Alibi V.24 No.18 • April 30-May 6, 2015 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: China

China’s Ministry of Culture has announced that it’s cracking down on the practice of hiring strippers for funerals. State media has said nude dancers are used at some funerals in rural areas to draw more mourners and to show off the family’s wealth. The government has called the practice illegal and a corruption to “social morals.” The Ministry of Culture has been compiling a “black list” of people and companies that engage in such funerary shenanigans. One group, the Red Rose Song and Dance Troupe, was singled out for performing a striptease after the small-town funeral of an elderly person in the northern Province of Hebei in February. The group’s leader was punished with 15 days in detention and a fine of 70,000 yuan ($11,300).

Dateline: Canada

The residents of Tisdale, a farming community in Saskatchewan, have finally decided that their town slogan—“Land of Rape and Honey”—might not be so great. The catchphrase was created more than 60 years ago to highlight the area’s annual harvest of rapeseed and honey. Town officials noted that the amount of locally farmed rapeseed has decreased significantly in recent years, making up only 1 percent of the crops grown in the region today. Tisdale’s Economic Development Office created an online survey asking residents if they feel it is “time for Tisdale to update our town brand.” A decision to change the town slogan will be made later this summer. Possible replacements include “Land of Canola and Honey” and “A Place to Bee.”

Dateline: Arkansas

A truck driver has pled guilty to trading $50,000 worth of lunch meat for crack. Larry Ron Bowen, 45, was sentenced earlier this month to a year of inpatient drug treatment and six years probation. According to the Memphis Flyer, Bowen, of Mabelvale, Ark., was hired last June to deliver a truckload of lunch meat to locations in Alabama and Florida. Instead, the truck went missing for three days. The company that hired Bowen eventually used the truck’s GPS to locate it at a service station in Memphis. Police told WMC Action News 5 in Memphis they found Bowen near the truck “eating a lunch meat sandwich.” The truck’s refrigerated trailer was missing, and the tires had been replaced with cheaper ones. Bowen led police to a nearby storage facility with the trailer hidden inside. About a third of the lunch meat was missing. Bowen admitted he traded it for crack cocaine. In addition to his probation, Bowen is required to pay $18,500 in restitution.

Dateline: Colorado

A Colorado Springs man was cited after ending a longtime feud with his computer by taking it outside and executing it. According to police, 37-year-old Lucas Hinch was given a municipal violation for discharging a weapon inside city limits after pumping eight bullets into the troublesome machine. A police spokesperson told the Colorado Springs Gazette that Hinch “got tired of fighting with his computer for the last several months” and “took it out in the back alley and shot it” using a 9mm handgun. Hinch’s actions succeeded in “effectively disabling” the Dell desktop. Neighbors reported the gunshots, and police investigated, finding the dead computer outside Hinch’s home. Police public information officer Lt. Catherine Buckley later said Hinch “did tell us he thought it was okay because we are an open carry state.” However, it is illegal within city limits to discharge a firearm unless protecting life or property. The local police department posted photos of Hinch’s handiwork on Twitter, under the caption “Photo of computer that was killed.” Buckley said, “Sometimes when you have things that happen such as this, we like to think we can have a sense of humor too.” Hinch is expected to face a fine in the computer killing.

Dateline: Massachusetts

Police dispatchers in the city of Northbridge have been fielding some difficult calls—a flood of emergencies from Australia. Detective Sgt. John Ouillette told WBZ-TV the first call from Down Under came on March 9. The caller was reporting a fight in Russell Square. Dispatchers had some trouble locating the place on local maps. “We were trying to determine if it was in town, and then we determined it was Northbridge, Australia,” Ouillette said. The long-distance calls have not let up since then. “They start talking like I’m in Australia,” dispatcher Lisa Gaylord told the Worchester Telegram. “As soon as they start talking, I say, ‘This is Northbridge, Massachusetts, in the United States. Do you have the right number?’” Police speculate people in Australia are searching for “Northbridge Police” on Google and simply calling the first number they see. The department said it contacted police in Northbridge, Australia, in hopes that informing residents of the correct number would fix the problem, but “the calls do not appear to have slowed.”

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