Is Anyone Here A Plumber *And* A Wing Walker?

There’s a perfectly logical reason for it, but don’t tell me it’s not amusing that a flight carrying dozens of plumbers was forced to make an unscheduled landing because of a faulty toilet.

Among the passengers on board were 85 plumbers, including 65 from Rørkjøp, and it seems some were willing to roll up their sleeves.
“We would have liked to fix the restrooms, but unfortunately it had to be done from the outside and we did not take the risk to send a plumber [out] at 10,000 metres,” Rørkjøp CEO Frank Olsen told Norwegian daily Dagbladet.

Love Is A 47-Year-Old Christmas Present

It appears the mystery of the 47-year-old gift has been solved, and it was captured on video!

I guess the articles from last year made their way to Vicki Allen, the ex girlfriend who handed him the gift and dumped him, and they reconnected and decided to open the mystery gift for a charity.

Thank the gods it wasn’t a puppy like I had joked, but a book called “love is”. Apparently it had been so long that even Vicki forgot what was in there.

I’m also relieved that Steve’s prediction of this guy ending up on a show on Investigation Discovery didn’t come true. It appears the guy, his wife and Vicki all became friends.

Well there we go. The story has a happy ending.

It’s One, Two Hit-And-Runs And You’re Out AT The Old Ball Game

We live in a world where not everything is just and not everyone gets justice. But many times there is justice, even if sometimes that justice takes half a century and is kind of cold-hearted and weird.

In 1968, Douglas Parkhurst killed 4-year-old Carolee Ashby in a hit-and-run, or at least he’s pretty sure he did. He was drunk at the time, he said in a confession he wrote once he knew he could no longer be prosecuted for it.

Now, 50 years later, this has happened.

A Vietnam War veteran who confessed five years ago to killing a 4-year-old girl in a 1968 hit-and-run was trying to protect children when a woman drove her car onto a little league baseball field in Maine during a game, striking and killing him. Screaming bystanders and ballplayers fled as Carol Sharrow, of Sanford, drove through an open gate onto the field Friday night, police said.
Video shows the car driving around the infield, turning over home plate and then heading toward the stands behind third base.
Douglas Parkhurst, of West Newfield, was near the park’s main gate before he was hit and Sharrow sped away, police said. Parkhurst, who a coach said was the grandfather of one of the players, died on the way to the hospital. No one else was hurt.

The woman, whose name I will point out is only a couple of E’s away from making this even stranger, has been convicted twice in the past for drunk driving. Police wouldn’t confirm whether she was in similar condition at the time of the incident, but it seems hard to blame anyone who would be inclined to think so.

An Updated Ironic

Finally, somebody got Alanis Morissette to admit that nothing about Ironic is. Well, unless we consider that the fact that there is no irony to be found is perhaps itself the irony.

But anyway, while James Corden was at it, he also got her to update the song to reflect some of the issues facing society today.

An old friend sends you a Facebook request
You only find out they’re racist after you accept
There’s free office cake on the first day of your diet
It’s like they announce a new iPhone the day after you buy it
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
It’s like swiping left on your future soulmate
It’s a Snapchat that you wish you had saved
It’s a funny tweet that nobody faves
And who would’ve thought it figures
It’s a traffic jam when you try to use Waze
A no-smoking sign when you brought your vape
It’s 10,000 male late-night hosts when all you want is just one woman, seriously!
It’s singing the duet of your dreams, and then Alanis Morissette shouting at you
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
A little too ironic, and yeah I really do think
It’s like you’re first class on a Southwest plane
Then you realize that every seat is the same
It’s like Amazon but your package never came
And who would’ve thought it figures
It’s like Netflix but you own DVDs
It’s a free ride but your Uber’s down the street
It’s singing “Ironic,” but there are no ironies
And who would’ve thought it figures

Files Not Found

I hate to kick people while they’re down (that’s a lie), but this right here, as dumb things go, is way the fuck up there.

When deadly flames incinerated hundreds of homes in Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood earlier this month, they also destroyed irreplaceable papers and correspondence held nearby and once belonging to the founders of Silicon Valley’s first technology company, Hewlett-Packard.
The Tubbs fire consumed the collected archives of William Hewlett and David Packard, the tech pioneers who in 1938 formed an electronics company in a Palo Alto garage with $538 in cash.
More than 100 boxes of the two men’s writings, correspondence, speeches and other items were contained in one of two modular buildings that burned to the ground at the Fountaingrove headquarters of Keysight Technologies. Keysight, the world’s largest electronics measurement company, traces its roots to HP and acquired the archives in 2014 when its business was split from Agilent Technologies — itself an HP spinoff.
The Hewlett and Packard collections had been appraised in 2005 at nearly $2 million and were part of a wider company archive valued at $3.3 million. However, those acquainted with the archives and the pioneering company’s impact on the technology world said the losses can’t be represented by a dollar figure.

This is dumb not only because modular building is often little more than a fancy term for shed and any idiot knows (or so I thought) that a shed is no place to store millions of dollars worth of irreplaceable documentation, but also because the whole thing was entirely preventable. In fact I have a pretty good feeling HP itself might’ve had just the solution.

Even the newspaper seems to want to rub it in. Why else would this story have been assigned to one Robert Digitale?

Found One!

In case you thought distracted driving was one of those problems limited strictly to the youngsters and those damn phones they’ve got glued to their hands, 80-year-old Gregory Nayvelt is here to set you straight in fine fashion.

Around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Moore was driving a marked police 2015 Ford Explorer westbound on West Farms Road when he collided with a 2011 Subaru Legacy, police said.

The Legacy, driven by 80-year-old Gregory Nayvelt of Howell, failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Casino Drive and West Farms Road, crossed West Farms Road into Moore’s lane and struck his patrol vehicle, police said.
Nayvelt and his passenger, Lyudmila Nayvelt, 75, of Howell, were taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where they were treated for minor injuries, police said.

An investigation into the crash found that Gregory Nayvelt was using a cellphone as a GPS navigation unit and did not see the stop sign, police said.

But it wasn’t just any police car that Nayvelt ran into. Its purpose at the time of the crash was to be part of the team working on the state’s U Drive, U Text, U Pay’ campaign, which is exactly what you think it is.

Police said that Nayvelt was in line to receive several citations, but how much this episode ultimately cost him was not immediately known. All we know is that it didn’t cost anyone a life or a serious injury, which is nice.

Me? Angry? The Mere Suggestion Makes Me Want To Punch Things

Haven’t seen one of these in a while.

Following a prior assault conviction, Kelly John Lange, a 34-year-old Sioux Falls resident, was ordered by a judge to attend anger management classes. But when he did not complete that course, he was ordered to appear in court to answer for his no-shows.
According to police, Lange became upset Tuesday with his public defender and attacked the lawyer in a conference room. The attorney suffered minor injuries, but she did not need medical assistance.

The incident would normally have been classified as a simple assault, but it was bumped up to a felony due to Lange already having at least 2 other convictions on his record in the last 5 years.

Help! I Need Somebody. An Arborist, To Be Specific

In 2004, a tree was planted in memory of George Harrison. Recently, something killed it. That something? An infestation of beetles.

“That’s what you get for spelling our name wrong all these years!”, I like to imagine they said.

A tree planted to honor of the memory of the Beatles songwriter George Harrison has been killed by actual beetles. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the living local monument fell victim to an infestation of insects that couldn’t be bested. According to Councilman Tom LaBonge, the 10-foot-tall pine planted in 2004 bit the dust only recently, and a new one will be planted in its stead shortly.

Harrison’s last years were spent living in L.A. — he died there at 58 in late 2001, and was cremated at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The so-called George Harrison Tree was accompanied by a plaque reading: “In memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener.”

Happy 25th Birthday, News Of The Weird!

If you read this blog and actually like it, first of all why, but more importantly, you owe a bit of a thank you to a fellow by the name of Chuck Shepherd. If not for him and his News of the Weird column, I and to an extent Carin may not have the sorts of fascinations with odd news and other strange things that we do.

I remember being a kid in the early 90’s and people reading me things out of NOTW that would show up in newspapers or get passed around between friends. It made me laugh of course, but it also clued me in to a different side of the world, one you didn’t really hear about on your typical radio or TV newscast. It taught me that not all criminals were people to be feared and that there just might be certain drugs it would be best to be really careful with or not touch altogether. It taught me how ridiculous rules and regulations could be and that sometimes a person who says he’s here to help isn’t talking about anyone but himself. it taught me things about right and wrong, justice and injustice and that sometimes, each can come from a place or in a way you wouldn’t expect. It taught me that sometimes there’s simply no good explanation for something, but maybe that’s ok. And it even taught me to be really careful around guys middle named Wayne.

When I got my own internet, an online version of the weekly columns was one of the first things I tracked down, and I’ve been enjoying it without needing other people to read it to me when they can find it or have time ever since. I even got Carin into it, which is cool. It’s nice to pass on something that brings you so much joy to people you care about, even if that thing is an ever-expanding collection of public masturbation stories and ironically named kids.

This week, News of the Weird turns 25…sort of. Its history actually goes back to the 1970’s and to a hobby zine called View from the Ledge, but it was 25 years ago this week that it was picked up by Universal UClick and syndicated to people like me all over the world.

To Celebrate, Chuck dug up a few classics from the archives. They’re fun and you should read them.

For example…

(1989) In the mid 1980s, convicted South Carolina murderer Michael Godwin won his appeal to avoid the electric chair and serve only life imprisonment. In March, while sitting naked on a metal prison toilet, attempting to fix a TV set, the 28-year-old Godwin bit into a wire and was electrocuted. [Orlando Sentinel, 3-8-89]

(1991 and later) Gary Arthur Medrow, 47, was arrested in March in Milwaukee (the latest of his then-30-plus arrests over 23 years) for once again causing mischief by telephoning a woman and trying to persuade her to physically pick up another person and to carry her around a room. In the latest incident, after repeatedly calling, he told her another woman had been impersonating her, had been in an accident, and had been seen carrying someone away (and that Medrow needed evidence that she should could or could not do that). He had previously talked cheerleaders, motel workers, and business executives into lifting and carrying. [Milwaukee Sentinel, 3-18-91]

(1999) From a May police report in The Messenger (Madisonville, Ky.), concerning two trucks being driven curiously on a rural road: A man would drive a truck 100 yards, stop, walk back to a second truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the first truck, stop, walk back to the first truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the second truck, and so on, into the evening. He did it, he told police, because his brother was passed out drunk in one of the trucks, and he was trying to drive both trucks home, at more or less the same time. (Not surprisingly, a blood-alcohol test showed the driver, also, to be impaired.) [The Messenger, 5-7-99]

There’s also the chronically unwelcomed Marcus Miles and the story of brothers Winner and Loser Lane, among other greatness.

Happy anniversary to both Chuck and his amazing, strangely lifechanging creation. Here’s to as many more as you can handle.

Please Stop Watching The Watchers, Say The Watchers

So here’s something hilarious, sad, ironic, tone deaf and just plain weird all at the same time.

The NSA (National Security Agency), a branch of the American government most famous for spying both legally and otherwise on the private communications of basically everyone on Earth, has its own internal Dear Abby style advice columnist.

No, I’m not joking.

She goes by the name Zelda, and her “Ask Zelda!” columns have proven to be quite popular among agency employees. She covers all sorts of workplace issues, everything from this dude I work with smells awful to somebody’s swiping my sodas from the fridge to…wait for it…we’re being spied on by our department head and it’s making us feel uncomfortable and unable to even make small talk with each other.

First of all, poor muffin. Did you read the sign when you walked into the office this morning? Do you forget what you do for a living?

But the icing on the cake is that Zelda, whoever she is, is shocked! Yes, shocked I say that this sort of inappropriate activity would be going on in this office. Unacceptable, she says.

Dear Silenced,

Wow, that takes “intelligence collection” in a whole new – and inappropriate – direction. …. We work in an Agency of secrets, but this kind of secrecy begets more secrecy and it becomes a downward spiral that destroys teamwork. What if you put an end to all the secrecy by bringing it out in the open?

You mean like Edward Snowden did?

You and your co-workers could ask [the supervisor] for a team meeting and lay out the issue as you see it: “We feel like you don’t trust us and we aren’t comfortable making small talk anymore for fear of having our desks moved if we’re seen as being too chummy.” (Leave out the part about the snitches.) Tell him how this is hampering collaboration and affecting the work, ask him if he has a problem with the team’s behavior, and see what he says. …. Stick to the facts and how you feel, rather than making it about him (“We’re uncomfortable” vs “You’re spying on us.”).

Dear NSA: I mean this in the nicest, most respectful way, but we need to talk. I feel uncomfortable with what you’re doing. Can you please not do it anymore?

I think we really came a long way today, you guys. Good talk.

If you are bothered by snitches in your office, whether of the unwilling or voluntary variety, the best solution is to keep your behavior above reproach. Be a good performer, watch what you say and do, lock your screen when you step away from your workstation, and keep fodder for wagging tongues (your Viagra stash, photos of your wild-and-crazy girls’ weekend in Atlantic City) at home or out of sight. If you are put in the “unwilling snitch” position, I would advise telling your boss that you’re not comfortable with the role and to please not ask that of you.

Ok Zelda, here’s a stumper for ya. How am I supposed to keep all the sketchy stuff out of sight when you guys kinda…how do I put this, routinely and indiscriminately collect and rummage through all of it whether I’d like you to or not?

I’d like to think that Zelda, whoever she is, is taking a few not so subtle jabs at the man with this answer. But I’ve been around long enough to know that out of control organizations like banks and governments often live in bubbles where things that are ridiculous to the rest of us are completely normal and justifiable. I’m not getting my hopes up, in other words.