News of the Weird – 12/22/10

SHEPHERD’S NEWS OF THE WEIRD

By Chuck Shepherd

News of the Over-privileged

(1) Cell phones and GPS devices have led national park visitors to do “stupid” things, confident that they will be saved from themselves, a Grand Teton National Park spokesperson told The New York Times in August — such as the lost, cold hiker who called rangers to ask for hot chocolate or the visitors flummoxed by cold weather who wanted a personal escort back to their campsite. In August, a party of hikers in Illinois called for (and received) three separate rescues in 24 hours. (2) The Milwaukee teachers’ union filed an equal-rights lawsuit in August challenging health-insurance cutbacks by the budget-challenged Milwaukee Public Schools. The union was denouncing the elimination of Viagra as discrimination against men.

The Weirdo-American Community

In November, at a burglary scene near Seneca, S.C., deputies found Noah Smith, 31, naked and apparently drugged, perhaps on hallucinogenic mushrooms, and with a string-like object protruding from his buttocks. Smith was X-rayed, revealing (according to the deputies’ report, which made its way to the Internet) that the object in his rectum was a “mouse.” However, several days later, the sheriff’s office clarified that the object was a “computer mouse.” Smith told emergency room personnel that he had no memory of the incident.

Armed and Clumsy (all-new!)

People who accidentally shot themselves recently: Daniel McDaniels, 31, Sarasota, Fla., “trying to ward off a skunk” (October). Sanford Rothman, 63, Boulder, Colo., while sleepwalking (October). Reserve police officer Kenneth Shannon, 68, Gary, Ind., in the hand while loading his gun (and the bullet went on to hit his partner) (October). Sheriff’s Deputy Miguel Rojas, Crestview, Fla., in the leg while firearms training (July). Darrell Elam, 52, Peshastin, Wash., in the buttocks as he holstered his gun (August). A 48-year-old woman, Clover, S.C., in the jaw while trying to kill a rat (September). A 25-year-old man, Juneau, Alaska, in the head after jokingly telling friends that there is “one way” to find out whether a gun is loaded or not (October 2009).

Recurring Themes

Ironies: (1) The man caught in November in Brainerd, Minn., with a computer drive containing 75,000 pornographic videos, including child pornography, was Steven Augustinack, 52, who had one month earlier been named by the Brainerd Jaycees as Citizen of the Year. (2) The man reported to police in Louisville, Ky., in November as “indecent(ly) expos(ed)” sitting in his car at a traffic light, masturbating in view of a woman in the next car, was Charles Lickteig II, 48, who is supervisor of a LaGrange, Ky., correctional facility’s sex-offender treatment program.

A News of the Weird Classic (August 2005)

In July (2005), film director David Lynch announced that he had formed a foundation to raise $7 billion to fund 8,000 Transcendental Meditation practitioners to bring world peace by creating a “unified field” of stress-free brain waves over the Earth (which TM’ers accomplish, as they –without irony- describe it, by detaching their minds from the “thinking process”). Training expenses have increased dramatically in 12 years, for TM maven Dr. John Hagelin only needed $4.2 million in 1993 to bring 4,000 TM’ers to Washington, D.C., to reduce crime for eight weeks, and TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi asked for only $1 billion in 2002 to train 40,000 meditators to calm the world after Sept. 11.

COPYRIGHT 2010 CHUCK SHEPHERD

DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL UCLICK

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