May 8, 2013;
Golden (arches) opportunity?: Taking a few days off is risky in the breaking news business. As soon as you leave town, a horrific story like the one in Cleveland, where three women and a child were rescued after years of captivity, happens. Fortunately, neighbor Charles Ramsey was there to help the women escape. His animated but level-headed demeanor has been praised and parodied, including an auto-tuned anthem on YouTube. Ramsey, who mentioned fast food giant McDonald’s in his 911 call to police and during his first TV interview may be featured in a commercial soon. McDonald’s, in a tweet likely written by a legal firm, said, “We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey – we’ll be in touch.” Trying to generate positive PR out of this story will be tricky business, but you have to figure McDonald’s will help the kidnap victims financially if they cut a deal with Ramsey. “I don’t even want it,” Ramsey said of the media attention during an interview on Cleveland’s NBC affiliate. “They keep saying I’m a hero. Let me tell you something, I’m an American, and I’m a human being. I’m just like you. I work for a living. There was a woman in distress, so why turn your back on that?”
Some things can’t be unseen: Atlanta has a love-hate relationship with hideous mascots … we love to hate them. The good folks of Vicosa, Brazil, are likely kindred spirits after witnessing “Señor Testiculo,” a non-adorable mascot with an anti-testicular cancer message. A Brazilian website has 40 images anyone with eyesight will find disturbing. Curiously, children seem to like being seen with this abomination.
Scavenger to predator: A woman who fell to her death from a cliff in France was eaten by vultures before rescuers could get to her body. The 52-year-old woman fell about 300 yards in the Pyrenees Mountains while walking with two other people. Forty-five minutes later, rescuers found nothing but bones, clothes, shoes and endangered Griffon vultures. The large birds, like U.S. buzzards, are usually scavengers, but locals say they are increasingly attacking live animals because of a recent government regulation that requires farmers to burn animal carcasses. “You can’t imagine what it’s like to see an animal eaten alive,” said one farmer.
Confederate flag flap: An Arizona high school’s “Redneck Day” has elicited anger. The school’s superintendent said the costumes were supposed to build school spirit and satirize the characters of the reality TV series “Duck Dynasty,” but one kid wore a shirt adorned with a Confederate flag. The Rev. Oscar Tillman, president of the local NAACP, who grew up in the 1940s in the South, in USA Today, said: “Our community knows what that flag represents. … A school is supposed to be for education and showing people where we come from, our history, and to try not to go back to some things.” The grandmother of a 16-year-old said, “I’m sitting here crying and praying.”
The advantage of desktop PCs: Things went downhill quickly for a 14-year-old Chicago boy who used his iPad to find and hire a sex partner. According to police, the woman arrived, pepper-sprayed the teen and stole his tablet computer and piggy bank. Dareka Brooks, 22, has orange hair and is maybe not a real prostitute.
To protekt and too sirve: Can you be too smart to be a good police officer? Lt. Columbo would say no, but he’s been outranked by federal judges who upheld a ruling saying it was OK for police departments to reject recruits who score too high on IQ tests. A 49-year-old college graduate who wanted to join the New London, N.Y., police force took an entrance exam and scored the equivalent of 125 on an IQ test. But New London police believe smart officers get bored with police work and, after being trained, leave for other jobs. The average IQ of police officers is about 104, reports ABC News. Since losing his discrimination lawsuit, the big-brained recruit has worked as a prison guard. It is not known if he’s solved any mysteries.