Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sign of the Times

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In April, policeman Kristopher Weston apprehended a murder suspect about 20 minutes after the crime in East St. Louis, Ill. Weston’s feat was such a nice piece of police work that the mayor called Weston before the city council to commend him. Five minutes after Weston left the room, the council got down to regular business, the first order of which was to approve a list of police and firefighter layoffs due to budget shortfalls—and on the list because of low seniority was Officer Kristopher Weston.

Least Competent Criminals

Questionable Judgments: (1) Remo Spencer, who works at the Wal-Mart in Great Falls, Mont., was arrested in April and charged with stealing eight laptop computers and seven iPods from the store's inventory. He aroused suspicion when he offered those items for sale on Wal-Mart's employee bulletin board. (2) A 22-year-old man was hospitalized in Wilmington, N.C., in December after stiffing a taxicab driver. The man bolted from the cab without paying, but the driver drove after the fleeing thief and rammed him.

Great Art!

New York artist Ariana Page Russell has a dermatological disorder that makes her skin puff up at the slightest scratch (which renders her, she says, the "human Etch A Sketch"). She now scratches herself in deliberate patterns to create artistic designs that she photographs and offers for sale. Russell says she must work quickly because her skin usually returns to normal after about an hour.

Just Can't Stop Themselves

(1) In March, a judge in Jefferson County, Texas, suspended the 90-day DUI sentence for Jeffrey Latham, 37, on the condition that Latham refrain from drinking alcohol. As part of the deal, the judge ordered Latham to report to a probation office. Two hours later, Latham showed up as scheduled, drunk, and was promptly shuttled back to court. (2) A man and woman in their early 30s were arrested in April after they stripped naked and began having sex in front of tourists on the lawn at Britain's Windsor Castle. The queen was in residence, but her living quarters are at the opposite end of the castle, and she missed the spectacle.

Recurring Themes

Victor Harris was pouring an additive into his SUV's fuel tank in March in Saginaw, Mich., when he got his index finger stuck. It took firefighters four hours to remove a section of the tank and transport Harris to a doctor, who pried his finger loose and stitched it up.

Now, Which One Is the Brake?

Elderly drivers continue to confuse the brake pedal with the gas (or the "drive" setting with "reverse"): An 89-year-old man accidentally crashed into his wife in a parking lot in Greenville, S.C. (April). An 88-year-old man accidentally drove through the front window of a restaurant in Redondo Beach, Calif., injuring five (March). An 85-year-old woman, on her way to take her driver's test, accidentally crashed into the building that houses the licensing office in Schram City, Ill. (February). An 82-year-old woman accidentally drove into the Indulgence Salon in Prescott Valley, Ariz., while trying to park (May). An 80-year-old woman, backing out of a parking space, accidentally sped out instead, hitting six cars and ramming a building in Indianapolis (February).

Government in Action!

After three years of providing worker-training grants to a San Francisco-area multimedia coalition that includes a maker of adult videos, the California Employment Training Panel cut off funding in April, claiming that it had not realized the nature of what an outfit called "Kink.com" does. The coalition protested the panel's decision, pointing out that Kink is a law-abiding, tax-paying entity that employs 100 local people and keeps the California adult video industry "competitive in the international marketplace" by training employees in video editing, Photoshop and other multimedia skills.

 © 2009 Chuck Shepherd

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