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Posts Tagged ‘Miscellaneous’

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA — The North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that flipping off a law enforcement officer is not sufficient grounds for the officer to make a traffic stop or file criminal charges.

The decision overturned a lower court ruling regarding the 2017 incident of a Stanly County man who drove past a state trooper helping a stranded motorist and gave the officer the finger. The trooper pursued and stopped the man and cited him for disorderly conduct.

Lawyers for the state claimed the trooper was justified, but the Supreme Court said the evidence was “insufficient to conclude defendant’s conduct was likely to cause a breach of the peace.”

The North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief in the case which stated that raising the middle finger is “protected speech.” An ACLU attorney called the incident “a textbook example of how public officials criminalize dissent and criticism.”

Middle finger

PALM COAST, FLORIDA — When sheriff’s deputies arrived at a house believed to contain drugs and drug paraphernalia, they found a welcome mat that read “Come back with a warrant.”

So we did,” said Sheriff Rick Staly.

Deputies obtained a warrant from the court and returned to the house. Inside, they confiscated a large amount of the opioid fentanyl, a supply of syringes, and other drug-related items.

Staly said three adults and one child were inside the house. Charges are expected to be filed against the adults. The Florida Department of Children and Families was contacted regarding disposition of the child.

Warrant

LUND, SWEDEN — the City of Lund spread more than a ton of chicken manure in a local park to discourage people from gathering there to celebrate an upcoming festival.

The manure was spread in Lundagård Park just before the festival of Walpurgis Night, a European festival in which revelers celebrate the end of winter with bonfires and dancing. Officials said the city acted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gustav Lundblad, chairman of Lund’s environmental committee, said spreading the manure served two purposes: it fertilized the park, and it kept people from celebrating there.

Lundblad said he regretted that an unpleasant odor drifted to other parts of the city, but he was pleased that the manure served its purpose.

Chicken manure

 

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The Questions…

1. Which two planets in our solar system have no moons?

2. What is the capital of Greenland?

3. Who is the all-time best-selling author of fiction?

4. Which state has the smallest population?

5. What is a wobbegong?

The Answers…

1. Mercury and Venus.

2. The capital is Nuuk, pronounced nuke. It is the world’s northern-most capital. It has 18,000 residents, which is about one-third of Greenland’s total population.

3. Agatha Christie. Over two billion of her mystery novels have been sold worldwide.

4. Wyoming. It is the 10th largest in area, with a population of only about 578,000. 31 U.S. cities are bigger than that.

5. A wobbegong, aka “carpet shark,” is a type of bottom-dwelling shark found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are well-camouflaged ambush predators.

The word wobbegong means “shaggy beard” in the language of the aboriginal people of Australia. The mouth of a wobbegong is fringed with small sensory lobes that are, in fact, sort of beard-looking.

Mercury, Venus

Wobbegong

 

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I teach

Unfriend

Honk

Buckle up

 

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Random observations / recollections / stories…

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Close Inspection

Recently, my son Dustin borrowed my utility trailer to haul some things to the county dump. A few hours later, he returned it to its customary spot outside my garage.

The next morning, when my dog Jake and I got home from our daily walk, Jake got of the car, paused, sniffed the air, made a detour over to the trailer, and began checking it out.

He systematically sniffed the side rails, the tires, and the tongue. I let him take his time. After several minutes of close inspection, he was satisfied and trotted to the back door.

We went inside, Jake got his customary treat, and I texted Dustin to tell him about Jake’s intense interest in the trailer.

It went on an adventure and had a story to tell,” Dustin replied.

Well said.

Jake horizontal

Keeping the Story Alive

In the early 1950s, we Smiths lived in Falls Church, Virginia. One summer, when I was about 10 and my brother Lee was four-ish, our Uncle John from Brooklyn came for a visit.

We were all in the living room chatting, and John asked Lee a question, something innocuous. Lee answered, then laughed heartily and added, “You silly froop!”

Baffled, the rest of the family laughed politely, and the conversation moved on.

Years later, I brought up the incident with Lee and asked him to define froop.

Lee had no recollection of the event. The word froop didn’t ring a bell.

So I asked Mom about it. She remembered the exchange, but had no idea what Lee meant by a froop.

Nowadays, the word froop has several meanings. It can be, for example, a combined form of fruit loop, a froop being, like, an airhead. It’s also a brand of apple-flavored yogurt.

But even if the word dates back to the 1950s, Lee probably was too young to have known the term. Most likely, the word just popped into his head.

Because Lee doesn’t remember the incident, I am the only person on earth who does. This post is my effort to keep the story alive.

P.S. I call Jake a silly froop all the time.

Froop

We Regret the Error

I love this story.

In October 2007, the Los Angeles Times published the obituary of Nolan A. Herndon, 88, a South Carolinian who had been an Army Air Forces navigator during World War II. Herndon participated in the bombing of Japan by “Dolittle’s Raiders” four months after the Pearl Harbor attack.

After the war, Herndon raised cattle and later went into the wholesale grocery business. The lengthy obituary gave details about his war experiences and was mostly accurate.

Mostly.

The day after the obituary was published, this correction appeared in the Times:

The obituary of Nolan A. Herndon in Monday’s California section gave his nickname as “Sue.” In fact, he was known only as Nolan A. Herndon.

In addition, his sons were listed as Nolan A. “Sue” Herndon, Jr. and James M. “Debbie” Herndon. Neither son goes by those nicknames; Sue and Debbie are the names of their wives.

I wonder if a copywriter got fired.

Herndon N

Nolan Herndon, not Sue Herndon.

 

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More “Useless Facts for Inquiring Minds.”

The “#” symbol aka hashtag, pound sign, crosshatch, number sign officially is called an octothorpe. The word probably was invented in the late 1960s at Bell Labs when they added the symbol to telephone keypads and needed a word to describe it. Note: an octothorpe has eight protruding lines, and octo means eight.

The 2019-20 brush fires in Australia burned an area of about 63,000 square miles, roughly the size of Florida. Smoke from the fires reached Argentina, which is 6,000 miles away.

When the Titanic sank in 1912, 12 dogs were aboard. Two Pomeranians and a Pekingese survived in lifeboats, but the other nine dogs were lost.

The Sargasso Sea, a region of the eastern Atlantic Ocean, is the only body of water in the world with no land boundaries. It is bordered by four ocean currents: the Gulf Stream, the Canary Current, the North Atlantic Current, and the North Atlantic Equatorial Current.

The Sargasso is named for its abundance of sargassum, a rich brown seaweed that is important to marine life. The Sargasso Sea is known for its exceptionally clear water and deep blue color.

Sargasso

The population of New Delhi, the capitol of India, is 28.5 million. The city’s air is so polluted that breathing it is the equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. In 2018, of the 10 cities in the world with the worst air pollution, nine were in India.

In the periodic table of the elements, the symbol for silver is Ag, which comes from argentum, the Latin word for silver.

Right now, Greenland’s ice sheet is melting seven times faster than in the 1990s.

The blue whale is believed to be the largest animal that ever lived. An adult is about 100 feet long and weighs almost 200 tons. Its tongue weighs as much as an elephant.

Blue whale

The nuclear meltdown in 2011 at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan means the area will be lethal and mostly unusable for a few lifetimes. Meanwhile, the resourceful Japanese plan to build wind farms and solar arrays there.

70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, and 97 percent of that water is seawater. Of the paltry three percent that is fresh water, 69 percent of that is locked up in glaciers and ice caps.

● “Plyboo” is a brand of plywood made of bamboo.

Pringles potato “crisps” and the Pringles container were designed and patented in the 1960s by organic chemist Fredric Baur. He had been hired by Proctor & Gamble to develop a new kind of potato chip because of consumer complaints about bagged chips being broken, stale, and greasy.

Baur died in 2008. As stipulated in his will, he was cremated, and a portion of his ashes was interred in a Pringles can.

Pringles

 

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Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see, the world hath more fools in it than ever.

Charles Lamb

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As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

H. L. Mencken

###

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Aristotle

###

Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.

John Galsworthy

Lamb-C

Lamb

Galsworthy-J

Galsworthy

 

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MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A Manchester man faces felony charges after he chased one of his neighbors with a sword.

Police said the victim knocked on the assailant’s door to complain about loud music. The assailant became enraged and produced a 30-inch sword. He chased the neighbor down the hall and into the street, brandishing the sword in a threatening manner.

The neighbor escaped without injury. Manchester police filed charges of criminal threatening.

Sword-wielder

BUNNELL, FLORIDA — A Florida man has been arrested and jailed twice in one week for impersonating a law enforcement officer.

The 60-year-old man was first arrested after he used a fake law enforcement badge to avoid paying a $2 highway toll. Under state law, police officers are exempt from the tolls. The man was charged with impersonating an officer, jailed, and released on bond.

Days later, he flashed the fake badge a second time at another toll station. When the attendant produced a newspaper clipping about the first arrest, the man paid the toll, but was arrested for the attempt.

The second arrest earned him another charge of impersonating an officer, plus felony violation of pre-trial release. He was jailed without bond.

Toll

LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO — A 48-year-old woman faces multiple charges after she stole a car and claimed to be the pop singer Beyoncé Knowles.

Police said an officer saw her driving a vehicle matching the description of a recently-stolen car. He ordered her to pull over, but she drove away. The officer followed and confronted her when she stopped in front of her residence.

The woman told the officer she was Beyoncé Knowles. She said she noticed the keys were in the vehicle, and she decided to take it for a joy ride. She told the officer she didn’t stop when he turned on his emergency lights because she “didn’t feel like it.”

She was charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, concealing identity, and resisting or obstructing an arrest.

Beyonce

 

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The Questions…

1. What is an anemometer?

2. In ancient Rome, what color signified that you were of high status?

3. What was the “Notre Dame Shift“?

4. What dice game from the 1950s was invented on a yacht as a game to be played on a yacht?

5. What is the world’s longest international border?

The Answers…

1. A device, dating back to the 1400s, that measures wind speed and direction. The term comes from the Greek word anemos, which means wind.

2. Purple. In those days, purple dye was made from snails, which was an expensive process, so wearing purple indicated you were a big shot.

3. It was a football strategy used in the 1920s by Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne in which all four backs went in motion prior to the snap. The opposing teams were bamboozled so completely that the Shift was banned from college football — a victim of its own success.

4. Yahtzee, of course. The game was dreamed up by a wealthy Canadian couple as a way to entertain friends aboard their yacht.

5. The border between the U.S. and Canada, which is 5,525 miles long.

Anemometer

Border

 

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Special “I’m Still Offended That This Fool Was Elected President” Edition

Fuhrer

8645

Changing

Mensch

Angel loses

Free Melania

One in three

Fired

Demagogues

Supercallous

Great again

Never trust

 

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More “Useless Facts for Inquiring Minds.”

In the 1970s, Sweden sold 1,000 Volvo automobiles to North Korea for 200 million krona. Sweden delivered the cars, but North Korea didn’t pay up. Since then, twice a year, Sweden has sent Pyongyang a bill for the money. In today’s U.S. dollars, the tab is about $22 million.

Boxing became an Olympic sport at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis. A total of 18 boxers competed. All 18 were from America, so we won all the medals.

The verb abscond means to depart quickly and secretly. The verb squattle means to duck into hiding. The word perambulate means to wander about. With its usual panache, the English language combined those three words into absquatulate, which means to leave abruptly in order to save yourself. Think of an overthrown dictator fleeing to a friendly country.

Absquatulate originated in the 1830s as part of a whimsical fad of making up playful words that sound impressive and vaguely Latin. Discombobulate, which means to totally confuse someone, also came from that era.

The crater formed by the impact of a meteorite is called an astrobleme.

Astrobleme

Butterflies have taste receptors on their feet, which means they can land on a plant and check it out for nectar at the same time.

If you were an astronaut in space and you cried, the tears would not fall because there is no gravity. Instead, the fluid simply would pool up on your eyeballs.

A pizzly is a cross between a polar bear and a grizzly bear. The hybrid also is called (groan) a grolar bear.

The smallest known mammal in the world is the bumblebee bat, a native of Thailand and Myanmar. Adult bats are a little over an inch long and weigh half an ounce.

Bumblebee bat

The Empire State Building has its own ZIP code. 10118.

The pineapple plant originated in South America. We associate it with Hawaii because of the success of the Dole Pineapple Plantation on Oahu. The plantation opened in 1901 and grew to become the world’s largest producer of fruits and vegetables.

The popular French-Canadian dish poutine consists of French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy.

Vanilla ice cream is made with milk and cream, plus the manufacturers’ chemicals of choice. French vanilla ice cream also includes egg yolks, which make the product creamier and add a yellowish hue.

French vanilla

 

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