Tuesday, May 2, 2017

WEIRD NEWS

Weird Lawsuit of the Week

We doubt they marked it as a favorite on iTunes, but a judge and nine lawyers in a New Zealand courtroom did listen politely to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" as a copyright trial involving the country's ruling political party began this week. It seems Slim Shady's music publishers are suing New Zealand's conservative National Party, alleging music from a 2014 election campaign ad ripped off the rapper's acclaimed 2002 song. Things don't look good for the party as they were dumb enough to name the song "Eminem Esque," and Eminem's music publishers, Eight Mile Style, have an email from an agent for the National Party that reads, "If everyone thinks it's Eminem, and it's listed as Eminem Esque, how can we be confident that Eminem doesn't say we're ripping him off?" Meanwhile, the party says it purchased the track through an Australian-based supplier and doesn't believe it has infringed anyone's copyright. In 2014, when the case was filed, lawmaker Steven Joyce said he thought the use of the song was "pretty legal," a response that was widely ridiculed, including by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight: "Pretty legal? That's not a concept that exists. That's like being sort-of dead." (Newser)

MIT Graduate Doesn't Use His Smarts - Ends in Tragedy

If you get a degree in engineering from MIT, don't you almost have a duty to not do dumb stuff? Apparently not. Tragedy came to 24-year-old Nicolas Paggi, a recent MIT grad who fell to his death while climbing on the campus' famed engineering dome. He graduated in 2015 with degrees in engineering, computer science, and physics, but fell off the Great Dome of the Barker Engineering Lab while with friends. The dome is known as a site for stunts such as students hanging banners, but Paggi's family says he and his friends that night had no grand plans other than hanging out. His brother tells the whole story saying, "It was raining, and he slipped." Paggi worked as a software engineer at a firm based in Lexington, Mass., but he remained a consultant in the school's D-Lab, which develops technology for poor nations. The director of a tech group who worked with him there echoes a common sentiment: Paggi was a brilliant programmer. "Nick was well-read, had a great sense of humor, and I always enjoyed having conversations with him discussing the future of technology and artificial intelligence." Paggi's family has begun a crowd-funding campaign to establish a scholarship in his honor at his high school in Toms River, NJ. (WBZ-TV)

Hey - How About You Behave on the Plane!

Is it me or does it seem like a lot of people are having a tough time behaving on planes these days? The latest example involves Delta Air Lines and an April 21 video in which two female passengers are fighting after getting off a flight in Atlanta. A Delta pilot enters the fray, grabs one of the women by the elbow, and then appears to smack her! While Delta did suspend the unnamed pilot while it "completed a thorough investigation," in the end they're standing by their man. In a statement Delta said: "The pilot has since been returned to work as our investigation found that his actions deescalated an altercation between passengers." Neither woman wanted to press charges. What? Neither wanted to sue? You know there's a whole lot more going on than anyone will admit. (New York Times)

John Waters Summer Camp! Yep!

Tired of kids getting to have all the fun during the summer? Well guess what film-loving baby boomers? Movie director John Waters is hosting a summer camp for grown-ups in Connecticut. While the first installment, slated for the third weekend in September, is already sold out (there were 300 slots), there is talk of a second week being added. The $499 price of admission gets you access to a one-man show by Waters, a Q&A, a marathon viewing of his films including Bloody Mary Bingo, Hairspray Karaoke, and more! Guests also receive an autographed copy of his book Make Trouble, which costs less than $10 on Amazon and may be some consolation for the fact that alcohol is not included. Waters, who just turned 71, is known for such cult classics as Pink Flamingos, Cecil B. Demented, and Polyester. (Dazed)

11-Year-Old Girl Horribly Bullied - BY TEACHERS!

The bullying epidemic may have hit a new low. Two Opelousas, Louisiana teachers have been arrested and accused of harassing an 11-year-old girl. The victim's first teacher, Ann Marie Shelvin, was removed from the school after the student's mother got the school board as well as local authorities involved. Police say Shelvin threatened to fail three other students if they didn't fight the victim, and reportedly told her to "go and kill herself." Tracy Gallow, a former teacher's aide who took over Shelvin's classroom, continued harassing the victim in retaliation for reporting Shelvin's abuse. On separate occasions, Gallow was caught on school surveillance cameras pushing the victim onto bleachers, and police say she admitted doing so. The girl's mother first went to police in February and was referred to the school board, then returned to police in April to complain that the abuse was continuing. The teachers face charges including intimidation, malfeasance in office, and interference in school operations. The school board called the reports disturbing and said it plans to investigate. (KLFY News)

Apparently It's Not Cool to Be Billy Ray Cyrus Anymore

Guess it's just not cool to be "Billy Ray Cyrus" any more. The famed country singer is legally changing his name to just "Cyrus." He told Rolling Stone "After August 25th, I will be the artist formerly known as Billy Ray. I'm just going by my last name Cyrus." He explained, "I always went by Cyrus, and I begged Mercury Records to call me Cyrus in the beginning because that's what I was comfortable with. I'm going to the hospital where I was born in Bellefonte, Kentucky, and legally changing my name." Cyrus' biggest hit, like his daughter Miley, will turn 25 this year. He celebrated the anniversary of "Achy Breaky Heart" by visiting Alabama to record a new version of the hit with songwriter Don Van Tress and members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. He says his future recordings will be released under the name Cyrus. He also plans to release a Spanglish version of "Achy Breaky Heart" and an EDM version with Bootsy Collins. Because apparently there are STILL yet a few droplets of water that haven't been sucked from that God-forsaken well! (Rolling Stone)

What the What?

Two Muslim men were beaten to death by a mob in northeastern India over allegations that they stole a cow. Apparently this is a regular thing now and happening far too often over there. Senior Assam state police official Mukesh Aggarwal said police have filed a criminal complaint and are trying to identify the members of the mob, but no arrests have been made so far. The mob accused the two men of trying to steal cows and began beating them with sticks and rocks. Police in the district said that by the time they reached the scene the men were already in critical condition, and were later pronounced dead at a hospital. Over the last two years, vigilante groups, who call themselves cow protectors, have become active in small towns and cities across India. (Metro)

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