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Reinventing ‘Good Oil’ column

on September 29 2016 | in We are the World | by | with Comments Off

In September 1997, I started the Good Oil column in the NZ Herald. It included the We are the World section, a collection of oddball items mostly to do with motoring. Some were humourous, some highlighted a world gone mad. The Herald doesn’t do the column anymore. I figured I’d start it again.

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The keys for Bolivia’s Tsimane natives having the healthiest hearts in the world are plenty of exercise and a diet of monkey, wild pig and piranha. That’s according the medical journal The Lancet after a study found that about 80 per cent of Tsimane hunter-gatherers in the Amazon have clean veins. In contrast, said The Lancet, 80 per cent of Americans age 45 or older have calcium-cluttered veins, or atherosclerosis.

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Around 12 US military veterans commit suicide with guns every day, says the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It estimates that among the veterans there are 19,000 schizophrenics and 15,000 with “severe” post-traumatic stress syndrome. But the finding didn’t stop the US House of Representatives from making it easier for veterans to buy guns. It has removed a 2007 law requiring all US federal agencies to enter mentally-ill clients into a database for gun purchases.

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Scientists at Columbia University and the New York Genome Center say they have digitally stored and retrieved from a single drop of DNA a movie, an entire computer operating system and a $50 gift card. In theory, wrote the researchers in the journal Science, they might store, on one gram of DNA, 215 “petabytes” (215 million gigabytes), enough to run, say, 10 million HD movies and reduce all the data housed in the US Library of Congress to a small cube of crystals.

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A fellow ran out of petrol on a jam-packed highway in the US state of Baltimore. He phoned a friend, who told him to sit tight, that he’d help but traffic was crazy and he’d be some time. So what did the marooned driver do? Unpacked his drum kit from the car, set it up on the shoulder, and began playing. A highway patrol cop later reported that the drummer was “just killing time” till his friend turned up with a tank of gas.

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Politicians in the US state of Illinois have voted to designate October this year as ‘Zombie Preparedness Month’, so that residents can stockpile food and supplies in case of a ‘zombie invasion’. It’s not that the politicians are barking mad, just that this latest emergency measure comes on top of more pressing problems for the state: a US$130 billion pension crisis, 19 months without a budget, the lowest credit rating and highest property taxes in the US, and the murder rate in Chicago.

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A straight-faced TV reviewer in the US described the US$5000 hamburger he had eaten at the Fleur restaurant in Las Vegas as “absolutely worth it.” The burger included Waygu beef, foie gras and truffles and came with a similarly priced wine. Other recent consumer challenges: an US$18 cup of coffee at Brooklyn’s Extraction Lab; a US$100 bottle of Norwegian iceberg water; a US$2000 pizza at New York City’s Industry Kitchen (caviar, truffles, gold flakes); and a US$25,000 taco at the Grand Velas Los Cabos resort in Mexico (caviar, brie, Kobe beef, langoustine lobster, rare tequila, and gold flakes).

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California put in place a law in 2015 aimed at improving the fairness of the state’s red-light cameras. But the city of Fremont, just north of San Jose, seems to be playing fast and loose with it. It reported earning an additional US$190,000 more each month last year by shortening the yellow light by two-thirds of a second at just two intersections. Tickets went up 445 per cent at one and 883 per cent at the other. Then last November, for “undisclosed reasons,” Fremont raised the speed limit on the street slightly, “allowing” it to reinstate the old 0.7-second-longer yellow light.

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A fellow in Florida devised a licence-plate cover that he could electronically raise and lower from his key chain to avoid his car being identified by toll road cameras. But inattention eventually undid him. Joshua Concepcion-West, 27, forgot to check his rear-view mirror before lowering the cover and crashing an old-style cash tollgate. Behind him was a Florida highway patrol cop who watched the whole thing.

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Back in 2006, a photographer for a Chipotle restaurant in Denver, Colorado, took photos of customers for a promotion. Leah Caldwell was one person photographed, but says she refused to sign the photographer’s “release” to use her photo to plug the restaurant. She was surprised, then, to see a photo of herself in a Chipotle promotion with “alcoholic beverages” on her table that she denied ever ordering. Caldwell is sueing the restaurant, claiming Chipotle ignored her refusal to sign the release and, doing so, now owes her all of the profits it earned between 2006 and 2015: $US2.2 billion.

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Just before last Christmas, Ashlynd Howell, age 6, of Little Rock, Arkansas, deftly mashed her sleeping mother’s thumbprint on to her phone to unlock the Amazon app and order $US250 worth of Pokemon toys. Mum later noticed 13 email confirmations and asked Ashlynd if something was amiss. According to the Wall Street Journal report, Ashlynd said, “No, Mommy, I was shopping.”

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An unlicenced woman driver driving an unregistered car in Perth figured the best way to avoid being fined was to stencil “POLICE” in blue on the sides of her white Hyundai. Hyundais are almost non-existent in police fleets in West Australia, something the woman, 33, hadn’t cottoned on to. She was quickly stopped.

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Granny get your gun … An arranged custody swap of a child from one grandmother to another in a Wal-mart parking lot near Dallas, Texas, ended when both women pulled guns and started firing. One granny was hit in the neck and the other arrested after she also fired at an off-duty cop trying to calm things down.

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It seems some of America’s college kids – the next generation of the country’s leaders – went to pieces after Donald Trump won the US presidential election. The Wall Street Journal reports that administrators at prominent universities – among them Tufts, Cornell – set up therapy rooms where young adults could “grieve” over the election result and seek emotional support. ‘Treatments’ included the use of “therapy dogs” and the availability of Play-Doh and coloring books for distraction.

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Privacy activists in the US hope that President-elect Trump’s security spooks are not inspired by New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation. It has completed its two-year project of assigning ID numbers to every one of the 685,781 trees in the city’s five boroughs. More than 2300 volunteers posted each tree’s location, measurements, Google Street View image, and ecological benefits, like rainwater retained, and air pollution reduced.

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Romania’s Transylvania region is one of the country’s major tourist attractions, a mysterious land of bloodthirsty vampires and howling wolves, due largely to Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula. Now Romania’s neighbour Bulgaria has its own gruesome tourist lure – the site where in 2014 archaeologists found a 4th-century “graveyard” of adolescents with iron stakes through their chests.

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A district court judge in the US state of Arkansas resigned after a judicial discipline committee found 4500 nude and semi-nude photos of him paddling the bottoms of young men who had appeared before him. ‘Naughty boy’, Judge Joseph Boeckmann would say during the spankings. He trolled for victims by writing the men a note offering the option of ‘community service’.

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Police in Gwinnett, Georgia, know exactly who they want for the armed robbery of a gas station convenience store: Mr. Quaris Holland, 29. That’s because Holland had been coming by as a customer “every single day” for “six months,” the store’s manager told police. Holland is still at large. Meantime, the FBI is offering a reward for tips on the identity of a bank robber who can’t spell. He’s held up four banks in Boston, each time handing a note to a teller that says this is a “robery.”

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The Colorado Parks and Wildlife filed 21 criminal charges against the Squirrel Creek Wildlife Rescue center, aka Scarlet Ranch, alleging that the adult sex parties owner Kendall Seifert holds every weekend could stress out the animals. Especially those housed near the bar area, where things can get really raunchy on a Saturday night. Seifert is challenging the charges, saying the raccoons, foxes, song birds, coyotes, skunks, rabbits and squirrels he houses could not find suitable facilities elsewhere.

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It’s coming up three years since a local county council in Kerry, Ireland, voted to let some people drive drunk. The councillors reasoned that in the county’s isolated regions, some seniors live alone and need the camaraderie of the pub but fear a DUI arrest on the way home. The councillors thus empowered police to issue DUI ‘permits’ to those drivers. Besides, they reasoned, the area is so sparsely populated that some drivers never encounter anyone else on the road at night. Five councillors who voted yes own pubs.

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The Chinese government has plans to use technology to monitor how its citizens behave. Each person would receive a “social credit” score. No, it has nothing to do with the whacky Canadian borrow-money movement that scratched the political surface in NZ in the 1960s and ‘70s. Rather, China’s rulers like the idea of keeping people in check. Always have done. Those who receive a favourable score – in other words, by scratching the Chinese Government’s back – would be allotted perks to help them start businesses and send their children to the best schools. The document said something about “keeping trust is glorious,” and “good” behavior promotes a “harmonious socialist society.” Wonder what George Orwell would have said about it.

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Costumed clowns “Bugs Bunny”, “Pink Panther”, and “Dracula” got into a fight at a Halloween party in Ontario, Canada. A broken beer bottle had been used. Police charged all three with aggravated assault and locked them up for the night. “Dracula” was a sorry sight in court the next morning. His ear had been badly cut and there was blood all over his costume. A smart-ass witness told the judge that Dracula was uncharacteristically distressed by the sight of the blood. Who wielded the broken bottle, asked the judge. Wasn’t me, said Bugs. Might have been me, said Panther. The witness said it might indeed have been Panther. The judge told Bugs and Dracula to hop it and said he would deal with Panther at a later date.

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A judge in Sweden has dropped charges against a 49-year-old man for driving a scooter without a licence. The fellow said he had a severe anxiety attack every time he received an ‘official’ government letter – known in Sweden as ‘window envelopes’ – in the mail. He said he ended up in such a state that he couldn’t open the letters. The judge was convinced, ruling that the man indeed found official letters ‘frightening’, that the sight of them intimidated him. But what should never be considering ‘frightening’, said the judge, was his other ruling – that being drunk in charge of a scooter was against the law.

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Forest worker Ashley Basich, 49, was charged with DUI after police in Cheyenne, Wyoming, found her using a forklift she’d taken from her work to pick up and move a van she said was blocking her driveway. The forklift certainly wasn’t hers but the beer she was drinking was – so was the van blocking her driveway.

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A streetlight in the town of Pebmarsh Close, England, stopped shining when a truck hit it. That was a year or so ago. The townsfolk urged council to fix it – but nothing was done until last month, when a maverick councillor put an ad in the local paper inviting all and sundry to a special cake cutting at the site of the broken light – to celebrate its first birthday. Council repair people beat them to it, but the party went ahead anyway.

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Jurors in a San Marco, Texas, court heard that Jose Marin, 64, was facing his eighth drink-driving conviction, that he’d tried to beat the bottle but couldn’t. He was a danger to himself and others, they ruled, and the only way the recidivist Marin could be forced to stay off the roads and the sauce was to put him in prison. So they did – for 99 years.

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British student Joshua Browder, 19, has created an experimental computer app to help drivers in the UK and New York fight parking tickets they believe are unjust. It’s a question and answer platform where drivers follow the advice of a ‘robot lawyer’ that can talk to you, draft documents and send appeals – all free of charge. A news report claims that users of donotpay.co.uk have won 160,000 cases out of 250,000. Browder said he was motivated to develop the app after himself getting about 30 tickets he says he did not deserve. Unfortunately the app’s ‘robot lawyer’ can’t help Kiwi victims – not yet anyway.

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An Israeli man petitioned the Haifa Magistrate’s Court for a restraining order against God, pointing out that the Almighty has exhibited “a seriously negative attitude toward him,” especially over the previous three years. Press reports didn’t reveal the man’s name, but the judge rejected the petition. Didn’t matter that God was not present to argue against it, or that His presence could not be detected.

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The landlord of a housing estate in Abingdon, England, is more concerned for the safety of trespassers and burglars than the people who live there. Resident Kevin Sheehan was told he would be evicted unless he removed the fishpond from his backyard. Why, a thief in the night might jump over the property wall, land among the carp and goldfish in the pond and hurt himself, said the landlord.

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A watchdog agency monitoring charities in the US has revealed the meanest is the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation (NVVF). It raised around US$30 million from 2010 to 2014 – but wound up donating only about 2 cents of every dollar toward actual help. The other 98 cents went to administration and fund-raising. Another thing troubling the watchdog about the NVVF is that its CEO is a lawyer at the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

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An appeals court in Texas has ruled that the planned execution of convicted murderer Charles Flores be best set aside while it figured out if, in fact, he was guilty. Flores was convicted on the crucial evidence of a witness who had been hypnotized by police. There was no physical evidence linking Flores to the murder, but the trial judge, and the jury, had accepted the prosecution case that “hypnosis” could lead to “recovered” memory, a popular hypothesis in the 1980s and 1990s but largely bunkum today. The appeals court is now rethinking the validity of hypnosis. Flores has been on death row for more than 16 years.

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A US politician is questioning how America’s National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation spends its federal government hand-outs. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake wants to know why: US$13 million was spent on exploring musical preferences of monkeys and chimpanzees; US$1.1 million on whether cheerleaders are more attractive as a squad than individually; US$390,000 to determine how many shakes a wet dog needs to feel dry; and US$5 million to learn whether drunk birds slur when they sing.

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There are some men in Britain who dress up as dogs. A BBC highlighted the odd obsession in a documentary. It was called the ‘Secret Life of Human Pups.’ One fellow dressed in a spotty lycra suit and called himself ‘Spot, the Dalmatian.’ He liked to nuzzle his handler, have his tummy rubbed, his ears tickled, eat from a bowl on the floor, gnaw on toys, and jump in the air for treats. Spot, also known in the human world as Tom, wore a collar so he wouldn’t stray. Tom said: “It’s about being given licence to behave in a way that feels natural, even primal.”

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A huge flock of ‘drunk’ birds caused a traffic jam on a highway in Austria when they began flying into cars. Those who survived the impact picked themselves up and … stumbled along the road. Bird experts said the birds must have earlier feasted en masse on fermented berries and were navigating under the influence.

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Kerry Johnson, 52, was arrested in Charleston, West Virginia, and charged with robbing a bank. The cops said Johnson had been gambling at a nearby casino when he ran out of money at the blackjack table. He excused himself, left a $25 chip to preserve his spot at the table, told the dealer he’d be back in a minute or two, held up the bank, and returned to the casino with more money. Johnson’s luck quickly went from bad to worse.

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China’s construction boom is slowing and, as a result, disputes between companies competing for contracts are hotting up. A grainy video on YouTube shows two front end loaders ‘fighting’ on a street in Hebei province. The drivers manouver this way and that, buckets clashing, before one driver attacks from the side and tips the other fellow’s machine over. The driver of another loader tries to make it a fairer fight by using his bucket to get the toppled machine back on its feet. But the wily winning loader foils him. It’s a TKO. The losing driver is seen running from his overturned cab.

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Rebecca Musarra was stopped for speeding in New Jersey. She dutifully handed over her licence, insurance and registration, but declined to answer the US state troopers’ questions. Her silence made cops Matthew Stazzone and Demetric Gosa grumpy and they threatened to arrest Musarra for “obstruction.” Musarra told them she has the right to remain silent – it’s the law. They arrested her anyway, while reminding Musarra of her “right to remain silent”. Back at the station, a senior cop apologised and released her. Lawyer Musarra has filed a federal lawsuit.

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US cops in Akron, Ohio, picked up Kirk Kelly on a wanted poster issued in Tampa, Florida, for probation violation. Kelly kept telling them they had the wrong man. No dice, said cops. In a bizarre attempt to avoid extradition, Kelly began to chew the skin off his fingers to foil the fingerprint ink. He needn’t have bothered – tattooed on his body were “Port Tampa” and “813”, Tampa’s area code. The wanted poster had the giveaway tatts down to a tee.

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Peter Jensen of Athol, Idaho, filed a lawsuit against the state transportation department after his driving privileges were revoked because his car had no licence plate. He wants US$5.6 million in damages for the inconvenience, because there is nothing about “licence plates” in the Ten Commandments. He added a commandment of his own – gold and silver only, please.

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Fellow in Billings, Montana, has been trying for some months to get a US federal court to somehow issue a well-meaning ‘restraining’ order against Donald Trump. Jonathan Lee Riches wants the court to force Trump out of the presidential race on the grounds that he fears assassination. Riches wrote that he adores Trump but suggested former presidential hopeful John McCain as a replacement Republican candidate. The court continues to tell Riches to go away.

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Seems that one of the problems the US Defence Department has with its ultra-modern F-35 fighter jet is the ‘radar control’. It sometimes doesn’t work. Too bad, say top brass, because system updates won’t be ready until 2020. But one official hit upon a temporary fix. He told F-35 pilots to turn the radar off and on to ‘reboot’ it, just like they would a computer.

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Alfonso Mobley Jr, 26, claims he is a “sovereign citizen” of the US and therefore is exempt from obeying laws or paying taxes. Or he did before he lost both hands when a bomb he was working on exploded in Columbus, Ohio. The bomb was made of the same material as that used in the terrorist attacks in Paris last year. Mobley’s associate wasn’t hurt but told police the bomb was to be simply a diversion for their planned bank or armored-car robbery. The FBI has labeled ‘sovereign citizens’ a domestic terrorist group.

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Jamie Keegan and Marc Shelton had a cunning plan to rob the Halifax bank in Sale, England, of its ATM machine. They would do it late at night when it was quiet and nobody was around. The first part of the plan worked. They got the ATM into their van and drove off. But it fell out the back, making a hell of a racket. The two 33-year-olds were wondering what to do next when the coppers arrived. One told Keegan and Shelton they need to be more vigilant next time – the ATM had a small “out of order” sign on it. A judge later added they had three-and-a-half years to figure out where they went wrong.

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‘Pastafarians’ are members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and insist on wearing food strainers, or colanders, on their heads for passport and driver’s licence photos. The ‘religion’ is legally recognised in the Netherlands and New Zealand. A US court has ruled is it not real, despite the state of Kansas being its birthplace. Pastafarians hold that the universe was created by the invisible Flying Spaghetti Monster and that pirates were the first followers. The world’s first Pastafarian wedding was held in New Zealand earlier this year, a pirate-themed affair on a boat in Akaroa. The marriage celebrant was called a ‘Ministeroni’. The groom vowed to “always put salt in the water and allow it to boil before cooking the pasta.” The bride said she would allow the groom to be the “captain of his own galley.” Anyway, a fellow in Portland, Oregon, has set up a church called the religion of the ‘Seven Drums’. He goes by the name of ‘Bishop’ and insists on wearing a hat made of the head and neck of a fox for the photo in his driver’s licence. The US Department of Motor Vehicles said he was barking mad. ‘Bishop’ went to court and judges said he wasn’t – ruling the ‘fox’ hat honours his religion.

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Police in Redford Township, Michigan, suspected a man wanted for armed violence was holed up in his home. They surrounded it late at night, quietly ordered neighbours to vacate, and over the next 11 hours fired tear gas cannisters through the windows and used a loud hailer to encourage the suspect to surrender. Still no response. Lastly they sent in a robot to scope out the house. Yep, it had been empty the whole time.

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The Chessington World of Adventures theme park in England upgraded its so-called ‘authentic jungle experience’ to lure more visitors. But it has been forced to impose noise restriction notices – because patrons apparently cannot resist the urge to do loud Tarzan impressions, which officials said “confuse” the monkeys.

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Christopher Wade, 55, was arrested and charged with stealing a mannequin from a store in Nashville, Tennessee. Police tracked him to his home, where he was found in bed with a fiberglass female wearing a brown wig, a pink spandex dress and rhinestone stilettos.

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The Japanese branch of Genie, the US company that makes seamless bras, is advertising a handy guide for women who have to lug around breasts of varying sizes in often ill-fitting bras. The Genie chart reveals weight in ounces of typical A-cup chests (11.5 ounces) through to F-cup (41.7 ounces). To assist any innumerate Japanese shoppers, the chart also shows practical comparisons, such as A-cup pairs weighing as much as “two chipmunks,” C-cups as “one newborn polar bear cub,” and F-cups as “one three-month-old Persian kitten.”

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Jeremy Watts, 30, and Jessica Heady, 24, broke into a house in Clarksville, Tennessee, and pinched a Sony PlayStation and other electronics. The pair then headed to a nearby Cash America Pawnshop, where they spun the manager a story about how they were leaving town and cashing up. But the manager recognised the Playstation. Yep, it was his. So was the other stuff they were trying to flog. So he told them to hang on while he figured out a price on the computer in his office … they were still hanging on when the cops walked in.

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A paramedic with the St. Louis Fire Department found his car had been broken into and some of his stuff stolen. He had just finished filing a police report when an emergency call came in: a pedestrian had been hit by a car. The crew rushed to the scene and began to treat the victim. That’s when the medic noticed a few familiar items scattered about, things like his gym bag and gym gear. Could the victim be the fellow who broke into my car, he asked himelf. Turned out it was. Police said they would charge him once the hospital had discharged him.

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A road crew in Iceland clearing debris from a landslide accidentally buried a rock that had lain on the edge of the road for years. Soon after, a series of mishaps happened. A crew worker was injured; machinery constantly broke down; a reporter who came to check on the site fell into a sink hole; a nearby village had flood problems. Then it dawned – the rock was an enchanted elfin and fellow elves were upset it had been moved. The road crew put it back again and peace returned to the place. Iceland regularly bends to the will of its elfin population. Construction sites have been moved so as not to disturb the elves. Fishermen heed their warnings and refuse to go to sea. Elves are part of every day life in Iceland.

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Raymond Mazzarella was fed up with the huge tree in his neighbor’s back yard in Pittston Township, Pennsylvania. It was right on the boundary and every day he parked his car under it. But it kept dripping sap on to the bonnet and roof. So he hired a chainsaw and started cutting. He was almost through the metre-wide trunk when the tree began to topple. Oops! Yep, the only scarf Mazzarella knew about was the one around his neck. The tree fell on to the two-storey apartment block where he and five other tenants lived. Building inspectors have condemned the entire building.

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Barbara Murphy, 64, of Roy, Utah, is very much alive. But the US Federal Government keeps telling her she died in 2014. It told pretty much everyone else, too. Murphy’s banks have frozen her accounts. Credit agencies won’t talk to her because the Feds say she’s dead. Social security people won’t talk to her because their records show she’s dead. Murphy went to a newspaper. ‘Here’s Barbara Murphy, she feels pretty good seeing she’s dead,’ the story said. But the Feds still say she’s long gone.

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Simon Chaplin, 62, fitted a smokescreen device to his Peugeot sedan – just in case he had to do a runner from the coppers. It happened too, near Swansea, in Wales, after Chaplin went through a speed trap. The James Bond-style device worked for a while, forcing the chasing police car to hang back. But then it ran out of puff and they nabbed him. The Swansea Crown Court was told that Chaplin was known as ‘Charlie’ to his mates.

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Buddhist monk Julian Glew, 45, was jailed for 11 weeks in England after he slashed 162 tyres in his Humberside neighborhood because, he said, he was angry that he had stepped on an insect and needed to be jailed.

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It was 3am when Alex Smith, 38, asked a sheriff’s deputy in Limestone County, Alabama, for a lift to a nearby Wal-Mart. The deputy agreed but, following procedure, said he’d have to search Smith and his backpack before letting him into the patrol car. Smith will probably wish for many years that he hadn’t bummed a ride. The deputy found crystal meth, marijuana and heroin, two syringes, a drug cooking spoon, two marijuana pipes, a meth smoking pipe, and a supply of plastic bags used to sell drugs. Smith was charged with drug possession and trafficking.

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Timothy Broad, 30, leaned his bicycle against the wall of a convenience store in England, slipped a balaclava over his head, rushed in, threatened staff, grabbed the loot from the till, rushed out and pedaled off. But the balaclava somehow blocked his view and he fell off his bike – three times, said witnesses. He ditched the balaclava and pedaled off again, this time out of sight. Police tested the balaclava for DNA and later knocked on Broad’s door. He’s doing three years and more.

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Emergency services praised Californian Derrick Deanda after he smashed the window of a wrecked car to help pull a man and his three young children to safety. In doing so Deanda cut his arm. Not badly, but paramedics insisted on a bandage. A couple of weeks later Deanda received another wound – in the form of a bill for US$143. That’s what emergency services in the city of Elk Grove – near Sacramento – charge for ‘rescuing each patient’ at a crash scene.

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Canadian driver Dane Rusk pulled over to throw loose change towards a homeless man sitting on the footpath in Regina, Saskatchewan. He unbuckled his seatbelt, leaned across the front passenger seat and tossed the fellow $3. But it was a stakeout – the beggar was a cop. He signaled his nearby partner who stopped Rusk moments later and booked him for driving without a seatbelt. Cost: $175 for the ticket and $3 for the beggar.

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The police dog in the town of Vaughn, New Mexico, became the only active ‘officer of the law’ after the sheriff and his deputy resigned – because they were banned from carrying guns. Seems Sheriff Ernest Armijo had been convicted of criminal non-support of a wife and two sons. Deputy Brian Bernal had a rap sheet, too, for family violence. Both convictions carry a federal gun ban. The state’s chief law officer moved quickly to protect the town’s 500 people by appointing two new officers to ease the load on the lone police dog.

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Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert fears that should an apocalyptic event force humans to abandon Earth, NASA might unwisely populate the spaceship-type ‘ark’ with the wrong species. For example, same-sex couples instead of procreative male-female pairings. Texan Gohmert aired his concerns in a (slurred) speech to the US House of Representatives, saying gays should be left behind because they can’t be relied upon to propagate the species. Here’s part of his speech: “Okay, we’ve got a space ship that can go, as Matt Damon did in the movie (The Martian), plant a colony somewhere … You’re wanting to save humankind for posterity, basically a modern-day Noah …” Gohmert is barking mad. It’s on YouTube.

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Two firemen in the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department near Fredericksburg, Virginia, were suspended for rushing an infant girl to hospital in their fire engine, despite rules requiring they wait for an ambulance. The girl was having a seizure and the firefighters figured an ambulance would take 10 to 15 minutes to get to her. They put her on oxygen and got her to hospital in 13 minutes. She had another seizure near the emergency entrance but later recovered. Said her grateful father: “My wife and I feel terrible for the fallout to these two gentlemen.”

 

 

 

 

 

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