Saturday, December 13, 2008

Woman gives birth to swollen, infected appendix

By Darnell Washington, Newsophile Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO, CA -- In a medical first, a surgical team at UC San Diego Medical Center has removed a diseased appendix known as "Marjorie" from a patient's vagina. The patient, medical student Diana Schlamadinger-Eistenstein, 28, was among the first in the United States to participate in a procedure known as Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), which involves passing surgical instruments through a natural orifice, such as the mouth, vagina or rectum. As the technology improves, researchers are confident that NOTES can be expanded to include nostrils, eye sockets, ears and tear ducts.

"We originally wanted to remove the appendix through her mouth," explained Santiago Horgan, M.D., director of the UC San Diego Center for the Future of Surgery, "but when she wouldn't ever shut up, we realized using another orifice might be a lot quieter. Since she had a 'no rectum' rider to her contract, our choices were limited."

While Schlamadinger-Eistenstein is relieved that the surgery was successful, she continues to suffer from classic symptoms of post-partum depression usually reserved for mothers giving birth to fully formed human beings. "I realize I'm just a mother to a stillborn appendix in a jar, but tell that to my breasts," she tearfully told a reporter for the San Diego Union. "It's like they're ready to feed an army, and meanwhile I've got this jar on my nightstand saying 'No thanks, not hungry now!'"

In a rare example of agreement, both the local chapter of Planned Parenthood and the San Diego Catholic Archdiocese continue to urge Schlamadinger-Eistenstein to put Marjorie up for adoption. "There are a lot of willing labs around the country who could give this happy, cherubic appendix an excellent home," says Bishop Robert H. Brum. "Continuing to torture this poor organ with the nightly sight of lactating breasts and having no mouth to participate is totally inappropriate."

Nevertheless, Schlamadinger-Eistenstein is confident she'll move past the post-partum depression and prepare her vagina for better days to come. "One day I may even give birth to a pancreas, a kidney or part of my colon!"

Lillian Rasmussen also contributed to this story.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush to replace William Penn in Quaker Oats logo

By Darnell Washington, Newsophile Staff Writer

CHICAGO, IL -- Food conglomerate The Quaker Oats Company, a unit of PepsiCo, has announced that a likeness of former First Lady Barbara Bush will soon replace that of William Penn, the Quaker and original founder of Pennsylvania who has graced the company's oatmeal boxes since 1877. Although the company has no formal ties to the Religious Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers, when it was formed in the 1800s a company founder decided upon the name after reading about the Quakers' emphasis on honesty, purity and truth.

"With the United States and the world changing so quickly, we decided it was time for Quaker Oats to catch up," said Robert S. Morrison, Quaker Oats' President and CEO. "And what better modern face to represent our emphasis on a healthy colon than Barbara Bush?"

For the former First Lady, however, the decision to join the famous brand was not an easy one. "They've been trying to talk me into doing this ever since my husband was first sworn in as President," she recently told Advertising Age magazine. "But as the years have gone by and my resemblance to William Penn has become increasingly obvious, I finally relented and told the folks at Quaker Oats that I'd sign on as soon as GW was out of office. I just hope they'll let me wear my pearls!"

For now, the company will continue airing spots with well-known senior Wilford Brimley, although Ms. Bush hints at an expanded role for her with Quaker. "That codger's time is up," she recently told The Houston Chronicle. "It's time to offer some Bush for breakfast!"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Atheists finding religion after Ann Coulter accident

By Darnell Washington, Newsophile Staff Writer

PARSIPPANY, NJ -- After experiencing a bad fall last month, conservative author and personality Ann Coulter will reportedly need to have her jaw wired shut for a period of approximately six weeks. While her silence has undoubtedly brought calls of joy from the liberals she has regularly trounced in her books including "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans," it has also unleashed an interesting response from the American atheist community: finding God.

"It's unlike anything I've ever seen in my 20 years as an activist," says Dr. John Bruckner, the newly named President of American Atheists, an education group oriented towards those who believe in secular humanism as opposed to a religious God. "As soon as news of Ms. Coulter's jaw being wired shut hit the airwaves and the Internet, our phones started ringing off the hook by members asking to cancel. Apparently the news made them believe that there is in fact, a God."

According to Edward Cardinal Logan, however, who heads up the Archdiocese of New York, such 'of the moment' conversions are, in fact, quite common and generally based on a compelling event in an individual's life.

So could Ann Coulter's accident count? Logan says it's quite possible.

"For an atheist to immediately convert to a God-fearing Christian, he or she would have to really, really hate Ms. Coulter, her books, her speeches and everything she stands for. From what I hear from my congregation, there are plenty of such people."

Still, Cardinal Logan does offer an alternative explanation. "For many people including our troubled brothers and sisters who forsake the Lord, this could simply be a happy coincidence."

Sunny von Bulow dies after 28 years in coma

By Darnell Washington, Newsophile Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- After falling into a mysterious coma 28 years ago, Martha "Sunny" von Bulow died at a nursing home here on Saturday. It was suspected that the wealthy heiress, who was the subject of the 1990 film "Reversal of Fortune" starring Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close, had been poisoned by husband Claus von Bulow to inherit a large portion of her fortune, estimated at $40 to $60 million.

Prosectors contend that von Bulow had forced Sunny into a diabetic coma by repeatedly injecting her with insulin, and had intended to run off with a mistress following Sunny's death.

According to nursing home staff, however, Sunny continued to earn her nickname even when deep in the coma that characterized her life for nearly 30 years. "Sometimes when we'd turn her over to treat her bedsores she'd let out a little laugh," said Emma Ramirez, an LVN who cared for Ms. von Bulow since 2002. "She really made this place something special."

Paul Honning, Chief Administator for the Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home on Manhattan's Upper East Side, noted that Sunny was also responsible for helping to solve a serious space crunch in mid-2003.

"When we had to convert the game room into more space for patients, they just started playing their games in Sunny's room," he says. "For Christmas Eve, we even laid out a huge spread of potluck food on her stomach and then used her feet to help prop up carafes of spiked eggnog and Christmas wassail. She truly will be missed."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tourette Syndome Association (TSA) files complaint with FCC against "South Park" episode

By Darnell Washington, Newsophile Staff Writer

BAYSIDE, NY -- An episode from the Comedy Central television show "South Park" originally produced in 2007 and focusing on Tourette Syndrome has recently caught the unwanted attention of the National Tourette Syndrome Association, or TSA. According to Judith Sweeney, the group's president, both Comedy Central and parent company Viacom, Inc. have ignored repeated calls for the comedy-focused network to stop running the offending episode for repeat broadcasts. The TSA has responded by filing a complaint with the FCC.

According to Ms. Sweeney, who was diagnosed with Tourette at age 5 and founded the TSA in Bayside, New York in 1972, "It would be one thing if the producers of South Park vomit-filled vagina! were trying to educate the public about this disease piss! piss out of my ass! Unfortunately, they're not mattress! soiled mattress!"

Adds Sweeney, "Instead, they're poking fun at a very socially debilitating illness chunky ropes launching from my gash! We just think that an important media company such as Viacom should exercise more of a responsibility to the viewing public diaper! delicious dripping diaper!"

FCC spokesman Rob Kenny says that the commission takes complaints such as this very seriously, and has pledged to investigate every offending word. "We will not rest until every utterance of piss, ass, gash, diaper and any other inappropriate word has been properly vetted," Kenny noted. The FCC is expected to issue its ruling on the complaint by March.

Lillian Rasmussen and Montague Abernathy also contributed to this story.