blind_html [Fwd: News of the Weird, August 9, 2009]

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 09 Aug 2009 15:21:35 -0600

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        News of the Weird, August 9, 2009
Date:   Sun, 9 Aug 2009 15:22:51 -0500
From:   Travis <baconlard@xxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To:       politics-current-events@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To:     baconlard@xxxxxxxxx
References:     <5d064ac40908090958s4b25e406ve4994cb5e7f97267@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

From: *Chuck Shepherd*
Date: Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 11:58 AM
Subject: News of the Weird, August 9, 2009
To: newsoftheweird@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:newsoftheweird@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

WEIRDNUZ.M122 (News of the Weird, August 9, 2009)
by Chuck Shepherd

Copyright 2009 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Lead Story

* A Whiff of Injustice:  William Dillon was released in November
after 26 years in prison when a DNA test ruled him out as the
murderer.  He was the second Florida man recently freed by DNA
after being positively identified at trial by a star police dog, Harass
II, whose trainer Bill Preston had sworn could amazingly track
scents through water and after months of site contamination.  In
June, the Innocence Project of Florida said as many as 60 other
convicts might have been "identified" by Harass II.  According to
an Orlando Sentinel report, only one judge (who's now retired)
thought to actually test Harass II's ability, in a courtroom, and he
wrote that the dog failed badly. [Orlando Sentinel, 6-14-09]

Great Art!

* "If I had portrayed Hitler in his underpants," explained Belgian
artist Jan Bucquoy at the opening of his museum in July in
Brussels, "there would not have been a war."  Bucquoy has
displayed, in glass cases, the drawers of prominent Belgians but
also exhibits "Warhol-type" drawings of underwear-clad celebrities
as he imagines them (like Margaret Thatcher).  As Bucquoy told
Reuters, "If you are scared of someone, just imagine them in their
underpants.  The hierarchy will fall . . .."  Whose knickers does the
artist most covet?  France's First Lady Carla Bruni's would be nice,
he said, but even better, the Pope's. [Reuters, 7-17-09]

* Another Belgian artist, Jacques Charlier, was rejected by the
judges of the Venice Bienelle gala when he submitted his poster-
sized sketches of other artists' genitals idiosyncratically drawn to
suggest whose belong to whom.  For example, Charlier's
representation of the artist Christo (famous for "wrapping" in cloth
panels and ribbons such locations as New York City's Central
Park) depicts genitals wrapped up to resemble a parcel.  The artists
are not named, and guessing their identities from the sketches is
part of the show, with prizes for guests who can name 20 of the
100 pieces. [Sydney Morning Herald, 6-9-09]

* British Broadcasting Corporation announced in May that it
would "revive an art form" by dispatching a poet to the front lines
in Afghanistan to embed with UK troops.  BBC selected prominent
poet Simon Armitage to mark "a new era in war poetry for the 21st
century." [BBC News, 5-24-09]

Government In Action!

* Small Town Management:  (1) After haggling for a while at its
June 16th meeting, the county board in Lincoln, Neb., finally
voted, 2-1, to reimburse Shum Darwin for his pants, which went
missing at the jail after Darwin was arrested.  The city's liability
was clear; the debate was about whether the pants were worth $12
or $10.  (2) The city council of Brooksville, Fla., by 4-1, adopted
an appearance policy in June that requires all municipal employees
to wear underwear while on the clock and to make sure it is not
visible. [Journal Star (Lincoln), 6-16-09] [St. Petersburg Times, 6-

* Small-Town Politics:  In June, the city council of Indian Trail
Town, N.C., voted, 4-1, to declare Mayor John Quinn's comments
about the council in the town newsletter "whiny" and to ban his
remarks from subsequent issues and from the town website.  The
new policy also prohibits Mayor Quinn from talking to any
municipal employee unless the town manager is at his side, and
requires Quinn to get express permission to enter town hall except
for places open to the general public. [St. Petersburg Times-
Charlotte Observer, 7-1-09]

* An investigation by the UK TV channel More4 revealed in June
that local UK Councils spend the equivalent of $80 million a year
translating their documents into dozens of languages in the cause
of "fairness," even obscure languages that few residents speak, and
even given evidence that, in dozens of cases, no one has ever tried
to access the documents.  Translations were found in Albanian,
Bengali, Kurdish, Somali, Urdu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Sierra Leonean
Creole, Karen (eastern Burma), and Ga (Ghana), among others.
[Daily Telegraph, 6-13-09]

Urban Legends Come to Life

* In the American version (which actually happened at least once,
in Bucks County, Pa., in the 1980s), cynical cops use a photocopier
"connected" by a crude wire to the suspect, and a sheet of "He's
Lying" paper in the output tray, as a "lie detector" test.  In July, the
Tel Aviv, Israel, Police Department used a "memory machine" to
change the mind of a murder suspect who swore he could not
remember anything about the night of the crime.  Hooked up to an
electrocardiogram machine, the perp was "informed" that certain
squiggles on the paper proved that he did indeed remember and
must be hiding details.  Andrei Polokhin, 47, then confessed and
was charged with fatally stabbing his neighbor. [Israel National
News, 7-13-09]

Creme de la Weird

* David Shayler, 43, used to be a British MI5 intelligence officer
but apparently went downhill after a controversy with superiors
and today lives as Delores Kent, in full female dress, and believes
"in [his] heart" that he is the Messiah who will save mankind from
its upcoming 2012 doomsday by turning billions of people on to
the virtues of hemp, which is "perfectly balanced . . . full of omega-
3, -6, and -9 to help muscles grow and repair."  Shayler/Kent also
believes that Americans staged September 11th and that Jesus
Christ was, like him, a transvestite. [Daily Mail, 7-17-09]

Least Competent People

* (1) Least Competent Cops:  Officers in Forrest City, Ark.,
arrested Lawrence Harden Jr. in June for robbing a liquor store.
They cuffed him, shackled him, and head-stuffed him into their
SUV, but he got out and ran away.  Police dogs found Harden an
hour later, and he was re-cuffed, re-shackled, and re-head-stuffed
into a squad car.  He got out again and ran away (but was caught
again and finally jailed).  (2) Least Competent Priest: In a soon-to-
be-released memoir, retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland of
Milwaukee, Wis., claims that, at first, he had no idea that priests'
sexual abuse of young boys was a crime.  According to the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Weakland writes, "We all considered
sexual abuse of minors as [only] a moral evil." [St. Petersburg
Times-AP, 6-6-09] [Journal Sentinel, 5-15-09]

Recurring Themes

* News of the Weird's favorite animal was called "heroic" by
Argentine researchers in a July issue of the journal Paleontology.
Had it not been for high-performance South American scarab dung
beetles, they wrote, gargantuan prehistoric mammals would have
choked vast areas of the continent knee-deep in manure.  The
researchers found that, by burying tennis-ball-sized "food supplies"
for their young, the beetles also improved surface sanitation by
leaving less dung available for "disease-carrying flies." [National
Geographic, 7-16-09]

The New District of Calamity

* For years, News of the Weird has touted the magnificently
dysfunctional municipal government of Washington, D.C., as the
"District of Calamity," but improvements have been made, and the
Nation's Capital has been overtaken by the disaster that is Detroit.
(1) A Detroit News investigation revealed in June that the police
department has routinely downgraded obvious "murder" cases, to
make the city seem less unsafe.  (2)  A Detroit Public Schools
auditor reported in June that the system has been issuing regular
paychecks to 257 nonexistent employees.  (3) City Councilwoman
Monica Conyers, the wife of a U.S. Congressman, pleaded guilty in
June to accepting a cash bribe for a council vote.  (4) A May
Detroit Free Press survey revealed that the population of three large
Detroit jails has mysteriously declined, which it suggested was
because police have simply stopped investigating certain crimes.
[Detroit News, 6-18-09] [Detroit Free Press, 6-24-09] [New York
Times, 6-27-09] [Detroit Free Press, 5-28-09]

A News of the Weird Classic (June 1995)

* In early 1995, Chesapeake, Va., inmate Robert Lee Brock filed a
$5 million lawsuit against Robert Lee Brock--accusing himself of
violating his own religious beliefs and his own civil rights by
getting himself drunk enough to engage in the various crimes that
put him behind bars.  He wrote, "I want to pay myself five million
dollars [for being made to suffer from this breach of rights] but ask
the state to pay it in my behalf since I can't work and am a ward of
the state."  (The lawsuit was eventually dismissed.)  [Austin
American-Statesman-AP, 4-8-95]

   Thanks This Week to Barry Rose and David Gruber, and to
the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

                * * * * *
   Are you ready for News of the Weird / Pro Edition?  Every
Monday at <> and <>. Other handy addresses: WeirdNews at earthlink dot net, <>,
and P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679.

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