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Discussion Starter #1
Crime-fearing female pedestrians in Tokyo can soon protect themselves with fashion designer Aya Tsukioka's skirt that opens into a realistic-looking (except made of fabric), full-size vending machine that she hopes thugs will pass right by. It's one of several fanciful crime-avoiding creations of the genre that Japanese inventors are noted for, according to an October New York Times dispatch. Another, the "manhole bag," resembles a sewer covering when laid on the ground but can hold a person's valuables, again provided that the thug passes it up. Yet another is women's wraparound sunglasses that are extra-dark so that even shy, eye-contact-avoiding females can stare unobserved at potential perverts in trains to guard against the ubiquitous groping. [New York Times, 10-20-07]
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More Things to Worry About

As several sightings were made around Washington, D.C., of dragonfly-looking bugs hovering in the air at political events, government agencies were denying that they had released any tiny surveillance robots, according to an October Washington Post investigation. "I look up and I'm like, 'What the hell is that?'" asked a college student at an antiwar rally in Washington. "They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But ... those are not insects." Several agencies and private entities admitted to the Post that they were trying to develop such devices, but no one took credit for having them in the air yet. [Washington Post, 10-9-07]

Air Safety: Nepal Airlines, which was having technical trouble with one of its two Boeing 757s in August, announced that it had fixed the problem by sacrificing two goats to appease the Hindu sky god Akash Bhairab. [Reuters, 9-4-07

As passengers boarded a Vueling Airlines flight from Madrid, Spain, in June, they noticed that 29 of the 32 rows of seats on one side were out of service, but they could hardly have been comforted by the captain's announcement that "(W)e have a safety problem with the door at the front. Don't worry, it's only a safety problem." (No incidents were reported on the flight.)] [Reuters, 6-11-07]
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Oops!

Spectacular Errors: The Kuala Lumpur phone company Telekom Malaysia acknowledged in April that it mistakenly sent a bill for the equivalent of $218 trillion (that's 218 followed by 12 zeroes) or 806.4 trillion ringgit. The account was for the late father of Yahaya Wahab, whose final bill should have been the equivalent of $23. [MSNBC-AP, 4-10-07]

Jayantibhai Patel, 57, was arrested in Foster City, Calif., in October after admitting that he smacked his father in the head with a hammer, requiring his hospitalization. Patel told police that he wanted the father to be put in a nursing home, but was under the impression that only a hospital could assign him to one, and thus, he needed to get him into a hospital. [San Francisco Chronicle, 10-16-07]
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After some mild bickering during a delivery at a Wal-Mart in October in Indiana County, Pa., according to police, a Pepsi Cola route man allegedly repeatedly punched a Coca-Cola route man in the face. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10-12-07]
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In August in Middlesex Township, Pa., two men from Virginia, who were on the job for a moving company, were detained by police for public intoxication in a motel parking lot, fighting over the question of whether Virginia is north or south of Pennsylvania. [Harrisburg Patriot-News, 8-11-07]
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The city of Toronto is campaigning with posters and a Web page to urge citizens to vote a 1-cent set-aside tax for municipal services, but in October received a bill from Canada's mint for about $47,000 in licensing fees. The mint cited the posters' use of a photograph of a penny and the campaign's use of the phrase "one cent" (as in the Web site address www.OneCentNow.ca), which a spokesman said are "registered trademarks of the Royal Canadian Mint." [National Post, 10-5-07]
 

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Names in the News

Convicted of murder in a home invasion, Mr. Andrew S. "Junebug" Warrior (the "S" stands for Sweetie) [Tucson Citizen, 6-30-07]

(Tucson, Ariz., June). Discouraged by school officials from attending a Catholic school because of his name, the 5-year-old Max Hell (Melbourne, Australia, July). [Fox News-AP, 7-9-07]

Arrested for stealing three rolls of toilet paper from a courthouse, Ms. Suzanne Marie Butts (Marshalltown, Iowa, June). [KETV (Omaha, Neb.), 6-9-07]

Leading a fight in the Kenai Peninsula Borough (Alaska) Assembly to defeat a term-limit rule, Assemblyman Gary Superman (Soldotna, Alaska, September). [Anchorage Daily News, 9-21-07]

Arrested on more than 30 counts of child pornography facilitated by peering through bedroom windows, Mr. Jeffrey Ogle (Vallejo, Calif., August). [Napa Valley Register, 9-1-07]
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In June, Ronald Barrett, 68, a longtime school administrator in Bucks County, Pa., was suspended after he punched a 15-year-old student who had touched his chest. Barrett said there had been a long-running problem of boys at the school engaging in "titty-twisting," and Barrett said, "I didn't want anyone touching my nipple." [Morning Call (Allentown), 7-7-07]
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The Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections fired three jailers in August after finding that they had locked up Virginia Grace Soto, 47, in the men's detention unit following her July arrest, despite her protests and despite a formal strip search and despite observing her in the shower. Their reasoning: A paperwork error listed Soto as a male, and they could not change that. [Washington Post, 8-16-07]
 

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Fine Points of the Law

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in October that attorney Michael Inglimo did not violate a state regulation that bars a lawyer from having sex "with a current client": Inglimo had sex with a client's girlfriend during a three-way session, but according to the judges, the regulation bans only direct sex with the client. (However, the court suspended Inglimo's license based on other grounds.) [Supreme Court of Wisconsin, #2005AP718-D (10-18-07)]

Philadelphia Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni outraged women's activists and the local bar association in October when she dismissed rape charges against four men who had sex with a prostitute at gunpoint. Because the woman had initially agreed to a business proposition, said the judge, the men should properly be charged with "armed robbery" for "theft of services." Said Deni, "She consented, and she didn't get paid." [Philadelphia Daily News, 10-12-07, 11-7-07]

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In Cary, N.C., a woman gave birth to twins early in the morning of Nov. 4, one at 1:32 a.m. and the other 34 minutes later, at 1:06 a.m. (after Daylight-Saving Time ended). [WRAL-TV (Raleigh), 11-6-07]

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Pennsylvania Superior Court judge Michael Thomas Joyce, 58, was indicted in August for fraud in connection with $440,000 he received after his car was nudged (at 5 mph) in a 2001 accident. Joyce claimed that he was in such neck and back pain as to be prevented from certain activities such as holding a coffee cup, but prosecutors said he not only played golf frequently after that but went scuba diving, renewed his scuba instructor's license, went inline skating, and went through private pilot training and licensing (50 flights). [Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 8-15-07]

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Least Competent People

In November, Britain's new weather-themed Cool Cash lottery game was canceled after one day because too many players failed to understand the rules. Each card had a visible temperature and a temperature to be scratched off, and the purchaser would win if the scratched-off temperature was "lower" than the visible one. Officials said they had received "dozens" of complaints from players who could not understand why, for example, minus-5 is not a lower temperature than minus-6. [Manchester Evening News, 11-3-07]

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A motorist casually traveling on a highway had his vehicle crushed by an airborne cow (this time, near Manson, Wash., in November). The 600-pound cow had fallen off a cliff, totaling the minivan but not injuring the driver, who was quoted in an Associated Press dispatch saying repeatedly, "I don't believe this." [Seattle Post-Intelligencer-AP, 11-6-07]
 

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Residents of small fishing villages in northern Newfoundland have for centuries been "mumming" at Christmastime, in rituals described in an October academic journal article by University of Missouri-Columbia researchers. People disguise themselves, go to neighbors' houses and threaten violence, at which point the neighbor must guess the visitor's identity, and, if all goes well, refuse to be scared. Supposedly, the ritual induces trust by both parties, as the visitors show their good hearts by failing to actually beat anyone up, and the host shows trust by his courage and passivity. Mumming, the researchers conclude, continues today only on a "small scale." [University of Missouri-Columbia press release, 10-8-07]

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The head teacher of Sandhurst Junior School in south London apologized in October because a professional photographer had arranged, for his own convenience, an unfortunate group photo of the school's 100-plus students. The photographer, trying to keep from having to re-set his reflector screens, lined up the kids from the lightest-skinned on the left, gradually over to the darkest-skinned on the right. Said the head teacher, "We can see that this was an error of judgment." [Daily Mail (London), 10-23-07]

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Japanese adults push their children to save more, but few are buying the piggy bank introduced by the TOMY Co. in November, because, if not fed with savings for a period of time, the bank just explodes, scattering the contents. [Agence France-Presse, 11-8-07]

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Several men were arrested recently and charged with sex "crimes" involving inanimate objects. In Ayr, Scotland, Robert Stewart was convicted of sexually aggravated breach of the peace (and officially labeled a sex offender) after being caught alone and pantsless in his hostel bedroom thrusting against a bicycle. [BBC News, 11-14-07]

Craig McCullough, 47, was arrested in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in October after allegedly being caught "in a compromising position" with an inflatable toy doll, in an otherwise-empty public restroom. [Cedar Rapids Gazette, 10-25-07]

Steven Marshall, 18, was arrested in Galashiels, Scotland, in November (and officially labeled a sex offender) after being caught simulating sexual intercourse against the pavement of a city street. [BBC News, 11-5-07]

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Recurring Themes

Something About Dentists: Hard-core federal income-tax resisters are frequently in the news, but a recent spate of them involved dentists. In October, Ed Brown and his dentist-wife, Elaine, were arrested after a nine-month standoff with federal marshals in Plainfield, N.H., where they had holed up, vowing to die before paying the federal government any of Elaine's $1.9 million in unreported income. [Christian Science Monitor, 10-5-07]

In October, dentist Nancy Montgomery-Ware was convicted on two counts of tax evasion in Tampa, Fla., still believing that the federal government has no authority over her taxes or her practice, based on her research finding that there's no such thing as a "U.S. citizen." [Lakeland Ledger, 8-31-07]

In October, Slidell, La., dentist Louis Genard was a U.S. citizen, though he renounced, but was nonetheless found guilty on three tax-evasion counts after a court was unimpressed that he had become an "ambassador of heaven" who is exempt from federal taxation. [Times-Picayune, 10-5-07]
 

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"The head teacher of Sandhurst Junior School in south London apologized in October because a professional photographer had arranged, for his own convenience, an unfortunate group photo of the school's 100-plus students. The photographer, trying to keep from having to re-set his reflector screens, lined up the kids from the lightest-skinned on the left, gradually over to the darkest-skinned on the right. Said the head teacher, "We can see that this was an error of judgment." [Daily Mail (London), 10-23-07]"

:roll:
 

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Change Oregonians Believe In: The voters of Sodaville (pop. 290) elected Thomas Brady Harrington, 33, mayor in November, notwithstanding his criminal rap sheet showing robbery, eluding a police officer, felon in possession of a gun and other crimes (with his electoral success perhaps due to voters' confusing him with his father, a respected town elder). [Albany (Ore.) Democrat-Herald, 11-19-08]

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Compelling Explanations

"I'm really sorry. ... I thought he was just tired," said Lynne Stewart, who was arrested in West Melbourne, Fla., in October and charged with stealing items from a 56-year-old, unconscious man who in fact had just suffered a fatal heart attack during sex with Stewart. She blamed her larceny on a cocaine binge that impaired her judgment such that (according to a police commander) she had sex with 20 men that weekend. (However, she was not charged with prostitution. Said the commander, "No, she just likes sex.") [WESH-TV (Orlando), 10-15-08]

Lame: A woman being interviewed for jury duty on a murder case in Bronx (N.Y.) Supreme Court in October asked to be excused for the reason that she was once murdered, herself, by her husband (but had somehow been revived by a doctor). (She was dismissed from the jury, but on other grounds.) [New York Post, 10-8-08]

In a recent report of DUI excuses in the Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda, a 56-year-old woman had asserted that, though she had been drinking, her driving was not affected because she had remembered to keep one eye closed so as not to be seeing double. [The Local (Stockholm), 10-30-08]

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The Brazilian designer Lucia Lorio introduced women's lingerie in October containing a global positioning device to enable the wearer to be tracked by satellite. The creator said the password-protected lace bodice would make it easier for women kidnapped by thugs or terrorists to be located and rescued. Critics called it a virtual chastity belt, primarily of service to insecure males curious to know where their women are. (However, the wearer can manually turn the device off.) [The Independent (London), 11-9-08]

Another anti-terror lingerie product may also surface someday, based on a 2007 U.S. patent, issued to a Plainfield, Ill., company for a bra whose cups could also function as air-filtration systems in case of chemical attacks. [U.S. Patent 7255627 (8-14-07)]

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Facing a state budget crisis in July, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fired about 10,000 temporary and part-time workers and ordered the 200,000 permanent employees to be paid only the minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until the legislature passed a crisis-solving budget. However, a week later the State Controller John Chiang pointed out that state payroll records could not be changed to accommodate the cut because they were written in the antiquated COBOL computer language, and virtually the only state employees who knew the code were some of the part-timers Schwarzenegger had just fired. [Sacramento Bee, 8-5-08]

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Things You Thought Didn't Happen These Days

A restaurant owner in Rutino, Italy (near Salerno), told police in November that as he was negotiating over the building's lease with his landlords, one hit him in the head with a chair and two others kicked him repeatedly in the stomach. The landlords were not from La Cosa Nostra but were a priest and two nuns from the local Catholic order that owns the building. [Daily Telegraph (London), 11-3-08]

In the village of Pumaorcco, Peru, in September, a bus containing 14 British sightseers on holiday was held hostage for five hours by 50 natives wielding pickaxes and metal bars, who mistook them for personnel from a mining company that they believed were exploiting their land. The Peruvian guide finally negotiated their freedom but had to call for another bus, since the villagers completely destroyed the original. [Daily Mail (London), 9-13-08]
 

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Hahaha... I had forgotten about that vending machine dress thing. I can't help but laugh at her shoes poking out.
 

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"Air Safety: Nepal Airlines, which was having technical trouble with one of its two Boeing 757s in August, announced that it had fixed the problem by sacrificing two goats to appease the Hindu sky god Akash Bhairab. [Reuters, 9-4-07"


If that's the case then they are out of specs because the Napalese Boeing Aircraft Manual clearly states that it takes two goats and a chicken. :-D
 
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