Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

September 22, 2009

Don’t Drink and Parent

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:58 am

Good advice always, but especially to these people:

OMAHA, Neb. — A Malvern, Iowa couple was charged with misdemeanor child neglect after police said they left their 4-month-old daughter in their car while they got drunk in a west Omaha bar.

Who was the designated driver?

August 19, 2008

Why you should set your brake when you park

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:07 pm

So this doesn’t happen to you, too!

June 2, 2008

Pringles Can as a Coffin?

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:07 am

No, this isn’t a diatribe against eating high-fat foods. It’s a news story.

Pringles Can Designer Dies, Buried In a Pringles Can

n3hat sends along an item from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“Dr. Fredric J. Baur was so proud of having designed the container for Pringles… that he asked his family to bury him in one. His children honored his request. Part of his remains was buried in a Pringles can — along with a regular urn containing the rest… Dr. Baur, a retired organic chemist and food storage technician who specialized in research and development and quality control for Procter & Gamble, died May 4 at 89… He developed many products, including frying oils and a freeze-dried ice cream, for P&G… But the Pringles can was his proudest accomplishment, his daughter said. He received a patent for the package as well as the method of packaging Pringles in 1970.”

In America, you “can” do anything….

May 13, 2008

On Stage, but Not Acting

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:00 pm

So in my last post, I noted that real life seemed to be imitating a famous play. Apparently, sometimes the mix-up goes the other way.

Actor collapses on stage for real during heart attack scene

May 3 2008 By Kevan Christie

A SICK actor collapsed on stage – at the same time as his character was meant to have a heart attack and die.

Steve Dineen was taken to hospital after he keeled over during the dramatic finale of Mike Leigh’s famous comedy Abigail’s Party.

In the play, lead character Laurence dies of a heart attack in the final minutes and Dineen was moments away from acting out the death.

So when he fell suddenly to the floor, the audience at Musselburgh’s Brunton Theatre thought it was just part of his impressive performance.

But co-star Alice Selwyn noticed Dineen’s struggle was genuine and came out of character to ask for a doctor.

The actor was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and kept in overnight for tests.

The theatre’s marketing officer, Paul Brunton, said last night: “It was very traumatic at the time because it coincided with the exact moment where Steve’s character was about to have a heart attack.

“It was almost like real life imitating art.

“Thankfully, Steve is going to be OK. We’ve had lots of phone calls from the audience to check on him, which has been nice.”

Theatre spokeswoman Rachel Menzies added: “It had been going fantastically well up until that point, so it was quite a shock.

“When it became clear to some of the other actors that he wasn’t acting any more and that he was in some distress, they asked for the show to be halted.

“The ambulance was here in a matter of minutes.”

The Crucible in Florida

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:00 pm

I’d thought this sort of thing went out with the Salem witch trials, but I guess not:

Fla. Teacher Accused Of Wizardry
Man Made Toothpick Vanish In Class

POSTED: 10:15 pm EDT May 5, 2008
UPDATED: 12:39 pm EDT May 7, 2008

LAND ‘O LAKES, Fla. — A substitute teacher in Pasco County has lost his job after being accused of wizardry.

Teacher Jim Piculas does a magic trick where a toothpick disappears and then reappears.

Piculas recently did the 30-second trick in front of a classroom at Rushe Middle School in Land ‘O Lakes.

Piculas said he then got a call from the supervisor of teachers, saying he’d been accused of wizardry.

“I get a call the middle of the day from head of supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, ‘Jim, we have a huge issue, you can’t take any more assignments you need to come in right away,’” he said.

Piculas said he did not know of any other accusations that would have led to the action.

The teacher said he is concerned that the incident may prevent him from getting future jobs.

Well, of course the teacher should be concerned that the incident may prevent him from getting future jobs.

I’m more concerned that about the intelligence of the people running the school system that supposed to be teaching the next generation.

April 14, 2008

Dept. of “Not so bad”

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:23 pm

I have eczema. It’s annoying, and sometimes painful, and hard to treat. But it is not nearly this bad.

December 20, 2007

I am in the wrong business!

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:28 pm

Now I know why I’m not rich. It’s because I am not creative enough to have thought of this.

This guy is brilliant. Not for wanting to do this to someone, but for thinking of selling the service. Brilliant is a really wacko sort of way, of course.

October 16, 2006

Bombing — For Free Tuition

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:22 pm

I few days ago, I posted the story of an unemployed fellow who robbed a bank to get arrested, so he could live rent-free in jail until he was old enough for social security benefits.

Now, we hear from that young Palestinians are carrying small bombs through Israeli checkpoints to get arrested — so they can get an Israeli high school diploma while in prison! The Israeli radio broadcaster Arutz Sheva reports:

Faking Attacks in Order to Graduate: Correspondent Haggai Huberman reports on a new phenomenon among the Arabs of Judea and Samaria: Youths carry knives or small bombs across checkpoints in order to get themselves arrested so that they can study for high school matriculation exams at the State of Israel’s expense.

Sitting in jail for a number of weeks or months is a small price to pay, and the returns are significant: A high school diploma, and a high social standing as a “freed terrorist.”

Huberman notes that earlier this week, IDF soldiers reported that they had thwarted an attack in the northern Shomron when they arrested two 19-year-old boys carrying two pipebombs of one kilogram (2.2 lbs.) each. However, the IDF later concluded that the boys were merely trying to get arrested for the purpose of matriculation exams, and that the pipebombs were not designed to cause significant damage.

Hat tip: James Taranto, who adds: “Or maybe they wanted 72 dates to the prom.”

October 13, 2006

A Bank Robbery — for Free Room and Board

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:28 am

People often complain about how criminals in jail get “free room and board” paid for by tax dollars. But most of them would gladly give up the “free” stuff in excahnge for some actual freedom. Yet, we’ve heard the stories — probably urban legends, but maybe true — about how homeless people commit petty crimes in the winter to get into the warm jails for a few months. Now, we have a true story — and it seems even sadder than that:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man who couldn’t find steady work came up with a plan to make it through the next few years until he could collect Social Security: He robbed a bank, then handed the money to a guard and waited for police.

On Wednesday, Timothy J. Bowers told a judge a three-year prison sentence would suit him, and the judge obliged.

“At my age, the jobs available to me are minimum-wage jobs. There is age discrimination out there,” Bowers, who turns 63 in a few weeks, told Judge Angela White.

The judge told him: “It’s unfortunate you feel this is the only way to deal with the situation.”

Well, it certainly is unfortunate. Normally, I’d say that someone who does that should be punished by not being sent to jail, since it’s what he wanted. In fact, the prosecutor considered making that argument:

Prosecutors had considered arguing against putting Bowers in prison at taxpayer expense, but they worried he would do something more reckless to be put behind bars.

“It’s not the financial plan I would choose, but it’s a financial plan,” prosecutor Dan Cable said.

But note that in this case the fellow didn’t actually really steal the money at all. he “stole” it from the teller, then immediately handed it to a guard at the very same bank. If he had changed his mind after teh incident but before trial, I bet he could even have argued at trial that he didn’t actually commit a robbery. (This would depend on the details of how robbery is defined in the law.)

(Hat tip: Orin Kerr.)

September 25, 2006

Killer Teddy Bear

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:17 pm

Strange, but apparently true:

Teddy Bear Kills 2,500 Fish In New Hampshire

Stuffed Toy Clogged Hatchery Drain

(CBS) MILFORD, N.H. A teddy bear dropped into a pool at a New Hampshire fish hatchery killed all 2,500 rainbow trout living in the pool.

Fish and Game Department hatcheries supervisor Robert Fawcett said the teddy bear, dressed in a yellow rain coat and hat, clogged a drain earlier this month at the Milford hatchery, blocking oxygen flow to the pool, and suffocating the fish.

Fawcett said the fish were worth a total of $1,232.50.

In a statement, Fawcett said “RELEASE OF ANY TEDDY BEARS into fish hatchery water IS NOT PERMITTED.” He urged anybody who drops objects into a hatchery pool, to find an employee to remove it. “They might save your teddy bear, and keep it from becoming a killer,” he said.

Fawcett told the Concord Monitor that in the past, frogs and dead muskrats were known to block the drain, but this is the first time a teddy bear has killed hatchery fish.

Police are not involved.

Fawcett said the fish are raised for fisheries management, to provide a recreational fishing opportunity for people who purchase a fishing license.

Well, if police are not involved, then I guess the killer teddy bear is still at large. Be careful out there! Especially if you are a trout.

(Hat tip: Dave Barry.)

September 21, 2006

Public School Arson

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:57 pm

If you are a public school teacher and you start a fire in your classroom, in front of the children in your class, filling your classroom with smoke your students have to breathe — and do this not once, but twice — what one factor might prevent you from being charged with a crime?

a) It was an accident.
b) You were insane at the time.
c) The main fuel for the fire was an American flag.

If you picked (c), you’re right!

A Stuart [Kentucky] Middle School teacher won’t be arrested for burning two American flags in his classroom because authorities said his students were not put at enough risk to warrant charges.

“On two occasions, teacher set fire to combustible material (flag), allowing material to burn in garbage can and on desk, then left the classroom filled with students in an attempt to find water to put the fire out,” the investigation concluded.

Holden burned a flag in two classes, one with 30 students and another with 24 students.

The flags were about 18 inches by 12 inches with wooden poles. He lighted the cloth on each flag while holding it over a small metal trashcan, according to investigation documents.

Holden told school officials that he had wet paper towels surrounding the trashcan on his desk, but several students told investigators that Holden had to leave the classroom to get more water to put out the fire.

As part of the fire department’s investigation, arson detectives questioned several of Holden’s students, and school officials provided detectives written statements of what they saw.

One student told investigators that smoke from the fire made students cough.

“It was smokey (sic), cause I’m like allergic to smoke and the whole room was full of smoke and like I was coughing, a lot of people was coughing,” the student said in a transcribed statement in the file.

Asked whether the fire was frightening, the student replied: “Not really. I just thought he could have dropped the flag and could have, you know, made the whole classroom on fire.”

August 24, 2006

“Home-Based Day Care is Much Better”

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:49 pm

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that one. Better than what, I’m not sure. Some say better than a “day-care center” and some say better than at-home care from a mother who doesn’t have a master’s degree in early childhood education.

Anyway, the AP is reporting this story:

John Mark Karr, the man accused of killing of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, kept children at a home day-care center he operated in northwest Alabama, the state welfare agency said Thursday.

The Marion County Department of Human Resources issued a license for Karr to begin operating a day-care out of his rural home in June 1997, said John Bradford, a spokesman with the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

He said the sheriff’s department conducted a background check before the license was issued and no problems were found.

Well of course no problems were found — he hadn’t confessed yet!

(By the way: I’m still not sure he did it. He’s the fifth person to confess. For some reason, lots of people who had no connection to this girl seem to want to confess to murdering her. I am always skeptical when I hear it said that someone, usually a misbehaving child, did something “just to get attention,” but that might be the case here. This wouldn’t mean he’s suitable to be a day-care worker — someone who confesses to murdering a child is clearly unsuitable even if he didn’t actually commit the murder.)

July 21, 2006

Mouth-to-mouth Resucitation Works

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:18 pm

Dad Breathes Air Into Son Trapped Underwater For 7 Minutes

ORLANDO, Fla. — A 14-year-old who was sucked to the bottom of a hotel hot tub and kept under water for at least seven minutes was likely saved by air his father breathed into his mouth during the ordeal.

June 30, 2006

I want one of these

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:46 pm

Not a cellphone. A smellphone.

June 20, 2006

Getting Revenge on Goldilocks

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:11 pm

Tribune News Service reports:

Bear enters house, feasts on oatmeal

Published June 20, 2006

WEST VANCOUVER, CANADA — It was a real-life version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”– only in reverse — when a woman came home to find a young bear eating oatmeal in her kitchen.

The bear apparently entered through an open sliding glass door, broke a ceramic food container and started eating, West Vancouver police Sgt. Paul Skelton said.

“It sounds like a nursery rhyme, doesn’t it?” Skelton said. “At least we have a health-conscious bear on our hands.”

Three officers who went to the home Thursday couldn’t get the bear to budge, so they let it finish its meal.

“The bear didn’t appear to be aggressive and wasn’t destroying the house, so they just let it do what it was doing,” Skelton said. The bear finally left.

Too bad they didn’t report the name of the woman, or any comments she might have. I first heard the story of Goldilocks about 30 years ago, so it’s possible that by now she has grown up and lives in a house in West Vancouver with a sliding glass door. ;-)

(Hat tip: James Taranto.)

June 9, 2006

Stuck on Stupid

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:46 pm

Stealing a cellphone isn’t just illegal and immoral. It’s really, really stupid. Especially if it’s a cellphone that takes pictures and e-mails, and automatically uploads those pictures and e-mails to a server where the rightful owner can see them.

May 31, 2006

Saved by a Defibrillator Salesman

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:13 am

Thanks to a reader for alerting me to this story, which is almost too good to be true:

ST. PETERS, Mo. — A driver who suffered a heart attack and crashed into a guardrail was saved by a defibrillator salesman and two nurses who happened to be passing by.

The salesman, Steve Earle, was transporting an automated external defibrillator, a device used to shock the heart into a normal rhythm.

This article has some more details, if less dramatic wording:

Four people stopped to help her. Two of them were registered nurses. A third was Steve Earle, who makes a living selling automatic external defibrillators, the devices used to shock a patient’s heart into a regular rhythm.

It was kind of crazy luck that it was me with the device and two nurses that were three of the first four on the scene,” Earle said.

Earle grabbed the defibrillator he uses for demonstrations and rushed to help. Meanwhile another motorist used a trailer hitch to break out the rear passenger window of Holt’s car, unlocked the front passenger door and dragged her to the pavement.

The two nurses – Mary Blome and a woman identified only as Laurie – started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but Holt wasn’t breathing. Earle and one of the nurses hooked Holt up to the defibrillator and delivered a shock. Holt got a pulse back, and St. Charles County paramedics rushed the woman to the hospital.

She underwent surgery Tuesday to have an automatic internal cardiac defibrillator implanted and is expected to fully recover.

She’s got one built-in now, so she doesn’t have to depend on another defibrillator salesman to happen by if she ever has another heart attack. There’s gratitude for you! ;-)

Seriously, though — it’s really good to have one of these things around if you can swing it. It is probably worth having if you run an establishment with large numbers of people — or to have at home if you are have enough of risk of a heart attack, but not enough to get the built-in version. Amazingly, you can buy these things on Amazon.com — here’s a home model, another home model (with free carrying case!), and another model, I guess for when you’re not home. They start at $1,135, which I’m sure is a tenth or a hundredth of what the hospital versions cost a few years ago.

Marty Limpert, spokesman for the St. Charles County Ambulance District, said Tuesday he hopes the $1,400 devices will become as common at places of business as fire extinguishers.

And oh yes — get a fire exthinguisher, too. They’re a heckuva lot cheaper, and they can save your life, too. I have one for the kitchen, one for the room with the fireplace, and one for the car. If I could convince Different Wife, I’d have one for the van, too….

May 4, 2006

What goes up, must come down

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:18 am

So this woman in Houston was the maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding, and what getting ready to try to catch the thrown bouquet, when all of a sudden her arm started bleeding. She’d been hit by a different flying object — a bullet.

Shot by whom? A crazed relative? A jealous ex-boyfirend of the bride? A rival gang member?

Nope.

Some idiot fired his gun in the air, probably more than a mile away. The bullet came down through the roof of the ballroom, hit Kristin Campbell in the arm … and then fell out of her arm onto the floor.

The good news is, the bullet apparently lost most of its energy when it crashed through the roof, so Miss Campbell was not seriously injured. Those of you who once took a physics class might recall the Law of Conservation of Energy, according to which a bullet fired up will have the same amount of energy coming down as it did when it left the gun (before correcting for air resistance) — so a bullet coming from above would normally hit nearly as hard as one fired at point-blank range. Fortunately, in this case the roof took most of the impact. It would have been a lot worse had it hit someone outside.

I don’t know where people get the idea that they can fire guns in the air harmlessly, especially in a populated area. Do they think the bullet just disappears up in the sky? That it goes into orbit, or outer space? More likely, they just don’t think at all. The news story doesn’t have any definitive information on the shooter, or why he or she shot into the air. If he was confronting a mugger and fired a “warning shot,” take a lesson — shoot directly at the bad guy, not into the air — for your reticience might cause injury to an innocent person somewhere else.

March 7, 2006

Life Imitates Art: A Hitler Comedy from Israel?

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:58 pm

In the musical The Producers, these two guys make a musical comedy called “Springtime for Hitler.” It is supposed to flop. It succeeds. This is funny, because it would never happen this way in real life. No one would make a comedy about Hitler — right?

Wrong. Roger Boyes reports in The Times [of London]:

SWASTIKAS fluttered over Berlin yesterday, German soldiers raised stiff arms in the Hitler salute and hundreds of bedraggled spectators shouted approval as the Nazi leader delivered a faltering speech.

“My God,” said Benny Zimmerman, from St Louis, as he left Berlin Cathedral. “They’re back!”

Dani Levi, the Israeli director, has turned the German capital upside down in an attempt to recapture the atmosphere of Nazi Germany for a new comedy about Adolf Hitler.

… “The film is to be called Mein Führer,” a spokeswoman for Mr Levi said.

“It will be in the tradition of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator and Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not To Be.”

The premise is that Hitler survived the war and wants to set the record straight.

The making of the film has given many the chance to perform illegal acts. “Where else in Germany can you shout ‘Heil Hitler’ at the top of your voice?” said one extra.

The film-makers had to gain the permission of Berlin City Council to display the swastikas. But the council failed to warn tourists and locals, who stared as the Nazis marched around. “I think it’s really tasteless, especially as it’s happening next to the cathedral,” said Gabi Metzler, from Bavaria, standing on the church steps to get a better view.

“It’s our first visit to Berlin,” said her friend, Gertrude. “Things seem to have changed much less than we had expected.”

Egads!

February 2, 2006

Very Strange

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:52 am

Their rule seems to be “display them, don’t use them.”