This Week to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
     Posted By: Chuck - Sun Sep 22, 2013

Library Porn And yet a little nip-slip and the country is thrown into a tizzy and a new word is coined in its honor.

Snail Facial Chuck, you've been excited about these things several times now. The weird thing here is that they're charging/paying $250 for it instead of getting punked* at the mall.

Australia’s Diplomat If the coward didn't have the stones to hold & comfort Benji on his journey to "The Farm" then he's got no cause to bitch.

Texas Prosecutor Now here's a candidate for euthanasia & I'll 'comfort' him on his journey.

*Punk: A punk originally was a prisoner who was the recipient of male on male sexual intercourse.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 09/22/13 at 10:22 AM
library- So its ok to watch naked people fornicate as long as the watcher has shoes and shirt on.

palm cheaters- Instead of rewriting history they rewrite the future.

small pox- If it was the parents dying that would be Darwinism, but the kids are getting it. That is just criminal.

Westboro- Good, I hope it really upsets those idiots at the crazy church.

euthanasia- The previous owner is a twit, offer him the shot if he thinks someone must die.

10 yr old- Kids can not be kids anymore. What happened to giving them a stern talking to and maybe a swat on the butt.

squirrels- Its the Squirrel Menace!

fine print- Caught at their own game, good!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/22/13 at 03:28 PM
10 year old with a 4 year old? That's not "playing doctor". That's creepy. I don't know if they've addressed that in the best way or not, but I don't think that we should dismiss this incident as "kids being kids". Two 10 year olds would be a different story.
Posted by Innocent Bystander on 09/22/13 at 03:47 PM
The palmistry story reminds me of a Terry Pratchett one-off of "retroactive phrenology" involving a mallet.
Posted by crc on 09/23/13 at 05:36 PM
Lukas Novy: good joke, but since it's been approved, they should arrest him if he's ever found without his colander where his passport is required. After all, turnabout...
Posted by Richard Bos on 09/24/13 at 11:35 AM
Palm Altering CRC, I love Terry Pratchett and immediately thought the same thing.

Pastafarian In Small Gods (1992) Terry Pratchett wrote an entire novel based on the idea that the power of all gods grows and shrinks in proportion to the number of worshippers. Personally, I like the goddess Anoia.

The minor goddess of Things That Stick in Drawers, Anoia is praised by rattling a drawer and crying "How can it close on the damned thing but not open with it? Who bought this? Do we ever use it?" As she says, sooner or later every curse is a prayer. She also eats corkscrews and is responsible for Things Down The Backs of Sofas, and is considering moving into stuck zips.

'Brare Porn Just don't get it.
Posted by Billy on 09/30/13 at 10:51 AM
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