Saturday, May 9, 2009

Man in jail for 83 days for skipping jury duty

A Texas man was in jail for eighty three days after being put in jail for an outstanding warrant for skipping jury duty in 2003.

Maupin, a masonry contractor, was arrested Feb. 15 after police pulled him over for speeding. Police then detained him on a 2003 warrant for failure to appear for jury duty.

He wrote a letter to the newspaper about his lengthy jail stay, then said in a jailhouse interview that he, his friends and family could not afford his $1,500 bail.

He said his attempt to get a public defender was rebuffed by a jail clerk.

District Judge Chris Oldner said he was unaware of Maupin's detention until Friday, even though the case was assigned to his court. The judge who signed the original 2003 warrant had retired, and officials said the case was assigned to the court of his replacement but the offense didn't fall under that court's responsibility.

"He should not have spent that much time. This is unacceptable," Oldner told the Morning News. "I don't know why the process failed to notify us."

So, basically they forgot about him? That's terrible. Drunk drivers don't get that much time.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Expert: French bread not crusty enough

An American French bread expert says that the French are no longer making their baguettes crusty enough.

Steven Kaplan of New York's Cornell University says after spending a lifetime studying and eating French bread he has witnessed the slow death of the crust, The Times of London reported Friday.

"This is a significant and catastrophic trend," Kaplan told The Times. "The crust is what stands between France and the Armageddon of soft, mushy, repugnant loaves that we get in the U.S. and you get in Britain, too."

Kaplan says bakers in France have been cutting down on cooking time, succumbing to the global trend for softer food.

The upshot, he says, is the loss of the Maillard reaction, a chemical process occurring at high temperatures and leading to browning and crispiness.

French bakers say they are responding to a growing number of customers who demand baguettes that are "not too cooked."

A "global trend for softer food"? An American French bread expert?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Man finds snake head in his food!

A New Jersey man found a snake head in his broccoli while eating dinner at Fridays!

Jack Pendleton said he was dining with his girlfriend at the Clifton Park restaurant when he noticed a gray object on his plate under a piece of broccoli, the Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union reported Thursday.

"I could see these black, rotted eye sockets on the top," he said.

Pendleton said the snake head still had part of a tendon and the spinal chord attached.

Amy Freshwater, a spokeswoman for the restaurant chain, said the company was trying to determine how the snake head wound up in the food.

"We are taking this situation very seriously," she said. "We immediately pulled the broccoli from this restaurant and began an extensive investigation. As a precautionary measure, we pulled broccoli from all restaurants that received product from this supplier. We have since isolated the specific lot date of the broccoli in question and have now reintroduced the product in all restaurants not included in the product hold."

EEK! I wonder if the snake crawled into the broccoli when they were transporting it, or picking it? How creepy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dog protects family from mountain lion

A California dog nearly lost its life after protecting its family from a mountain lion.

The dog was severely mauled in the stomach area and rushed to a veterinary hospital for surgery, said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. The 5-year-old black labrador mix named Hoagie underwent a four-hour operation and was expected to survive, he said.

William Morse told KABC-TV that he was hiking with his wife near a campground in the Cleveland National Forest, about 10 miles from Lake Elsinore, when a 120-pound mountain lion approached.

"Out of nowhere, a mountain lion just charged us, attacked us. And my dog saved our lives," Morse said.

He said the attack lasted less than 10 seconds and left the dog with deep wounds.

But, Amormino said, the dog put up a "vicious fight. I'm sure that lion was hurt, too."

Morse said he was traumatized by the attack and will never return to the campground where he and his wife have been hiking for years.

That's just terrifying. Thank goodness for the dog. Mountain lions are scary. Hopefully the dog doesn't have to many lasting images.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Woman carded for spoons

A woman in the UK was carded when she purchased spoons as they were considered a dangerous item because someone was killed by a teaspoon.

The receipt for the bizarre sale was published on the website, a website set up by an internet entrepreneur Ken Frost to "expose and resist the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain".

The site was subsequently bombarded with comments and suggestions for other items that could cause harm.

One posting read: "Tea towel and a couple of bottle of diet cream soda and you've got all the equipment for waterboarding an Asda manager."

Another reader remarked: "Seemingly Asda believe that nobody over 18 ever murdered anyone."

"If the Government are going to try to take away my constitutional rights this way, I'm going to carry the biggest calibre teaspoon I can find," another commentator added. "I will give up my teaspoon when they prise it from my cold, dead body."

Why not just ban the purchasing of anything by kids under 18 and parents, lock up your spoons, we must protect our kids. Only finger foods allowed for school lunches.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Chinese government workers ordered to smoke more

The government in a Chinese province has ordered it's employees to smoke more of their locally produced cigarettes.

The Gong'an county government in Hubei province has ordered its staff to puff their way through 230,000 packs of Hubei-produced cigarette brands a year, the Global Times said.

Departments that fail to meet their targets will be fined, according to the report.

"The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax," said Chen Nianzu, a member of the Gong'an cigarette market supervision team, according to the paper.

The measure could also be a ploy to aid local cigarette brands such as Huanghelou, which are under severe pressure from competitors in neighbouring Hunan province, according to the paper.

China has 350 million smokers, of whom a million die of smoking-related diseases every year.

Cough Cough. Encouraging your workers to be unhealthy. That's a new one.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Man ticketed for riding while drunk

A Colorado man was ticketed for riding a horse into town while drunk.

Police said Brian Drone was given a $25 traffic violation ticket in a strip mall parking lot Friday. Drone told KUSA-TV that he was out for a "joyride" in Arvada with his horse, Cricket.

Sgt. Jeff Monzingo says the citation was the first he'd seen in 15 years of working in law enforcement.

Police say deciding what to do with the horse was a "tricky call" because "you can tow a car" in typical drunk driving cases.

A stable owner eventually offered Drone and his horse a ride home.

Well, at least he wasn't on a car. Hopefully next time he'll just stay home.

Giraffe head stolen off of sign

Vandals have stolen a ten foot giraffe neck and head off of a billboard in Michigan.

Vandals apparently whacked the head and neck off the fake animal, which has stood for more than a decade on a platform behind a billboard overlooking westbound I-196.

The giraffe had become a sort of accidental landmark, serving no real purpose other than a sort of kitchy roadside curiosity unrelated to the billboard's advertising. That head loss definitely was not because of an advertisement change, and Grand Rapids Outdoor Advertising would like to have it back.

The giraffe's body remains standing. But there has been no sign of what may be a 10-foot-long portion of the hollow animal, even though such a thing would seem a feat to hide, authorities said.

The giraffe had been installed by the billboard's previous owner for a customer. There was no reason to take it down once the advertising changed, so the giraffe remained, said Randy Disselkoen, president of Grand Rapids Outdoor advertising.

He thinks those involved in the incident, which happened months ago, were kids pulling a potentially perilous prank.

Disselkoen was reluctant to discuss the incident for fear publicity about the theft might encourage further dangerous vandalism.

"Someone could get killed doing that if they're drinking or up there in the dark," he said. "We just don't want people up on our billboards because it's dangerous. They could fall or be electrocuted."

Hopefully someone finds the head and neck. Poor giraffe can't see now.