By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
*Least competent magician: According to an Australian Broadcasting Commission report in June, Luke Dow was recuperating in a hospital in Mount Isa, Australia, and was considering a lawsuit against an unnamed magician as a result of a recent performance. Dow said he had volunteered from the audience to assist in two stunts. First, the magician was supposed to snatch a piece of paper out of Dow's hand with a whip, but he missed, snapping Dow hard in the head. Dow nonetheless decided to do the second stunt, in which he would hold a balloon in his hand while the magician shot at it with his back turned, looking at a mirror. Dow was shot in the hand.
Doesn't Anyone Drive Sober Anymore?
*In May, in Colonial Beach, Virginia, Michael L. Long, age 46, was charged with DUI as he pulled up to Colonial Beach High School in a limo to pick up his passengers: students who had procured his services for the evening as a graduation-night designated driver. Two weeks later, in Minneapolis, Curtis Clarin, age 56, was charged with DUI and failure to take a Breathalyzer test; for the past 15 years, Clarin has been employed by the Minneapolis Police Department to testify in jury trials about how Breathalyzers work.
News from the Disrespect Community
*In May, professor John H. Lammers was fired by the University of Central Arkansas for making a snorting noise as he passed administrators with whom he had been feuding. In April, Li Sanhua was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Hubei province for shooting a hole in the Chinese flag. And in February, Jermaine Brown and his cousin Jonas Brown, both 21, were sentenced in Durham, North Carolina, to six months in jail for riddling a man's car with bullets because, said the prosecutor, he "looked at them funny."
Mixed News About Smoking
*In a study released in July by the London Institute of Psychiatry, a researcher concluded that, in the 13 years of once-a-year nonsmoking workdays in England, the accident rate on those days always went up. On the other hand, the preliminary findings in July of a Boston University medical school study were that smoking could reduce the size of a man's erection.
Government in Action
*Purdy, Montana, banker Glen Garrett, age 66, said in March that he has spent about $1 million in legal fees in six years to fight federal regulators who fined him $25,000 for doing business as his father had taught him: by handshake rather than with paperwork. In one paperless deal, Garrett hired himself to construct a bank building, much to the dismay of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, because there were no competitive bids. (An independent appraiser later said Garrett charged about $300,000 less than market value.)
Least Competent Criminal
*Karl Ray Johnson, age 23, was charged with disorderly conduct at a department store in Vallejo, California, in June. He fell from a crawlspace just above dressing rooms in which women were trying on swimsuits.
-- By Chuck Shepherd