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OF COURSE! Wednesday, September 24
Jonathan Thomas, 50, was charged with DUI and disorderly conduct in Washington Township, Indiana, in August after driving through two backyards one Friday evening and getting his vehicle stuck in the second. Police reported that Thomas “show[ed] his teeth to officers” and later “growled” at hospital security staff. Thomas’ day job is director of the Porter County Animal Shelter.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS Wednesday, October 22
William Dixon, 21, was arrested in Brentwood, Tennessee, in August fleeing a Best Buy store after arousing suspicion. According to the police report, Dixon, on foot, ran across all lanes of I-65, but the chase ended when he collided with a tree.
WEED SWAP Wednesday, October 22
Walter Morrison, 20, a United Parcel Service baggage agent at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport, apparently intended only to swipe random parcels, but inadvertently came upon, in one package, a diamond (later found to be worth about $160,000). Police charging him in September said he traded the diamond to a friend for a gram of marijuana (around $20, retail).
NOTW CLASSIC (November 2010) Wednesday, October 22
Sixty-two percent of the 12 million people of Mumbai, India, live in slums, but the city is also home to Mukesh Ambani’s 27-story private residence (60,000 square feet, 600 employees serving a family of five), reported to cost about $1 billion. According to an October (2010) New York Times item, there are “four-story hanging gardens,” “airborne swimming pools” and a room where “artificial weather” can be created.
FRONTIERS OF FLIGHT Wednesday, October 1
Dutch inventors Bart Jansen and Arjen Beltman struck again recently when Pepeijn Bruins, 13, asked them to help him grieve over his pet rat, Ratjetoe, who had cancer and had to be put down. Having heard of the inventors’ work, Pepeijn asked if they could have Ratjetoe stuffed and turned into a radio-controlled drone.
HOW TO CONFUSE AN ARIZONAN Wednesday, October 1
In August, a state appeals court overruled a lower court and decided Thomas and Nancy Beatie could divorce, after all. The first judge determined their out-of-state marriage wasn’t valid in Arizona because they were both women, but Thomas has had extensive surgery and hormone therapy and become a man — though he’s also the spouse who bore the couple’s three children, since he retained his reproductive organs.
SQUAAAAWWK Wednesday, October 1
Regulatory filings revealed in August that AOL still has 2.3 million dial-up subscribers (down from 21 million 15 years ago) paying, on average, about $20 monthly. Industry analysts, far from rolling on the floor laughing at the company’s continued success with 20th-century technology, estimate AOL’s dial-up business constitutes a hefty portion of its quarterly “operating profit” of about $122 million.
DEFINITIONS Wednesday, October 1
Commentators have had fun with a new system of medical diagnostic codes (denominated in from 4-10 digits each) scheduled to take effect next October, and the “Healthcare Dive” blog had its laughs in a July post. The codes for “problems in relationship with in-laws” and “bizarre personal appearance” are quixotic enough, but the most “absurd” codes are “subsequent encounters” (i.e., at least the second time the same thing happened to a patient) for events like walking into a lamppost, getting sucked into a jet engine, receiving burns from on-fire water skis, or having contact with a cow beyond being bitten or kicked — those have separate codes. Also notable was S10.87XA, “Other superficial bite of other specified part of neck, initial encounter,” which seems to describe a “hickey.”
PLAY IT AGAIN, DOC Wednesday, October 1
For patients who are musicians, deep brain stimulation (open-brain) surgery can provide entertainment for operating-room doctors as they correct neurological conditions such as hand tremors. In September, concert violinist Naomi Elishuv, who’s performed with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, played for surgeons at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center so they could locate the exact spot in the brain for inserting the pacemaker to control the hand-trembling that had wrecked her career.
WHO YOU CALLIN’ SHRIMP? Wednesday, October 1
Buddhists believe in the wholesale “mercy release” of living creatures, with smaller and less consequential animals making even stronger statements of reverence, according to a July New York Times story from Yushu, China, describing the freeing of river shrimp the size of a fingernail clipping.
 
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