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shopping_girl.gif Oh no you didn’t K-Mart. You didn’t just charge Mary Bach tax on that toilet paper. Everybody knows that, unlike other paper goods, toilet paper is not taxed in Pennsylvania. No, Ms. Bach is not making a federal case out it – just a teeny, tiny $100 state court case. Now maybe you think a lawsuit over 14 cents is trivial. Perhaps you didn’t know that Ms. Bach went back to the store just to see if they corrected the problem. They didn’t. So she’s owed 28 cents.

Why sue for $100? Because that’s the amount allowed under Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. And if you think I’m ridiculing Ms. Bach, you’re wrong. I salute her. If nobody watches these little things, companies will get away with them. And if you multiply the little things by the number of purchases, they’re not little things any more. To read about this and other dragons Ms. Bach has slayed in the past (and there have been a few) click here.

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If you blamed your mom for severing your pinky, would you sue her? A contractor in New Jersey did. As reported at NorthJersey.com:

In 2006, John P. Garrity was installing hardwood floors for his mother, Nancy, when the accident occurred, according to court papers. While working with a miter saw in her garage, Nancy came up behind John and tapped him on his right shoulder. In depositions, John Garrity said that when he quickly turned around, his finger slipped into the saw’s path and severed his pinky.

Yikes. The case went to trial. The verdict? $95,500 for Mr. Garrity, plus $18,500 for medical expenses. The actual award was double that, but the jury found that Mr. Garrity was 50% responsible.

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Sort of. A 17-year-old Washington student stood before his class and presented his essay on why marijuana should be legalized. And? Oh no you didn’t… Per The News Tribune:

At the end of his speech … [he] pulled out a joint, lit it and smoked away. Then he ate the remains.

Yes! Victory! He ate it, so you can’t … what’s that?

For that he got a quick escort to the school office and then a ride to Remann Hall juvenile jail.

The boy … was arrested on suspicion of unlawful drug possession, a misdemeanor.

In case you were wondering, he has a 3.7 GPA.

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I guess it depends on what you mean by “helping.” If you mean helping the possible jumper – who had been standing on the bridge for hours – make up his mind, then yes, Lai Jiansheng provided a helping hand to Chen Fuchao. Lai approached Chen and shook his hand, then pushed him off the bridge! Luckily for Chen, as reported by The China Post,

[he] fell 26 feet (8 meters) onto a partially inflated emergency air cushion laid out by authorities and survived, suffering spine and elbow injuries, the official Xinhua News Agency said Saturday.

Really? Only 26 feet? Why was Chen on the bridge?

According to Xinhua, Chen wanted to kill himself because he had accrued 2 million yuan (US$290,000) in debt from a failed construction project.

Okay, but the burning question is, why did Lai push him?

… Lai Jiansheng had been fed up with what he called Chen’s “selfish activity,” Xinhua said. Traffic around the Haizhu bridge in the city of Guangzhou had been backed up for five hours and police had cordoned off the area.

“I pushed him off because jumpers like Chen are very selfish. Their action violates a lot of public interest,” Lai was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “They do not really dare to kill themselves. Instead, they just want to raise the relevant government authorities’ attention to their appeals.”

Photos in the Beijing Morning Post showed Lai, shoeless and in a T-shirt, saluting after Chen fell.

Cold. But, here’s one more thing about Lai: it has been reported that “he had been on medication for “a mental illness” for decades and had been on his way to a hospital for his pills.” So what happened to Lai?

A police officer who answered the telephone Saturday at a station close to the bridge confirmed the incident and said it was under investigation. He refused to give any other details and hung up.

You can read more here.

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It should go without saying that every kid ought to hear “the talk” from his parents. But a 42-year-old British dad apparently wanted to go the extra mile for his 14-year-old son – by hooking him up (sorry) with a prostitute! Alas, the woman dad approached was … a cop! And, of course, now dad is ashamed.

The father’s barrister Matthew Smith said: “There is a thorough sense of shame the defendant feels.

Said the Judge, per the BBC News:

What you were doing that night was to expose your 14-year-old son to a prostitute because you didn’t know she was a police officer.

You have a duty of care to your son and that is to look after his moral welfare not, as you might think, to break him into the ways of sex through a prostitute.

So dad pleaded guilty to attempting to solicit a woman to have sex with a minor. Jail time?

Judge Jonathan Teare said he was not sending the father to prison because of his previous excellent character and that he believed he did not mean any harm to his son.

Mr. Smith added that the boy would be allowed to continue to live with his father.

But …

[dad] will be placed on the sex offenders register for five years.

Go figure. A man of “previous excellent character” who retains custody of his son is put on the sex offenders registry? Huh? Here’s the source.

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Here’s a very good example, per WTHR.com:

It was a day that kept getting worse for a Terre Haute man who put his car in a ditch and then tried to get it out with a “borrowed” tractor.

When officers arrived, they discovered a large farm tractor and car in a ditch, apparently after falling from the bridge. The driver of the tractor had fled the scene.

Yeah, no chance the police would figure out it was him, what with his car being in the ditch …

Troopers got a tip that the driver was hiding at a nearby farm house on Rio Grande Road. Officers went to the residence and took the driver into custody without incident.

Damn you tipster!

The driver was identified as Kevin Michael Whitesell, age 31, of Terre Haute, IN. Whitesell was taken to the Vigo County Jail. He faces charges of Driving While Intoxicated, Class A misdemeanor; and Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Crash, Class C misdemeanor. Additional charges may be filed.

The blow-by-blow:

Police say at around 5:00 am, Whitesell crashed his 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier on Bluejay Road just west of Eppert Road. He then walked to a farm house on Rio Grande Road, approximately two miles from the scene, and obtained a 1998 John Deere 9100 Series four-wheel driver tractor.

So after walking 2 miles, it still didn’t dawn on him that this was a bad idea.

Whitesell then drove back to his car on Bluejay, hooked the overturned car to the tractor and began dragging the car (on its top) eastbound on Bluejay.

As Whitesell attempted to make a right turn onto Eppert, he lost control and drove the tractor over the west side of the bridge, dragging the car with it. The tractor was owned by Plant Farms and the owner of the car was Whitesell. Police say Whitesell was an employee of Plant Farms, but he took the tractor without his employer knowing about it.

Damn you Eppert Road!

Damage to the bridge was estimated at $10,000 to $20,000 and the tractor was valued at $150,000.

Zoinks! Here’s the source, with multiple photographs of the scene.

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Warning: Do not read this right before, or after, eating, because it’s really, really gross. Okay, here it goes, per The Standard, “China’s Business Newspaper”

A domestic helper has appeared in court accused of trying to injure her employer by mixing her menstrual blood in a pot of vegetables she was cooking.

I warned you …

In some Southeast Asian cultures menstrual blood is thought to have special magical powers.

Prosecutor Vincent Lee gave a statement to the court in which the Indonesian maid admitted under caution to mixing the blood with the vegetables in the belief that it would make her employer, surnamed Mok, “more amicable and less picky.”

Perhaps this is TMI, but here it is:

Mok [the employer] peered through the kitchen door and saw the helper acting suspiciously. She entered the kitchen and found the accused throwing something into the trash bin.

When Mok checked, she allegedly found blood clot-like substances mixed with the vegetables and water in the cooking pan.

She later discovered a used sanitary napkin in the bin and called the police.

I won’t be eating for a few days. And just in case your appetite is not totally gone, The Standard also reports that:

Last year, a court in Saudi Arabia sentenced two Asian domestic helpers to four months in prison and 250 lashes each for contaminating the tea of their employer with urine and menstrual blood.

And …

In December 2007, another Indonesian domestic helper in Hong Kong added urine to the drinking water of her employer and his family.

She believed it would make the family treat her better. It was discovered after the family noticed a difference in the taste of the water. The maid was jailed for three months on a charge of “administering poison or other destructive or noxious things with intent to injure.”

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A 1-year-old boy was waiting for a relative to pick him up at the police station in Schererville, Indiana because his mom was busted for drunk driving. So his dad drove to the station to get him, only he was drunk too, and was also busted for drunk driving. So his grandparents came to get him and … yup, they had been drinking too! But, per the AP, grandma, who had been driving, wasn’t legally drunk, “so officers escorted them home with the child.” On the drinking front anyway, hopefully the apple didn’t fall anywhere near the tree…

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potavatar50087_2.gif Dr. Alfredo Gonzalez, of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, learned this the hard way. While the doc was out, his burglar alarm went off. The police responded and, while searching for a burglar, instead found a $4,000 “BloomBox,” and seven marijuana plants. Doh! And guess where doctor Gonzales works? He directs a drug treatment facility! Word is, per court documents, that Dr. Gonzalez was tired of getting hosed, so he decided to cut out the grower and the dealer. Having been charged not just with possession, but with distribution and possession with intent to distribute, perhaps he now understands the reason for the mark-up. Those folks have a little more at risk than a guy caught with a little Mighty Mezz. You can read more here.

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It’s 4:30 a.m. in Lincoln, Nebraska, and this guy needed some cigarettes. He was probably drunk (from drinking Bud Light.) Why would I guess that he was drinking Bud Light? Well sir, as reported by the Lincoln Journal Star:

A man who robbed a north Lincoln Kwik Shop on Monday morning brought a disguise — he was wearing a Bud Light box on his head.

The man had a green rag wrapped around his hand, implying he had a weapon, when he entered the store at 4400 Cornhusker Highway around 4:30 a.m. He made off with nine packs of Newport cigarettes, valued at nearly $50, police Capt. Bob Kawamoto said.

A truly wacky – and at least for now unsolved – crime. Here’s the source.

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