Odds & Ends
How dumb are today’s teenagers? So dumb that they’re actually being cautioned by officials not to light themselves on fire. The London Fire Brigade recently issued a warning cautioning teens not to attempt a “stupid and dangerous” stunt called the “fire challenge.” The craze, which has apparently spread like wildfire on Facebook and YouTube, encourages a person—“usually a teenager”—to pour flammable liquid on their body and then ignite themselves. “This is a stupid and dangerous craze,” said a London Fire Brigade spokesperson. “You’re almost certain to seriously injure yourself, and fire can easily spread to furniture and other flammable household items which is a risk to others.” The viral trend has been blamed for numerous injuries, including the death of a 15-year-old in Buffalo, N.Y., who passed away after attempting the stunt last year.
Animal rights organization PETA is asking England’s oldest pub to change its name to something that is “less offensive to chickens.” Ye Old Fighting Cocks in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, was built in the 8th century and has had its current name since 1872. Guinness World Records lists it as the oldest pub in the UK. Despite the fact that cock fighting has been banned in England and Wales since 1835, PETA is demanding that the pub change its name to Ye Old Clever Cocks “in recognition of society’s growing compassion for animals and in celebration of intelligent, sensitive chickens.” The building’s landlord, Christo Tofalli, told the Herts Advertiser he had a responsibility for preserving the history and heritage of the venerable pub and would be “replying to PETA respectfully.”
An Aspen man accused of violating a protection order has retained a stuffed owl as his lawyer. Aspen Times reports that 67-year-old Charles Abbott was in court on May 19, addressing his violation of a protection order put in place after he was accused of assaulting his former roommate, Michael Stranahan, at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting earlier this month. Instead of bringing a live, human lawyer to defend himself, Abbott placed a taxidermied horned owl named “Solomon” on the defense table in front of him. “He’s a very sensitive guy, has law degrees from Yale, Harvard and Stanford,” Abbott told Pitkin County Court Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely. “I think he’ll be able to represent me before a public defender comes online.” According to the Aspen Times, the judge ignored the dead animal’s presence and “moved along with the court’s business.” Stranahan, 75, accused Abbott of violating the restraining order and returning to the home they used to share to collect some items. “I’d like to point out that Mr. Stranahan is wearing one of my shirts, the blue one,” Abbott told the judge. “That is not his shirt; that is mine.” Fernandez-Ely told Abbott his remarks were out of the scope of the hearing and that if he wanted to retrieve his belongings from Stranahan’s home, he needed to have a sheriff’s deputy with him on scene. The judge also expressed hope that Rev. Nicholas Vesey of Aspen Chapel—which Mr. Abbott and Mr. Stranahan both still attend—could bring the two estranged friends together.
According to the Northeast Ohio Media Group, an 18-year-old man managed to elude police during a vehicle chase, but was taken into custody later when he returned to the scene of the crime to retrieve his lost hat. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrest report states a deputy tried to stop Otha Montgomery’s car around 2:15am on May 19 after it ran a red light in the town of Willoughby. Montgomery allegedly sped up, turned several corners, pulled into a driveway and bailed from the vehicle. Police lost sight of the driver, but a man in the passenger’s seat gave police Montgomery’s description, including the black baseball cap he was wearing. Montgomery later returned to the driveway where the pursuit ended and gave officers a detailed description of the black baseball cap he was looking for. Police found the hat in a nearby flowerbed and arrested Montgomery. The 18-year-old denied being the driver but later phoned a friend from the police station and described the vehicular pursuit. He is charged with failing to comply with a police order, obstructing official business and various traffic violations.