News of the Weird M532, June 18, 2017

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Chuck Shepherd

Jun 18, 2017, 9:46:07 AM6/18/17
WEIRDNUZ.M532 (News of the Weird, June 18, 2017)
by Chuck Shepherd

Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Lead Story                   

* Advertisers Are Coming For You:  The New York Times
reported in May that the "sophistication" of Google's and
Facebook's ability to identify potential customers of advertisements
is "capable of targeting ads . . . so narrow that they can pinpoint,
say, Idaho residents in long distance relationships who are
contemplating buying a minivan."  Facebook's ad manager told the
Times that such a description matches 3,100 people (out of Idaho's
1.655 million).  [New York Times, 5-14-2017]

Government in Action!

* Harry Kraemer, 76, owner of Sparkles Cleaning Service in
London, Ontario, was alone in his SUV recently and decided to
light up a cigarette based on his 60-year habit, but was spotted by
"Smoke-Free Ontario" officers and cited for three violations.  Since
his vehicle was registered to his business, and the windows were
up, the cab constituted a "closed" "workspace."  It took a long legal
fight, but in May, the Provincial Offences Court cut Kraemer a
break and dismissed the tickets.  [National Post, 5-8-2017]

* The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) finally prevailed in
federal appeals court in February, in its Endangered Species Act
designation that wetlands in Louisiana's St. Tammany Parish
should be preserved as a safe habitat for the dusky gopher frog.
Landowners barred from developing the land pointed out that no
such frogs have been spotted there for "decades" but have been
seen elsewhere in the state and in Mississippi.  FWS concluded
that St. Tammany area could be a place that dusky gopher frogs
might thrive if they decided to return.  [The Daily Caller, 2-14-

The Job of the Researcher
* From the abstract of Teresa Lloro-Bidart, in an April academic
paper, comparing behaviors of native-California western gray
squirrels and disruptive (to residents' trash cans) eastern fox
squirrels: "I juxtapose feminist posthumanist theories and feminist
food study scholarship to demonstrate how eastern fox squirrels are
subjected to gendered, racialized, and speciesist thinking in the
popular news media as a result of their feeding/eating practices
[and] their unique and unfixed spatial arrangements in the greater
Los Angeles region . . .."  The case "presents a unique opportunity
to question and re-theorize the ontological given of 'otherness' that
manifests in part through a politics" in which "animal food
choices" "stand in" for "compliance and resistance" to the
"dominant forces in [human] culture." [New York Observer, 5-12-

The Continuing Crisis

* Japan is in constant conflict over whether to become more
militarily robust (concerned increasingly with North Korea) even
though its constitution requires a low profile (only "self- defense").
When the country's defense minister recently suggested placing
females into combat roles, constitutional law professor Shigeaki
Iijima strongly objected, initiating the possibility that Japan's
enemies might have bombs capable of blowing women's uniforms
off, exposing their bodies.  The ridicule was swift.  Wrote one, "I
saw something like that in Dragon Ball" (from the popular comic
book and TV productions of Japanese anime).  [Japan Today, 5-26-
* Took It Too Far:  Already, trendy restaurants have offered
customers dining experiences amidst roaming cats (and in one bold
experiment, owls), but the art house San Francisco Dungeon has
planned a two-day (July 1st and 8th) experimental "Rat Caf‚" for
those who feel their coffee or tea is better sipped if rats (from the
local rat rescue) scurry about the room.  Pastries are included for
the $49.99 price, but the rats will be removed before the food
comes.  (Sponsors promise at least 15 minutes of "rat interaction,"
and the price includes admission to the Dungeon.)  [,

Bright Ideas

* Organizers of northern Germany's Wacken Open Air Festival
(billed as the world's biggest metal music extravaganza) expect the
75,000 attendees to drink so much beer that they have built a
nearly-four-mile-long pipeline to carry 105,000 gallons to on-site
taps.  (Otherwise, keg-delivery trucks would likely muck up the
grounds.)  Some pipes were buried specifically for the August 3rd-
5th festival, but others had been used by local farmers for ordinary
irrigation. [Deutsche Welle (Bonn), 5-23-2017]

Smooth Reactions

* (1) Robert Ahorner, 57, apparently just to "win" an argument
with his wife, who was dissatisfied with their sex life, left the room
with his 9mm semi-automatic and fired four shots at his penis.  (As
he said later, "If I'm not using it, I might as well shoot it off.")  Of
course, he missed, and police in Elkhorn, Wis., said no laws were
violated.  (2) In a lawsuit filed against an allegedly retaliating
former lover, Columbia University School of Public Health
professor Mady Hornig said her jilted boss tried repeatedly to harm
her professional standing, even twice calling her into his office,
dropping his trousers, and asking her professional opinion of the
lesion on his buttock.  [GazetteExtra (Janesville), 5-15-2017] [New
York Post, 5-20-2017]

Fine Points of the Law

* Convicted murderer John Modie, 59, remains locked up (on an
18-to-life sentence), but his several-hours-long 2016 escape
attempt from Hocking Correctional Institution wound up
unpunishable--because of a "technicality."  In May 2017, the judge,
lamenting the inflexible law, found Modie not guilty of the escape
because prosecutors had, despite numerous opportunities, failed to
identify the county in which Hocking Correctional Institution is
located and thus did not "prove" that element of the crime (i.e., that
the court in Logan, Ohio, had jurisdiction of the case).  (Note to
prosecutors:  The county was "Hocking").  [Athens Messenger via
WOAB-TV (Athens), 5-24-2017]

Bluffs Called

* (1) In May, Charles Nichols III, 33, facing charges in Cheatham
County, Tenn., of sex with a minor, originally was tagged with a
$50,000 bail--until he told Judge Phillip Maxie to perform a sex act
upon himself and dared Maxie to increase the bail.  That led to a
new bond of $1 million, then after further insubordination, $10
million, and so on until the final bail ordered was $14 million.  (2)
Jose Chacon, 39, was arrested in Riviera Beach, Fla., in May after
allegedly shooting, fatally, a 41-year-old acquaintance who had
laughed at Chacon's first shot attempt (in which the gun failed to
fire) and taunted Chacon to try again.  The second trigger-pull
worked.  [WKRN-TV (Nashville), 5-19-2017] [Palm Beach Post,

Drugs--Is There Anything They Can't Do?

* (1) Sheriffs' deputies in Dade City, Fla., nearly effortlessly
arrested Timothy Brazell, 19, for trespassing in May.  Brazell (high
on methamphetamine, he said) attempted to commandeer a
stranger's car by hot-wiring it (but only by uselessly connecting the
wires of a voltage meter--and even though the key was already in
the car).  According to the owner, the door lock was jammed, and
Brazell could not figure out how to open it.  (2) On May 19th, Carl
Webb and his wife left a nighttime barbecue festival in downtown
Memphis and headed home.  They drove 14 miles on an Interstate
highway before a police officer pulled them over to ask if Webb
knew there was a body on his trunk.  The man was clinging to the
lip of the trunk but was still unconscious (from drinking) and had
to be jarred awakened. [WFLA-TV (Tampa), 5-7-2017] [WHBQ-
TV (Memphis), 5-19-2017]

People With Issues

* In May, Douglas Goldsberry, 45, was charged in the Omaha,
Neb., neighborhood of Elkhorn with paying prostitutes to do his
erotic bidding ("75 times," he used them, according to a police
report)--to come strip, baring their breasts while standing on the
front porch of his neighbors across the street while Goldsberry
watched and masturbated. [Omaha World Herald, 5-13-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (December 2013)

* Slick Talker:  A young woman, accosted by a robber on
Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill in October [2013], told the man
she was a low-paid intern--but an intern for the National Security
Agency and that within minutes of robbing her, the man would be
tracked down by all-seeing, all-knowing NSA surveillance.  Said
she, later (reported the Washington Examiner), the man just
"looked at me and ran away [empty-handed]."  [Washington
Examiner, 10-15-2013]

     Thanks This Week to Caroline Lawler and to the News of
the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

                     ****, weirdnews at earthlink dot net, and P. O.
Box 18737, Tampa FL 33629

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