Life’s a Funny Old Thing

This looked so easy on TV.
This looked so easy on TV.
We’ve all had days we’d rather forget. The kind where you wake up in the morning, go to the store and, somehow, end up in a hospital staring at a ceiling being asked if you can spell your name. Bonus points if you have no idea what that name is. Alex Trebek had one of those days yesterday. In an attempt to stop a burglar in his hotel room, things went slightly south. He explained, “It happened at 2:30 a.m., chasing a burglar down the hallway of my San Francisco hotel, when my Achilles tendon ruptured and I then fell on carpet, bruising the other leg in process. Surgery on Friday.” Smart as he is he forgot the one fundamental rule of staying in a hotel, lock the chain and not just the knob. I have a friend, who’s one of the good guys (thankfully), who once showed me how he could bypass any hotel level electronic card lock with a 9 volt battery and a generic key card. No, I will not tell you how he did it. Nevertheless, that quibble aside, what the heck was he thinking? That nut job could’ve been armed!

Oh well, all’s well that ends well. The suspect was apprehended, Mr. Trebek got back everything but his spending cash and no one was killed.

Speaking of people who get one over on electronic systems, let’s take a peek at what happened in Florida this week.

Authorities say an inmate at a central Florida jail used a glitch in the facility’s phone system to bond himself out.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office says 32-year-old Larry Stone discovered the glitch earlier this month. The phone system charges inmate accounts for calls but refunds the money if the call doesn’t go through. But the system was reimbursing inmates twice for incomplete calls.

Authorities say Stone repeatedly made calls and hung up until he had more than $1,250, enough to bond out of jail. Stone had been arrested in April on property-crime charges.

Stone was only free for a few hours before he was re-arrested. Officials became suspicious by the inmates’ increased phone use.

The software error has been fixed and accounts restored to their previous totals.

He gets an “A” for Effort in my book. However I admit to being concerned that an inmate noticed this glitch before the people in charge of accounting did. They must have been out partying at the local amusement parks or something.

If they’re not careful they could end up being accountants in Taipei. Not that there’s anything wrong with Taipei, it’s a beautiful city, but now the city is attempting to turn dog poo into gold.

A city in northern Taiwan is trying the Midas touch to persuade reluctant residents to clean up after their canines: offering a chance to win gold bars to anyone handing in bags of doggy deposits.

Starting Aug. 1, dog owners and other residents of New Taipei City, bordering the capital Taipei, can hand in waste to government cleaning teams in exchange for tickets to a lucky draw. The prizes: three gold ingots worth T$60,000 ($2,100 US), T$18,000 and T$12,000.

The number of draw tickets is unlimited, and the winners will be named in October, the city government said in a statement.

“We are hoping the draw will attract a wide participation, especially as the gold price is rising,” said New Taipei City Environmental Protection Department official Chen Chao-ming.

The city will give free garbage bags to would-be collectors. It is also beefing up more conventional measures, including rewarding people for photographing dog owners leaving mess uncleaned, and stepping up its own poo patrols in dog haunts.

But it will be hoping for better results than the central city of Taichung saw in 2009, when its offer of T$100 shopping vouchers for each kg of excrement collected yielded little more than criticism and ridicule.

“What do you do for a living dad?”

“I count bags of dog poo.”

And at that exact moment every one of those child’s dreams died.

Even so, at least dear old dad is contributing something to society and is free to walk among us.

How would you like to be arrested for writing a thank you card?

No, I’m not making this up.

A woman will go to court next month after she was charged with first-degree trespassing after sitting at a picnic table at Weatherby Lake.

Jennifer Payne is in the Kansas City area on business. She said she went to the lake on Monday, found a picnic table by the water and filled out thank-you cards.

“On my way to my next appointment, I wanted to go sit in a park and get some work done. I knew the lake was across the street,” Payne said.

KMBC’s Dan Weinbaum reported that the problem was the lake is private. Payne said she failed to see the signs saying it was private property. A Weatherby Lake police officer showed up and told her she could not be on the property.

“‘I’m so sorry. I had no idea this was a private lake. I don’t want to cause harm, and I’ll get out of here and won’t ever come back,'” Payne said she told the officer.

But it wasn’t going to be that easy.

“He said I need to start calling people because he was going to place me under arrest. I was like, ‘What for?'” Payne said.

The officer said for trespassing.

Weinbaum reported that Weatherby Lake is both public and private. The streets are public and so are the handful of city parks. But the lake, the water and the access areas are all private property.

The board that oversees the property pressed charges against Payne.

“I was sitting on a bench writing thank-you cards. ‘Can’t you let me go with a warning?'” Payne asked.

The answer was no. Payne was arrested, fingerprinted and had her mugshot taken. She was kept for a couple hours at the Weatherby Lake Police Department and was about to be sent to the Platte County Jail for the night until her boss bailed her out.

The Weatherby Lake police chief told Weinbaum that this is standard operating procedure. The property owner has the right to file charges.

Just a moment, I’m adding Weatherby Lake to the list of places I’ll never visit. No word on whether that hell hole is named after Principal Weatherbee.

Not that it really matters.

But, if you think her day was bad, try this, a guy fell down at home and woke up in a morgue.

A South African man awoke to find himself in a morgue fridge — nearly a day after his family thought he had died, a health official said Monday.

Health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said the man awoke Sunday afternoon, 21 hours after his family called in an undertaker who sent him to the morgue after an asthma attack.

Morgue owner Ayanda Maqolo said he sent his driver to collect the body shortly after the family reported the death. Maqolo said he thought the man was around 80 years old.

“When he got there, the driver examined the body, checked his pulse, looked for a heartbeat, but there was nothing,” Maqolo told the Associated Press.

But a day after staff put the body into a locked refrigerated compartment, morgue workers heard someone shouting for help. They thought it was a ghost, the morgue owner said.

“I couldn’t believe it!” Maqolo said. “I was also scared. But they are my employees and I had to show them I wasn’t scared, so I called the police.”

After police arrived, the group entered the morgue together.

“I was glad they had their firearms, in case something wanted to fight with us,” Maqolo said.

He said the man was pale when they pulled him out.

“He asked, ‘How did I get here?'” Maqolo said.

The health department said the man was then taken to a nearby hospital for observation and later discharged by doctors who deemed him stable.

Kupelo, the health department spokesman, urged South Africans to call on health officials to confirm that their relatives are really dead.

The man’s family was informed that he was alive during a family meeting convened to make funeral arrangements. They’re very happy to have him home, Maqolo said.

But Maqolo said he is still trying to recover from the traumatic experience.

“I couldn’t sleep last night, I had nightmares,” he said. “But today I’m much better.”

Mr. Maqolo is the one traumatized? The guy surrounded by armed cops and his employees is the one who needs a hug? What about the poor sap who was locked in a freezer drawer? That had to be somewhat worrisome. One minute he’s getting ready for a nice family dinner and the next he’s naked on a slab, flat on his back, waiting to be buried.

That kind of thing can cause all sorts of stress.

Now, in case you’re wondering how to tell if I’m yanking your chain, Bernd Wurm has developed an online BS detector. With zero being a perfect score and 1 being a fail, I tested 5 random World News Center article and averaged as close to zero as you can get without being nominated for sainthood. How did others fare? I’m glad you asked.

So does it work?

That’s a matter of perspective. The texts for both President Obama’s speech about the debt ceiling and John Boehner’s response ranked very low in B.S.: Obama earned a .1 rating while Boehner scored a .2.

Meanwhile, a press release about Miracle Whip’s new offer to contribute $25,000 towards a wedding or a divorce to couples who can’t agree on the condiment came in .24, with this comment: “Your text shows some indications of ‘bullshit’-English, but is still within an acceptable range.”

Since some people might assume HuffPost Weird News stories are, well, B.S., it’s only fair to put ourselves to the test.

For instance, a story written by this reporter about an artist who has created gay pin-up pictures of famous superheroes earns a .12 rating because there are “only a few indications of bullshit.”

Meanwhile, Lee Speigel’s story, “UFOs Exist … At Least On Google Earth, If You’re Gullible” ranks in at .09 with “no or marginal indications of bullshit English.”

However, Ben Muessig gets a .2 mark for his story, “Rat Catcher’s Day: Exterminators Celebrated On July 22 Holiday,” which means there is some “bullshit,” but it’s still within acceptable guidelines.

HuffPost Weird News Senior Editor Buck Wolf was pleased to discover that the stories on the site have relatively little B.S., but jokes, “that just shows how inaccurate the technology really is.”

Wurm insists he doesn’t intend to mock people’s writing, but hopes the “BlaBlaMeter” will allow writers to pre-check their stories for B.S. before publication.

“Surely there are many writers who do an excellent job and will not need this tool,” he said. “But there is no harm checking their own writing from time to time. Even I use this tool occasionally.”

Oh, in case you were wondering, this story ranks a .15, which means it has “only a few indications” of B.S.

In case you want to test the meter for yourself, just click here to have some fun.

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!

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