The Weirdest Stories I Read This Week

I’ve read some pretty wild things this week.

I’m not talking about dumb crimes, UFOs, anatomical activities, or cats doing human things. These stories, I think, have been out of left field, but also the most thought-provoking. They completely blew my mind.

Take a field trip through Bizzaroland with me.

The 50 Shades of Grey Economy … via Amy Sterling Casil

The steamy sex novel about a college girl who falls for a domineering, sexually adventurous billionaire has sparked an economic bubble in the U.S.

Universal and Focus paid $5 million for the right to make movies of the book, and are currently undergoing fantasy casting, with hot gentlemen Ian Somerhalder, Henry Cavill (The Tudors), Alexander Skarsgard, Matt Bomer, and top candidate Ryan Gosling all in the running to portray Christian Grey.

Yes, that did say Ryan Gosling, ladies.

You could also go on a trip to Seattle to enjoy a spicy "Grey" vacation at one of two competing Seattle hotels. Packages include "tastefully wrapped" erotic toys, helicopter rides, and bottles of Christian Grey's favorite champagne.

The vintage, 1999 Bollinger La Grande Annee Rose (pink champagne) has nearly doubled in price and increased its wine search ranking over 1,300 places since March.

Author E.L. James and her agent are considering licensing lingerie/sleepwear, apparel, fragrances, beauty products, bedding, home furnishings, and stationery, jewelry and "adult products."

Outside of formal licensing agreements, however, Shades of Grey is selling more than books and movie rights. Sign-ups for "sugar daddy" dating site Seeking Arrangement have exploded, with nearly 200,000 women advertising they are looking for a "Christian Grey" type of arrangement. NYC-based erotic store Babeland has seen a 30% increase in sales since January, almost all for bondage supplies and equipment. Shades of Grey is growing the economy, one bottle of pink champagne, one sugar daddy, and one whip at a time.

Hypotheses on the Zombie Apocalypse (Is it a Government Conspiracy?) … via Kia Zhang

Frankly, I am quite relieved to know that the CDC is officially on top of the Zombie Apocalypse. However, I’m less reassured by tales of similar events that followed the hapless Miami Munchies incident, which spread from Miami to Atlanta, Switzerland, and China: all accounts point to frenzied aggressors in an altered state of unreasonable hunger, with a penchant for self-disrobing, taking gruesome chunks out of loved ones and strangers alike, while remarkably unresponsive to police prodding, tasering, and gunfiring.

My question is: if these do not qualify as evidence for a zombie epidemic, then what exactly is the cause behind such bizarre behavior? I venture three hypotheses –

H0) Null hypothesis, it must be the zombie apocalypse.

Ha1) Alternative hypothesis, it must be the new stuff the cool kids are smoking, MDPV (3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone), AKA “not your mama’s Epsom salts.”

Ha2) Alternative hypothesis, it must be Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome, because a Harvard professor diagnosed it so.

Ha3) Alternative hypothesis, it must be a mass media conspiracy, created by the pharmaceutical corporations of America, in association with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), so as to advance the spread of racism.

The following is a timeline of six cannibalistic occurrences in the month of June:

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June 2– Karl Laventure, 21, ran out naked onto the Atlanta Golf Center in Alpharetta, Georgia, warning the police, while wiping pepper spray from his eyes, that “I’ll eat you. I don’t want to eat you but I will,” said Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Jake Smith, who tasered him eleven times before finally restraining him. According to police, Laventure admitted to smoking a joint sprinkled with “bath salts” and continued attacking officers from his hospital bed.

June 4– Luka Magnotta, 30, government name Eric Clinton Kirk Newman, but he called himselfthe “Canadian Cannibal.” This Toronto porn star severed the head of his suspected lover, university student Jun Li (33), and mailed it to Montreal, where it was discovered by police. Magnotta, who had previously dazzled the press in 2007 for dating the high-profile Canadian murderer Karla Homolka, posted several YouTube videos while on the run from law enforcement, vividly displaying his assault of Li, and tantalizing his pursuers with regular status updates to several of his 70 Facebook aliases. He was captured in an internet café in Berlin on June 4th.

June 6– Carl Jacquneaux, 43, attacked his neighbor Todd Credeur, in Lafayette Parish of Louisianna, over an undefined neighborhood dispute. Jacquneaux allegedly bit off a piece of Credeur’s face while high on “bath salts.”

June 8- Pamela McCarthy, 35, ran naked onto the streets of Munnsville, New York while beating her 3-year-old son. She was tasered to death by state troopers, who accused her of abusing “bath salts.”

June 16– Giovanni Martinez, 21, bit and spat blood onto his nurse in the Downtown Naples Hospital of Naples, Florida, after being arrested for drunk driving. He attacked the hospital staff and threatened to eat their faces like “that Miami guy.”

June 20– Charles Baker, 26, paid an unwelcome visit to his girlfriend’s apartment, where he stripped off all of his clothing, and began throwing furniture around. Jeffrey Blake, 48, another resident in the apartment, attempted to stop Baker, which resulted in a large chunk of his bicep being chewed off.

Dr. Steven C. Schlozman, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and lecturer at the Harvard School of Education, wrote a fake medical journal article on the zombie epidemic, which he calls Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome, or ANSD. He explains, in the prevailing neuroscientific fashion of the day, that ANSD occurs when the frontal lobe, responsible for executive functioning, is infected, leading the patient to be somewhat impulsive, because he or she becomes entirely driven by the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex, those reptilian centers of irrational rage, which we inherited from our evolutionary predecessors. This problem is compounded by cerebellar and basal ganglia dysfunction, and mirror neurons which make us believe we are zombies when we watch zombie movies.

The Germans Lost Euro 2012 Because They Didn’t Sing the German Anthem Loud Enough? Seriously

Spain may have won the Euro 2012 tournament with a 4-0 drubbing of Italy in the championship, but some wonder if it would have been a more evenly-matched game had Germany played the Spanish giants in the final. Germany — a powerhouse team that many thought the favorites in Euro 2012 — lost in a massive 2-1 upset to Italy in the tournament’s semi-final game on Thursday.

The German team in that Italy game looked slow and uninspired and were easily over-whelmed by a more fervent Italy squad.

According to the Associated Press, Wolfsburg and former Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath wrote in a weekend newspaper column that ''those who saw how fervently the Italians sang, even screamed, their anthem could sense the will with which they would approach the following 95 minutes.''

Conservative lawmaker Hans-Peter Uhl was quoted Monday as telling the Bild daily it was ''shameful that not all our players sing along with our anthem.''

Half of the team didn’t sing the anthem when cameras panned them before the game.

Cue the Nazi punch lines.

But it’s a reasonable question to ask. The modern German psyche has the horrors of World War II ingrained in them, but when — after two generations — will the Germans move on?

Germany strives to avoid recreating any bit of the social or cultural perspectives that helped fuel the Nazi Holocaust on the continent. Even in the current euro crisis, some have said that Germany’s huge emphasis on austerity is an attempt to avoid the hyper-inflation that led to Hitler’s rise to power in an economically depressed 1930s Germany.

Brad Pitt’s Mom Hates Obama.. … via Sarah Swong

Which is Ironic, because Brad Pitt loves Obama.

The Ocean’s 11 star is one of Hollywood’s most vocal supporters of LGBT rights; he starred in a pro-same-sex marriage Prop 8 play alongside George Clooney in March. Brad Pitt also openly supports Obama this year. 

What would the rest of the Ocean’s 11 cast say about gay marriage and this year’s election?

Matt Damon would agree with her. Recently, Damon blamed Obama for education policy that is “testing kids and ... tying teachers’ salaries to how kids are performing on tests,” the high unemployment rate, and lack of economic reform on Wall Street. 

"You know, a one-term president with some balls who actually got stuff done would have been, in the long-run of the country, much better,” he told Elle Magazine in December.

George Clooney, just threw the president a $15 million party in May.

Don Cheadle is actively supporting Obama in 201, but still wants him to be bolder. 

Andy Garcia is a Republican. He recently attended a fundraiser for Mayor Carlos Giménez of Miami-Dade county and opposes abortion, though he doesn’t think policy should impose his religious beliefs on others. 

Julia Roberts is pro-Obama. In early June, she attended a celebrity fundraiser in LA for his re-election alongside singer Cher, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, actress Reese Witherspoon, and Glee star Jane Lynch. 

Liberal bias in Hollywood? I don't know.