News of the Weird: November 25, 2015

Categories:  News & Politics    Opinion    New of the Weird
Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 at 12:15 PM
News of the Weird: November 25, 2015 by Chuck Shepherd
Contributed photo

The Patient Will See You Now

Professional patients now help train would-be doctors, especially in the most delicate and dreaded of exams (gynecological and prostate), where a becalming technique improves outcomes. One “teaching associate” of Eastern Virginia Medical School told The Washington Post in September that the helpers act as “enthusiastic surgical dummies” to 65 medical colleges, guiding rookie fingers through the trainer’s own private parts. The prostate associate might helpfully caution, “No need for speed here,” especially since he will be bending over for as many as nine probings a day. A gynecological teaching associate, mentoring the nervous speculum-wielder, might wittily congratulate pupils on having a front-row sight line the “GTA” will never witness: an up-close view of her own cervix. [Washington Post, 9-3-2015]

Latest Religious Messages

American Sharia: (1) U.S. parents have a right to home-school their kids, but are subject to varying degrees of regulation, with Texas the most lax, and one El Paso family will have a day before the Texas Supreme Court after one of its kids was reported declining to study because education was useless since he was waiting to be “raptured” (as described in the Bible’s Book of Revelation). (2) U.S. courts increasingly allow customers to sign away state and federal rights by agreeing to contracts providing private arbitration for disputes rather than access to courts even if the contract explicitly requires only religious resolutions rather than secular, constitutional ones. A November New York Times investigation examined contracts ranging from Scientology’s requirement that fraud claims by members be resolved only by Scientologists to various consumer issues from home repairs to real estate sales limited to dockets of Christian clerics. [Associated Press via Dallas Morning News, 11-1-2015] [New York Times, 11-3-2015]

Leading Economic Indicators

First-World Spending: According to estimates released by the National Retail Federation in September, 157 million Americans “planned to celebrate” Halloween, spending a total of $6.9 billion, of which $2.5 billion would be on costumes, including $350 million dressing up family pets. [National Retail Federation press release, 9-23-2015]

At a ceremony in Kabul in November, prominent Afghan developer Khalilullah Frozi signed a $95 million contract to build an 8,800-unit township and was, according to a New York Times dispatch, toasted for his role in the country’s economic rebirth. However, at nightfall, Frozi headed back to prison to resume his 15-year sentence for defrauding Kabul Bank of nearly $1 billion in depositors’ money. Because he remains one of Afghanistan’s elite, arrangements were made for him to work days but spend his nights in prison (in comfortable quarters). Said one Western official, laconically, “(I)f you have stolen enough money, you can get away with it.” [New York Times, 11-4-2015]

Cultural Diversity

Before the terrorist murders gripped Paris, President Francois Hollande and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had been trying to arrange a formal dinner during Rouhani’s planned visit to the city to celebrate the two countries’ role in the recent accord limiting Iran’s nuclear development. France’s RTL radio news reported that “dinner” is apparently more vexing than “nuclear weaponry”  as Rouhani demanded an alcohol-free meal, which was nixed by Hollande, who insisted that the French never dine without wine. [Washington Times, 11-11-2015]

Compelling Explanations

Skeptics feared it was just a matter of time, anyway, until the “political correctness” movement turned its attention to dignity for thieves. San Francisco’s SFGate.com reported in November on a discussion in an upscale neighborhood about whether someone committing petty, nonviolent theft should be referred to by the “offensive” term “criminal” (rather than as, for example, “the person who stole my bicycle,” since “criminal” implies a harsher level of evil and fails to acknowledge factors that might have caused momentary desperation by a person in severe need). [SFGate.com, 11-2-2015]

Reginald Gildersleeve, 55 and free on bond with an extensive rap sheet, was waving a gun as he threatened a clerk and tried to rob a store in Chicago on Halloween night  until a customer (licensed to carry) drew his own gun and, with multiple shots, killed Gildersleeve. Closer inspection revealed Gildersleeve’s weapon to be merely a paintball gun, leading the deceased man’s stepson to complain later that “Some people (the licensed shooter) don’t actually know how to use guns. They go to firing ranges, but it’s not the same ... as a bullet going into flesh. ... Someone’s got to answer for that.” [USA Today, 11-2-2015]

The Continuing Crisis

U.S. and European entrepreneurs offer extreme “games” in which liability-waiving “players” volunteer for hours of kidnapping, pain and death threats, but the cult-like, under-the-radar “McKamey Manor” in Southern California (said to have a waiting list of 27,000) is notable for the starkness of its threats of brutality  and the absence of any “safe word” with which a suddenly reluctant player can beg off. (Only Russ McKamey himself decides if a player has had enough.) The “product” is “100 percent fear,” he said. “We’re good at it,” he told London’s The Guardian in an October dispatch from San Diego (whose reporter overheard one of McKamey’s thugs promise, “I’m going to tear that girl (player) apart” and “No one is leaving with eyebrows today”). [The Guardian, 10-30-2015]

In October, the student newspaper of Toronto’s Ryerson University reported a mighty scandal that upset the student body: The school’s executive offices’ restrooms routinely supply two-ply toilet paper while most other campus buildings offer only one-ply. Following up on the hard-hitting Ryerson Eyeopener’s expose, The Canadian Press noted that the universities of Guelph, Ottawa and Toronto comfort all toilet-users’ bottoms the same. Ryerson officials defensively noted that older plumbing in many of their buildings cannot handle two-ply paper. [Inside Higher Education, 11-2-2015]

Erie Reader: Vol. 6, No. 19
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CURRENT

100 years of drama, music, laughter, and family. 

A longtime local car-parts sculptor gets Ripley’s acclaim for his delightfully out-there art.

A call to save nursing jobs and chemotherapy infusion services at the Regional Cancer Center. 

Stop by VegFest 2016 and discover the fun in a plant-based lifestyle.

On Sept. 25, Mary Halvorson brings her current duo project, Secret Keeper, featuring bassist Stephan Crump, to Erie’s PACA.

IN THIS ISSUE

100 years of drama, music, laughter, and family. 

A longtime local car-parts sculptor gets Ripley’s acclaim for his delightfully out-there art.

A call to save nursing jobs and chemotherapy infusion services at the Regional Cancer Center. 

Stop by VegFest 2016 and discover the fun in a plant-based lifestyle.

On Sept. 25, Mary Halvorson brings her current duo project, Secret Keeper, featuring bassist Stephan Crump, to Erie’s PACA.

The Colony Plaza parking lot will transform into an outdoor shopping and socializing event called Parking Lot Palooza.

This is the fourth album for Cleveland punk quartet Signals Midwest, and it might be their best yet. 

Fairness and justice take center stage in our commonwealth.

Handy emojis for Erie texting.

Audit looming? No problem. Just use accounting ‘adjustments,’ like the Department of the Army.