Odds & Ends
Dateline: Argentina—Rock star Andres Calamaro was recently charged with saying that he would like to smoke marijuana--a statement he made more than 10 years ago. “I feel so good that I could smoke a joint,” Calamaro told a crowd of 100,000 fans on Nov. 19, 1994 in La Plata, 30 miles south of Buenos Aries. Calamaro, 43, figured he was off the hook in 1995 when a group of enraged parents hauled him before a judge, who dismissed the charges of justifying a crime. Undeterred, the parents spent the last 10 years looking for a less “liberal” judge. “This trial is absurd. It's Kafkaesque,” Calamaro's lawyer, Jose Stefanuolo told a crowd of fans who came to support the musician. Stefanuolo says he will try to get the case dismissed. If that doesn't work, he will invoke the statute of limitations.
Dateline: England—An unnamed motorist is recovering after he was struck in the face by a flying frozen sausage while driving near his South Woodham Ferrers home in Essex. An ambulance service spokesman described the accident to BBC online: “The man said he was making his way home after work and had the window down because it was such a nice afternoon. He said he saw a car coming the other way and felt a searing pain in his nose. He managed to stop the car without hitting anyone else.” The spokesman added, “I feel very sorry for him. It must have been an incredibly lucky or unlucky shot to get the sausage through the moving car window. I have never seen or heard of anything like this before.” Police are investigating the incident.
Dateline: England—A pair of insect experts at London's Natural History Museum have proposed naming a new species of slime-mold beetle after George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Quentin Wheeler, who discovered the beetle, claims to be an admirer of the Bush administration. Nonetheless, the names Agathidium bushi, A cheneyi and A rumsfeldi are proving to be controversial in the entomology world. Andrew Polaszek from the London-base International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature told New Scientist magazine that, “Religion and politics should be kept out of naming of animals. It goes against the spirit of the nomenclature code.”
Dateline: Romania—A thief caught stealing a week after he was released from jail is demanding more than $300,000 compensation from the government. Danut Mester, 38, from Sibiu, has filed a civil lawsuit, claiming it's the state's fault he is back in jail because they failed to rehabilitate him. Mester served 13 years for theft, but was arrested again for the same crime after only a week of freedom. “I am just a victim of the system,” Mester told reporters. “I committed antisocial crimes after I was released because the Romanian authorities never helped reintegrate me into society.”
Dateline: Rhode Island—Firefighters in Providence found themselves battling a particularly difficult blaze last Tuesday when their fire truck caught on fire. Engine 11 was completely burned after a fire started in the engine compartment while the truck was driving through Roger Williams Park. The engine's crew tried valiantly to fight the flames with fire extinguishers, but it was no use. Another fire truck had to be called in to put out the fire on the first fire truck. “This is unusual,” Capt. Peter Celini told Providence's WPRO-AM radio. “I've been here a long time, and I've never seen a fire truck fully involved like that.” One firefighter twisted his ankle and was taken to the hospital, but no other injuries were reported.
Dateline: Florida—An Orlando police officer has been charged with misdemeanor battery after allegedly using his Taser gun to obtain a urine sample. Officer Peter Linnenkamp was charged last Monday with using his Taser on 18-year-old Antonio Wheeler two times in early March. At the time, Wheeler was tied and handcuffed to a hospital bed. Wheeler had been arrested on a drug charge, had been taken to Florida Hospital Orlando and either would not or could not provide a urine sample. Hospital officials decided to insert a catheter, but Wheeler “resisted.” Linnenkamp wrote in a statement to investigators that he “administered the Taser discharge upon Mr. Wheeler in order to get him to release his penis.” After Wheeler was shocked in the arm with the 50,000-volt Taser, the report says he, “voluntarily provided a urine sample to the medical staff.” Linnenkamp, who remains on restricted duty, was not arrested, but received a summons to appear in court. If convicted on the misdemeanor charge, Linnekamp could face up to one year in jail. Wheeler's lawyer, Howard Marks, said prosecutors let the officer off easy. “We believe this amounts to nothing less than torture,” said Marks. “To me, it should be a felony battery.”
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to firstname.lastname@example.org.