The headlines are real, the story and the take are mine.
• Patriots stun favored Rams on last-play FG, 20-17
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Feb. 4 - Stun-gun maker Taser International Inc.
(NASDAQ:TASR) said on Monday it is taking all the credit for all the
stunning going on in the NFL as of late. "We got such a boost from airline
contracts arising out of post-September 11 security fears, that we didn't
think we could get any higher... So we took some ludes and gave away a couple
hundred of our guns to the NFL."
• Did the ads score?
The ads: Beer, cars (Cadillac, Volkswagen, Saturn, Toyota), fast food (Taco
Bell, Subway, Quiznos), meeting women (Bud Light, AT&T Wireless), and being
shown up by suave guys (Dockers Casual).
The new anti-drug pitch: Fight terrorism by leaving your bowl unpacked
because if you buy drugs you support terrorists. Truth be told, about half
of the 28 organizations identified as terrorist by the State Department are
funded by sales of illegal narcotics.
The not at all unexpected but suprised by it's intense theme: Patriotism. Due to the largest surplus of American
Flag paraphernalia since the 1976 bicentennial, the super bowl organizers
were able to purchase 6 billion flags and 45 quadrillion pieces of red white
and blue confetti. "Every last item was used."
• Brill: Post-Sept. 11 excess of riches
NYC Limo Drivers - still making $700 to $1,000 a week, but can get tax-free
checks from the Red Cross for 5 to 10 thousand dollars. They have only to
prove that their company had accounts near the World Trade Center and that
they lost income as a result of the September 11 attacks. How much they've
lost is not an issue, so drivers who's income is down only 20 percent now
get double pay.
True News - Sadly from here on, the headlines AND the story are all
• Iguana bites off boy's fingertip - HOLLYWOOD, Jan. 15, Police shot and
killed a 4-foot long iguana after it bit off a Hollywood teen-ager's
fingertip. Police first tried to zap the iguana with a Taser gun. But the
iguana was unfazed. "It will drop a man but not an iguana," said Matt
Phillips of Hollywood Fire Rescue.
• In January, after the California restaurant chain Carl's Jr. began
televising a commercial chiding competitors' chicken-nugget meals (the ad:
executives examining a chicken in a futile attempt to find a body part
called the "nugget"), the animal rights group United Poultry Concerns
objected, not just because the chicken was mishandled but because the
examination hurt the chicken's feelings (treated the chicken "derisively,"
United's chief Karen Davis told the Los Angeles Times).
• Democracy in Action
Right-to-Life Party candidate Richard Hobbs, 47, overwhelmingly lost his
campaign for the legislature of Westchester County, N.Y., in November,
probably because it got out that he was a twice-convicted pedophile; he told
reporters that he didn't think the convictions were relevant to the campaign
because "there are no children at the county legislature."
• Very Bright People
In November, Mexico City began its latest tactic to help drivers cope with
the capital's monumental traffic problem, by hiring five mimes to team with
four special traffic officers in street theater sketches to encourage
drivers at the city's most dangerous intersections to buckle up, curb their
cell-phone usage and obey all traffic laws. (A 1999 tactic had the city
reassign its 900 traffic cops in favor of handing all citation-writing over
to 64 female officers, who, it was felt, would be less likely to accept
motorists' bribe attempts, but the traffic problem has soared since then.)
Crime and Punishment
• In October, police in Fairbanks, Alaska, charged Gail Bergman, 41, with
second-degree assault for stabbing her live-in boyfriend in the buttocks
with two paring knives in a domestic squabble. Bergman denied it, claiming
that the boyfriend actually showed up at the door that night naked with the
two knives already stuck in him. According to police, Bergman's main concern
seemed to be that she had finally relocated the knives: "I've been asking
him where those knives have been for the last three weeks. Why is he walking
around town with knives sticking out of his butt?"
• From the Crime Watch column of the Leaf-Chronicle (Clarksville, Tenn.),
Dec. 5, 2001: "A 36-year-old cab driver reported one of his riders sexually
attacked him Saturday morning in the 100 block of Keith Drive. The cab
driver pushed the rider away. The rider then forcibly performed a sexual act
on the driver, the victim told (Det. Larry) Boren. The report indicated the
driver didn't know if the attacker was a man or a woman." [Leaf-Chronicle,
• From the police report column of the Union Democrat (Sonora, Calif.), Dec.
31, 2001: "1:35 p.m., Groveland: A driver told the California Highway Patrol
that two people were parked outside the entrance to Yosemite National Park
with the hazard lights on and their hands in the air. Yosemite rangers said
the two men admitted ingesting 'speed' and became paranoid that a sniper was
in the bushes aiming a high-powered rifle at them." [Union
• Kimberly Herricks, 36, a manager for Donato's Pizza, Lakewood, Ohio, was
indicted in December for stealing $38,000 from the company, an amount that
included the value of 400 decaying pizzas found in her garage. According to
police, she had invented big call-in orders at her store for schools,
hospitals, etc., just to get her store's sales figures up and her name in
the company newsletter. She would then adjust the books to cover the costs
and deliver the pizzas, herself, to her own garage. She was busted when she
asked her boss (the owner) to help her move to a new house, and he
discovered the rotting pizzas. [Plain Dealer, 12-4-01]
• On New Year's Eve, Los Angeles police arrested bicycle-shop owner Michael
Howard, 47, and charged him with eight counts in connection with a series of
incidents in which a man forcibly cut the hair of women on the street.
Though Howard's alleged obsession with hair was apparently not well known to
his family, one longtime friend told the Los Angeles Times that Howard
"liked playing with (hair), brushing it, everything about it. He says he
likes the sound of scissors cutting hair." [Los Angeles Times,
• A judge in Winnipeg, Manitoba, acquitted a 26-year-old man of rape in
December after finding that the 45-year-old victim's testimony was not
credible. The victim (an acquaintance of the man) presented no evidence of
unwillingness except her word that she didn't want to go through with it,
did not try to escape when she had plenty of time to do so, and failed to
bite the man during oral sex (because, as she told the defense lawyer, "I'm
not like that; I'm not a person who likes to be rude"). [Winnipeg Sun,
• A man escaped after robbing an auto parts store of $50, but not before
losing his prosthetic leg and his pants in a scuffle with an employee
(Kansas City, Mo.).
• The owner of seven large (up to 6 feet long), house-roaming Monitor
lizards died, apparently of natural causes, but then became dinner for his
brood before a relative discovered the body (Newark, Del.).
• A wealthy director of Finland's Nokia telecom company was fined about
$103,000 for speeding, based on the country's system of assigning fines by
income, but he said his income has dropped, and the fine should only be
about $20,000 (Helsinki).