Archive for August, 2011

Introducing the Apple iPlank

A fool and his money are soon parted, said poet Thomas Tusser in 1557.

iHope she got a receipt.

iHope she got a receipt.

Thanks to those who shop for electronics in McDonald’s parking lots, that idiom holds true today.

The Smoking Gun provides the details: Ashley McDowell, from Spartanburg, S.C., was at the fast food restaurant when two men asked her if she wanted to buy an iPad. They showed her a brand new iPad and told her they’d give her one just like it for $300.

She talked them down to $180 and they gave her a FedEx box from the trunk of their Impala.

Lo and behold, when she opened the box, she found out she was an iDiot.

Instead of a much-beloved tablet computer, she was the proud owner of a piece of wood painted black and adorned with Apple and Best Buy stickers.

Police say the scam is unusual only in that the crooks took the time to create a crude facsimile of the sold item.

Note: The original version of this story incorrectly said the men offered to sell a stolen iPad.

Continue reading Introducing the Apple iPlank »

Kudzu-eating bug spreads outside Georgia

Ask someone to name Georgia’s most prized export and you’ll get varied responses.

 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'

'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'

Peaches, pecans, peanuts (we like P’s) and exotic dancers are among our many claims to fame.

But what about plataspids? Bean plataspids to be precise.

Sounds yummy, but you’d best not eat them. After all, it’s what THEY eat that makes them special — the tiny insects devour kudzu, the South’s least favorite plant.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports the bugs, first found in Georgia near Athens, have spread to almost all of Georgia, South Carolina, a big chunk of North Carolina and four Alabama counties.

You can’t blame them for avoiding Mississippi.

The bugs fly high, so recent winds from Hurricane Irene may have shot the little guys clear up to Canada, where, believe it or not, kudzu grows.

Researchers in Athens say the insects reduce the amount of kudzu foliage by a third in test plots. They also dine on another pesky plant, Wisteria, which has the …

Continue reading Kudzu-eating bug spreads outside Georgia »

Police (Off)Beat | Blood thicker than hot water

  • A 38-year-old Decatur woman is in hot water for stealing a water heater from a foreclosed home. She cut herself in the process and a real estate agent noticed blood in the home’s bathroom sink, which police used to make a DNA match.

    Note: A car is not considered "stolen" if a bank takes it.

    Note: A car is not considered "stolen" if a bank takes it.

  • Police investigating a suspicious person at a foreclosed Bankhead-area home encountered a “sovereign citizen” who said he’d changed the home’s locks and could not be arrested because “taking ownership of vacant property is not a crime.” Police proved him wrong. On him, police found many keys and a digital camera with pictures of more empty Atlanta homes.
  • A Smyrna woman was charged with battery after visiting her ex-husband in a Cobb hospital and attempting to strangle his current girlfriend.
  • A man returning to his Memorial Drive apartment heard whispered voices intone “Hurry up, he’s here.” Two laptops, a Wii and a Beyonce concert DVD had been spirited out …

Continue reading Police (Off)Beat | Blood thicker than hot water »

Where’s the Lockerbie bomber?

As Libya collapses, all the world is wondering what will happen to Col. Moammar Gadhafi, who, despite being in power for 42 years, never had time to promote himself to general.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, left using stick, receives a hero's welcome from Seif al-Islam el-Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi, on his 2009 arrival in Tripoli.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, left using cane, receives a hero's welcome from Seif al-Islam el-Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi, on his 2009 arrival in Tripoli.

Time is running out. Rebels quickly seized Gadhafi’s stronghold of Tripoli Sunday and are spelunking every man-made cave in search of the hamburger- and plastic surgery-loving despot.

But what I want to know is where is the the Lockerbie bomber, aka Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi?

Those who’ve been reading newspapers awhile will remember Scotland released the former Libyan intelligence officer in 2009, allegedly on humanitarian grounds because he was allegedly dying of cancer.

Even older readers will remember  al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of 270 counts of murder for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. …

Continue reading Where’s the Lockerbie bomber? »

Police (Off)Beat | Mother-daughter license swap fails again

  • A 41-year-old woman pulled over on James Jackson Parkway didn’t have a license or ID, but gave police her 25-year-old daughter’s name and date of birth. She then called her daughter and yelled “Bring me my license, you have it in your purse.” All the Oil of Olay in the world couldn’t slide that ruse past a conscious and alert Atlanta police officer.

    Ponce de Leon can be frightening after dark.

    Ponce de Leon can be frightening after dark.

  • An Atlanta woman thinks the man she called to fix the elevator in her Townsend Place home stole a $2,000 Tiffany earring.
  • An employee at Hertz’s airport location told Atlanta police that at least four cars rented recently were not returned. Total value of the missing rides: $61,000
  • A Kennesaw resident called police after observing a nude man hugging his mailbox on Waybridge Drive.
  • On Winters Chapel Road in north DeKalb, a woman was so scared when she saw a knife-wielding burglar enter her home she passed out.
  • A man wearing a police uniform, including a gun, was arrested …

Continue reading Police (Off)Beat | Mother-daughter license swap fails again »

Animal sacrifices close barbershop

A Massachusetts barber is cutting more than hair, say health officials, who closed his shop after finding evidence of ritualistic animal sacrifices.

How to properly sacrifice a chicken.

How to properly sacrifice a chicken.

Boston’s NBC affiliate reports William Camacho purports his religious freedoms have been violated.

Camacho practices Palo Mayombe, a Caribbean religion that has been called “the dark side of Santería.”

Tuesday, two chickens and four roosters, one dead, were removed from the New Bedford shop’s basement.

“Well it’s very insulting to me,” Camacho told the TV station. “’Cause what happens is that — where I come from, it’s very known — and this town, it’s ignorant for them, ‘cause they don’t know what type of religion it is.”

Camacho could face animal cruelty charges. He says the shutdown is costing him $700 per day.

“I’m losing money and I’m waiting for the city to reopen me,” he told WHDH-TV.

Continue reading Animal sacrifices close barbershop »

CDC: Peak season for brain-eating amoeba

How do you keep a hypochondriac from swimming?

A single-celled zombie stalking a human brain.

A single-celled zombie stalking a human brain.

Tell them brain-eating amoeba’s have killed three people this summer.

Unfortunately, this medical curio is true, says CNN, citing the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control.

More unfortunate, the brain-eating micro-varmits feast in warm Southern waters — the deaths this year have occurred in Florida, Louisiana and Virginia.

The difficult to pronounce and rare single-celled organism — Naegleria fowleri — is 95% lethal, but usually only kills a few people each year. Eight died in 1980.

The amoebas enter the human body through the nose after an individual swims or dives into warm fresh water, like ponds, lakes, rivers and even hot springs, writes CNN.

July, August and September are peak season.

Scientists speculate that the lack of certain antibodies could be why some get infected while others swimming in the same body of water don’t.

Once the amoeba enters the nose, it works its way …

Continue reading CDC: Peak season for brain-eating amoeba »

‘Vampire’ arrested in Texas

Vampires, despite their popularity, aren’t real.

'Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear your neck veins throbbing.'

'Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear your neck veins throbbing.'

This news has yet to sink into the perhaps-troubled brain of a Texas teen who, after biting a woman on the neck, said he was a vampire who had to “feed.”

The Houston Chronicle provides the details:

Lyle Monroe Bensley, 19, of Galveston, is being held on a charge of burglary with intent to commit assault after forcing his way early Saturday into the apartment of a woman he did not know, police said.

“He was begging us to restrain him because he didn’t want to kill us,” Galveston Officer Daniel Erickson said. “He said he needed to feed.”

The vampire, who appeared to NOT be under the influence of drugs, was covered in tattoos and not much else … he was wearing only boxer shorts when he shoved his way into a woman’s apartment.

I thought vampires had to be invited guests?

Police said Bensley growled and hissed while biting the woman in her bed over the weekend.

She …

Continue reading ‘Vampire’ arrested in Texas »

‘Wiener war’ begins in Chicago

Here’s a story you’ll relish: Oscar Mayer and Ball Park are in court to determine who has America’s best-tasting weenie.

Nathan's Famous and Hebrew National say the real champ resides in New York City.

Nathan's Famous and Hebrew National say the real champ resides in New York City.

The judge opened the case in Chicago Monday by declaring ”Let the wiener wars begin.” You can catch up to the court action with this NPR article.

At issue is which Chicago company can claim to have the best dog.

Ball Park mustered a legal challenge after Oscar Mayer said “We are tastier” in a 2009 ad campaign.

Immediately, lawyers for the companies immediately began grilling the competition.

The Fooducate blog said neither tastes best. And wurst … err … worst of all, the processed meats are chock full of sulfites and sulfates. ”Buying an identifiable piece of meat … is a preferred choice,” Fooducate said.

A federal judge will determine which company can claim to be best, not a hungry jury.

Continue reading ‘Wiener war’ begins in Chicago »

Police (Off)Beat | Forging a path to jail

  • When the card of a man who ran up a $14,859 bill at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta was declined, a security officer noticed his wallet was stuffed with a cornucopia of credit. The man, who babbled “incomprehensibly” for 20 minutes, told police he was born in 2001 and was working with a “group of Nigerians” adept at forging cashier’s checks. He had $180,000 in bogus paper on him.

    To a well-trained dog, this smells like bacon.

    To a well-trained dog, this smells like bacon.

  • A DeKalb man who tried to cash a forged Four Seasons Inc. check at a Dunwoody bank fled when the teller started asking questions. He left his real ID behind and was soon captured.
  • An assistant manager at a Cobb Goodwill store is charged with theft after falsely telling her employer she had been subpoenaed to appear in court for a period of 10 work days.
  • A regular at a Doraville liquor store was busted trying to cash a bogus $820 check. He told police he got it from “three guys in the parking lot” who also provided a fake ID. Too …

Continue reading Police (Off)Beat | Forging a path to jail »