Tag Archives: sarcasm

WiGWag: News with a twist | Dec. 17, 2015

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman

It’s expensive to have a uterus in the United States. Currently 40 states, including Wisconsin, impose a tax — either a regular sales or gross receipts tax or a luxury tax — on tampons and other menstrual products. In some states, such taxes are categorized as “sin taxes.”

All lit up 

At a promotional event for the new Star Wars film, Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Maz Kanata in the movie, wore a dress equipped with blinking LED lights. The dress is part of the Made With Code initiative launched by designer Zax Posen and Google to encourage girls to embrace computer science. The dress fits perfectly with the #AskHerMore project, which encourages red carpet reporters to ask actresses questions about more than their gowns and jewelry. 

Potty mouth is the least of their troubles

Two Fox commentators were given two weeks to cool their heels after crossing the network’s line for criticism of President Barack Obama. Fox Business Network’s strategic analyst Ralph Peters was suspended for calling the president a “total pu**y” on the air during a discussion of an Oval Office speech on terrorism. Fox contributor Stacey Dash was suspended for saying Obama “didn’t give a sh*t” about the speech during a morning broadcast. Fox said in a statement the two men “made comments on different programs that were completely inappropriate and unacceptable for our air.”

A green tradition that’s survived Republicans

Wisconsin is ranks No. 5 in the U.S. for love of green-bean casseroles, according to the Del Monte Green Bean Index. Interestingly, Wisconsin was the only state in the northern half of the country to make the top five. Ranking above Wisconsin, in order, are Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Florida. Del Monte estimates 30 million green-bean casseroles were served on Thanksgiving tables this year. Now we’re wondering how much Beano was sold in the state during the holiday.

What art thou smoking, Romeo?

He’s considered Western literature’s premier genius and maybe researchers have discovered at least part of his inspiration. A team from a South African university was loaned 24 “tobacco pipe” fragments from Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon property. Eight tested positive for cannabis residue and two had remnants of Peruvian cocaine.

Leo doesn’t bear it

There’s a rumor circulating that the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio is raped by a bear in the critically acclaimed film The Revenant. Twentieth Century Fox, which is releasing the film, has made public statements denying that such a scene exists.

Going pro-life

Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman, D, has proposed a way of curbing the high rate of gun violence in her state: regulate gun purchases as tightly as abortion services. Newman pre-filed a bill that would make it just as difficult to buy a weapon as to get an abortion — including imposing a 72-hour waiting period for prospective gun buyers and requiring them to receive information about alternatives to guns, like “peaceful and nonviolent conflict resolution.”

Boasting burglar

A Pennsylvania man is facing charges of burglary and theft after allegedly breaking into a taxicab company where he once worked. Investigators followed an obvious clue — the burglar was seen on security video wearing a sweatshirt stenciled with his name. The shirt and the stolen goods were found in his home.

Lighting sparks

A councilwoman in Roselle Park, New Jersey, walked out of a meeting and resigned her post after learning that the city would call a “tree lighting” ceremony a “Christmas tree lighting” ceremony. Charlene Storey later rescinded her resignation but she skipped the ceremony, which she said cut “non-Christians out of the loop.”

‘See my new gun?’

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says a man accidentally shot his friend with a semi-automatic handgun at a gun show in Phoenix. At the Crossroads of the West Gun Show, where loaded firearms are prohibited, the shooter was looking at his recent purchase when it discharged.

Oh deer

A Roman Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania removed a Facebook photo of a nun with a 10-point buck she bagged after the post drew criticism from anti-hunting and animal rights activists. The diocese removed the image, complaining that animal rights activists responded with “vulgar comments, using profanity and even an obscene photograph.”

On the books

Students at Newport Middle High School have won a contest that challenged them to find “New Hampshire’s Dumbest Law.” The winning entry was a 40-year-old ban on harvesting seaweed at night. A GOP state representative has filed a bill to repeal it. 

WiGWAG: The one about smoking and guns

SUPERMARKET SCIENCE

In an attempt to shed light on the evolutionary puzzle of what factors result in cooperation among genetically unrelated individuals who meet only once, two German researchers examined a situation well known to everyone: standing in line at the checkout of a supermarket. The researchers planted two guys in line at the market — sometimes to buy only a bottle of water and sometimes to buy only a bottle of beer. The researchers found many people were willing to allow the single-purchase customers go first. However, they were more helpful to the consumers of water than beer. Obviously, the experiment was not conducted in Wisconsin.

Smoke out

New House Speaker Paul Ryan is feeling some angst about the odor of cigarette smoke his predecessor John Boehner left in his new office. Ryan, a health and fitness enthusiast, told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, “You know when you ever go to a hotel room or get a rental car that has been smoked? That’s what this smells like.” He added that he always avoided sitting near the chain-smoking Boehner in meetings. Ryan said his staff is looking into purchasing an ozone machine to detoxify the environment.

Pro-gun rep denies exposing his rod

An elderly couple participating in a citizen lobby day to promote gun control at the Capitol in Madison got a big surprise when they called on state Rep. Michael Schraa, R-Oshkosh. He pulled out his wallet to show them his gun permit and then showed them his piece. Terrified, the couple fled his office and notified security. Shraa later denied handling his gun in the couple’s presence. Shraa is one of the Legislature’s most outspoken pro-gun advocates.

Is that a pistol in your pocket, or …

Speaking of publicly touting rods, anti-gun student activists have hit on a novel way to protest a new Texas law permitting open carry on college campuses. About 3,000 students are organizing an event called “Campus (DILDO) Carry. “You’re carrying a gun to class? Yeah, well I’m carrying a HUGE DILDO,” organizer Jessica Jin, a student of the University of Texas at Austin, wrote on Facebook. Unlike guns, dildos are taboo on campus. Gun rights supporters have condemned the rally, which is scheduled for next year, when the new gun law goes into effect. 

Trigger happy

We seem to have a gun thing going in this edition of WigWAG. An Indiana pleasure hunter was shot by her dog — named Trigger — after she left her 12-gauge shotgun on the ground in a fish and wildlife area. The woman had been out shooting waterfowl and was taking a rest when Trigger stepped on her weapon and depressed the trigger, which had not been secured with the safety.

More about guns — a lot more

South Carolina officials arrested a man in possession of more than 7,000 stolen guns and up to 500 stolen chainsaws. The 51-year-old man was being served a subpoena on charges of trafficking opium and heroin when deputies discovered his arsenal. We couldn’t find an explanation for the chainsaws, but we can’t imagine there’s a good one.

Civic selfies

Moving from guns to shots, the ACLU recently won a federal challenge to Indiana’s law banning selfies at polling places. The ACLU argued the measure violated free-speech protections and restricted citizens who simply wanted to show their civic pride. The judge agreed. The case, however, didn’t address the question of selfie sticks in the voting booth.

Shooting your nuts

Speaking of odd selfie trends, nutscaping is rapidly becoming a thing. Nutscaping involves men dropping trou and photographing beautiful landscapes from behind and under their testicles, which hang over the resulting panoramic shot like a pair of hairy moons. Whip on over to nutscapes.com for a handy guide to this inexplicable phenom.

Frankly

How frank are vegetarian franks? Not very, according to a study by Clear Labs, a food analytics business. The study found that 10 percent of hot dogs labeled vegetarian contained meat. It also found human DNA in 2 percent of its hot dog samples — and two-thirds of the vegetarian samples. We’re hoping this was a deeply flawed study.

Undercover and outfitted

A Maryland police officer went undercover to catch motorists using their cellphones while driving. He was dressed as a homeless man but held a sign that said, “I am not homeless. I am a Montgomery County police officer looking for cellphone texting violations.” The department issued 56 citations to obviously distracted drivers.

The witch, warlock and restraining order

A witch in Salem, Massachusetts, won a protective order against a warlock she says has harassed her for years on the Internet and over the phone. The self-proclaimed witch also says the self-proclaimed warlock mocked her on Facebook in a dispute that stemmed from a failed business partnership. Both own occult shops.

WiGWag: Wagging about Donald Trump, Kim Davis, Glenn Grothman and more

Fox fix

Donald Trump’s “boycott” of Fox News lasted less than a week — not quite Gandhian in proportion. After Fox canceled an on-air appearance, Trump tweeted on Sept. 23 that the network “has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won’t be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future.” But he was back on the cable network in six days, telling Bill O’Reilly, “You’re always fair.” 

Now he’s an action figure

Speaking of Donald Trump, a company has created an action figure of the bombastic tycoon, complete with toupee. It even talks. “I think he’ll dig it,” said Emil Vicale, owner of Herobuilders.com. “It’s huuuuuge.” 

Thou shalt not …

WiG wants to remind Kim Davis and the Liberty Counsel of that bit in the Ten Commandments about not lying. Davis is the Kentucky clerk who, citing religious beliefs, has refused to issue marriage licenses to gays, failing in her job and violating the U.S. Constitution. The Liberty Counsel is her legal representation. At a recent gathering of Christian right voters in Washington, D.C., LC attorney Mat Staver displayed a photo of what he alleged were more than 100,000 people who gathered in a soccer stadium in Peru to pray for Davis. It turns out that the photo was taken more than a year earlier, during a five-day “Jesus Loves You” convention. Later, after several statements refusing to acknowledge the misinformation, Staver called his use of the photograph an “honest mistake.” Maybe Davis’ adulteries and four marriages were honest mistakes, too. And don’t get us started on her “meeting” with the pope.

What a ‘guy’ …

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin played on the GOP attack team that grilled Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards during a House hearing on Sept. 29. Grothman took a “what’s in it for me” approach and informed Richards that “as a guy” he doesn’t need to go to Planned Parenthood and has plenty of options. Richards informed the guy that each year Planned Parenthood’s 22 health centers in Wisconsin serve 65,000 people, many of them lacking lots of options.

Odd couple

Conservative GOP state Rep. Joel Kleefisch and Democratic state Sen. Lena Taylor of Milwaukee overcame partisanship through sportsmanship. The duo went turkey hunting together early one recent fall morning and posted pictures from the experience on their respective Facebook pages. Taylor bagged a bird.

Fox fix

Donald Trump’s “boycott” of Fox News lasted less than a week — not quite Gandhian in proportion. After Fox canceled an on-air appearance, Trump tweeted on Sept. 23 that the network “has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won’t be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future.” But he was back on the cable network in six days, telling Bill O’Reilly, “You’re always fair.” 

Now he’s an action figure

Speaking of Donald Trump, a company has created an action figure of the bombastic tycoon, complete with toupee. It even talks. “I think he’ll dig it,” said Emil Vicale, owner of Herobuilders.com. “It’s huuuuuge.” 

Costumed sexism

The Representation Project, a feminist watchdog group, is protesting the Halloween costumes the national Party City chain is marketing to girls. The group notes that less than 7 percent of Party City’s costumes marketed to girls are based on occupations. And even those costumes are highly sexualized — like the girl cop costume with a short skirt, black vinyl boots and handcuffs that’s more suggestive of a streetwalker than a police officer walking the streets. Meanwhile, the group had praise for Target and Disney for “reducing gendered marketing to kids.”

The pope and the dope

A publicity stunt featuring a life-size wax figure of Pope Francis appearing to wave from the back of a convertible caused some confusion before the real pontiff showed up in New York City. Officials at Madame Tussauds New York debuted their wax pope by showing off the white-robed figure around Manhattan in a popemobile-like car hours before Francis’ plane arrived. A surprised onlooker called police after mistakenly believing the figure was actually the pope.

A gift from heaven?

Maya Donnelly awoke to what sounded like thunder in the early morning hours, but dismissed it as a typical monsoon storm and went back to sleep. Later that morning, she looked in the carport at her home in Nogales, near the U.S.-Mexico border, and saw pieces of wood on the ground. She found a bulky bundle wrapped in black plastic. Inside was roughly 26 pounds of marijuana that authorities say was worth $10,000 and likely dropped by a drug smuggler’s aircraft. 

Will you take this pizza …?

Memories Pizza, the Indiana restaurant that said it would refuse to cater same-sex weddings, did just that — without even knowing it. Before marrying his partner in Illinois, Robin Trevino, of the sketch comedy group GayCo, drove to Walkerton, Indiana, and picked up pizzas that he and his husband later served to their wedding guests. He captured it all on video, of course.

Burning with fear 

A man with an apparent case of arachnophobia caused a fire at a suburban Detroit gas pump by putting a lighter to what he says was a spider near his fuel door while he was gassing up. A clerk shut off the pump from indoors and called the fire department. The pump was destroyed, but the driver was fine. No word on the spider. 

WiGWAG: News with a twist | Dirty tricks and pretty in pink

Dirty tricks

A campaign worker for a New Hampshire legislative candidate faces a felony charge for sending out a fake news release saying his boss’ opponent dropped out of the race. Carl Gibson said he “probably had one too many beers” before he got to work on the news release. Now he’s charged with a misdemeanor count of distributing a false document and a felony count of voter suppression. Does the GOP know that’s a crime?

Dead or alive?

A Milwaukee man who was pronounced dead after collapsing at his apartment began moving en route to the morgue. Paramedics from the Milwaukee Fire Department said Thomas Sancomb was “cold to the touch and in rigor” and they did not attempt to resuscitate him. A transport team was taking him to the morgue when Sancomb began having “spontaneous respirations” and moving an arm and leg. So he was rushed instead to Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee.

Pretty in pink?

Real men — and women — could wear pink in Wisconsin’s woods if a group of lawmakers gets its way. The Legislature’s sportsmen’s caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators who focus on outdoor issues, is working on a bill that would legalize blaze pink for deer hunters. Sen. Terry Moulton wrote in the Dunn County News that the blaze pink bill is designed to encourage women to become hunters and keep them involved in the sport.

3rd degree in D.C.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker met with dozens of GOP lawmakers at the party headquarters in Washington, D.C., and fielded questions about his background and qualifications to lead the United States of America. Texas Congressman Randy Neugebauer wanted to know about Walker’s failure to complete college. The governor, according to various accounts, said “70 percent of the country is with him,” meaning without college degrees. And that apparently satisfied the inquisitors. 

Crying foul

A resident of Pendleton, Oregon, has requested the city council ban the smell of farts in the community. The city has already banned the smell of marijuana, which becomes legal for recreational users in July.

DIY love

WiGWag apologizes for this tardy announcement but, as they say, never too late to celebrate. May was Masturbation Month. We received notice via LELO, an online “sensual products” store, which issued a “10 Weirdest Facts About Masturbation” news release. One of the 10: While Victorian doctors were famously helping women orgasm to cure hysteria, they also were advising methods to keep boys and men from masturbating. Practices included tying hands to bedposts and putting boys in pajamas that only opened in the back.

Green light

Vienna officials green-lighted new pedestrian traffic signals at 47 crossings to celebrate LGBT Pride month. The signals, instead of the usual single stick man, show couples — a man and a woman, two women or two men. The city planned to remove the lights at the end of June, but has now decided to keep them in place. Munich now plans to follow with 50 signals.

Blame it on the devil

Police chided a Tennessee pastor in December for having sex with another man in a church van. Six months latter, he was arrested for embezzling an estimated $60,000 from the Victory Apostolic Church’s coffers. When asked about the missing money, the Rev. Boyd Watson Holder Jr. told church members, “It’s none of your business.”

Kindler, gentler Congress

What did George W. Bush know with his “compassionate” conservatism? A new study links Congress’ low approval ratings — record low ratings — to a decline in the use of warm, agreeable language, like “cooperate” and “contribute,” but not in the context of campaign donations. The researchers analyzed 124 million words spoken in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1996 and 2014 and approval ratings. Warm, pro-social language was the strongest single predictor of public sentiment.

Mankinis? no more

Officials in Newquay, a seaside resort in England, say crime has fallen since they cracked down on parties with revelers wearing crack-revealing one-piece mankinis. Responding to residents’ complaints about excessive partying among vacationers, police said they clamped down on public drunkenness and the wearing of sling-style swimsuits. The result? Police say crime fell from 1,823 incidents in 2012–13 to 1,624 incidents in 2014–15.

WiGWAG news with a twist, April 23, 2015

At the seashore

Among the seashells, sandcastles and ocean waves at the Jersey Shore last year, beachcombers also sighted a whoopee cushion, a parking meter, human poop, an engagement announcement, a stun gun, a ski pole, a set of vampire teeth, a clay sculpture of the baby Jesus, 563 condoms, some bra padding and 3,200 tampon applicators, locally nicknamed “Jersey beach whistles” for the propensity of children to pick them up and use them that way. More than 315,000 items of such trash were picked up from New Jersey’s coastline in 2014.

Something to sing about?

There is no shortage of beards, camo, hunting and God in “Duck Commander Musical,” the stage version of the hit reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.” The 90-minute Las Vegas show, with Broadway backers and bonafides, features a high-kicking dance number complete with sequined camouflage costumes.

Trimming plan

A bill proposed by Nevada state Sen. Mo Denis has people looking in junk drawers for tape measurers. Denis wants to pass legislation requiring the state to report on obesity and efforts to slim the population. Her bill defines an obese person as a man with a waist size of 40 inches or more or a woman with a waistline of 35 inches or more.

Offensive to whom?

Officials at Clermont Northeastern Middle School in Batavia, Ohio, censored a picture of an eighth-grader who wore a T-shirt on class photo day with the word “FEMINIST.” The word was photoshopped out, because “some people might find it offensive,” said principal Kendra Young. 

No. 69

A Vietnam War vet sought to personalize his Utah license plate with the year he was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. However, the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles denied Arnold Breitenbach’s application for a plate reading “CIB-69” — for “Combat Infrantyman’s Badge” and “1969.” The agency had a problem with “69,” because it has sexual connotations.

A Spotted Cow Speakeasy?

Everybody loves New Glarus’ wide variety of craft beers, but everyone also knows the biggest rule of New Glarus beer: you can’t buy it outside of Wisconsin. So patrons of the Maple Tavern in Maple Grove, Minnesota, should have known something was up when the bar put six barrels of the company’s signature brew, Spotted Cow, on tap — a felony offense. An anonymous tip led police to the Hudson, Wisconsin liquor store where the tavern’s owners bought the beer, and undercover officers confirmed it by walking right up and ordering one. Hopefully the cop left a good tip at least.

Express to space

Yesterday, they had Tang. And today? The space exploration team at Cape Canaveral, Florida, was struggling against bad weather to ship an Italian-made instant coffee espresso maker to an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. ISS resident Samantha Cristoforretti has been going without since November.

A whopper of A wedding

Burger King is paying for the wedding of Joel Burger and Ashley King, who, according to the Springfield, Illinois State Journal-Register, have been known as “Burger-King” since about fifth grade. The couple announced their engagement earlier this spring, posing in a photograph beside a Burger King sign. 

Twisting history

Larry Kramer, you never change. The new (hopefully satirical?) book by the playwright and AIDS activist, “The American People: Volume 1: Search for My Heart,” presents George Washington as a “big queen” and describes Jamestown as a hotbed of gay sex before women arrived. Kramer also asserts that John Wilkes Booth was a gay man who gave Abraham Lincoln’s longtime friend Joshua Speed — a male hustler, according to Kramer — to the president as a “gift.”

Ice cream chugger

Ben & Jerry’s is partnering with New Belgium Brewing to release a beer this fall called “Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale.” Sales will benefit an organization called Protect Our Winters, which helps fight the effects of climate change on mountains. 

‘Like’ this

Ellanora Baidoo doesn’t need to have any facetime with her estranged husband to get a divorce. A New York judge authorized the woman to notify her husband of divorce proceedings through a Facebook message. Baidoo told the court her husband was hard to find, really hard to find — he’s only been in touch with his wife via phone and Facebook since the civil ceremony more than five years ago.

WiGWAG: News with a twist, March 12, 2015

Hollywood harvest

Will consumers be more likely to eat asparagus endorsed by Jessica Alba or kale if promoted by Colin Kaepernick? Partnership for a Healthier America, created in conjunction with first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort, hopes so. The group recently announced a celebrity campaign to promote consumption of fruit and vegetables. The idea is to put as much thought and money into marketing healthy foods as chips and candy.

Docking décor

Ikea recently announced plans to sell home furnishings — desks, lamps and tables — capable of wirelessly charging smartphones, tablets and other electronics. The Swedish company also plans to offer a kit to convert furniture into wireless docking stations so home office workers can get the job done from the Lazy Boy.

Oh O’Reilly

Bill O’Reilly operates under the belief that if he shouts something loud enough, his Fox fanatics will take his word as truth. That doesn’t work with journalists, who have devoted a lot of energy to disproving O’Reilly’s claims to be on the spot and in danger during his correspondent days. Most recently, CNN published a taped telephone from 1977 that reveals O’Reilly was not outside the Florida home where an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald committed suicide. O’Reilly, in his book Killing Kennedy, said he was on a porch when he heard a gunshot from inside the home where George de Mohrenschildt committed suicide. But on the recording, O’Reilly is told of the death and he says he’ll travel to Florida the next day.

Bad bluff

Police in Lincoln, Nebraska, arrested a man for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana allegedly found after he was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving. The report said police found the pot in a plastic sour cream container labeled “Not Weed.” 

Tunneling in Toronto

The discovery of an underground bunker in Toronto set off a social media frenzy. Authorities said the tunnel measured about 2 yards high, 3 yards wide and 10 yards long and contained plywood walls, a sump pump, a generator and a lot of discarded beverage cans. Police set up surveillance to identify the inhabitants and eventually learned that two young men built the tunnel simply because they wanted a hang out. “They started out as goal to make a cool place and that’s what they did,” said police Constable Victor Kwong.

Playing with pistols

Inspired by the punishment of a kid who brought a gun fashioned from a Pop-Tart to school, Nevada Assembly Republicans are backing a bill that would bar schools from barring students from playing with toy firearms on school grounds. Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler is sponsoring AB121, which would forbid schools from punishing students who play with toy guns or pretend to use a firearm. The bill also extends protections to students who wear clothing with images of firearms, use hand gestures to imitate a gun or brandish partially-eaten pastries in the shape of a weapon. Educators could still punish students for eating Pop-Tarts in class.

TOURISM CAM-PAINS

Promotional commercials for urban tourism can be saccharine-sweet at times, but one anonymous Milwaukee blogger has swung the pendulum very far in the other direction. Since March 3, a Tumblr page has been presenting itself as a parody of Visit Milwaukee’s website, posting mean and misleading campaign slogans that alternately mock the tourism site or critique Milwaukee, such as “1st in segregation!” or “Valuing your right to drive drunk over an effective public transportation system since 1958.” Visit Milwaukee has already filed a complaint with Tumblr regarding the use of its logo on the blog, which we know because the blog posted a screencap of the complaint.

CannaCon

Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong was among the celebrities to attend a recent three-day marijuana expo in Seattle. Entrepreneurs debuted a number of new products, including a pot-infused barbecue sauce, hash oil, smoke wipes, facial creams, seeds and munchies. The next expo will be held in Denver in June.

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WiGWAG: News with a twist, Feb. 26, 2015

A 33-year-old Sheboygan alderman has resigned following accusations he was sexually involved with a 15-year-old boy. Ex-Alderman Kevin Matichek admitted to kissing the boy but denied the sex allegations. Matichek is a right-wing Republican whose Facebook page promotes fundamentalist Christianity and suggests affiliation with a far-right extremist group. 

Saved by the dog

The daughter of a 57-year-old Germantown woman is praising a police officer for saving her mother’s life, but the officer is crediting the woman’s dog. Officer Jeff Gonzalez was on patrol when he spotted the black lab running in the snow. Following the pooch, he found the woman passed out in a lawn chair on her porch. The temperature was barely above zero and paramedics think she may have been outside for two hours in a coat and pajamas. Gonzalez called it a “Lassie moment.”

Tied-up teddy

Vermont Teddy Bear sought to cash in on Fifty Shades of Grey merchandising with sales of a limited-edition Christian Grey Bear with silky fur, “smoldering eyes, a suit and satin tie, mask” and mini handcuffs. Department and discount stores also sought to turn interest in S&M into “$ & Money.” Wal-Mart is selling a Fifty Shades of Grey gourmet gift basket containing handcuffs, rope, bubble bath and, yes, Twinings Earl Grey tea. And at the same time the Crucifixion Eggs are arriving for Easter. 

Through with Chew

You’re familiar with the Great American Smokeout — and, if you smoke, we encourage you to participate. But have you heard of the fledgling Great American Spit Out? Quit Now Indiana launched the statewide anti-tobacco campaign to inform people of the dangers of smokeless tobacco. ESPN college basketball analyst Dan Dakich, a former Hoosiers’ player and tobacco chewer, was the campaign’s spokesman.

High on unions

While Wisconsin prepares to eradicate unions, Minnesota is adding them. The state’s new medical marijuana industry now has a union. The United Food and Commercial Workers says it has organized one of the state’s two medical cannabis production facilities. July 1 is the first day medical cannabis can be dispensed in Minnesota.

Elbowing her way 

Utah resident Jamie Jackson submitted an application to Guinness World Records claiming to shatter the record for catching the most bridal bouquets at weddings. Jackson says she’s attended more than 100 weddings over the years and caught 46 bouquets since 1996. The current record is 11. Of course, with lesbian weddings the new norm, look for bouquet tossing to become a sport.

Patronizing in pink

Take notice, Republicans. Britain’s Labour Party put a bright pink bus on the road in support of its “woman to woman” campaign to highlight policies on child care and domestic violence. Critics mocked the campaign and color choice as sexist and patronizing and wondered if Labour would employ a big blue bus to inform men of policies on foreign policy, national security and the economy.

Wiener woes

An iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile crashed into a pole in central Pennsylvania. Officials say the giant hot dog on wheels slid off a road and slammed into a pole near Harrisburg, damaging the front of the 27-foot Wienermobile and snarling local traffic.

Cold case

In what is clearly the best imaginable use of department resources, a South Carolina police department devoted its afternoon to ensnaring a dangerous criminal: Elsa, the fictional snow queen from Disney’s Frozen. The region is experiencing unseasonably cold temperatures and officers saw a recent Facebook post by a Kentucky police department issuing a fake arrest warrant for Elsa as inspiration. They took it to the next level, though, hiring a photographer to document their arrest of a model dressed in-character. Presumably, Elsa not being a person of color, the sheriff apologized profusely upon her arrival at the station and let her go quietly.

Bumper cars

A bizarre surveillance video shows a 92-year-old man crashing into nine other vehicles in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot in Wisconsin. “I can tell you in 23 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Mayville Police Chief Christopher MacNeill said. “His foot got stuck on the accelerator, and from that point, he panicked and lost control of his vehicle.” No one was injured and the elderly man was not cited in the incident, which occurred in less than a minute.

WiGWAG: News with a twist, Feb. 12, 2015

Bieber’s boobs: A New York pastor claims pop singer Justin Bieber is a transgender man who regrets cutting off his breasts. The Rev. James David Manning of the ATLAH Missionary Church in Harlem made the claims in a YouTube video, saying: “These young girls … can be led to have operations like Justin Bieber. They can think the best choice in life is to cut off their breasts. By the time they reach the age of 20 years old, they look and say, ‘I wish I had never cut off my breasts … . I wish I had never cut off my penis.’” Manning has previously alleged that Vladimir Putin will out Barack Obama as gay and that Starbucks flavors coffee with the semen of sodomites because it’s so tasty.

‘Frozen’ sing-along: The head of a private Quaker school in Providence, Rhode Island, dismissed class in advance of a blizzard via a music video — an adaptation of “Let It Go” from Frozen. Sing along: “School is closed, school is closed, ‘cause it snowed so much last night. School is closed, school is closed. So stay at home and sit tight.”

Speak about what? A former porn producer turned Christian anti-porn activist was arrested for the second time since December for alleged sexual abuse of a minor. Donny Pauling, 41, faces nine new charges related to a second victim. Since leaving the porn industry eight years ago, Pauling maintains a website containing videos of inspirational speeches he has given, along with a page where you can book him to speak to “your church (or youth group/men’s group/women’s group, etc.).”

Hoppy meals: A woman agreed to leave a McDonald’s in Beaver Dam after a customer complained about the baby kangaroo she carried into the restaurant in an infant’s car seat. Diana Moyer said she takes her 8-month-old kangaroo everywhere, including to the movies and church. She said the kangaroo is a therapy animal for which she has a doctor’s approval. Moyer lives on a farm near Columbus and has a collection of animals, including four additional kangaroos, sheep, goats, emu, deer, horses and chickens.

Driving dentistry: Well, you’ve probably been driving along and seen the motorist in the next lane picking something. But you’ve probably never looked over and seen a trucker pulling out a tooth. That’s exactly what caused a tractor-trailer to smash into a tree and closed a highway for 11 hours. The crash report said, “He had the tooth in his shirt pocket as proof.”

Bieber’s boobs: A New York pastor claims pop singer Justin Bieber is transgender and regrets cutting off his breasts. The Rev. James David Manning of the ATLAH Missionary Church in Harlem made the claims in a YouTube video, saying: “These young girls … can be led to have operations like Justin Bieber. They can think the best choice in life is to cut off their breasts. By the time they reach the age of 20 years old, they look and say, ‘I wish I had never cut off my breasts … . I wish I had never cut off my penis.’” Manning has previously alleged that Vladimir Putin will out Barack Obama as gay and that Starbucks flavors coffee with the semen of sodomites.

What would Longmire say? There’s a new sheriff in Sublette County, Wyoming, and he’s imposing a dress code that’s kicking up some dirt. Sheriff Stephen Haskell banned deputies from wearing cowboy hats and cowboy boots, because the western wear just isn’t appropriate when responding to emergencies, especially roadside incidents in the winter. 

Bear trick: Charlie Rainwater and C.J. Phillips, two tech-savvy gay bears from Oregon, have owned jebbushforpresident.com since 2008. With Bush exploring a run for president, the domain name is sure to become a hot commodity. In his public life, Bush has consistently backed anti-gay policies. 

No orgy tonight: New York City police reported finding 1,000 individually packaged condoms — for men and women — left in a messenger bag behind a concrete barrier at the George Washington Bridge Bus Station. Law enforcement brought in a canine unit to check the package before opening the bag, which has gone unclaimed.

If it walks like a bigot: The Washington Post reported that over-the-top, buff, immaculately dressed and rumored-forever-to-be-gay Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., recently had his House office redecorated in the style of the PBS hit show Downton Abbey. Schock is in trouble because he claims the designer did it for free, which violates House ethics rules against accepting gifts of $50 or more. Schock, by the way, voted to defund PBS and has consistently voted anti-gay. He’s also in hot water over blatantly racist comments posted online by a senior adviser.

Poor put-upon Christians: Mike Huckabee, now a perennial Christian-right candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, complained recently that forcing Christians to accept same-sex marriages is like forcing Jewish people to serve “bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli.” An insensitive remark in more ways than one. And yet, Huckabee was the one to say, “We’re so sensitive to make sure we don’t offend certain religions, but then we act like Christians can’t have the convictions that they have had for over 2,000 years.”

WiGWAG: Who’s in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

ON PARADE

The lineup for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — in addition to the super-sized balloons — includes Sting, Idina Menzel, Miss USA Nia Sanchez, Nick Jonas, Romeo Santos, hockey players John LeClair and Pat LaFontaine, the cast of Sesame Street and KISS. Yes, KISS. But the stars of the show? Little League pitching sensation Mo’ne Davis and the Philadelphia Taney Dragons.

GRATEFUL GAMERS

The gaming community has rallied to help John Spinello, the 77-year-old creator of the board game Operation, after they learned he didn’t have the money to pay for an operation of his own. The Illinois man invented the game in the early 1960s, when he was a student at the University of Illinois. He sold the concept for $500 to a toy inventor, who licensed the game to Milton Bradley. A series of misfortunes left Spinello with outstanding bills for oral surgery, but a crowdfunded benefit has raised well over the $25,000 required for the operation. 

HERO WORSHIP

At his annual AIDS benefit earlier this fall in New York City, Elton John called Pope Francis a hero and said he ought to be a “St. Francis.” The music man had only praise for the pope: “Ten years ago, one of the biggest obstacles in the fight against AIDS was the Catholic Church. Today we have a pope that speaks out about it.” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attended the gala — offering a joke about being from Queens. Neil Patrick Harris, Matt Lauer, Anderson Cooper, Alec Baldwin and David Furnish also attended. A lunch date with Cooper and Lauer sold at auction for $45,000. 

HELLO, THIS IS HAL

A New York City worker was suspended for 20 days without pay because he answered a city information-technology help line in a “robotic voice.” Callers complained and one hung up because she wanted “to speak to a human.” The judge called the man a “disgruntled employee.”

PISTOL-PACKING WALKER FAN

A gun-toting Wisconsin man says his right to continuous self-defense was infringed upon when police escorted him from a Sun Prairie rally for Republican Scott Walker. Police made the man stow his pistol in his car while he attended the event because the business prohibits firearms. But the man complained there was no notice on the door.

SNIFF, SNIFF

Sneaking away for a smoke in the restroom could get more difficult. Researchers at Dartmouth College say they’ve created a sensor that can detect second- and third-hand tobacco smoke. The AirGuard can record the presence of nicotine vapor molecules in real time and measured in parts per billion. A wearable version of the device could reach the market by next spring.

D’OUGH!

A 28-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of burglary after a Wichita, Kansas, woman found him eating cookie dough from her freezer in the early-morning hours. According to the Wichita Eagle, the 52-year-old woman came out of her bedroom shortly before 3:30 a.m. to find the intruder, who told police he thought he was in his aunt’s house. That’s a late night snack he’ll regret for more than his waistline. 

WHEN BAMBIS ATTACK

A South Milwaukee dog is recovering after being mauled by an unlikely assailant: a deer. Ted Moss told WISN he was walking his dogs in Grant Park when he saw a buck and a doe come out of the woods. The doe ran off, but the buck attacked Moss’ dog Rowdy. Moss, carrying a permitted concealed pistol, says he fired the gun and took Rowdy to a veterinarian when the buck ran off. A spokesperson from the Milwaukee County Parks Department suggested the abnormal behavior was due to it being deer mating season. 

WHO’S THE REAL BAD APPLE?

In yet another startling display of Russian homophobia, residents of St. Petersburg recently tore down a memorial to deceased Apple founder Steve Jobs after current Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay. The 6-foot-tall memorial was erected in 2013, featuring a large screen that displayed moments from Jobs’ life and quotations from his speeches. The chairman of ZEFS, the company that originally funded the memorial, said he’d be willing to reinstall the memorial if it could be reprogrammed to include a message instructing Russians not to purchase Apple products. Which is sort of missing the point.

News with twist, NARAL’s pussycat Tees and Eva’s Hello Kitty flights

Your choice

NARAL Pro-Choice America recently held a design contest to determine its new T-shirt. The winning design, by 53 votes, is a blue T-shirt with white letters that reads, “I am pro-choice America.” NARAL also decided to sell the edgier runner-up: a blue T-shirt with white letters that reads, “Keep your laws off my” beside an image of a pussycat. Yep.

Like totally stupid

This came to WiGWag’s attention courtesy of Right Wing Watch: WorldNetDaily pundit Jane Chastain says Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman president would be anti-climactic because “we’ve already had a girly-man president. More correctly, we’ve had a valley girly-man president.” Chastain was complaining that President Barack Obama concentrated in his recent speech in Milwaukee on immigration and the minimum wage instead of ISIS and Russia: “That’s tantamount to a valley girl chewing gum and doing her nails.” Yes, she totally was aware that the president’s speech about labor issues was on Labor Day.

Fly the kitty skies

Now that the world has had time to grieve over the shocking revelation that Hello Kitty is not really a cat but rather a third-grade English girl, Taiwan’s EVA Air has rolled out a fleet of Hello Kitty planes. In addition to Hello Kitty images decorating the planes’ exteriors, the passenger area is “tricked out to the max,” with Hello Kitty headrests and drink coasters, Hello Kitty soap in the litter-box area toilets, and Hello Kitty luggage tags. In-flight meals include melon slices, cheeses and cakes shaped — you guessed it — just like precious little Hello Kitty heads. Hello Kitty flights from Taipei to Paris begin three times weekly on Oct. 29.

Counting the batty

Conservationists conducting a bat population survey in Arizona filed a police report after being ambushed by three armed and camouflaged militia members who mistook them for illegal immigrants or smugglers. Tucson News Now reported that the nighttime encounter occurred near a popular camping area where armed vigilantes have been flocking in response to an increase in migrant children. 

Rent boys with iPhones?

A new service called “Selfie-less Travel” offers gay travelers a “social media travel assistant” who will photograph their vacations and then post photos, along with travel descriptions and itineraries, on social media. ALT by Bruvion, which developed the service, said it allows travelers to spend more time enjoying their vacations and less time worrying about capturing the perfect moments. “Assistants are well versed in both photography and photo editing to make sure clients look their absolute best in their posts,” the company promises.

The cost of a 24/7 assistant is $500 per day plus all travel expenses.

What the devil?

A statue of Satan briefly popped up in a small square in Vancouver, British Columbia. Officials removed the striking statue — red, at least 8 feet tall and with a full erection — several hours after it went up, so to speak. At one time, the pedestal that Satan stood upon held a statue of Christopher Columbus.

And the plot thickens

In federal court, Mormon author Rachel Ann Nunes is accusing Mormon teacher Tiffanie Rushton of plagiarizing her Christian romance novel, adding graphic sex scenes and self-publishing the erotica as her own. Nunes’ book about two art dealers who compete for a Buddha statue and fall in love was first published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rushton’s book is about an art dealer, a gallery owner, a rare sculpture, love and sex. Before she could sue, Nunes had to figure out that Rushton also is erotica author “Sam Taylor Mullens.”

Take notice, Sheboygan

Volunteers in Belleville, Illinois, are in training to grill — and presumably eat — a 200-foot-long bratwurst. They gathered in the Silver Creek Saloon to practice with a 100-foot brat, which broke in several places because it was turned too quickly and the grill was too hot. The real test comes during an Oktoberfest celebration Sept. 21.

GOP grooms

James Richardson, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee and prominent political adviser, came out as gay in an op-ed for The Washington Post. He and his partner live in Georgia, just two men envious of the conventional conservative family model “wishing to grow gray and ornery in matching rocking chairs” but instead consigned to “cohabitation” as a consequence of the law.

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