Friday, August 7, 2009

Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

It is better to keep your mouth shut and let them think you’re a fool, rather than open it and prove them right.

News you can use, not: Today’s blog is motivated by silliness. People are fighting over healthcare reform, fights are breaking out in town hall meetings, one group of politicians feel that rescuing two American journalists from North Korea was a bad thing. It all reminds me of an old Kingston Trio song that captured the state of the world nearly half a century ago but could be equally appropriate today.

“They're rioting in Africa, they're starving in Spain.
There's hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain.
The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch.
And I don't like anybody very much!

But we can be tranquil, and thankful, and proud,
For mans' been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud.
And we know for certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off, and we will all be blown away.

They're rioting in Africa, there's strife in Iran.
What nature doesn't do to us, will be done by our fellow man.”

Real news of the day – Hero gets detention: Fifteen year old Amanda Rouse started her school day like so many others, crammed with 40 of her closest classmates on a big yellow Bluebird on her way to school. Later in the day she was again on the bus. But this was no ordinary day. As the bus rounded a bend the driver fell out of her seat, hit her head and was rendered unconscious. The bus careened out of control. That is, until Amanda quickly jumped into the driver’s seat and applied the brakes before any injuries could occur. Problem was, the California gal was not supposed to be on that bus in the first place. She had asked the driver for a ride home because she was feeling ill, but neglected to follow protocol for leaving school. Thus, her heroism was rewarded with a Saturday detention. She’s lucky. Given the financial state of the Land of Milk and Honey she could have been charged for the gasoline she used before bringing the bus to a halt.

Peel away the outside and a potential criminal walks: James Gallagher must have been a shifty looking person. Somebody allegedly observed him walk into a place of business and walk out with property that did not belong to him. The sleuths called the police and James was arrested for theft. As was his legal right, James requested a jury trial. The prosecution made their case and the defense made theirs. Both barristers were eloquent and the jury had a difficult decision to make. But after deliberating for a short time James was adjudged to be not guilty and released. The trial cost the courts about $30,000 but justice was served. Some say James got off Scott free but there will be no appeal. He was innocent any way you slice it. And the object he was alleged to have stolen? A 25-cent banana. The court prosecutor released the following statement: "It is not the cost of the item that determines whether we proceed with a prosecution, but whether there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest. "In this case, we felt that there was sufficient evidence and it was in the public interest for the prosecution to proceed." Apparently justice is not only blind, her judgement is impaired.

If you give a mouse a 20 he’ll want a handful more: One of my old psychology professors used to say that we must take care when extrapolating data from rat behavior to human behavior. “We must remember,” he would say, “Rats aren’t people, although some people are rats." He never spoke about the behavior of mice, but a bank in La Grande, Oregon probably feels qualified to speak on that topic. Seems a mouse somehow found its way into an ATM machine at a local bank. The little rodent made a nest with shreds of twenty-dollar bills. Everything was going fine for the little hickory dickery dock. No cat burglars approached the ATM and the clock didn’t strike one. But gas station employee Millie Taylor happened by to lick up some cash and she screamed (Eeeek, I suppose), as she opened the ATM door, then slammed it shut. An investigation showed that two bills were totally destroyed and another 14 were damaged. The mouse was trapped but set free outside the Chevron station. He was last seen looking for three blind buddies that were known to be his associates.

Oh where oh where has my little leg gone: If it weren’t for bad luck some guys wouldn’t have any luck at all. Jerry Ray Brock of Nashville, TN is apparently a career criminal whose specialty is burglaries. But it seems he’s not very good at it because he keeps getting caught and thrown in the slammer. He’s been unlucky outside of jail as well, having lost a leg which was replaced with an artificial one. After Jerry’s last burglary he hid out in Georgia but was caught and extradited back to Tennessee. That’s where his heartache begins. Jerry Ray was tossed in the slammer in Davidson County to await transfer to the big house while wearing an old wooden leg. He had a new one but claims the county mounties wouldn’t let him do the old two-step switcheroo. By the time he got to the State Penn (not Penn State) his new leg was nowhere to be found. Jerry Ray then turned jailhouse lawyer and sued the penal system for a half a mil. He’s discovered crime doesn’t pay but is hoping the state will.

A penny for your thoughts – without a thinking cap: We’re taking our annual vacation this week in San Diego, so this next item caught our eye. A luxury resort in nearby Rancho Bernardo usually sells its rooms for hundreds of dollars per night but is running a special. Rooms as low as $19! If you’re thinking, “There must be a catch,” you’re right. The resort that includes three pools, a spa, and a golf course will sell you the room on their “Survivor Package” that charges less than the rack rate based upon the number of amenities you are willing to sacrifice. For $19, guests give up breakfast, air conditioning, lights, sheets and even the bed. Staff will remove the mattress and headboard and leave a small tent instead.

Oh, and bring your own toilet paper. The manager says he hopes guests will return and pay full price on their next visit. No fair using soap and shampoo confiscated from prior visits.

A little blogging music Maestro... “Crazy World” by Ladyhawke.

Dr. Forgot

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