Odds & Ends
Eric J. Garcia
Dateline: England--A 47-year-old computer user tracked down an e-mail correspondent using details obtained online after the pair exchanged insults in an Internet chat room in what officials are calling “the first instance of a web-rage attack.” Paul Gibbons traveled 70 miles from his home in south London to Mr. John Jones’ home in Clacton, Essex, and beat him with a pickax handle in December of 2005. The two originally became acquainted with one another in an Islamic chat room on yahoo.com. Their exchanges soured after Gibbons accused Jones of spreading rumors about him. “There was an exchange of views between the victim and the defendant which were threatening on both sides,” prosecutor Ibatayo Adebayo told the court last week in London. Gibbons pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and will be sentenced in early November.
Dateline: Ohio--A teenager who took off her bra and tied it to a car antenna is being blamed for a car wreck outside Bowling Green. Emily Davis, 17, told investigators she removed her bra while her friend was driving on Interstate 75. The bra apparently came loose from the antenna, and James Campbell, who was driving behind the girls at the time, swerved to avoid the garment. His car flipped several times, and the 37-year-old Campbell ended up breaking a vertebrae in his neck. His passenger, 40-year-old Jeff Long, broke several ribs. A State Highway Patrol crash report, obtained by the Toledo Blade, said the girls told investigators that before the accident the men were motioning to them to lift their shirts. Both men denied making the gesture. Davis will be charged this week with misdemeanor litter.
Dateline: Wisconsin--Platteville resident William Fenrick has legally changed his name in hopes of landing the job of county sheriff. Fenrick, the co-owner of a record store in downtown Platteville, filed paperwork in May to change his name to Andy Griffith. “What I wanted to do was bring attention to this sheriff’s race, and the only way that I could think of to do it--actually, the best way I could think of doing it--was changing my name to Andy Griffith,” the newly named Mr. Griffith told WISC-TV. Although the 42-year-old candidate is trying to invoke the name of the small-town sheriff on the nostalgic “Andy Griffith Show,” the name of the main character on that 1960 series was actually “Sheriff Andy Taylor.” So far, Griffith’s opponents don’t seem too worried. “If I felt that changing my name would help me in the race, I would have changed mine to Kenny Rogers,” said Democratic challenger Doug Vesperman.
Dateline: Massachusetts--Officials at Willett Elementary School south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised “chase games” during recess. Willett Elementary principal Gaylene Heppe warned reporters that recess is “a time when accidents can happen.” While there is no district-wide ban on contact sports during recess, local rules have begun cropping up recently. Several school administrators around Attleboro, a city of about 45,000 residents, took aim at dodgeball a few years ago, calling it exclusionary and dangerous. Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Spokane, Wash., also recently banned tag during recess. Nationwide, it appears schools have grown increasingly fearful that children will get hurt playing during recess and that their parents will sue the school district. “I think that it’s unfortunate that kids’ lives are micromanaged and there are social skills they’ll never develop on their own,” said Debbie Laferriere, who has two children at Willett Elementary.
Dateline: Nevada--Billionaire casino magnate Steve Wynn struck out on a $139 million payday when he poked a hole in a famous painting by Pablo Picasso. According to director and screenwriter Nora Ephron, who wrote about the incident on her blog, Wynn had just finalized a sale for the painting from his extensive art collection and was showing it off to friends in his Las Vegas office. Wynn raised his hand to point out a detail in Picasso’s 1932 portrait titled “Le Reve” (The Dream). “At that moment, his elbow crashed backward right through the canvas. There was a terrible noise,” Ephron wrote. Wynn’s office confirmed Ephron’s story. According to the New Yorker, Wynn has decided to release the buyer from the sale agreement. Wynn will repair the silver dollar-sized hole and keep the painting himself.
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to firstname.lastname@example.org.