Odds & Ends
A miniature pony is back with his circus troupe after being kidnapped by a mother who just wanted to fulfill her daughter’s Christmas wish. Fridolin the pony, who measures only two feet tall, went missing from the Vienna Christmas Circus shortly before Christmas. Circus director Adolph Lauenburger told the Austrian Press Agency that a woman called the circus and said she had kidnapped the animal to give to her sick daughter. Apparently the woman had second thoughts about keeping a tiny pony and told circus officials where to find it. Fridolin was located at a bus stop in Vienna on Dec. 26. The woman who made off with him did not give her name. Police are investigating.
Iowa’s all-male high court has determined it is legal to fire an employee because she’s too darn attractive. The decision comes after Iowa dentist James Knight fired his assistant, 32-year-old Melissa Nelson, after a decade on the job because he found her “irresistible.” Knight said in court he was very likely to have an affair with her if he kept her on the payroll. He also said he found Nelson’s clothing “distracting” and told the court, “I don’t think it’s good for me to see her wearing things that accentuate her body.” In 2009, Knight’s wife Jeanne demanded her husband fire Nelson after she found the two sometimes exchanged text messages. Despite saying she was “the best dental assistant he ever had,” Nelson dumped her after getting the same advice of his pastor. Nelson sued her employer on the grounds that she was terminated because of her gender. The court sided with Knight, however, noting that legal precedent found it acceptable for a boss to fire a worker due to a spouse’s jealousy.
A federal employee was formally reprimanded in early December because his “uncontrollable flatulence” had created an “intolerable” and “hostile” environment for his coworkers. On Dec. 10, the unnamed, 38-year-old Social Security Administration employee was given a five-page letter logging the dates and times office mates reported him “releasing the awful and unpleasant odor.” A redacted copy of the letter was circulated among officers of the American Federation of Government employees and made its way to the internet where it was posted by TheSmokingGun.com. The letter of reprimand, which accuses the windy worker of “conduct unbecoming of a federal officer,” is the least severe administrative sanction that can be given to a government worker. According to the letter, the worker was first spoken to about his problem on May 18, when a manager informed him that coworkers had complained about his flatulence and that it was “the reason none of them were willing to assist you with your work.” On July 17, a second SSA manager spoke to the man “in regards of your releasing of bodily gas in the module during work hours.” On August 14, an SSA Deputy Division Director was called in to discuss the “continuous releasing of your bodily gas and the terrible smell that comes with the gas.” At this time, apparently, the worker said he was lactose intolerant and planned to purchase Gas-X. Despite the workers’ promise to fix the problem, the author of the note went on to chart 17 separate dates and 60 specific times on which the employee broke wind. The letter, which will remain in the employee’s file for up to one year, calls the conduct “discourteous, disrespectful and entirely inappropriate.”
Police in DeLand, Fla., arrested a man for child abuse after he allegedly beat his three children with a belt because one of them passed gas in his car during the Thanksgiving holiday. Austin Davis, 32, was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated battery after one of his kids farted in the car but none of them would say who did it. According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, photographs show dark bruises on the legs, thighs and buttocks of Davis’ 12-year-old, 9-year-old and 6-year-old offspring. A relative who took the photographs eventually reported the abuse.