Some More Dumb People Tricks

Date Received: 24 Jul 1997

Dubious Achievement Awards -- British Division

The following is from the British Sunday Express giving Gongs (medals) for dubious distinctions.

Tortoise Trophy
To British Rail, which ingeniously solved the problem of lateness in the InterCity express train service by redefining "on time" to include trains arriving within one hour of schedule.

Rubber Cushion
To John Bloor, who mistook a tube of superglue for his hemorrhoid cream and glued his buttocks together.

Crimewatch Cup Gold star:
To Henry Smith, arrested moments after returning home with a stolen stereo. His error was having tattooed on his forehead in large capital letters the words "Henry Smith." His lawyer told the court: "My client is not a very bright young man."

Silver star:
To Michael Robinson, who rang police to deliver a bomb threat, but became so agitated about the mounting cost of the call that he began screaming "Call me back!" and left his phone number.

Bronze star:
To Paul Monkton, who used as his getaway vehicle a van with his name and phone number painted in foot-high letters on the side.

British Cup
To the passengers on a jam-packed train from Margate to Victoria, who averted their eyes while John Henderson and Zoe D'Arcy engaged in oral sex and then moved on to intercourse ... but complained when the pair lit up post-coital cigarettes in a nonsmoking compartment.

Flying Cross
To Percy the Pigeon, who flopped down exhausted in a Sheffield loft, having beaten 1,000 rivals in a 500 mile race, and was immediately eaten by a cat. Alas, the 90-minute delay resulting from finding his remains and handing his ID tag to the judges relegated Percy from first to third place.

Lazarus Laurel
To Julia Carson, who as her tearful family gathered 'round her coffin in a New York funeral parlour, sat bolt upright and asked what the hell was going on. Celebrations were short-lived, due to the fact that Mrs. Carson's daughter, Julie, immediately dropped dead from shock.

Silver Bullet
To poacher Marino Malerba, who shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock -- and was killed instantly when it fell on him.

Date Received: Fri, 4 Jun 1999

A News of the Weird column that was mailed to me some time ago.

In May, the immigration office at Pearson International Airport in Toronto announced that one of its employees had been disciplined because of complaints that, under the pretense of official policy, he had ordered people entering Canada to remove their shoes and socks so that he could photograph their feet. According to officials, the man had already been counseled four times about his habit. [Sault Star-CP, 5-3-95]

In December, the Air Force Times reported that Army soldier Joseph Cannon had recently ended his six-year career having not received a single military paycheck after boot camp. Officials said Cannon's records were lost at his first duty station, but that he had never complained, though he missed 144 paychecks totaling over $103,000. Apparently, Cannon lived in the barracks, ate only in the mess halls, and borrowed money from relatives whenever he had special needs. [Air Force Times, 12-5-94]

According to records released in March of the November 1994 autopsy of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, officials kept Dahmer's body shackled at the feet during the entire procedure, "such was the fear of this man," according to pathologist Robert Huntington. [Milwaukee Journal-AP 3-17-95]

In February, a fishing boat sank in rough, cold waters off Vancouver Island, leaving two men in a life raft that was tied to the sinking boat by a nylon rope. Neither had a knife to cut the rope, and had the ship sunk, it would have pulled the boat and the men down with it. For an hour, the two men alternated chewing the rope, with one man losing a tooth in the process, and, minutes before the ship sank, the men finally chewed through the rope and survived. [Vancouver Sun, 2-13-95]

According to two colleagues, the pilot of the American Eagle airlines plane that crashed near Morrisville, N. C., in December told them and others that he was not qualified to pilot that particular aircraft and that he accepted a captain's assignment only when American Eagle told him to accept it or resign. The pilot, who had been forced out of his previous job because of poor skill performance and who had had difficulty during American Eagle's training, was said by colleagues interviewed by the Associated Press to have poor emergency decision-making ability and not to be "captain material." [Greensboro News- Record-AP, Apr95]

According to a New York Times story in May, as many as 20 Orthodox Jewish fathers in New York City who are involved in bitter divorce fights may be improving their leverage by resorting to an obscure passage in the Torah. A father is permitted to arrange his daughter's marriage while she is still a minor (under age 13); the daughter can then marry no one else without the father's permission. Because a mother so fears for her daughter's well-being, she may relent to divorce demands of the husband if he will drop the arrangement. The Times interviewed rabbis who called the practice disgusting and abhorrent, but valid. [N. Y. Times, 5-27-95]

In July, a judge in Denver, Colo., ruled that a mother and her current boyfriend could have temporary custody of her 8-month- old twin girls, even though DNA tests revealed that the boyfriend and the woman's estranged husband each fathered one, but not both, of the girls. The woman must have ovulated twice during a single cycle and had intercourse with both men during that cycle. [Albuquerque Journal-AP, 5-18-95]

According to a May story by Reuters columnist Sherwood Ross, psychic advisors Phyllis Schwartz and Hy Kaplan of Cherry Hill, N. J., have been retained by nearly 100 firms, including several of the Fortune 500, to "read" the vibes of applicants for employment. According to Kaplan, they need to know nothing more than name and position applied for, but they also note age, gender, and residence so they won't "read" the wrong person of the same name. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4-17- 95]

In April in Los Angeles, Ruth Walston filed for divorce from her husband, actor Ray Walston. She's 79, he's 80, they've been married 51 years, and she charged "irreconcilable differences." [People, 5-8-95]

Names that showed up recently on police blotters: Pleading guilty to rape in Denver, William Freelove; sentenced for assault in St. Joseph, Mo., Jesse James; cited for speeding in Parma, Ohio, Amelia A. Earhart; charged with assault and burglary in Moorhead, Minn., was a man who would not give his name and is thus listed on the rolls as Mr. Fnu Mnu Lnu (derived from "first name unknown," etc.); and jailed in Des Moines, Iowa, was Shannon Cooper, who police said went out bar-hopping, temporarily abandoning her children, Champaigne, 2, Chardonay, 1, and Chablea, 3 months. [Rocky Mountain News, 4-22-95] [Franklin County Watchman-AP, 2-20-95] [Columbus Dispatch-AP, Dec94] [Fargo Forum, Dec94] [Des Moines Register, 11-18-94]

Notable announcements in the news recently included the hiring by a medical clinic in Koloa, Hawaii, of Dr. Michael Cholera; the success of a new tooth decay preventive by Dutch professor Taco Pilot; the appointment as county coroner in Spokane, Wash., of Pat Mummey; and the revelation of fraud uncovered in a United Nations office in Kenya, as announced by office spokeswoman, Shamp Poo. [The Garden Island, May95] [Nashville Tennessean-AP, 4-8-94] [Spokane Spokesman- Review, 10-22-94] [New York Times-Reuters, 3-3-95]

California Names: In Newport Beach, Miss Truly Gold recently married Cary S. Boring. The Los Angeles Times reported that 16 people named Jesus Christ have California drivers licenses. The chair of the Polish American Congress, Anti-Defamation Committee of California, Inc., as of last year was Teodor Polak. [Albuquerque Journal-AP, 10-10-94] [Los Angeles Times, 5-2-95] [Los Angeles Times, 1-9-94]

In May, police in Halifax, Mass., charged Robert Brinson, 28, with assembling an Oklahoma City-style fertilizer bomb to blow up his ex-girlfriend and her family. Police said one bomb was found in the woman's bathroom and another in a doghouse outside, both consisting of turpentine and nails in cans with a battery and timer. However, police said the bombs were not explosive--since Brinson had mistakenly used potting soil instead of fertilizer. [Boston Herald, 5-23-95] Copyright 1995, Universal Press Syndicate. All rights reserved. Released only for entertainment of readers. No commercial use may be made of the material or of the name News of the Weird.

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