News of the Weird M529, May 28, 2017

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Chuck Shepherd

May 28, 2017, 8:34:24 AM5/28/17
WEIRDNUZ.M529 (News of the Weird, May 28, 2017)
by Chuck Shepherd

Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Lead Story            

* Breaking News (Rare Fetish!):  Jordan Haskins, 26, was
sentenced to probation and sex counseling in May after pleading
guilty to eight charges arising from two auto accidents in Saginaw,
Mich.  Prosecutors said Haskins described "cranking," in which he
would remove a vehicle's spark-plug wires to make it "run rough,"
which supposedly improves his chances for a self-service happy
ending.  Haskins's lawyer added, "[Cranking] is something I don't
think we understand as attorneys."  [, 5-9-2017]

The Entrepreneurial Spirit!

* Le Plat Sal ("the dirty plate") restaurant in the Marais district of
Paris features specialties actually containing dirt--or as Chef
Solange Gregoire calls it, "the mud of the earth that caresses our
toes . . . the sand kissed by the sun . . . rocks."  Mused an TV host
in April, "What's left?  People are already eating snout-to-tail,
leaves-to-roots . . .."  Gregoire extolled her 4-star dishes, including
pastry crust a la Mont Lachat rock and a Boue Ragout stew
simmered with silt from the River Seine.  (NPR noted that the
founder of The Shake Shack was "quietly" planning a new
American chain, "Rock in Roll.")  [NPR, 4-1-2017]

* Goldman Sachs analyst Noah Poponak's 98-page paper (leaked to
Business Insider in April) touted the wealth obtainable by
capturing the platinum reputed to be in asteroids.  The costs to
mine the stone (rockets, launch expenses, etc.) might have dropped
recently to about $3 billion--a trifle next to the $50 billion worth of
platinum Poponak said a single asteroid might contain.  (On the
other hand, experts point out, such abundance of platinum might
crash the worldwide price.) [Business Insider, 4-6-2017]

* The Twisted Ranch restaurant in the Soulard neighborhood of
St. Louis, Mo., saw crowds swell in March after it revamped its
menu with more than two dozen items made with ranch dressing
(including ranch-infused Bloody Marys).  As one satisfied visitor
put it, "Ranch is everyone's guilty pleasure." [St. Louis
Post-Dispatch, 3-29-2017]

Unclear on the Concept

* Yale University graduate students (well, at least eight of them),
claiming "union" status, demonstrated in front of the Yale
president's home in April demanding better benefits (beyond the
annual free tuition, $30,000 stipends, and free health care).  Some
of the students characterized their action as an "indefinite fast"
while others called it a "hunger strike." However, a pamphlet
associated with the unionizing made it clear that strikers could go
eat any time they got hungry.  [Chronicle of Higher Education, 5-9-

Smooth Reactions

* (1) Police in Cleveland, Ohio, are searching for the woman
whose patience ran out on April 14th awaiting her young son's
slow haircut at Allstate Barber College.  She pulled out a pistol,
took aim at the barber, and warned:  "I got two clips!  I'll pop you."
(She allowed him to finish up--more purposefully, obviously--and
left without further incident.)  (2) Barbara Lowery, 24, was arrested
for disorderly conduct in Cullman, Ala., in May after police spotted
her standing on a car, stomping out the windshield and smashing
the sun roof.  She said it was a boyfriend's car, that she thought he
was cheating on her, and that she had spent the previous night
"thinking" about what to do, "pray[ing] about it and stuff."
(However, she said, "I did it anyway.")  [WOIO-TV (Cleveland), 4-
28-2017] [ (Birmingham), 5-2-2017]

New World Order
* The Drone Economy:  (1) A Netherlands startup company
announced in March its readiness to release drones capable of
tracking freshly-deposited dog poop (via an infrared glow from the
pile) and, eventually, be guided (perhaps via GPS and Artificial
Intelligence) to scoop up the deposits and carry them away.  (2)
Potentially, Unemployed Bees:  Researcher-inventor Eijiro Miyako
announced in the journal Chem in March that he had created a
drone that pollinates flowers (though requiring human guidance
until GPS and AI can be enabled).  Miyako's adhesive gel lightly
brushes pollen grains, collecting just enough to touch down
successfully onto another flower to pollinate it. [The Register
(London), 3-29-2017] [CNN, 3-9-2017]

* Social critics and futurists suggest that the next great market for
computerization (already underway) will be selling "human
improvement" (alas, perhaps merely helping already-successful
people to even greater heights).  Some sports teams are
experimenting with "transcranial direct current stimulation" as a
way to put athletes' brains into constant alert, and KQED Radio
reported in May that about a third of the San Francisco Giants
players have donned weak-current headsets that cover the motor
cortex at the top of the head.  The team's sports scientist (Bonus
name:  Geoff Head!) said players performed slightly better on some
drills after the stimulation.  (One the other hand, at press time, the
Giants were still next-to-last in the National League West.) 
[KQED, 5-8-2017]

The Aristocrats!

* Recent alarming headlines:   "UK woman who urinated on
Trump golf course loses case" (Associated Press [London] via U.S.
News & World Report, 4-5-2017)  "Fish thief on unicycle busted
by DNR [Department of Natural Resources]"  ( [Battle
Creek, Mich.], 5-5-2017) And, from the Northwest Florida Daily
News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.), all on the same day (5-16-2017):
(1) "Man throws fork at woman in fight over dog poop"  (2)
"Senior citizen punches husband for taking Lord's name in vain"
(3) "Two people busted for creating fake football league, lawmen
say"  (4) "Man denies defecating in parking lot despite officer
witnessing deed"  [via Orlando Sentinel, 5-17-2017]


* Clearing the Conscience:  (1) In February, a 52-year-old man
who, arrested for DUI and taken to a police station in Germany's
Lower Saxony state, wound up spontaneously confessing to a
1991 cold-case murder in Bonn.  Police confirmed that, after re-
opening the files, they found details matching the man's account,
though the man himself was "not quite clear" why he had
confessed.  (2) A game warden in Titus County, Tex., reported in
December arresting a man for possessing a shotgun (the man's third
arrest as a convicted felon with a firearm).  The warden had spotted
the weapon only because the man "out of the blue" approached him
and asked if he wanted to inspect his hunting license (which, it
turns out, was in order).  [The Local (Berlin), 3-2-2017]
[Beaumont Business Journal, 12-16-2016]

Weirdo-American Community

* A 22-year-old Los Angeles makeup artist who calls himself
Vinny Ohh has, according to his several TV and YouTube
appearances and much social media presence, transformed himself
into a "genderless," extra-terrestrial-looking person via around 110
bodily procedures (so far), costing him at least $50,000.  He says
his appearance is merely an "all-in" representation of how he feels
inside.  (The "genderless" Vinny has yet to specify a pronoun
preference.)  [Metro News (London), 3-6-2017]


* The impending retirement from public life of Britain's Prince
Philip, announced in May, has likely quashed any slight chance he
will visit the Imanourane people on Tanna (in the South Pacific
island nation of Vanuatu)--tragic, of course, because Tanna's
"Chief Jack" and his followers continue to believe Philip
descended from their own spiritual ancestors and has thus
dominated their thoughts for the last seven decades.  In fact, when
Tanna was in the path of Cyclone Donna in May 2017, the
Imanourane were quickly reminded of Philip's continuing "powers."
(Philip has never visited, but Tannans have long prayed over an
autographed photograph he sent years ago.)  [Reuters, 5-6-2017] 
A News of the Weird Classic (October 2013)

* The story of Kopi Luwak coffee has long been a News of the
Weird staple, begun in 1993 with the first reports that a super-
premium market existed for coffee beans digested (and excreted)
by certain Asian civet cats, collected, washed, and brewed.  In June
[2013], as news broke that civets were being mistreated--captured
and caged solely for their bean-adulterating utility--the American
Chemical Society was called on for ideas how to assure that the
$227/lb. coffee beans had, indeed, been expelled from genuine
Asian civets.  Hence, "gas chromatography and mass
spectrometry" tests were finally developed to assure drinkers, at
$80 a cup in California, that they were sipping the real thing. 
[USA Today, 9-11-2013]

     Thanks This Week to Jon Maxwell 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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