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 V.14 No.25 | June 23 - 29, 2005 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Scotland—A man who tried to conduct a job interview while naked has been sentenced to three years probation and placed on the sex offenders registry. Saeed Akbar, 35, was interviewing a female job prospect at Alpha Translating and Interpreting Services in Glasgow. At some point Akbar left the interview room and came back in naked and clutching a clipboard. When the 25-year-old woman refused to strip as well, he put his clothes back on and attempted to continue the interview as normal. The victim fled and filed a police report. Akbar initially told police his strip was a consensual “role play” and was part of his “tough interviewing technique.” Glasgow Sheriff Court was eventually told that the offender--who was held in “high esteem” by his company--was only seeking some excitement in his day. “I wanted a bit of excitement that afternoon, that's purely all it was,” Akbar told the BBC News. Passing sentence, Sheriff Brian Lockport noted that Akbar's partner had left him, he had lost his job and his friends refused to associate with him. “On the one hand, I have to take into account the distress which you caused your victim,” Lockport said in court. “On the other hand, I have to take into account the catastrophic effect this incident has had on your life. You have suffered severely as a result of you actions.” The father of one from Dunfermline pleaded guilty to committing a breach of the peace.

Dateline: Switzerland—Gianni Monti's controversial sculpture--a bar of soap, displayed on a square of black velvet, and purportedly made from fat removed during Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's recent liposuction treatment--was snapped up at an auction for 15,000 euros ($18,000). The art project, titled “Clean Hands”--a play on the name of an Italian anti-Mafia group--went to a private Swiss collector. The item was sold during Art Basel, the world's largest annual art fair where over 275 dealers in modern and contemporary art display their wares for over 50,000 collectors and curators.

Dateline: London—In other art world news, paintings by a deceased chimpanzee named Congo have shocked the art world by outselling famed works by Renoir and Warhol. The three abstract tempera paintings were auctioned at Bonhams in London last Monday and sold for a staggering $26,352. Alongside the record price, works by impressionist master Renoir and pop artist Andy Warhol went unsold. “We had no idea what these things were worth,” said Howard Rutkowski, director of modern and contemporary art at Bonhams. “We put them in for our own amusement.” Congo, born in 1954, produced about 400 drawings and paintings between ages 2 and 4. He died in 1964 of tuberculosis. His artwork provoked both scorn and skepticism among critics at the time, but Pablo Picasso is rumored to have hung a Congo painting on his studio wall after receiving it as a gift. The winning bidder, an American collector named Howard Hong, described himself as an “enthusiast of modern and contemporary paintings.”

Dateline: Illinois—A 22-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman were sure they were dealing with a fake cop when State Trooper Jeremy Dozier ordered them to strip to their underwear. Dozier, driving an unmarked squad car, came upon the couple while their car was parked along interstate 94 near Northbrook at around 1:30 a.m. last Thursday. Dozier gave the couple a Breathalyzer test, then told the woman she failed. He then asked the woman what he should do. She suggested Dozier write her a ticket. Dozier allegedly said he didn't want to put her “in the system.” That's when he ordered the couple to take off their clothes. The couple complied, but when the officer stepped back, they jumped back into their car to get away. “They couldn't believe it was a real cop,” said Tom Bilyk, supervisor of the Cook County state attorney's public corruption and financial crime unit, told the Chicago Sun-Times. Following their escape, the man called 911, and the dispatcher sent a nearby state trooper to take the couple's report. A few minutes later, State Trooper Jeremy Dozier arrived. Dozier had never called in the original traffic stop and so the dispacher was apparently unaware Dozier might be involved. The couple drove away again, eventually making it to the man's home in Wauconda. Dozier, a 10-year veteran trooper, was charged last Friday with four counts of official misconduct. Dozier was later released from jail on a $50,000 bond.

Dateline: Wisconsin—Every vote counts. At least in Oregon. Area resident Ray Way was the one and only person to cast a ballot in his town's recent referendum on whether or not to approve a plan by the village of Oregon to annex 80 acres from the town. Since Way is the only person living in the annexed area, he was the only one who could sign the petition requesting the referendum and the only one allowed to vote. The town clerk printed two ballots, just in case. Under state law, the polling place had to stay open for 13 hours last Tuesday, even though Way submitted his vote shortly after 7 a.m. He bought pizza for the poll workers to show his appreciation. The referendum passed by a landslide of one vote.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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