Odds & Ends
Eric J. Garcia
Dateline: Croatia--Hundreds of Croatians painted themselves blue and wore silly white hats in an attempt to break the world record for dressing up as Smurfs. A total of 395 turned up dressed as the popular cartoon characters in the town of Komin. But when they contacted Guinness officials to register their record, they were told it was too late. A spokesperson for the organizers said, “We read on the Internet that the record was 290 people held by a group of Americans and decided to beat it. We had TV, radio and print media report our success.” Unfortunately, the smurfy record had already been topped last July by 451 people at Warwick University Students’ Union in England. One organizer of the wasted Croatian record attempt told reporters, “We could easily have got more Smurfs, but we thought that over a hundred more than the American record we found on the Internet would be enough.”
Dateline: Spain--A litigious businessman withdrew a controversial lawsuit last Wednesday against the family of a teenage boy he struck and killed while driving a luxury automobile. Thomas Delgado had filed a suit asking the dead boy’s parents to pay him 20,000 euros ($29,400) on the grounds that their teenage son’s body damaged his Audi A-8. News of the case sparked outrage in Spain and generated deep sympathy for the parents of 17-year-old Enaitz Iriondo Trinidad. The boy was riding his bicycle near a campground where his family was vacationing when Delgado’s car hit and killed him in August 2004. A traffic report said Delgado was traveling at 70 mph in an area where the posted speed limit is 55 mph. Shortly after the deadly collision, a judge dismissed criminal charges against Delgado after concluding that he had committed no criminal infraction, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported. The teen’s mother, Rosa, told the newspaper that the family was given three days to appeal the judge’s ruling, but they were too distraught to pursue it. After the collision, Delgado’s insurance company paid the family 33,000 euros ($48,500). Two years after the wreck, Delgado decided to sue the Trinidads for damages to his car. Delgado dropped the lawsuit last week, however, saying extensive publicity had damaged his chances for a fair civil hearing.
Dateline: Milwaukee--Dodge County resident Pat Dykstra, 51, called 911 from her pickup truck early last Sunday to report a drunk driver--herself. Dykstra told the surprised dispatcher she just might be intoxicated enough to need a sheriff’s squad to escort her home. According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dykstra gave police her name, a description of her car, her home address and an estimation of the time she might be there. Oddly enough, deputies were waiting for Dykstra as she pulled into her driveway. Dykstra blew a .14 on the Breathalyzer and now faces a fine of $740 and loss of her driver’s license for this first offense. Asked what she thought would happen when she called 911 to report her own drunk driving, Dykstra told WTMJ-TV, “I really wasn’t sure. Like I said, I don’t think I was really thinking that much at the time.”
Dateline: Indiana--Two fourth-grade boys mimicking a scene from the movie A Christmas Story ended up with their tongues stuck to a frozen flagpole at Jackson Elementary School in Chesterton. Gavin Dempsey and James Alexander were serving flag duty at the school last Friday morning, tasked with raising and lowering the school’s flags. The two decided to see if their tongues really would stick to the cold metal. “I decided to try it because I thought all of the TV shows were lies, but turns out I was wrong,” Dempsey said. The boys’ bleeding tongues were treated by the school nurse.
Dateline: Texas--A 24-year-old volunteer at a community radio station set fire to the place because they didn’t play the songs on his playlist. Paul Webster Feinstein has been charged with second-degree felony arson and was being held last Monday in the Travis County Central Booking Facility. The fire on Jan. 5 at 91.7 FM KOOP in Austin caused $300,000 in damages. The radio station was off the air for 19 days before broadcasting was able to resume in studio space donated by another local radio station. Feinstein told investigators during a six-hour interview that he was “very unhappy” the music he had picked for an overnight Internet program--broadcast online when the station is off the air--had been changed. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Feinstein quit KOOP about a week before the fire broke out. He admitted to investigators that he made a copy of the key to the station before he quit, waited until everyone had left the night of Jan. 5, then poured gasoline on the control panels in two different studios and lit everything on fire. Ironically, the name of the show Feinstein’s playlist got bumped from was “Mellow Down Easy.”
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to firstname.lastname@example.org.