Monday, May 12, 2008

Odd News from Last Week

My favorite recent "odd" news stories of the past week:

Parking ticket paid

Prior to the proliferation of computerization throughout all government agencies, it used to be easy to ignore parking tickets, and many people did so for many decades. Often, if you were in otherwise good-standing, the parking tickets wouldn't even be an issue when you tried to renew your license or re-register a vehicle. These days you can't escape, and all parking tickets need to be paid.

In New York City, you can pay over a hundred dollars for a simple parking ticket (expired parking meter, street cleaning, etc.) and much more than that if you block a fire hydrant or active driveway. If your car is also towed, you are looking at payment of three hundred dollars or more to retrieve your vehicle.

This story from Houghton, Michigan, is charming in its simplicity.

Woman pays off 1976 parking ticket issued in Mich.
(from AP via Yahoo!)
Sun May 11, 3:44 AM ET

Police in this Upper Peninsula town had forgotten about the $1 parking ticket written on Sept. 1, 1976. But the woman who had found it on her windshield hadn't.

The ticket, a $20 bill and a note arrived at police headquarters last month in a plain white envelope with no return address.

The note read: "I always had good intentions of paying it. I put it aside and every once in a while I would come across it and said `someday I'm going to pay it.' Now I think it's time."

The fine for an unpaid meter violation increased to $5 after 72 hours, said Police Chief David Outinen, but it hadn't increased beyond that. He told The Daily Mining Gazette of Houghton that he couldn't remember someone making good on an unpaid ticket after so much time.

The woman apparently hopes her payment closes the matter. "Please don't try and track me down. I am a respectable lady," she wrote.

And, as you know, a "respectable lady" is never contacted by the authorities!

Read the original article here.

Men Charged for Using Bong

First, I never thought I'd see the work "bong" in a news story, at least as the word refers to drug paraphernalia. As teenagers, my siblings, friends, and I used a wide assortment of apparatus for smoking marijuana: standard upright bongs, gas masks, pipes, lab parts, tubes and pieces, various types of papers, etc., including the improvised toilet-paper roll with tinfoil, and the Tampax wrapper. The guys in this news story certain take the prize for most unique and difficult-to-obtain smoking device:

Men charged after skull dug up, used as bong
(from Reuters via Yahoo!)
Fri May 9, 1:27 PM ET

Authorities in Texas have filed corpse-abuse charges against two men who allegedly removed a skull from a grave and used it as a bong.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office confirmed on Thursday that misdemeanor abuse of corpse charges have been filed in the case.

One of the men allegedly told police they dug up a grave in an abandoned cemetery in the woods, removed a head from a body and smoked marijuana using the skull as a bong.

Police found the cemetery and a grave that had been disturbed but are still investigating the rest of the story, officials said.

(Reporting by Bruce Nichols)
Read the original article here.

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