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Friday, April 26, 2013

Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird

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Electric Chastity Belt

To counter the now-well-publicized culture of rape in India, three engineers in Chennai recently said that they are about to market women's anti-rape lingerie, which will provide both a stun gun-sized blast of electricity against an aggressor and a messaging system sending the GPS location to family members and the police about an attack in progress. After the wearer engages a switch, anyone touching the fitted garment will, said one developer, get "the shock of his life" (even though the garment's skin side would be insulated).

Ironies

So, For a While There, It Actually Worked: The maker of the "all-natural herbal extract" Super Power (which promises "powerful erections") issued a voluntary recall in January after "independent" lab tests revealed that the supplement mistakenly contained a small amount of sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. Such unregulated dietary supplements cannot legally contain drugs without Food and Drug Administration approval. (Also, in March, the Federal Trade Commission ordered three retailers, including Neiman Marcus, to re-label some fake-fur garments because they, mistakenly or intentionally, contained real fur.)

Latest Human Rights

Police in Knoxville, Tenn., confiscated five venomous snakes during a February traffic stop, and Pastor Jamie Coots of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name (of Middlesboro, Ky.) is demanding them back. Coots said he possesses them openly during his services in Kentucky, but Knoxville police said they are illegal to own in Tennessee. Said Coots, "If I don't have them, then I'm not obeying the word of God."

Fine Points of the Law

U.S. companies large and small legally deduct the expenses of doing business from their gross profits before paying income tax, but purveyors of marijuana (in states where possession is legal and where prescription marijuana is dispensed) cannot deduct those expenses and thus wind up paying a much higher federal income tax than other businesses. "Section 280E" of the tax code (enacted in 1982 to trap illegal drug traffickers into tax violations) has not been changed to reflect state legalizations. The effect is that legal dispensaries in essence wind up paying tax on their gross receipts, while all other legal businesses are taxed only on their net receipts. (The federal government, of course, continues to regard marijuana as illegal.)

Life Imitates Art

Ferris Bueller caused lots of mischief on his cinematic "Day Off" in the 1986 movie starring Matthew Broderick, but he never mooned a wedding party from an adjacent hotel window by pressing his nude buttocks, and then his genitals, against the glass in full view of astonished guests. In March, though, a young Matthew Broderick look-alike, Samuel Dengel, 20, was arrested in Charleston, S.C., and charged with the crime. (Another Bueller-like touch was Dengel's tattoo reading, in Latin, "By the power of truth, I while living, have conquered the universe.")

Perspective

Transportation Security Administration rules protect passengers against previously employed terrorist strategies, such as shoe bombs, but as congressional testimony has noted over the past several years, the perimeter security at airports is shockingly weak.

"For all the money and attention that in-airport screening gets," wrote slate.com in February, "the back doors to airports are, comparatively, wide open—and people go through them all the time." Perimeter breaches in recent years astonished officials at major airports in Charlotte, N.C.; Philadelphia; Atlanta; and New York City (mentioned in News of the Weird last year, recounting how a dripping-wet jet skier who broke down next to JFK airport climbed the perimeter fence and made his way past its brand-new "detection" system, and was inside the Delta terminal before he was finally noticed).

Readers' Choice

In March, the makers of Lululemon black Luon yoga pants issued a recall, expressing concern that they had been made with an unacceptable level of sheerness. However, a company official initially told customers that "the only way you can actually test" for the too-sheer pants would be for a customer to bend over before a store associate. (The company changed the policy a few days later.)

© 2013 CHUCK SHEPHERD