by Roland Sweet - Wednesday, November 13th, 2013


Curses, Foiled Again

Michigan’s Ingham County District Court ordered a 28-year-old man convicted of fraud to be fingerprinted at his own expense. He paid the $16 cost with a credit card that had been reported stolen, according to Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth, and was taken into custody. (Associated Press)

Claw-Licking Good

A man who came across a bear while eating lunch at Alaska’s Eklutna Lake Campground threw it a piece of barbecued meat. The bear ate the meat, but when the man threw the bear a second piece, “it kind of went ballistic,” Alaska State Troopers official Beth Ipsen said, explaining the bear attacked the man, puncturing skin along his jaw and scratching his back. Park rangers who found the man concluded the bear “was pretty much goaded into this,” and Ipsen noted the unidentified victim “had been drinking.” (Anchorage Daily News)

Out of Control

Darrell Moore, 53, walked into police headquarters in Omaha, Neb., and announced that he’d just witnessed a murder. When asked for details, Moore dropped his pants and began masturbating. He spit on one officer who tried to stop him and attempted to punch another. (Omaha’s WOWT-TV)

Foul Is Fair

Chinese students taking their university entrance exams rioted because they weren’t allowed to cheat. The outbreak occurred in Zhongxiang, a small city in Hubei province, which places a disproportionately high number of students in China’s most elite universities and has aroused the suspicions of education officials. This year, when some 800 students showed up to take the exam, they found the proctors weren’t their own teachers but 54 outside ones, who confiscated mobile phones, secret transmitters and other devices used to improve test scores. When the exams ended, an angry mob swarmed inside the building and trapped the examiners in an office area, then went on a rampage. Outside, 2,000 students gathered to vent their rage, throwing rocks through the school’s windows and waving signs declaring, “We want fairness. There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat.” (Britain’s The Telegraph)

Irony of the Week

CIA Director John Brennan announced a new campaign to “reinforce our corporate culture of secrecy” aimed at stopping leaks to the media, according to a secret memo leaked to the media. (Associated Press)

Venue Follies

Indianapolis is spending $6 million to upgrade a park by adding a cricket field, as well as space for Gaelic football, rugby, hurling and other popular sports overseas but relatively unknown among the local citizenry. Mayor Greg Ballard hopes his World Sports Park project will help local companies attract overseas workers by offering them a place to watch their favorite games. (Associated Press)

Britain’s Chelmsford Sport and Athletics Center is turning off the sensors of its automatic doors to stop squirrels from opening them and raiding trash cans inside. Manager Dave Griffin said the super-sensitive doors trap the rodents because they require a push button to exit. (The Essex Chronicle)

Bull Run

A bull escaped while being unloaded at a slaughterhouse in Girard, Pa., and rammed a woman riding a motor scooter. “It looked like a calm bull at first,” the victim’s husband, Kevin Morton, 34, said, “then suddenly it up and charged. . .  and hit her in the face.” (Associated Press)

Happy Ending

After a Chinese court overturned prostitution charges against a Foshan hair salon whose staff provided sexual services, Chinese media and law enforcers began a national debate on whether sexual services that don’t involve actual sexual intercourse count as crimes. The Foshan Intermediate People’s Court ruled that oral sex and other types of sexual services facilitated by body parts excluding genitals fall outside the legal definition of prostitution. On its official microblog, however, the court urged the legislature to clarify the matter, noting that, though legal, such services “significantly damage social order and have a certain degree of social harm.” (Associated Press)

Drive-In Service

Austrian firefighters were doing chores at their station in Pregarten when a car pulled up with flames shooting from beneath it. Fireman Roland Brandl said one firefighter grabbed an extinguisher and doused the blaze, which apparently was caused by a cleaning cloth that had been left under the hood. (Associated Press)

Just What We Needed

A French company has developed an analytical tool to detect sarcasm. Spotter said its analytics software uses a combination of linguistics, semantics and heuristics to create algorithms that can recognize sarcastic comments posted online. It has an accuracy rate of up to 80 percent, according to Spotter’s U.K. director Richard May, who conceded, “Nothing is foolproof; we are talking about automated systems. But five years ago, you couldn’t get this level of accuracy. We were at the 50 percent mark.” Noting that one of Spotter’s clients is Air France, May explained that one of the most common subjects for sarcasm is bad service. (BBC News)

Pry Them from My Cold Dead Hands

Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, 94, is hoarding 38,000 menthol cigarettes because he fears the European Union might ban them. Schmidt, who is allowed to smoke wherever and whenever he pleases, has stockpiled 200 cartons of Reyno, his preferred brand, enabling him to smoke a pack a day until he turns 100, according to Chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrüück of Schmidt’s Social Democrats party, who revealed news of Schmidt’s stash while admitting he has his own stash of special French light bulbs that he fears the EU will ban. (Germany’s The Local)

Where’s a Good Second Amendment
When You Need One?

After evacuating flooded High River, Alberta, Royal Canadian Mounted Police seized “a large quantity of firearms” from vacated homes and set up a blockade at a checkpoint to keep out residents. “This,” resident Charles Timpano declared, pointing to the blockade, “is the reason the U.S. has the right to bear arms.” (Canada’s National Post)

Spaced Out

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology approved funding for NASA but specifically banned the agency from moving forward with President Obama’s proposed mission to capture an asteroid. It also sharply cut money to research climate change. The asteroid retrieval mission (ARM) would entail using an unmanned spacecraft to use a giant net to haul in an asteroid 20 to 30 feet wide and release it into an orbit around the moon. Astronauts would then examine the asteroid to learn how to develop ways to deflect any larger asteroid headed directly for Earth. Denying that the party-line vote was an automatic anti-Obama response, Rep. Steven M. Palazzo (R-Miss.) insisted that NASA’s priority should be human spaceflight: “launching American astronauts on American rockets from America.” (The Washington Post)
A bill introduced in Congress would create a U.S. national park on the moon. H.R. 2617, “The Apollo Lunar Legacy Act,” identifies six Apollo landing sites with artifacts that could be pirated away “as space-faring commercial entities and foreign nations begin to achieve the technical capabilities necessary to land spacecraft on the surface of the moon,” the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) explained. Among the designated artifacts are the Eagle lunar lander’s descent and ascent stages, lunar exploration vehicles and three golf balls. (Brevard County’s Florida Today)

Forbidden Fruit

When a KFC franchise opened in El Arish, Egypt, Khalil Efrangi, 31, organized a delivery service to smuggle meals into Gaza, where the entry and exit of goods and people are restricted. Efrangi, who operates a legitimate delivery service called Yamama in Gaza City, waits until he gets enough orders to make the venture profitable–usually 30–and then phones the KFC in El Arish and wires payment. Using two taxis and one of the scores of tunnels connecting Gaza and Egypt, Efrangi collects the contraband and delivers it to his Palestinian customers by motorcycle. The entire journey takes about four hours. “It’s our right to enjoy that taste the other people all over the world enjoy,” said Efrangi, who nets about $6 profit per meal. (The New York Times)
Seattle butcher William von Schneidau teamed up with a medical marijuana grower to feed the remnants of pot plants to his pigs. Von Schneidau, who operates BB Ranch Meats in Pike Place Market, said the meat, including pot-infused bacon, “tasted savory.” (Seattle’s KOMO-TV)

This Ain’t No Karaoke

American tourist Bobby Ray Carter Jr., 51, was killed at a bar in Thailand’s Krabi province after he insisted on singing with the band. “Witnesses said Carter got angry when the band played ‘Hotel California’ instead of the song he requested, and he refused to step down,” Krabi city police chief Col. Taksin Pochakorn said. The band then stopped playing and argued with Carter until at some point one of the musicians stabbed Carter in the chest. (Associated Press)

How the 1 Percent Play

Some wealthy visitors to Disney World are hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they don’t have to wait in lines. Social researcher Wednesday Martin, who said she uncovered this underground network while studying New York City’s Park Avenue elite, said the black-market Disney guides charge $130 an hour. Instead of having to wait hours in lines, Disney allows guests with wheelchairs or mobility scooters to bring up to six guests to a “more convenient entrance” at the front of each attraction. “It’s insider knowledge that very few have and share carefully,” Martin said. (New York Post)

News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland Sweet in care of The New Times.