Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gas Leak

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A patient who showed up for an appointment with dentist Norman Rubin in Smithtown, N.Y., in March told the New York Post that he found Rubin passed out in his office, drooling, with a gas mask on his face. (Rubin later told the Post that, in his defense, it was his lunch hour.)

The Continuing Crisis
In February, Dirk Opalka’s fox won best in show at the World Taxidermy Championships in Salzburg, Austria. Opalka beat more than 100 competitors in the art of stretching animal skin over fake bodies so that the critters look as good as new. The attention to detail was astonishing, according to a dispatch in Der Spiegel, on such features as a stag’s nostrils, a hyena’s lips, a hamster’s whiskers, the neck length of a female peregrine falcon and the proper rose-coloring of a bat’s anus.

In March, the Tokyo High Court reversed the conviction of pinup model Serena Kozakura, who had been found guilty of kicking a hole in the door of her former boyfriend’s apartment in order to break in and scream at him. In Kozakura’s appeal, she claimed that the man made the hole himself and that she could never have fit through the hole anyway, because her breasts are too big. Evidently, that argument provided enough doubt to overturn the verdict.

Family Values
Sheila and Paul Garcia of Northfleet, England, acknowledged to London’s Daily Mail in February that they invited their 16-year-old daughter’s boyfriend to come live with her in her bedroom, despite the fact that he is 36 and divorced, with one child. The parents said they weren’t thrilled with the situation, but that it was preferable to having their daughter run away with the man.

Cutting-Edge Parenting: (1) In March, sheriff’s deputies in the Orlando, Fla., area were on the lookout for two women who, according to surveillance video from the Magical Car Wash, pulled into a stall and proceeded to scold and then pressure-wash a small child. (2) Aron Pritchard, 27, was convicted of child endangerment in March in Hutchinson, Kan., after a jury declined to accept his explanation for why his girlfriend’s kids, age 2 and 3, were burned after being put inside a clothes dryer. Pritchard said he was just trying to show them that they could have fun without spending money.

Least Competent Criminals
Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) Two boys, 12 and 14, were quickly arrested in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in March when they tried to rob a woman who was working at a counter behind protective glass. The boys picked up the convenience phone and threatened her, implying that they had a gun. The woman was in no danger because of the protective glass, and, to top it off, the place the boys had chosen to rob was a regional office of the Port St. Lucie Police Department. (2) Donald Baker, 51, was re-arrested in March in Peterborough, Ontario, when he called the police department to request a wakeup call for his court appearance the next morning; amazed at his audacity, police ran a records check and found an additional arrest warrant on him.

Updates
News of the Weird cited a police report last May that an unidentified man in Guelph, Ontario, had approached women at least three times and asked to be kicked in the groin. After seven such incidents, Jarrett Loft, 28, pleaded guilty in March 2008 to one count and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. Loft offered no explanation for his behavior, other than that he was “curious.” One victim, saying that she feared what Loft might do if she refused, repeatedly kicked him between the legs, after which he thanked her and rode off on his bicycle.

Undignified Deaths
(1) A 76-year-old Baptist minister was found dead in Clarksville, Tenn., in March after he had tried to pull a goat back into a fenced-in area of his property; apparently, the goat resisted the slipknot, and somehow the animal’s jumping had wound the rope around the minister’s feet and neck. (2) The day before that, an 82-year-old man in Lake Hallie, Wis., was killed when he apparently slipped while using a plumber’s auger on his septic tank and fell in, head first, eventually drowning.

2008 Chuck Shepherd

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