Either that or the cigarette companies are pumping them up with some new chemical that inspires fascinating new cravings, motivating sufferers to previously unseen acts of depravity in their quest for a nicotine buzz.
Hence this sordid tale of a woman in Florida, a state with more than it's share of sordid tales.
The details are sketchy, but AP reports that a strange woman came knocking at some guy's house in Clearwater in the wee hours asking for cigarettes. It's not clear if she was begging, offering to pay, or suggesting some other form of compensation in keeping with the sordid nature of her domicile. But one thing was clear for all to see. She was buck naked and that fact alone should have loosened a spare cancer wand or two from the guy's grasp. Alas, it was not to be.
There is no word on whether or not he had any to spare, but the Pinellas sheriff's office reported that " . . . Deputies found her a short time later walking through a mobile home park wearing only boxer shorts." Evidently the guy had no wands on hand, but he had undies to spare. How nice of him.
The poor woman, sans smoke, was apprehended and hustled off to the local jail with a disorderly conduct charge. Here's what I'm wondering. Why didn't they charge the guy? The sleazy bastard hands the woman some boxers, but he doesn't have a T-shirt to spare? Was he half nice or half asshole? I don't think half of anything is all that meaningful in a case like this, so I'll opt for the latter. The cops shoulda busted this guy and dragged him in for contributing to the delinquency of an idiot.
The woman was later released on her own recognizance. No word about whether the cops threw in a T-shirt.
Which sets me to ponderin. What are the circumstances, other than a nicotine fit, that would cause an otherwise stable, competent woman to knock on a stranger's door in the nude?
Skinny Dippers Caught Short - Back in the day, younguns used to celebrate the joys of youth by casting off their garments and leaping into the nearest lake. Sometimes other fun stuff followed. Once the clothes are gone, the die is set. Anything can happen to create the circumstances under with a knock on a stranger's door would be necessary. In cases like this, strangers are preferred. Humiliation is guaranteed, but it is usually desirable to avoid the abuse that accompanies a knock at friend or relative's house.
Hello Kitty Gone Mad - Most of you that know Hello Kitty think of her as the Miley Cyrus of anime. She's a cute kitty in the spotlight testing the waters on various behaviors that risk driving her into the "Bad Teen Starlet" space. She's on the cusp of morphing into Brittany Spears. You'll know she's jumped the shark if she comes knocking in her kitty birthday suit.
Sure She Looks Cute Now . . .
I Think I've Seen This Lake Before
May 20, 2009
Glass Water Bowl and Sun Start Fire in Wash. Home
It seldom happens that I can simply reuse the image from my previous posting. But I find myself in these fortuitous circumstances today, blessed as I am by the news-Gods with a story that has just enough in common with the one from Sunday that I can simply graft the text onto the same lead graphic with little guilt and fewer regrets. After all, it's getting late and I'm tired.
Today's riff comes from Bellevue, WA where local firefighters responded to a residential blaze that ended up charring the back of the house. The customary fire extinguishing duties must have been preemptory and dull. Either that or these guys were just really bored and eager for excitement and new adventure. No sooner was the fire a forgotten haze of smoking embers and ash then these guys abandoned their protective jackets for Columbo raincoats to try out a little experiment in forensic pyrology.
They spent hours nudging smoking 2X4s around in search of telltale signs of suspicious accelerants or faulty wiring. Finding none, and feeling some pressure to exit the wreckage with closure, they began to think out of the box. Ultimately, according to AP, Bellevue Fire Department Lt. Eric Keenan, they determined that a ". . . glass bowl of water focused sunlight enough to act like a magnifying glass and start the fire on the home's wood deck." .
The old sunlight magnified by a fishbowl trick, eh? Didn't I see this on McGyver once?
Perhaps, but I thought it only worked with magnifying glasses. And only on annoying insects and really small rodents. McGyver probably did more, but that's TV. To think that I could have been out torching real stuff like small piles of paper and wood! Oh wasted youth! Or, to put it in Thomas Wolfe's more expressive prose:
"Oh waste of loss, in the hot maze, lost, among the bright stars on this most weary unbright cinder, lost!" (Look Homeward, Angel)
Well, he might be turning up the contrast just a tad, but it sure sounds good don't it?
Getting back to the subject of my own wasted youth, I can easily see myself doing science experiments with harmless small objects and, perhaps, the occasional abandoned shack, but I would never aspire to anything like a dwelling. So, if you had assets to protect in the '60s and '70s, you can rest easy. I really wasn't all that menacing.
To put your minds at rest, the homeowners were away when the fishbowl went over to the dark (or light) side. No injuries, just $215,000 in property damage. Hope the fish enjoyed a pleasant vacation (I was a nasty little bastard, wasn't I?)
May 25, 2009
Kansas Man Accused of Beating Bird Appeals $275 Fine
Here's one where fact and fiction are hopelessly intertwined. I'll let YOU unravel them!
AP tells us that some guy in Kansas, accused of " . . . beating a gull that tried to eat his wife's ice cream," is is now disputing the hefty fine that accompanies the offense.
First of all, what are gulls doing in Kansas? Is this the same Kansas that Dorothy was from? The flat one with farms and pigs and such? There's not a body of salt water within 500 miles of the place. Are sea gulls that mobile?
Hitchcock Was RIGHT!
Evidently so. And that's only the beginning. These Kansas gulls must be smoking the same cigarettes that filled last Sunday's protagonist with the gumption to race through the streets of Clearwater in search of a nicotine fix in the nude. If the birds were local to the Clearwater area they would probably be swooping down out of the sky and snatching half-smoked cigarettes out of the mouths of naked half-wits. Kansas, being slightly more red-stated than Florida, attracts gulls that are tempted by ice cream carried by fully-clothed matrons on their way to church in very sensible shoes.
This particular matron had the benefit of a protector, or at least a husband who was prepared to cross PETA by defending his spouse from one of nature's least fearsome creatures. Anybody who crosses PETA instantly earns my respect no matter how pitiful the cause. But this guy seems to have gone too far in his noble exertions, thereby drawing the scrutiny of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The defendant, Dragan Djuric, beat a sea gull with a stick and clipped its wing for good after it went after his wife's ice cream. Djuric said he was " . . . acting in self-defense after the bird swooped down, hit his wife's head and tried to grab her ice cream."
Some people might think that the guy's response was a little over the top, heavy-handed, brutish even. This is where it becomes helpful to dig a little deeper and go to the original sources - the local newspaper that carried the story. According to the the Orange County Register the bird took a crap on the guy before it went after his spouse. It's all right there in the Laguna Beach police report, which explains the mystery of how sea gulls got to Kansas. These two were on vacation in LA, a tourist destination that doesn't make a practice of advising guests about aggressive birds or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $15,000 fine. Ouch.
Fortunately the locals, saying ". . . we have to be realistic about these things," were realistic about this one and clipped the guy to a $275 fine and time served (i.e., none).
Djuric was still unhappy though and is now arguing that he was truly acting in self-defense, though not to protect his spouse or himself from the bird. His argument now is that he was using the gull-attack as an opportunity to take a swing at his better half. The unfortunate fowl couldn't get out of the way fast enough and received a taste of Djuric's wrath.
The source of Djuric's bitterness? "Those damn shoes she wears. Always flats. Always baby-shit brown. Never anything pink or red. Never any heels. God what I wouldn't give for pointy, pink three-inch heels!"
Djuric's case is under review by the Fish and Wildlife Commission and, now, the Crawford County attorney general's office. They take a dim view of aggravated assault in Kansas.
June 1, 2009
Lincoln Robbery Suspect Dons Beer Box
I get cards and letters from all over. The other day one of my bestest and dearest friends rained some good news down on me. I told her I would try to do her proud with this little number. Here goes.
Lon Chaney has been outdone.
Some airhead in Nebraska walked into a convenience store at 4:30 in the morning last Monday with a Bud Light box on his head and a rag around his hand, the former to conceal his identity and the latter to reveal the idle threat of a handgun. The guy was one strike shy of a colossal flameout. His luck ran out when it turned out that this convenience store, like all such merchants in the first world, is equipped with 24-7 surveillance cameras.
Not All Bud Light-Heads Turn To A Life Of Crime
The burglar's disguise was his undoing. After watching the video, local cops got to talking:
Sergeant Baxter started the Socratic dialog that followed: "Who likes Bud Light enough to wear it?"
The rookie, Patrolman Reed, was eager to leap in: "Well, I saw Elbow Jim wear a Bud Light T-shirt at the Memorial Day parade last week."
"No, I'm afraid we're onto a much harder case than that" the Sergeant replied firmly. "Somebody whose obsession with Bud Light would cause him to commit a felony without the upside of earning some street cred. Besides, Elbow's a Coors Light guy. Who is psychotic enough and suffers from such low esteem that he would commit such a demeaning act?"
"How about Ranger Rick? Didn't he get drunk on Bud Light at the forester's Christmas party last year and puke all over himself? He was sorta wearin Bud Light, even if it was after the fact." offered the more seasoned Patrolman Malloy.
"Nah. He barfed on me too, and that was definitely not Bud Light. Had to be Fosters. Too full-bodied to be Bud Light." said Patrolman Reed. "Maybe we're going about this the wrong way. Who do we know in Lincoln who's really stupid?"
A heavy silence filled the room as Reed drew angry stares from his colleagues. They hardly new where to begin. The only place dumber than Nebraska is Florida and they all know it.
The officers, befuddled in their Nebraska daze, sat and pondered for a spell. Finally the quiet outsider, Patrolman Gray, broke the trance.
"Hey, wait a minute. What time did this happen again?"
"And isn't the address of that store 4400 Cornhusker Highway?"
"And aren't the corn shoots coming up green now? And wouldn't that explain the green fabric this guy used around his hand?"
"Um . . . I guess"
"What did he steal again?"
"Made off with nine cartons of Newports goddamit. None left for me the next day."
"And we know the guy liked Bud Light, right?"
"Well, then, it has to be Ripped Paul then. No doubt about it."
"Sure! Paul lives right off Cornhusker Highway, he grows corn, he smokes Newports, he's dumber than hell, and he brews Bud Light at that ethanol still he just built out back. The guy's crazy about the stuff! I'd bet my life on it!"
Paul Nickles, aka "Ripped Paul", is awaiting trial in the Lincoln jail.