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THIS is TRUE: 30 October 2007 Copyright This Is True

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DO IT YOURSELF: A man who went through the self-checkout station at a Home Depot store in Seattle, Wash., accidentally punched the button on the computer for Spanish. The man then apparently became "frustrated that the machine was speaking Spanish" to him, the resulting police report said. The first item he was trying to buy: a pry bar. He used it to smash the computer, dropped the pry bar in his shopping cart, and walked out. The store said the man, who was not found by police, caused $10,000 in damage. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) ...Good thing he wasn't buying a chainsaw.

FREE PARKING: A security guard at the newly reopened Mustang Ranch brothel heard a child crying in the parking lot. He investigated and found a 2-year-old girl left alone in a car parked there. He brought her inside and called the sheriff. Deputies say the girl was probably left for two hours in the car in 95-degree heat. She was treated for dehydration at a local hospital. Once the father, Lucien Hoffman of Bend, Ore., finally emerged from the brothel, he was arrested on charges of child neglect. (Reno Gazette-Journal) ...How can a guy that stupid afford two hours in a brothel?

TO PROTECT AND TO SERVE: "I was just walking along the pavement and heard the police car siren coming behind us," says Daniel Horne, 28. He was walking in Beddau, Wales, on the sidewalk, and the police car jumped up off the roadway and hit him. "The car hit my right leg and I fell over, with my foot being crushed under the front wheel of the patrol car." The apologetic officer took Horne to the hospital, stayed with him for three hours as his foot was put in a cast, and then gave him a ride home. But Horne's ordeal wasn't over: the officer cited him for "criminal damage" -- denting the police car -- which carried an 80 pound (US$160) fine. He has hired a lawyer to fight the fine -- and sue the police. A police spokesman says they have "received a complaint from Mr. Horne, and are looking into it." (London Daily Mail) ...And will charge a mere 80 pound "investigative fee" for that.

SOMETHING FISHY'S GOING ON HERE: The state of Colorado, assisted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have been working since the 1970s to try to restore the Colorado State Fish, the greenback cutthroat trout, to rivers in the Rockies. The University of Colorado just did a study to see how they're doing. The result: DNA analysis shows that the fish being stocked in the rivers all that time isn't the greenback cutthroat trout, but rather the Colorado River cutthroat trout. (Denver Rocky Mountain News) ...In related news, the Colorado legislature has introduced a bill to name the Colorado River cutthroat trout the state's Official Fish.

WHAT NIGHTMARES ARE MADE OF: "Detective Posed as Corpse to Catch Funeral Parlour Vandals" -- London Daily Mail headline

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THIS is TRUE: 7 October 2007 Copyright This Is True

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JUST PASSING THROUGH: When a car crashed into the front of police headquarters in East Windsor, Conn., an officer ran to investigate. The driver, a 68-year-old woman, was fine, but when she saw the officer, police say, she backed up her car and tried to run him down, crashing into the building again. She then flipped the cop off and drove away. Officers pursued the car and arrested Lillian Dunn about a mile away. During a court hearing Dunn repeatedly interrupted the judge, who warned her that she would be gagged if she didn't be quiet. "Go ahead," Dunn urged. "Shove it!" She has been charged with criminal attempt to commit assault, criminal mischief, driving with a suspended license, and drunk driving. (Hartford Courant) ...Gosh: how come we saw that last charge coming from a mile away?

WATCH OUT! Columbiana County, Ohio, Sheriff's officers responded to a report of an accident. Charles R. Hoyle, 34, had been riding an ATV near the town of Boardman when he hit a tree. When deputies arrived they found Hoyle was dead. A witness, Fred Powell, 53, said his brother Brian Powell, 46, had been following Hoyle on another ATV on his property when Hoyle sped off at full throttle and crashed. Hoyle, he noted, was blind. Brian admitted they had been drinking, but "not to the point of no return." (East Liverpool Review) ...Sure enough, by the time you realize you've gotten to the "point of no return," there's no returning from it.

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU: Ralph Williams of Cromwell, Otago, New Zealand, had his car briefly confiscated in a police investigation. When he got it back, he discovered a GPS tracking device had been installed behind a panel. He put a SIM card from the device into his mobile phone, and found it was programmed to text a police detective's mobile with reports on his location. Williams then put the tracking device up for sale online, noting "No police to bid on this." Williams has not been charged in any crime. A spokesman for the New Zealand Civil Liberties Council said the case sounded like a cross between George Orwell's "1984" and "the Keystone Kops". (Christchurch Press) ...Which is pretty much how I had always envisioned "1984" would be implemented.

FOUL PLAY INDEED: Months ago, when the Rev. Gary Michael Aldridge, 51, of the Thorington Road Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., was found dead, church officials urged that the community "refrain from speculation" until the police finished its investigation. The autopsy report is finally in, and it reveals that Aldridge died alone with no sign of drug or alcohol ingestion, but that he was wearing two rubber suits, had bound his own hands and feet behind his back, and died from "accidental mechanical asphyxia", or hypoxyphilia. "It is not a criminal matter at this point," a prosecutor said. (Montgomery Advertiser) ...OK -- *now* the speculation can begin.

RETURN TO SENDER, ADDRESS UNKNOWN: "Inmate Missing after Escaping via Mail Slot" -- Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader headline

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THIS is TRUE: 14 October 2007 Copyright This Is True

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GUNS AND ROSES: Officials in Denver, Colo., and its suburbs say they are astounded that there are so many federally licensed gun dealers in their cities. For instance many private homes are licensed dealerships, as well as car repair shops, a college bookstore, a doctor's office, a bank, and other unusual locations. Many "dealers" note that they simply get a license to be able to buy guns for themselves wholesale, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says that as long as applicants qualify for a license, they are required to grant one, even if it looks "unusual," an ATF spokesman said. "We've had mortuaries," he added. "What do you do at a mortuary with a gun?" (Denver Post) ...You make sure.

UNDRESS FOR SUCCESS: A police official in Madrid, Spain, decided a good way to cut down on prostitution in the city would be to charge hookers with indecent exposure when caught wearing revealing clothes in public. Nothing doing, said the city's chief public prosecutor, Mariano Fernando Bermejo. Scanty clothing is simply a prostitute's uniform, he said, and thus is not illegal. "The wearing of a uniform, or in this case almost the lack of one, [is] related to one's job," he ruled. (Reuters) ...Just wait until you see what they wear on "Casual Friday".

STICKY SITUATION: When police in Chesterton, Ind., responded to a call of a suspicious man in a gas station bathroom, they couldn't help but notice the odor of glue around him. They asked if he had been sniffing glue. Nope, he said, but then he tried to throw his cigarette away. It stuck to his fingers. Brett Kolarik, 34, was charged with public intoxication and glue sniffing. (The Times of Northwest Indiana) ...Who needs handcuffs when you can just press his hands together?

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING: Professor Roman Kunikov of the Ufa Aviation Technical University in Ufa, Russia, recently showed off his new gasoline-powered boots at a public demonstration. "A person can move with significant jumps or strides," Kunikov said -- at up to 25 mph. A price was not mentioned, but the boots weigh two pounds each, including the gas tank, foot-long piston, carburetor and spark plug. He promises improvements to the original design. "We aren't standing in one place," he said. (AP) ...Even if he wants to.

BAD BOY, BAD BOY, WHATCHA GONNA DO? Benjamin Davis, 23, is charged with running S&M parties. Actually, the charges are keeping a house of ill fame for lewdness, lending or selling articles for self abuse and, for good measure, assault on a police officer. Davis lives with his mother, who admits she was "stunned" to learn he "may be" involved in "the sadomasochistic scene." Davis had allegedly been holding parties every two weeks for six months, and when the Hudson, N.H., police raided a recent party they "discovered about 55 men and women in various stages of undress along with whips, chains and other paraphernalia." But, she said, he is her son: "I'm proud of him. But the other part of me wants to spank him." (Hudson Sun) ...That may be what got him started in the first place.

GUN CONTROL: A policeman in Cotessey, England, was injured during a demonstration of the safe handling of firearms. Superintendent Chris Burgess was hit in the leg by wadding in a defective blank cartridge that was fired at him. "It stings a lot and my leg is stiff but it could have been exceptionally nasty," Burgess said. "My thigh was probably the best place it could have hit, under the circumstances." Meanwhile, Kim Barnes, 39, a former Air Force fighter pilot, was on a "first date" with a woman and telling her about the dangers of handguns. The Englewood, Colo., man was showing her his 9mm pistol when the gun misfired, shooting him in the leg. "It was a horrible, terrible thing that happened," the woman said, but "I certainly hope I get a second date. He is a lovely man." (PA, AP) ...Dear, if he offers a "safe sex demo", run.

STEP RIGHT UP: Internet auctioneer eBay has canceled the sale of a purported piece of Egypt's Great Pyramid of Cheops. If the piece is real, it would be illegal to sell, an eBay spokesman says. Zahi Hawass, Antiquities Director of the Pyramids, insists it's indeed not real. "This man could have taken any piece of rock from the desert and claim it was a piece of the pyramid," he said. (Reuters) ...In other words, it's just yet another online pyramid scheme.

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Charles Dellaria, 37, was arrested in Mashantucket, Conn., for allegedly stealing an ice chest. Not just any ice chest: this one belonged to the New England Eye & Tissue Transplant Bank and contained two human corneas meant for transplant. "I don't believe he's involved in any type of stolen human body part ring," said State Police Detective Jeff Megin, who interviewed Dellaria, noting the foam container looked like ones fishermen use. "He thought they were lobsters." (AP) ...Wrong kind of seefood, pal.

AHOY THERE: "Clueless," says one coastguardsman. "Irresponsible," says another. The British sea rescue crews were talking about Eric Abbott, 56, of Cheshire, England, after having to rescue him 12 times in the last year, the last two times in a single day. Abbott, who built his own boat, uses an outdated road map for his navigation, but that doesn't help much: at one point, he called for help on the radio and noted he could see Wales when actually he was off the coast of Northern Ireland. Why doesn't Abbott take lessons on sailing? He says he doesn't need a skipper's license because he is "too intelligent." (PA) ...Apparently Gilligan finally did get off that island.

SORE LOSER: "Young Encouraged to Worship Bodies, Not Brains --Head" -- PA headline

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THIS is TRUE: 21 October 2007 Copyright This Is True

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GOT THE POINT: A police officer in Chandler, Ariz., noticed a motorcyclist weaving in and out of traffic and tried to pull it over, but the cyclist popped a wheelie and took off at such a high rate of speed -- over 100 mph -- that the officer decided it would be unsafe to chase him. A short time later, another officer saw the motorcyclist and tried to pull him over again. The cyclist ran again, but the second officer was in a better position to give chase. Ross Bidwell, 24, was taken to the hospital, and then charged with drunk driving, driving with a suspended license, failure to yield, reckless driving, and failure to appear in court on a previous DUI charge -- after he careened off of a pickup truck and slammed into a giant cactus beside the road. (Scottsdale East Valley Tribune) ...Figures: there just isn't a video camera around when you really, really need one.

OH? The downtown district of Miami, Fla., hopes to attract people to move into the area with an "edgy" new slogan: DWNTWN MIAMI. "Not having the O's makes it more creative," claims Oscar Rodriguez, a Downtown Development Authority board member. "It took some getting used to, but it's a smart logo," said Mauricio Giammattei of Cre8tiv Juice Brand Design. "You're not asking a 70-year-old to move to downtown. You're asking a 24-year-old to move to downtown." (Miami Herald) ...No 24-year-old will move downtown if there's no potential for "O"s.

CLOSE ENOUGH: The Tennessee Department of Human Services received a tip that a preschool in Jefferson City was not treating children correctly, so it conducted a surprise inspection. It found a 4-year-old boy had been put into a bathroom with a pacifier held in his mouth with packing tape. A caretaker admitted that they had taped children's mouths before, and it had been a "mutual decision" between her and the other on-duty caretaker. The center's license was immediately suspended. Before the suspension, the daycare facility had received the state's highest possible rating. (AP) ...That's the difference between scheduled inspections and surprise inspections.

THE MOTION OF THE OCEAN: Caroline Corbett, 22, a crew member of a commercial sailboat off Key West, Fla., has been arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a child after having sex with a 15-year-old Boy Scout. The boy was one of 18 scouts on the boat for a weekend sleep-over. Corbett, 22, was the boat's first mate. (Miami Herald) ...What a coincidence: his too!

"THEY'RE BIGGER THAN MINE!" WIFE SOBS: "Enlarged Breasts in Men Often Troubling" -- Chicago Sun Times headline

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THIS is TRUE: 28 October 2007 Copyright This Is True

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CRITICAL THINKING: Five students at Oswego High School in Chicago, Ill., died in what investigators say was an alcohol-related crash. Several students said they wanted to discourage fellow students from drinking and driving during homecoming weekend, and wore shirts to school emblazoned "Class .08" the Friday before -- a double meaning of the class of 2008 and a reminder that .08 percent is the legal alcohol limit for drivers. School officials told the students to remove their shirts; all did but one. "I decided I wasn't going to back down," said Katie Kusnierz, 17, since their classmates' deaths "really impacted us." Kusnierz was thus suspended -- on the grounds that the shirt's message "could be" interpreted as promoting drinking. (Chicago Tribune) ...Of course, the school administrators "could be" idiots.

UNCRITICAL THINKING: After a sheriff's deputy pulled over Reginald Cotton in Tampa, Fla., he got out and ran, an incident report says. Officers chased him down, and had to Taser him to subdue and arrest him. Investigators searched his car and found that when he ran, he left his two young children behind. They also found a bottle of crack cocaine hidden under the seat. Cotton was charged with two counts of child neglect, plus possession of cocaine with intent to sell, all felonies. They didn't bother charging him with what led to the traffic stop: the deputy simply wanted to warn him that the tinting on his windshield was excessive. (Tampa Tribune) ...So was his paranoia.

OPEN WIDE: A dentist in Woodland, Calif., appealed the suspension of his license to practice after 27 women complained that he touched or massaged their breasts during their treatments. Mark K. Anderson, 48, faces charges of battery and sexual battery in one case, and other cases are pending, prosecutors say. At least one of the women is suing him. An administrative law judge ruled that the license suspension will remain in effect as long as criminal charges are pending, despite Anderson's contention that "palpation" of pectoral muscles is an appropriate treatment for temporal mandibular joint disorder. (Davis Enterprise, Sacramento Bee) ...But only in women.

CAMOUFLAGE CULTURE: Despite falling crime rates, the Japanese are becoming more fearful of crime, so the marketplace is responding. For instance, there's a new dress for women: if they're afraid they're being pursued, they can put themselves against a wall and pull a panel out of their dress that disguises them -- as a vending machine. Also available: a handbag that unfolds into a manhole cover: women can flip it open and toss it into the street. Thieves will supposedly think it's an iron disk and not pick it up and find the owner's wallet. For children, there's a backpack that unfolds into a fire hydrant so the child can hide inside. (New York Times) ...Which may work against school bullies, but not passing dogs.

THAT WON'T WORK EITHER: "Nerds to Auction Themselves to Women" -- AP headline

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THIS is TRUE: 4 November 2007 Copyright This Is True

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SIGNIFICANT DISCOUNT: An unnamed woman called police in Lancaster, Pa., to report that as she got out of her car, a man grabbed her and fondled her. She broke away and ran, but he got away with her purse. When officers arrived, they asked her to call her cell phone. Sure enough, the robber answered -- and demanded $185,000 for the return of her phone. After negotiating the price down to $200 (nearly a 99.9 percent reduction), police went to the designated meeting place and arrested Randy-Jay Adolphos Jones, 29, who was still holding her phone. He was charged with indecent assault and robbery, and is being held on $100,000 bail. (Lancaster New Era) ...No, the judge will not reduce that to $108.

TTL IDT: Robert Gillespie, 38, was driving in Eugene, Ore., and, police say, was sending a text message on his cell phone. He looked up to see a freight train crossing in front of him, but he couldn't stop in time. The train crew called 911 to report the crash; rescue crews had to pry Gillespie, who was still conscious, out of the crushed vehicle. (Portland Oregonian) ...And they had to pry his phone out of his hand since he was still trying to text the message, "Hlp! Ht trn. Nd resq."

IF THE NAME FITS: Officials in Sioux City, Iowa, asked the Federal Aviation Administration to change the designator of its airport, SUX, because it was an "embarrassment" to the city. After the FAA offered several alternatives -- GWU, GYO, GYT, SGV and GAY -- city officials decided what they had wasn't so bad after all, and decided to make the most of it. The airport's new slogan: FLY SUX. (AP) ...Whereas the public says FLYING SUX no matter where they're going.

DON'T PUSH THAT BUTTON: Managers at Fleetlink GPS of Brisbane, Qld., Australia, weren't terribly worried when a burglar stole a demonstration set. "We were fairly confident he was going to be silly enough to plug it in because it looks like something to plug in," said one. The A$13,000 (US$12,930) unit demonstrates what Fleetlink equipment does: helps companies track their equipment fleet by GPS. Sure enough, a few days later the thief plugged the unit in, and Fleetlink was immediately notified of its location. "We had a bit of a laugh and then contacted police." Officers raided the location and not only recovered the GPS system, but also tens of thousands of dollars' worth of other equipment stolen in "what appeared to be sophisticated heists." But, Fleetlink countered, "If he was that smart he wouldn't be a criminal." (Brisbane Courier Mail) ...Or, at least he wouldn't have been caught.

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? "Prison Offers Inmates Pole-vaulting Lessons" -- London Daily Express headline

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THIS is TRUE: 11 November 2007 Copyright This Is True

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OVERQUALIFIED: Voters in Brunswick, Maine, were a bit suspicious of Matthew Lajoie, who was running for a seat on the school board. It's not just that Lajoie is only 21 years old, but rather that it was revealed that he has managed to amass 18 criminal convictions since he graduated from Brunswick High School. They included multiple cases of theft, putting fake license plates on his car, several counts of driving with a suspended or revoked license, and leading a police chase that ended in a fiery crash. Lajoie says he decided to turn his life around since "I was getting tired of being pulled over and hauled to the station and finding bail money." He came in last in the election. (Brunswick Times Record) ...Right: in America, we prefer our politicians to commit their crimes in office.

IN A PICKLE: "If this is not the silliest case I've ever seen in this courtroom, it certainly is in the top 10," grumbled Judge Scott Schofield. Bobby Lee Bolen, 35, of Buchanan, Mich., was brought before the judge for assault with a pickle. Bolen had broken into the home of some friends and threw two large pickles at them. That led to charges of home invasion and assault. "The fact that it's silly doesn't mean that it's not serious," the judge continued. He sentenced Bolen to time served while awaiting trial -- 54 days -- plus $1,150 in fines, $270 in restitution, and a year of probation, during which time he must undergo a substance abuse evaluation, as his lawyer noted that Bolen's real problem was alcohol abuse. (South Bend Tribune) ...Throwing several pickles, throwing back several and getting pickled -- what's the difference?

SHALL I POUR? Contractors were pouring cement against the wall of a restaurant and bar in Gore, New Zealand, but the wet mass was too heavy and the wall collapsed. An estimated 4,000 liters of concrete poured in, weighing about 8 metric tons. The restaurant ended up with about 30 cm (1 ft.) of concrete on the floor. "It was pretty spectacular to look at," said bar manager Murray Davidson, who noted he had three customers at the time. A government official expected the bar to be back open in less than a week. (Southland Times) ...Naturally, for the first round the stiff ones will be on the house.

HAULING ASH: A car repair shop in North Charleston, S.C., bought an old Buick for parts and hauled it back to their shop. The car had been sitting around for months, and as the shop employees went through it, they found a fair amount of abandoned property. Including an urn marked "the cremated remains of Izetta Dickerson." The woman's ashes apparently sat in the back seat of the Buick for about four years. (Charleston Post and Courier) ...Considering how many people's lives started in the back seat of a Buick, it's reasonable for someone to end their life there now and then.

NEXT, A REPORT WILL DISCUSS WHY THEY NEEDED A REPORT TO TELL THEM THIS: "State Report Says Texas Has Too Many Reports" -- AP headline

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THIS is TRUE: 18 November 2007 Copyright This Is True

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SOMETHING FISHY GOING ON: Karim Hasan Thamir said he was fishing with his sons in a tributary of the Euphrates River in southern Iraq when he caught something unexpected: a 12-foot shark. "I recognized the fish as a shark because I have seen one on a television program," he said. He was more than 160 miles up-river from the sea, and thinks he knows how the shark got there. "I believe that America is behind this matter," he said. (Reuters) ...It couldn't have been one of our military attack sharks: it didn't have frickin' laser beams on its head.

SEEMED REASONABLE AT THE TIME: "He didn't move, so I drove into the back of him," explained Paul D. Keith, 75, to police in Framingham, Mass., who were investigating the collision. "When the light turns green, you're supposed to go and I did." Keith saw the green light and proceeded, even though the car in front of him was in the way. "He was confident in his feeling that he had the right of way," a police spokesman said. "We weren't. He was arrested." Keith was charged with third-offense drunk driving. (Framingham Metro West Daily News) ...We won't really make progress on this issue unless we ensure no one can ever commit a fourth offense.

METRIC SUBVERSION: David Clarke, 31, of Dublin, Ireland, was heading to a wedding when he passed a police checkpoint at 180 kph in a 100 kph zone. He was cited for driving dangerously; if convicted, he would lose his license. But County Donegal District Court Judge Denis McLoughlin reduced the charge to driving carelessly on the theory that the "very excessive" speed didn't appear "as bad" when considered in miles per hour -- 112 -- rather than kilometers per hour. He fined Clarke 1,000 Euros (US$1,450). (AP) ...Good thing he didn't convert it to feet per minute.

AHOY THERE: "Unfortunately, he had missed one of the big rules, which is you don't go to sea by yourself," says a port commander from the Royal Australian Navy. The boater had gone out onto Darwin Harbor after dark and hit a buoy marking a wreck, knocking him overboard. "He is on the water with no life jacket, no safety equipment and no flares and his boat has just kept on going," the navy man said. Several hours later the boat beached itself -- on navy property. Security guards found it quickly; the engine was still running and its GPS system was on, so a rescue crew simply followed the recorded route backward, and found the unnamed sailor still clinging to the buoy -- seven hours after the crash. (Australian AP) ...It's not often a guy can say he thwarted two Darwins at the same time.

BIG MAC ATTACK: "Cows Flee after Seeing McDonald's" -- AP headline

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THIS is TRUE: 25 November 2007 Copyright This Is True

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HOW DRY I AM: Calls for more stringent drunk-driving laws in Ireland have brought resistance -- from Roman Catholic priests. The current .08 percent limit is fine, but tightening it any more than that isn't, the priests say, because they often have to celebrate mass more than once a day, which includes communion. "You could be over the limit trying to travel between maybe two or three churches on a Sunday morning and coming back again," complained Fr. Brian D'Arcy, rector of the Passionist Monastery in Enniskillen. (Reuters) ...I always thought it was a "sip", not a whole bottle.

DON'T GO THERE: "Jody was Dayne's best friend," said Jessica Harris, 15. "That's why it escalated the way it did." She was referring to what happened when Dayne Simons, 17, confronted Jody Ross, 19. Police in Leesburg, Fla., say Simons beat Ross with an ax, using both the blunt and blade sides. Ross survived; Simons has been charged with attempted homicide. What provoked the attack? Simons became upset when he discovered Ross was dating Maria Mines, 35. Mines is Simons' mother. (Orlando Sentinel) ...It wasn't just the dating, but more Ross's taunts of "Who's yer daddy!?"

BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE: The operator of Britain's National Lottery issued a new scratch-and-win game. The theme of the "Cool Cash" game was winter temperatures: tickets were winners if the scratched-off temperature was lower than the figure shown on the card. But players couldn't figure out whether or not they had won. "I phoned [the lottery] and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher, not lower, than -8," complained one woman, "but I'm not having it." The lottery got so many similar calls that they gave up and canceled the game. (Manchester Evening News) ...Dumb: Players not understanding basic math. Dumber: A lottery operator which doesn't already know players aren't any good at math.

A (DOUBLE) BARREL OF FUN: A man in South Kitsap, Wash., had been working on his car, and needed to remove a wheel. One lug nut was too tight to budge, so he chose an unconventional tool to loosen it: a shotgun. The 00-buck from the round ricocheted, carrying with it chunks of metal from the wheel. The do-it-yourselfer was hospitalized with "severe but not life-threatening" injuries from his shins to his chin. The unidentified 66-year-old man "wasn't intoxicated," a sheriff's spokesman said, and didn't say why he resorted to a shotgun. "I don't think he was in any condition to say anything," the spokesman said. "The pain was so severe." (Kitsap Sun) ...Stupidity should hurt.

PARDON THE RING: "'Shut Up' Is Hit Ringtone in Spain" -- AFP headline

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THIS is TRUE: 25 November 2007 Copyright This Is True

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HOW DRY I AM: Calls for more stringent drunk-driving laws in Ireland have brought resistance -- from Roman Catholic priests. The current .08 percent limit is fine, but tightening it any more than that isn't, the priests say, because they often have to celebrate mass more than once a day, which includes communion. "You could be over the limit trying to travel between maybe two or three churches on a Sunday morning and coming back again," complained Fr. Brian D'Arcy, rector of the Passionist Monastery in Enniskillen. (Reuters) ...I always thought it was a "sip", not a whole bottle. Boxerdude - That is a first, the Priest was honest about the drinking!!LOL Now if they will just fess up to the Alter Boys!!! Oh, I forgot Alchol has a tendancy to create memory loss. 4_1_112[1].gif

DON'T GO THERE: "Jody was Dayne's best friend," said Jessica Harris, 15. "That's why it escalated the way it did." She was referring to what happened when Dayne Simons, 17, confronted Jody Ross, 19. Police in Leesburg, Fla., say Simons beat Ross with an ax, using both the blunt and blade sides. Ross survived; Simons has been charged with attempted homicide. What provoked the attack? Simons became upset when he discovered Ross was dating Maria Mines, 35. Mines is Simons' mother. (Orlando Sentinel) ...It wasn't just the dating, but more Ross's taunts of "Who's yer daddy!?" Boxerdude: That is just sick!!! LOL I know there was a movie made about this already!

BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE: The operator of Britain's National Lottery issued a new scratch-and-win game. The theme of the "Cool Cash" game was winter temperatures: tickets were winners if the scratched-off temperature was lower than the figure shown on the card. But players couldn't figure out whether or not they had won. "I phoned [the lottery] and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher, not lower, than -8," complained one woman, "but I'm not having it." The lottery got so many similar calls that they gave up and canceled the game. (Manchester Evening News) ...Dumb: Players not understanding basic math. Dumber: A lottery operator which doesn't already know players aren't any good at math. Boxerdude: How many gamlbers are good at math! That is why the house tends to win. LOL

A (DOUBLE) BARREL OF FUN: A man in South Kitsap, Wash., had been working on his car, and needed to remove a wheel. One lug nut was too tight to budge, so he chose an unconventional tool to loosen it: a shotgun. The 00-buck from the round ricocheted, carrying with it chunks of metal from the wheel. The do-it-yourselfer was hospitalized with "severe but not life-threatening" injuries from his shins to his chin. The unidentified 66-year-old man "wasn't intoxicated," a sheriff's spokesman said, and didn't say why he resorted to a shotgun. "I don't think he was in any condition to say anything," the spokesman said. "The pain was so severe." (Kitsap Sun) ...Stupidity should hurt. Boxerdude: This is just dumb enough that Johnny Knox needs to put this in "JackAss #3" roflmao.gif

PARDON THE RING: "'Shut Up' Is Hit Ringtone in Spain" -- AFP headline

Boxerdude; Now where do I get that ring tone!!! LOL
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THIS is TRUE: 2 December 2007 Copyright This Is True

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EXCUSES, EXCUSES: When a man sauntered up to an undercover police officer in Worcester, Mass., working a prostitution detail and offered $40 for "everything," he was quickly arrested. The man insisted he was a doctor "gathering information" on infectious diseases. Sure enough, Dr. Peter A. Rice, 65, specializes in infectious diseases and immunology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Investigators aren't buying the excuse and filed soliciting charges. "He's got a rational explanation for what he was doing there," said his lawyer, Anthony Salerno. It wasn't research, since "Research is a technical medical term," but rather "it was information gathering that he would later use for research" -- information that "he couldn't get from lab reports or periodicals." (Worcester Telegram) ...Obviously he hasn't been buying the right magazines.

FAHRENHEIT 451, THE NEXT GENERATION: Michael Chalk, 40, is a teacher in Melbourne, Vic., Australia. He was in Cairns, Qld., for an education conference when he went to Shenannigans for a drink. There was dancing, so Chalk decided to put his book down and join the fun. That's when a bouncer escorted him out: other patrons were upset at the book he was reading, "The Unknown Terrorist". The book is about a man who is mistaken for a terrorist and is persecuted by paranoid people making false accusations. "I was wondering whether I'm in a place where everyone is in the grip of fear where they see danger everywhere," Chalk said later, "or the sort of place where a vigilante group might hunt me down for reading a book." (Cairns Post) ...Yes, and yes.

LIQUID COURAGE: Deborah Thompson, 54, admits she had been drinking from a bottle of whiskey and was "being silly" when she decided to stand on the railroad tracks in Marysville, Calif., and try to stop an oncoming train. "She thought she could move faster than the train," said police Sgt. Phil Spadini. She couldn't: the engineer saw her and hit the brakes, but Thompson was hit and thrown 20-30 feet. She survived, but was flown to a regional hospital in critical condition. (Marysville Appeal-Democrat) ...During which flight she had to be stopped from trying to stop the chopper blades.

NOT ON THE MENU: Looking for publicity, Serendipity 3, a restaurant in New York, N.Y., announced it was offering the world's most expensive dessert: a $25,000 Frrrozen Haute Chocolate. Indeed the headlines flashed around the world, but that may have reminded the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that the restaurant was due for another health inspection, since it had failed one previously. Inspectors came in, found "rodent and fly infestation and conditions conducive to pest infestation, including stagnant water in the basement." The inspector found a live mouse, mouse droppings in multiple locations, flies and cockroaches. Having failed a second time, the restaurant was ordered closed until it could pass. "We will re-open as soon as possible," a restaurant spokesman said. "It is unfortunate that published reports have exaggerated the situation and may be leading to certain misperceptions." (New York Times) ...Huh: that's similar to what happened when they started offering the $25,000 Frrrozen Haute Chocolate.

DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL: "Channel Surfing Leads to Stabbing" -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer headline

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THIS is TRUE: 9 December 2007 Copyright This Is True

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NO REALLY -- I'M VERY SORRY: Vince Hogg, 45, and Beverley Burns, 42, "regularly had furious rows," a court in Fife, Scotland, heard. Their latest was no different: Hogg pulled Burns's hair and threw her against a wall. "He was angry about the fact a shower was leaking and caused a carpet to get wet," the prosecutor said. Hogg pled guilty and got probation rather than jail. But there have been "serious consequences for his line of work," prosecutor Joanna Nicholson told the court. Hogg has worked for the National Health Service for 27 years, she said, and was "heavily involved" in the Zero Tolerance Campaign Against Domestic Violence. He was recently promoted to anger management counselor, but that promotion was rescinded after his arrest. In the meantime, he was suspended with full pay, and will return to work at NHS. (Glasgow Daily Record) ...Remember kids, loopholes in "Zero Tolerance" are only for those who make the rules.

BIG SISTER IS WATCHING: To cut down on shoplifting in stores, police in Derbyshire, England, have been providing shops with life-sized cardboard cutouts of one of their active-duty constables, Anna Gaskell, 25. She recently picked up 10 more cutouts of herself. "They're very realistic and looking at ten of me was surreal," she said. The program has been a success, with dramatic reductions in shoplifting in stores where the cutouts are set up, conspicuously watching over shoppers. There was one notable failure in one shop, however: in the town of Belper, a shop had its cardboard cutout of PC Gaskell stolen. (Manchester Evening News) ...A cardboard cutout of a police dog is hot on the suspect's trail.

OK BUDDY, WHERE'S THE FIRE? When the Anchorage Inn in Rouses Point, N.Y., caught fire, the small town at the extreme north tip of the state called for help from neighboring fire departments. The town of Lacolle, Que., Canada, which is just 8 miles away, sent an engine, but it was stopped at the border by a U.S. Customs official. "I've been crossing this border for 30 years, and the only question we were ever asked was, 'Where's the fire?'," said Lacolle fire chief Jean-Pierre Hebert. This time, however, the firefighters were delayed for as long as 15 minutes while they explained why they didn't have their passports in their bunker gear. "When you're answering a call at midnight, all you think about is putting on your pants," Hebert said. "You don't think about taking your wallet." Two other trucks behind them, also running with lights and sirens, were also delayed. Hebert said American authorities promised the "isolated incident" would not be repeated. Too late for the restaurant: it was completely destroyed. (Toronto Globe and Mail) ...Which is probably more than any firetruck-borne terrorists could have accomplished.

ANOTHER FIREMAN IN HEAT: "Columbus police utilized this topless woman to snare this man," argued Sam Shamansky, the attorney for Columbus, Ohio, firefighter Robin Garrison. "He's not some seedy pervert." The woman, who is not a police officer, was sunning herself in a city park; women and men alike are allowed to sunbathe topless, and at one point Garrison, 42, stopped to talk to her -- and unzipped his pants and exposed himself. The incident was recorded on video by police on a stakeout from a distance, but the tape was good enough to be used as evidence. The jury, not impressed with the "entrapment" defense, convicted Garrison of public indecency. Shamansky says he plans to appeal, and says the woman asked to see Garrison's genitals "and, like a fool, he does it" -- in the public park. (Columbus Dispatch) ...Which pretty much makes him a seedy pervert.

EVERY DAY SEEMED LIKE A LIFETIME: "Richard Nolte, Three-Week Ambassador During Six-Day War, Dies at 86" -- New York Times headline

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THIS is TRUE: 16 December 2007 Copyright This Is True

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AND MILLIONS OF BUSINESSMEN SIGH IN DISAPPOINTMENT: After Tas Sinadinos was fired from his position as an executive manager for EDI Rail Pty Ltd in Sydney, NSW, Australia, he sued the company. EDI Rail said he had made "inappropriate and unacceptable" charges to his corporate credit card, but Sanadinos told the court that the A$12,000 (US$10,350) worth of ...cough... "escort services" he charged to his company expense account was a perfectly reasonable, even tax-deductible, business expense. Because he had relocated for the job from Melbourne, hiring a woman to keep him company at night was part of his relocation expenses, he said, similar to buying furniture for his apartment. His suit demanded 12 months' of salary and a statement declaring his conduct was acceptable. An Industrial Court judge tossed the suit, ruling that using corporate funds to pay for call girls was "gross abuse" of his expense account. As for such expenses being tax-deductible, the judge ruled that "No reasonable person acting reasonably could proceed on the basis that expenses incurred for escort services could possibly be the subject of some form of taxation concession or relief in some manner." (Sydney Morning Herald) ...If he didn't get some manner of relief, they weren't very good call girls.

WHO'S CALLING? The Better Business Bureau of North Alabama was flooded with calls from suspicious consumers who received recorded phone messages urging them to go to a particular web site to "update" their bank account records. The BBB confirmed the calls and sites were involved in "phishing" -- attempts to steal identities and bank accounts. What led to the consumer suspicion? The victims noticed that the Caller ID on their phones during the calls read "THIS IS A SCAM". (Athens News Courier) ...Dumb: the scammers. Dumber: the people who still fell for the scam.

MISTAKEN IDENTITY: Thomas Montgomery, 48, of Buffalo, N.Y., posed online as an 18-year-old in attempts to get dates with younger women. After finally catching an 18-year-old girl on his hook, Montgomery, the father of two teen girls, was trying to reel her in when an online rival, Brian Barrett, 22, got in the way -- so Montgomery shot Barrett to death. But Montgomery, a married church deacon, never got his tryst: not only has he been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the killing, the 18-year-old girl turned out to be Mary Sheiler, a 50-year-old woman from West Virginia who used her daughter's photo in her online profile. (Buffalo News) ...On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

OF COURSE, CALLING HIM "MICK" IS RACIST: Mick Forsythe, 55, is an Irishman who lives in Wales. When he got into an argument with a woman after a minor traffic accident, he screamed that she was an "English b****." That led to criminal charges -- not because of the accident or the "B" word, but rather because of his "racially aggravated disorderly behavior" for cursing the Welsh woman as "English". Forsythe was found guilty and fined 200 pounds (US$404); a 10-week prison sentence was suspended for 12 months. The case is "political correctness gone mad," Forsythe says. "They're officially calling me a racist." (London Daily Mail) ...Yeah, but it's too late to Welsh on the deal now, bub.

RESCUE ME: "China Bans Firemen from Receiving Sexual Bribes" -- AFP headline

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THIS is TRUE: 23 December 2007 Copyright This Is True

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ATTENTION KMART SHOPPERS! A crowd gathered at a Kmart store in Milwaukee, Wisc., after word spread that a computer glitch was causing the store to issue credit cards with generous Christmas credit lines to anyone who applied. When the store ran out of credit applications, customers started selling theirs for $10 in the parking lot. Police were called in after a security guard failed to settle the crowd down; he was slightly injured when he was thrown into a glass jewelry case. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) ...All he wants for Christmas is his two front teeth -- back.

CAN'T SEE THE FOREST: "It just got out of control," admits Cindy Johnson of Ann Arbor, Mich. She owns about 2,500 Christmas tree ornaments, and buys about 100 more each year. And she likes using them all, every year. "I'm an ornament addict, a Christmas junkie," she says, and it now takes 42 trees in her house to display all of her ornaments. Johnson, who has a "very understanding husband," spends about six months before Christmas to set it all up. "Some people tell stories about their kids. I talk about my trees. They all think I'm crazy." (Ann Arbor News) ...The trees, or the people?

SEASONS GREETINGS: An unidentified 31-year-old man in Palmerston North, New Zealand, got a series of text messages on his phone notifying him of an early Christmas present: two young women offering to ...um... stuff his stockings. He proceeded to the indicated address and, as suggested, removed his clothing, tossed it through the front window and let himself in. The house's occupants had not sent the messages; they called police. Investigators traced the prank to a 17-year-old girl. The man was charged with "being unlawfully on a property" and the girl with "misusing a phone." (Manawatu Standard) ...Is there any 17-year-old girl who CAN'T be charged with criminal misuse of a phone these days?

AN UGLY SHADE OF GREEN: The Lewiston Tribune newspaper in Lewiston, Idaho, ran two large photos on its front page several days before Christmas. One showed a sign painter putting the finishing touches on a store window. The other was a still image from a convenience store's security camera showing an "unknown man" reaching for a wallet which was sitting on the store's counter. The wallet, bulging with $600 in cash, belonged to a 19-year-old woman who had just cashed her paycheck to go Christmas shopping. The store's cameras show the man taking the wallet, and "cops want to contact man for questioning," the accompanying story said. As the paper rolled off the press, a Tribune employee noticed the men in the two photos looked a lot alike, and were wearing the same clothes. The employee called the police. The sign painter, Michael Millhouse, 43, admitted taking the wallet and was charged with theft. "I always liked the Grinch," Millhouse said. "I guess I am one." (Lewiston Tribune) ...Except that the Grinch's heart warmed up in the end.

RENEWABLE RESOURCE: "You Think Christmas Trees Grow on Trees? -- Reuters headline

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THIS is TRUE: 30 December 2007 Copyright This Is True

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STELLA WANNA-BE: Helen Trueman, 62, admitted she "lost count after the 14th vodka" celebrating the new year in 2000, and was out walking when she tripped over a fence in a park in Portlethen, Aberdeen, Scotland. She says she reached for a guard rail, but missed it and fell and injured herself. She sued the owner of the park, the Shire of Aberdeen, and agreed on 35,000 pounds (US$69,750) in damages. But after Trueman was held 80 percent responsible for her own injuries, the award was reduced to 7,000 pounds (US$13,950). "I deserve a lot more money," she complained after the decision. "It's the council's fault." (Edinburgh Scotsman) ...For not forcing her into treatment?

A REAL WINNER: Timothy Elliott paid $10 for a scratch-off ticket in the Massachusetts "$800 Million Spectacular" lottery game. He probably thought he was pretty lucky when he won $1 million, but it was just the start of his troubles. First, Elliot, 55, who is on probation after robbing two banks, is prohibited from gambling, and his probation terms specifically prohibit buying lottery tickets. Then, publicity over Elliot's case resulted in a summons: his ex-wife alleges he is a deadbeat dad who hasn't paid child support for 28 years. A court hearing has been called to decide whether Elliott can collect when he was prohibited from playing. Lottery officials are anxiously awaiting a decision so they can pay off the convicted felon. "He played the game. He won the game," said state lottery spokesman Dan Rosenfeld. "We would like to see him get his money." (Cape Cod Times, Boston Globe) ...The tax man first, creditors second, Elliott a distant third.

DEADBEAT GRANDDAD: H.E. Miller Sr. owns a company in Oak Lawn, Ill, and his son works for him. Per a court order, Miller deducts $82 per week from his son's pay for child support -- but he hasn't been forwarding the money to the state for his granddaughter. Lenora Miller, his former daughter-in-law, sued him for the back child support that her ex-husband paid, but she never got. Mr. Miller lost, and appealed the standard fine of $100 per day for each late payment -- going back more than six years by the time it got through court. But "Miller, by his own admission, violated the Withholding Act on 11,721 occasions," ruled the Illinois Supreme Court. It ordered him to pay the statutory fines, noting that he could have avoided them had he simply forwarded the payments he knew he owed, adding "lawmakers are under no obligation to make unlawful conduct affordable." Thus, in addition to the $10,496 in held-back support payments, the court ordered Miller to pay the accumulated fines: $1.172 million. (Tinley Park Daily Southtown) ...So there.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Alabama state representative Alvin Holmes was outraged when he didn't get his customary two free tickets to the Iron Bowl, the annual football game between Auburn University and the University of Alabama, held in late November. "I did a survey with other members of the Legislature to determine whether they got their tickets, and they did," Holmes whined. He announced to the media that he intended to file suit against Auburn for the slight, and to compel Auburn's president, Jay Gogue, to testify about why Holmes was omitted. However, Gogue says Holmes was sent tickets, along with a pass for free preferred parking, just like every other legislator, which prompted the state's newspapers to look into the practice. They found it costs the host university about $100,000 per year to offer the freebies to lawmakers, leading to editorials decrying the ethical implications and demanding that the giveaways be halted. (Huntsville Times) ...Threats to sue over not getting unethical freebies? All hail the newly crowned king of entitlement!

DON'T TALK BACK: "Greek Police Threaten 'Illegally Parked' Parrot: Report" -- AFP headline

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THIS is TRUE: 6 January 2008 Copyright This Is True

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MORE LIKE HALF-BRIGHT: Police in Tucson, Ariz., say that beauty queen Kumari Fulbright, 25, now a law student at the University of Arizona, aided three men in the abduction, robbery and torture of her former boyfriend. She allegedly lured the unnamed 24-year-old man into a house, and the three men burst into the room and tied him up with plastic wire ties and duct tape. Fulbright then "bit him several times while he was bound, stuck a butcher knife in his ear and said she was going to kill him, [and] pointed a pistol at him," court documents say. After about 10 hours, the man was able to grab Fulbright's gun and escape. Fulbright, who ran for Miss Arizona, was named Miss Pima County in 2005 and Miss Desert Sun in 2006. (Arizona Daily Star) ...It's just a guess, but I'll bet she never was named "Miss Congeniality".

BUFF, NO POLISH: Police in Sarasota, Fla., were after a bank robber (demand note: "$30,000 are else. Have a nice day.") when they stopped by a salon to ask if they had seen the suspect. Sure enough, he was sitting in the chair getting a manicure, hoping the stylist could get the red stain out of his hands from the exploding dye pack that was included with the money. Kevin Shelton, 37, was arrested without incident just 22 minutes after the robbery went down. The money, including the $50 tip Shelton gave the stylist, was recovered. "We have his cuticles here, if they need his DNA," noted salon owner Nicole Bociek. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune) ...No need, ma'am: they have the rest of him.

MOST FREAKIEST: A police sergeant and two constables were out patrolling outside Brisbane, Qld., Australia, when their vehicle was struck by lightning. "Everything went on -- the siren, lights, horn," said Sgt. Craig Shepherd. "It was one of the most freakiest things I've ever seen." The officers limped the damaged 4WD vehicle back to the station -- the siren blaring the whole way -- so they could get the tools to disconnect the siren. (Australian AP) ...The most freaky thing about this: three cops, and none of them had a pocketknife to cut the siren's speaker wire.

KEEP YOUR COOL: Attendees at a United Nations climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, were disturbed when they noticed that a temporary air conditioning system set up to keep the 10,000 delegates cool not only used ozone-destroying CFCs, but the system, which used plastic pipes, was noticeably leaking. They counted 700 cylinders containing enough of the refrigerant gas to cause as much damage to the atmosphere as 48,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide -- "nearly the equivalent of the emissions of all [the] aircraft used to fly delegates to Indonesia." (Sydney Morning Herald) ...In other news, none of the attendees was able to state the definition of "irony".

"LIVES TO REGRET IT" ILLUSTRATED: "Man Survives Six Storey Fall into Trash Compactor" -- Davenport (Iowa) Quad-City Times headline

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THIS is TRUE: 13 January 2008 Copyright This Is True

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UNEXPECTED DEPOSIT: After a car crashed into a bank building in Tarzana, Calif., paramedics rescued the driver, who said he was the only occupant of the vehicle. The next day, family members asked what happened to his mother. Officials called the police impound lot where the car was taken and asked tow truck drivers to check the car to see if they found "anything unusual" inside. Employees looked -- and called 911. "We discovered the woman inside the vehicle," a police spokesman said. "She was dead." Rescue personnel had missed Shirley Lee Williams, 72, since she was apparently under the deployed air bag. The county coroner said Williams died within minutes of the accident, rather than sometime in the night in the impound lot. (Los Angeles Times) ...Paramedic Rule #8: Always look under the air bag.

TOWHEADS: The Heartland Towing Co. in Omaha, Neb., has been sued after towing an illegally parked car. The problem: the owners had left their four children in the car while they were in the Douglas County Courthouse. The lawsuit contends that towing the car with the children inside was false imprisonment, and caused the children emotional distress. Kendra and Brenda Dorsey contend the children were "crying loudly and could be heard outside of the vehicle," but the tow company says they didn't hear anything, and figure the kids were probably sleeping. When the Dorseys came out and found the car gone, they called police, who called courthouse security officers, who called the tow company, who radioed the driver and had him return -- within minutes of driving off. "It wasn't like we left them in the impound lot overnight," grumbled a company spokesman, adding that suing over the incident is "making a mountain out of a molehill." (Omaha World-Herald) ...Or more accurately, a mountain of cash out of a molehill.

POLITICAL STUMP: Dale Cardwell, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, didn't think voters were paying enough attention to his platform. To get some press coverage, the former TV reporter climbed to the top of a 320-foot tower in Atlanta, Ga.; a 24-hour-a-day webcam broadcast his image on his campaign website. Cardwell promised to stay there "until my message is heard. If it takes three weeks it takes three weeks." Cardwell climbed down a week later, once press coverage slowed. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) ...These days, voters are interested in only one sort of political platform: one that's 320 feet tall which candidates would be willing to dive from.

YAY TEAM: When Ronald Stach, 41, declared he was going to stay on the roof of the Canton Station bar in Baltimore, Md., until the losing Baltimore Ravens football team won a game -- or the team's coach was fired -- he became an instant celebrity. It was good for business at the bar, too: they supplied Stach with a tent, heaters, five meals a day, and all the beer he could drink, since customers and reporters kept coming by to see him. But his ex-wife, Kelly Stach, fumed when she saw Ronald's "Goof on the Roof" coverage on TV: "I just think it's horrible that everyone out there thought he was this great supporter of the Ravens, and he hasn't supported his own kid in the last 18 years," she said. She said the unpaid court-ordered child support had grown to around $43,000. When police went to the bar to arrest him on a warrant over the matter, he had already run off, even though the team hadn't won nor the coach been fired. "I tell you what," said the Canton Station's owner. "Any goof who wants to go on this roof, we're going to do a background check from now on." (Baltimore Sun) ...Yeah -- he wouldn't want to give free housing, five meals a day, and unlimited beer to any freeloaders.

HIGHLY LEVERAGED: "Why Pregnant Women Don't Tip Over" -- New York Times headline

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THIS is TRUE: 20 January 2008 Copyright This Is True

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DUKES OF HAZZARD: When it comes to training, says Sheriff Richard Nugent of Brooksville, Fla., "we have done almost everything humanly possible as it relates to pursuits and controlling them." Unfortunately, a recent pursuit went out of control. Deputies were chasing a car that refused to pull over -- and 12 deputies got into the act, what at times ran at speeds over 115 mph. One deputy crashed into an innocent vehicle. One blew out a tire and had to stop. Two others lost control with one crashing through a fence, the other going airborne after hitting a dirt berm. Sheriff Nugent noted that all 12 had signed the department's pursuit policy, which prohibited such dangerous chases -- especially since they knew who the driver was and could have arrested him later. The sheriff suspended all 12 deputies, plus the sergeant who authorized the pursuit. "They got caught up in the moment," the sergeant said. "When the adrenaline gets pumping you tend to forget, you get tunnel vision." (St. Petersburg Times) ...That's not a defense, that's a statement of the problem.

ANOTHER EMPTY SUIT: Dean Hrbacek, the former mayor of Sugar Land, Texas, and now running for the U.S. House of Representatives, mailed a campaign brochure to voters. Those who looked closely could see that in the photo of the candidate, his head didn't quite fit on the body, which is noticeably slimmer than Hrbacek's. Campaign officials admitted the Republican's photo was faked -- they had a nice head shot of Hrbacek, but not a full-length photo needed for the brochure, so they pasted his head on someone else's body. (Houston Chronicle) ...Voters are well used to politicians who don't have their heads on straight.

PROTECT THE ONES YOU LOVE: Police investigating a single-car crash in Citrus Heights, Calif., suspected that the driver was drunk. Witnesses say he was speeding on a city street and crashed into a tree. The driver, who was not identified by police, was seriously injured. They noted he was not wearing a seatbelt, but that the 12-pack of beer on the seat next to him was. The beer was not injured. (Sacramento Bee) ...Good. It was, after all, innocent.

DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS: Police in Washington state say Joshua R. Stetar, 20, of Granville, N.Y., met a girl on the Internet, and sent "several hundred" text messages to her cell phone and sent her flowers. The girl is just 15. He then said he was coming to see her, and "tell the cops that I'm gonna rape you and your sister." Her sister is 6. When the girls' parents spotted him sitting in front of their Spokane house minutes later, they called police. Officers discovered Stetar had driven 40 hours straight to meet the girl. He was arrested on felony stalking charges, but when he was released after posting $10,000 bail, he allegedly continued to harass the girl -- and volunteered to work at her school. He was again arrested and his bail was raised to $100,000. Investigators found Stetar's MySpace profile, which notes he has studied psychology, and as a "very conservative" Christian hopes to "maybe one day" become a Christian school teacher. (Albany [N.Y.] Times-Union, Glens Falls [N.Y.] Post-Star) ...Maybe he should spend more time with the Ten Commandments, rather than reading Genesis 34 over and over.

IF HE LIVED, THAT'S 'MIRACULOUS' ENOUGH FOR ME: "'Miraculous' Recovery for Man Who Fell 47 Floors -- New York Times headline

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THIS is TRUE: 27 January 2008 Copyright -This Is True

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AFTERWARD, SHE HID IN THE BATHROOM FOR AWHILE: A woman was alone in her home in West Jordan, Utah, when someone knocked on the door. She was working and ignored it. A moment later a downstairs window smashed and three burglars climbed through. Terrified, she grabbed a cordless phone, hid in an upstairs closet, and called police. "One of the burglars came into the room I was in," said the 21-year-old victim, who didn't want to be identified. "Nothing was going through my mind except, 'Please don't look and find me'." That's when the burglar decided to look for valuables in the closet. He even brushed across her boots and legs, but didn't look up; he would have seen her face. When police arrived, all three took refuge in the room, and one decided to hide in the same closet she was in. "He didn't even realize I was standing there. He was smashing me up against the wall," she said. When police entered the room she burst out of the closet, yelling "He's in here! He's in here!" -- surprising the burglar even more than the officers. All three men were captured; they were armed with knives. (Deseret Morning News) ...Next time, shove him out in front of the officers' drawn guns.

NO, REALLY -- IT'LL BE FUNNY! A police officer from Ste. Genevieve, Mo., apparently was playing a prank on his brother-in-law: he pretended to be a burglar breaking into the man's house. The unidentified victim, a pastor, heard noises outside his home in Festus, Mo., and shouted for the intruder to identify himself. When he heard no reply -- but the burglar kept working at breaking in -- the frightened householder got a gun. "He shot through the door, which might have prevented the bullet from passing through his brother-in-law," an investigator said. The 23- year-old officer was seriously wounded by the abdominal shot, but is expected to recover. (Bellville News Democrat Journal) ...Sadly, his brother-in-law might not.

ARMED AND DANGEROUS: The tellers at a bank in Chatswood, NSW, Australia, didn't panic when three robbers invaded. "The branch has counter to ceiling plastic shields which are bullet-proof," said police Inspector Jeff Bell. The tellers simply walked into an even more secure room, locked the door, and notified police. The gunmen, unable to get satisfaction, fled empty-handed. Six customers in the bank were left unharmed. (Sydney Morning Herald) ...Just what you want in a bank: a security system that leaves no one available for gunmen to rob except the customers.

A SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG: A burglar in Berlin, Germany, had second thoughts after he got inside and called police. "He called to say he'd just broken into a flat and found a dead body," a police spokeswoman said. "He gave the address of the place and then hung up." Responding officers indeed found the body of the 64-year-old resident, who had been dead for about two weeks. Foul play was not suspected in the death, and local media reported nothing was stolen. (Reuters) ...Robbing live people: OK. Robbing dead people: not OK.

MY NEXT BOOK? A GREAT DEAL AT JUST $300,000: "Want the Public to like Your Product Better? Raise the Price." -- AP headline

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THIS is TRUE: 3 February 2008 Copyright This Is True

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ALL ABOARD: A conductor on a commuter train from Grand Central in New York, N.Y., and Stamford, Conn., stopped the train and went up top with a fire extinguisher after he noticed a power glitch when the train switched from track power to overhead power lines. It was handy that he took the extinguisher: a man riding on top of the car had burst into flames from the 11,000-14,000 volts that surged through his body after the switch-over. It was unclear why he was on top of the train. Thanks to the conductor's quick reaction, Ricardo Chavez, 36, was hospitalized in fair condition. (White Plains Journal News) ...Clearly, Chavez was an excellent conductor too.

NOT FOOL PROOF: Berlin, Germany, police were testing a "theft-proof" patrol car. The special BMW was equipped with surveillance equipment, electronic locks, and other systems to ensure it cannot be stolen. Naturally, the car was stolen. The failure point? The two officers assigned to the test vehicle both jumped out to chase a car thief on foot, and left the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition. They face a disciplinary hearing. (PA) ...If they can figure out how to get into the locked hearing room.

GOOD WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT: Anthony Armatys, 34, of Palatine, Ill., accepted a job at the New Jersey-based telecommunications firm Avaya, but decided he didn't want it after all and never reported for work. The company accidentally put him on its payroll anyway, and he allegedly collected more than $469,000 in salary over the next five years. The accident was finally discovered when Armatys allegedly tried to get cash out of his company retirement account; the plan administrator thought it was fishy and notified the company. Armatys has been arrested on a charge of theft by deception. (Newark Star Ledger) ...I know his type: he probably complained that he never got a merit raise.

PROBABLY CAUSE FOR SUSPICION: Patricia Dykstra, 51, called police from her car to report that she was driving drunk. She gave her name, car's description and location, and said she had to hang up because "I don't like being on the phone while driving." Dodge County, Wisc., sheriff's deputies found her and cited her for drunk driving. Why did she make the call? Her boyfriend, who was riding in the car, told her to. He wasn't driving himself because he was also drunk. (Wisconsin State Journal) ...And how can we be sure she was? She made the call.

THE OTHER RED MEAT: "Horse for Dinner? Nay" -- Saginaw (Mich.) News headline

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THIS is TRUE: 10 February 2007 Copyright This Is True

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TWO AND TWO EQUALS TWO TO TEN: Two men wearing cowboy outfits stopped by the Douglas County (Ore.) Sheriff's Office to ask a question. Before they left, they asked the cops if they wanted any donuts. The officers declined and the men went on their way, saying they planned to catch a bus to Baker City. About an hour later, deputies were called to investigate an hours-old burglary at a store. Stolen: cigarettes, chewing tobacco, candy ...and doughnuts. Footprints in the snow showed cowboy boots. Deputies "kind of just put two and two together," a department spokesman said. The two men, Adam Brett Hancock, 21, and Vincent Jonathan, 19, were found waiting at the bus station. Their backpacks allegedly were stuffed with items stolen in the burglary, and they were arrested. "It would certainly be nice if all cases were this easy to solve," the spokesman said. (Roseberg News-Review) ...What, and miss out on the joy of an occasional challenge?

ANOTHER DUMB THING TO SAY: It was "too cold to walk" to an appointment, so four teens in Winnipeg, Man., Canada, stole a car to drive there. The four unnamed boys, aged 16 and 17, were caught by police. The appointment: a court-ordered training program for under-aged criminals who chronically steal cars. "This is the perfect example of where you get a lot of resources going to certain people," said Winnipeg Detective Sergeant Kevin Kavitch. "And some people still make dumb decisions." (Reuters) ...We call it job security.

HOW-TO: Two men walked into a bank in Slidell, La. The teller's worst fears were realized when one of them handed her a note announcing a robbery. When she hesitated he threatened to shoot her, but as she handed money over to the robber, the second man jumped into action. "Hey!" he shouted, "Don't take that woman's money!" The second man jumped the robber, knocking the cash out of his hand. As they fought on the floor another customer, unaware of the robbery, pulled the second man off the first, and he escaped -- without his coat, which contained his wallet. The second man, Harry G. Wilson, 42, had accompanied the robber to the bank, and says he was not aware that he was going to rob it. Police called him a hero "of sorts" -- they arrested him for drug possession. The robbery was apparently set up to pay Wilson for drugs, police say. Aided by the identification in his wallet, police are searching for the robber. (New Orleans Times-Picayune) ...The robber thought the money was his. Wilson thought the money was the teller's. They were both wrong.

THAT'S MY BOY! A web site selling a prison-themed board game called "Don't Drop the Soap" showed the company's street address as 1 SW Cedar Crest Rd, Topeka, Kansas -- the governor's mansion. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius confirms the game's creator is her 23-year-old son, who made the game as a class project at the Rhode Island School of Design. The governor and her husband, a federal magistrate, "are very proud of their son John's creativity and talent," the governor's spokeswoman says, adding the web site will change its contact address once John moves out. (AP) ...They're not the only parents who can hardly wait until their kid moves out.

AT LEAST, THAT'S WHAT WE HEARD: "Serbian Hospitals to Ban Gossiping" -- Reuters headline

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THIS is TRUE: 17 February 2008 Copyright This Is True

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OVERLOADED: After a reader snapped a shot of him on the freeway, the Melbourne, Vic., Australia, Herald Sun newspaper tracked down the motorcyclist who had figured out a way to transport a gas barbecue on his bike. "Stuart" admitted it was not his first odd motorcycle transport: the 27-year-old native New Zealander has also moved a couch on his bike. "People say it can't be done, but I proved them wrong," he said. He admitted such transports were dangerous and pledged not to do it again -- perhaps because the police were looking for him after the photo in the newspaper. (Melbourne Herald Sun) ...Said Chinese motorcyclists who viewed the photo: "He was only carrying ONE?!"

CAREER HANG-UPS: A man allegedly trying to steal goods from a store in Durban, South Africa, didn't quite get away. "He had been trying to climb over the fence and both his feet had been impaled" on fence spikes, said Katya Evans, the paramedic who eventually rescued him. "During the course of the evening he had managed to free one foot," but no one had sympathy for the alleged thief: they let him hang there, upside down. "According to bystanders," Evans said, "he had been hanging on the fence for nearly 12 hours." One passerby gave the man a cigarette, but "no one was kind enough to offer him a light." When Evans arrived, the unlit cig was still hanging from his mouth. (KwaZulu-Natal Mercury) ...Apparently the thoughtful passersby were simply trying to protect his health.

AS USUAL, POLITICS STINK: A whale washed up on a beach in Pacifica, Calif., and a dispute immediately arose: would the city have to deal with disposing it, or would the City of San Francisco, which owns a good portion of the beach? The debate went on for months until a surveyor was hired to clarify the matter. "We're here to lay this matter to rest," said surveyor Sean Stasio. He whipped out his GPS locator and got the coordinates: 38 degrees 16' 31" N by 114 degrees 37' 29" W -- which translates to 50 miles south of Ely, Nevada. "There's an error someplace," Stasio said. He then pulled out a map and determined the whale was clearly on San Francisco's property, just as Pacifica had said for months. (San Francisco Chronicle) ...The main error is where they usually reside: city hall.

I'M SO OUTRAGED, I'M GOING TO DO IT AGAIN: A judge in Lehigh County, Penn., has thrown out a criminal case after ruling the state police engaged in "outrageous" conduct to gather evidence. The police were investigating reports of prostitution in a spa. After a man complained that he was offered sex at the spa, police gave him money to purchase sex acts four times, plus $180 for his time. "We expect more from the police," Judge Robert L. Steinberg lectured. (Allentown Morning Call) ...The offer of a happy ending: disgusting outrage. Proving it again and again and again: public service.

THERE HE GOES, DRINKING ALL THE PROFITS AGAIN: "Gas-Pumping Robot: What Could Go Wrong?" -- Reuters headline

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THIS is TRUE: 24 February 2008 Copyright This Is True

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TELL IT TO THE JUDGE: Police in Manchester, N.H., were investigating an accident. The driver admitted he had been drinking at a local gay bar, gotten into his car, and then rear-ended another vehicle. "He had a difficult time locating his license in his purse," said the arresting officer. The driver, who allegedly wore a cocktail dress with fishnet stockings and high heels, was Boston, Mass., U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Somma, 63. Police say a breath test found his blood alcohol level was .12 percent, 1.5 times the legal limit. Somma told officers he had driven up to New Hampshire when his wife was out of town because no one there knew him. He pleaded no contest to driving while intoxicated. Somma was appointed to the bench three years ago by President George W. Bush, and has resigned. (New Hampshire Union Leader) ...Hard: walking a straight line while drunk. Harder: doing it in high heels. Hardest: telling his wife they were hers.

DO YOU SMELL SMOKE? After painting the inside of her trailer, a 45-year-old woman in Pompano Beach, Fla., cleaned up her brushes with gasoline -- and then set the gas can on the stove. She was treated for minor burns in the resulting fire; her trailer was destroyed. Meanwhile, a man in Tempe, Ariz, used a propane torch to burn weeds in his yard. He got the flame too close to his wood-frame house and set it on fire; it was completely destroyed. And in Sioux Falls, S.D., a man called his landlord because his pipes were frozen. The landlord opened an access panel in the man's kitchen and warmed the pipes with a torch. The cabinets caught fire, and several apartments were destroyed before firefighters could get the blaze extinguished. Other apartments suffered smoke and water damage. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Arizona Republic, Sioux Falls Argus-Leader) ...The moral of the story? Always call the landlord, since he will only partially destroy the place.

JUST CALL HER "HOUSEWIFE": The first results are in from DEXMART, a 6.3- million-Euro (US$9.3 million) EU-funded project to develop "DEXterous and autonomous dual-arm/hand robotic manipulation with sMART sensory-motor skills" -- robots. Italian scientists have unveiled "Justine", a robot who can pick up clothes from the floor, and make coffee. Although, admit the developers, "she only stretches to the instant variety [of coffee] at the moment." (Der Spiegel) ...One step forward, several steps back.

PLAY BALL! The Palmerton (Penn.) Area School District owns a ball field in the town, and rejected a $1.1 million offer for the parcel for commercial development. Smelling profit, the district asked for other offers on the park. When the deadline came, there was only one bid. It was hand written, in pencil: Andrew Sabo, a kindergartner at Towamensing Elementary School, offered the district $5 for his favorite baseball field. Why? "Because they were selling the field," the 5-year- old said, adding his dad even gave him the $5. The school district says it will reject the offer; it wants at least $2 million. (Allentown Morning Call) ...Idiots! Where is a kindergartner going to get that kind of money?

IF YOU'RE SMOKING, WE'LL ASSUME YOU'RE ON FIRE AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION: "Cancer Stick Clash: Man Puts out Girlfriend's Cigarette with Fire Extinguisher" -- Der Spiegel (Germany) headline

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THIS is TRUE: 2 March 2008 Copyright This Is True

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IT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN ME: After a policeman in New Plymouth, New Zealand, pulled over a speeding car, he stepped up to the driver's window and found Mark L. Payne, 20, sitting in the passenger seat. Payne was adamant he had not been driving, but there was no one else anywhere near. Payne had been in a hurry because he had to attend a court hearing -- to face charges of driving while disqualified. He was arrested and brought to court, where he pleaded guilty to two charges of the offense: the original charge, and the second one gained on his way to court. A count of drug possession was dismissed so Payne could join the army. (Taranaki Daily News) ...Actually, it was someone else who volunteered for the army.

IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ME: Tellers at the Kitsap (Wash.) Credit Union called police to say that they had opened an envelope deposited into their ATM and found a suspicious plastic packet. Tests showed the contents to be methamphetamine, and officers got the name and address associated with the account. The unnamed 18-year-old woman told police she "may have" accidentally deposited the meth into the ATM, and was arrested on a charge of drug possession. (Kitsap Sun) ...A nickel bag saved is a nickel bag earned.

KEEP A LOW PROFILE: When William K. Anderson, 51, stopped by the Lee County, Tenn., social services office to apply for welfare, workers there took particular note of what he parked in the lot: a nice new Hummer H2 with out-of-state tags. They jotted down the license number and called the sheriff, who found the vehicle had been reported stolen. Deputies spotted it in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and staked it out until someone got in and drove away. It was Anderson, who was stopped and charged with possession of stolen property. "It doesn't pay to apply for welfare while driving a Hummer," said Sheriff Gary Parsons. (Tri-Cities Times News) ...It could be worse: he could have bought it.

THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT: Northern Territory, Australia, Chief Minister Paul Henderson has announced a "three-pronged attack" on juvenile crime. "Our community is paying the price for a small group of kids who don't respect the law, their parents or the public," he complained. The three prongs: youth camps, guidance workshops, and seizing the televisions of parents whose kids can't be brought under control. "Enough is enough," Henderson said. (Adelaide Advertiser) ...Better rethink that: TV is the only reason most kids stay in at all.

DISPUTE SETTLED: "Police: Man Runs over Wife after 'Who Drives' Spat" -- Florida Today headline

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THIS is TRUE: 9 March 2007 Copyright This Is True

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CRIME OF PASSION: "It was weird the way this all came down," said a spokeswoman for the Louisiana State Police. A woman called to say she had received a phone call after midnight from a man who exclaimed, "I have killed them all!" Using the Caller ID on the woman's phone, officers tracked the call to Thomas Ballard, 29, of Delhi. Upon their arrival at his house, they found that Ballard had won a video game by "killing" all the "bad guys" -- and had called a friend to brag. He got a wrong number. No dead bodies were found in his house, but officers found he had an outstanding warrant on a drug charge, and arrested him. (Monroe News-Star) ...No sense in wasting a trip out to the sticks.

CRIME OF INTOXICATION: Stephanie Pochron, 30, must spend six months in jail after a drunk driving accident, but she has something to come home to: the smashed car she was driving. The car was ordered towed to her Wanatah, Ind., front yard by the judge in the case, and he has ruled that it must stay there during her entire three-year probation. Pochron caused the crash, hitting a vehicle that then went out of control and crashed into a third car, which rolled with a family inside. One man was seriously injured. This was Pochron's third conviction for drunk driving. "I'm never going to drink again," she said. (Northwest Indiana Times) ...Of course, three years of having to look at the car will drive her to drink.

YOU CAN'T MAKE ME: Ivan Segedin, 39, refused to wear his seat belt. In less than 5 years he was fined 32 times for seatbelt violations. He avoided more citations by tying a length of belt material to the real seat belt to drape over his shoulder, making it look like he was wearing his belt. The Taranaki, New Zealand, man was driving when his car crossed over the center line and struck another car head on. It was a "low-impact" crash, investigators say, but Segedin was killed. He was not wearing a seat belt. (Taranaki Daily News) ...If he wants to live by his own rules, he may as well die by them.

ZERO TOLERANCE IN REAL LIFE -- ANOTHER IN A LONG SERIES: After Shaun Wood, 22, lost his job, he built up a debt to a drug dealer. The dealer took advantage of him by forcing Wood to store things for him in his Liverpool, England, home. One of the items: a submachine gun. Nervous, Wood considered using the gun to commit suicide, but instead he took it to a police station, where police described him as "visibly shaking and distressed," and handed it over. He was immediately arrested. But the judge in the case praised Wood. "If people are brave enough to come forward and hand in guns," said Judge Sean Duncan, "the courts will acknowledge that bravery." Thus, Judge Duncan only sentenced Wood to 2-1/2 years in prison for possession of a prohibited weapon, rather than the usual 5. (Liverpool Echo) ...Right. Can't have Brits being brave now, can we? Let's hope that puts an end to it.

TOO OFTEN IT DOES SEEM TO GO THAT WAY: "First the Wedding, Then Years in Prison" -- Wheeling (W.Va.) News-Register headline

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