Odds & Ends: Manholes Blessed, Ancient Obscenity, Costume Turns Real, Pencil Neck, Avocado Prohibition

Odds & Ends: Manholes Blessed, Ancient Obscenity, Costume Turns Real, Pencil Neck, Avocado Prohibition

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Poland— Town Hall officials in Lodz have asked priests to bless some new manhole covers to stop them from being stolen by scrap metal thieves. Councilors voted to replace all 4,000 manhole covers in the central Polish city, but only put the new ones into service after they had been blessed at a church service to keep them safe. Town sewage department president Wlodzmierz Tomaszewski told reporters, “Lodz’ holy patron is Saint Faustina who walked the streets helping the poor and underprivileged. By blessing the manhole covers, we are blessing the streets and spreading her goodness.” Some local residents were less than impressed with the holy manholes, however. One resident was quoted as saying, “If they think a few prayers will keep all those new manhole covers safe from thieves, they need to think again. There won’t be one left within a month.”

Dateline: England— A report in London’s Daily Telegraph states that workers at Kensington Palace have uncovered a 100-year-old piece of obscene graffiti. A £12 million restoration of the royal residence is underway. While replacing a rotten timber frame above the palace’s front door, workers found an elegantly scrawled pencil notation that reads: “Peter Jackson, The Champion Fucker.” The message is dated 1/2/1902. Experts are torn as to whether the author of the note was bragging about himself or insulting a colleague. “Sadly, we don’t know very much about Peter Jackson, but evidently he, like so many others throughout history, could not resist the temptation to leave his mark on a royal palace,” said Lee Prosser, buildings curator at historic royal palaces. “When this was written, he must have thought he was perfectly safe, that nobody in the world would ever lay eyes on it again.” A Kensington Palace spokesperson believes the graffiti “may have been left by an earlier contractor responsible for refurbishment or redecoration works at the palace over a century ago.” Curators at the estate reportedly tried to learn more about Mr. Jackson and his role at the palace, but came up empty. The rotten beam was replaced by a new steel one, but the Telegraph says the rude message has been “preserved for future generations to enjoy.”

Dateline: Pennsylvania— A man wanted by police was arrested on Halloween—while wearing an inmate costume. Gregory Moon, 22, of Charleroi was arrested for possessing a stolen handgun and for yelling insults at a police officer in the early morning hours of Oct. 31. Police were responding to a disturbance call at an apartment in Donora. According to the Observer-Reporter , Moon stood in the doorway of the apartment shouting insults. After he was arrested, police realized Moon was wanted on the stolen handgun warrant. Moon was taken to the Washington County Jail and photographed wearing his black-and-white-striped prison inmate costume. He was then given a modern orange jumpsuit to change into.

Dateline: Washington— Joshua Monson, a 28-year-old felony drug charge suspect, made a reputation for himself by stabbing his lawyer in the neck with a pencil … and then doing the same with his replacement. Following the first two stabbings, the judge in Monson’s case ordered him restrained for future court appearances. Monson’s third lawyer, Jesse Cantor, argued that Monson wouldn’t get a fair trial if juries saw him shackled to a restraint chair. The judge agreed, which was bad luck for Cantor. Earlier this month, Monson reportedly reached across a table, grabbed a pen and stabbed his new attorney in the head while jurors were listening to opening statements. Monson, who was fitted with an electric stun cuff at the time, was quickly subdued following the attack. Snohomish County Superior Court Judge David Kurtz refused to declare a mistrial, however, and ordered Monson to represent himself in court. That went about as well as you might expect. On Nov. 3, Monson was convicted of drug possession. Monson still faces a second-degree murder charge in the Jan. 2 shooting of 30-year-old Brian Jones. No word on who his attorney in that case might be.

Dateline: California— An admitted avocado thief has been convicted of the crime and subsequently prohibited from possessing more than 10 of the fleshy fruits at a time by a San Diego County judge. Barron Stein, an out-of-work tow truck driver, admitted stealing 600 to 1,000 pounds of avocado from a grove. According to a report in the North County Times , Stein had been out of work for more than a year and took the avocados to support his family. Stein was caught grabbing the guacamole makings by a video camera at Eco Farms in Bonsall. By agreeing to stay out of all avocado groves and refraining from possessing more than 10 avocados at any one time, Stein avoided serving time in jail. The terms of his probation are set to last three years.

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

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