April 09, 2004

A Compendium of Craziness

GAD. APPARENTLY THE WAXING MOON has been working its evil magic in force this past week, as I have never in my life seen as much complete madness on the news wires as I have this early morning.

I can assure you there is no way I can properly do justice to all of these happenings, as they are too weird and too numerous to fully document. However, I am going to give it my best shot. It's just ... well, in volume terms, I just haven't seen anything like this, all right?

Item. A London resident is betting everything he owns on one spin of a Las Vegas roulette wheel.

No, really. You read that right. Reuters reports that 32-year-old Ashley Revell -- that's not a woman, that's a man, baby -- is putting up approximately 75,000 GBP ($138,000) on just one spin of the wheel. This is his net worth after he liquidated all his assets; he will watch the spin in a rented tuxedo. As is fitting for such a suicidal move, a camera crew is shadowing Mr Revell in the weeks prior to and after his wager.

Now, those of you who have played roulette may wonder how exactly Mr Revell intends to wager his cash. He is not, like the young Romanian in the old movie, putting it all on 22. No. Instead, he is limiting himself to a wager between rouge et noir. But do not think the man's chutzpah is somehow limited by this hedge -- examine the following copy:

Revell, recently a professional gambler, said he decided to take a big plunge while he was still young and raised the stakes as high as possible, including selling his clothes.

"I like to do things properly," he said.

He had not decided yet whether to place his money or red or black on Sunday afternoon.

"I don't know, man," he said. "One of them is going to be the right thing to say and one is going to be the wrong thing."

While I certainly wish Mr Revell the best of luck, students of his diabolical art know his odds are not as high as he might hope in this matter. Besides, given the amazing laws of irony that govern wagers of chance, I think the end result will mirror Mr Revell's existence more than he might like.

Namely, when the ball drops, it will land not on red or black -- but on Zero.

Item. Speaking of mad Britons, note the sad case of one Mr Colin Sadd. The unfortunately-named Mr Sadd faces six years in the boot after being convicted again for stealing cars ... and then cleaning them to amazing effect. He has 155 prior convictions for doing the same thing, the poor man.

While I feel very sorry for Mr Sadd, I feel especially sorry for the long-suffering Mrs Sadd, who has put up with this for years. I firmly hope that she is made a candidate for sainthood:

Sadd's modus operandi is to dress up in a suit, go to an auto dealer and ask for a test drive. The car never returns, but is abandoned after being spotlessly cleaned.

"He looked after the cars he stole better than me," said his wife, Mary, who added that Sadd has never owned a car.

Item. Speaking of sainthood, I also hope that Mrs Michelle Duggar of Springdale, Ark., is nominated for a similar honor; if Protestants can indeed become saints under Church law.

Mrs Duggar, you should know, is 37 years of age. She has borne FOURTEEN children and is expecting a fifteenth with her husband -- wait for it -- former state Rep. Jim Bob Duggar. As if this wasn't interesting enough, look at this part of the AP story:

The offspring include two sets of twins, and the parents have stuck to the letter "J" when it comes picking names. There is Joshua, 16; Jana and John-David, 14; Jill, 12; Jessa, 11; Jinger, 10; Joseph, 9; Josiah, 7; Joy-Anna, 6; Jeremiah and Jedidiah, 5; Jason, 3; James, 2 and Justin, 1.

The new baby is due in two months and is most likely a boy. They plan to name him Jackson.

I almost hate to say it, but ... Jeeeeeee-sus!

Fourteen kids! No wonder Arkansas gave her an award. They ought to have given her a second for the mere fact she and her husband have raised them in a house with just two bathrooms.

Item. Clever streetwalkers in Lithuania have figured out that Western soldiers generally have more cash in their pockets than those from the former Soviet Union. As such, they are charging different rates based on the nationality of their customers. NATO troops pay thrice the price for action.

That's not the real story here, of course. The real story is the reaction of the police general in charge of the district:

He said that the sex workers were hiking their rates for the Western troops, who come from Belgium and Norway.

"Prostitutes take $35 an hour from Lithuanian citizens, while NATO troops are asked to pay $125 an hour," he said, calling it a clear case of discrimination.

Item. A 2-year-old in Louisiana has mastered all the skills needed to run a Chinese restaurant, The Daily Iberian has reported.

Gordon Tan can run the cash register, take customers' order tickets, correctly count out change, and swipe debit or credit cards accordingly. He keeps track of customers entering the Formosa Gardens restaurant and knows where to seat them.

It's impressive and touching, and very very cool. I do have one question, though: will young Gordon be able to figure out how to deal with the almost certain regulatory crackdown that will come following the story? Now, that would be really impressive.

Item. A Connecticut man has demanded compensation for a coat he says an "I Voted Today" sticker ruined. Stamford resident Robert Bonoff wants the city to buy him a new $106 suede jacket -- plus sales tax.

My question: are Mr Bonoff's neighbors snickering over the fact he paid just $106 for what seems to be a sport jacket? After all, it is Stamford. But what I really want to know is this: where did he manage to find a jacket for just $106?

Item. Eyeball jewelry.

Now, here's the truth -- that's just wrong.

Item. Finally, I must note this particularly disturbing article out of Germany, which reveals that a Croatian woman phoned in a bomb threat to Duesseldorf Airport so that -- wait for it -- she could get out of a vacation with her boyfriend.

She's damned lucky she didn't do this in the United States -- that type of stunt here will get you up to twenty years in prison. However, as she is in the heart of old Europe, she was dealt with leniently. Heck, the Germans let that real al-Qaeda terrorist out of prison recently, so why not give the fake ones a pass?

The woman was given a suspended sentence after admitting in court that she called authorities and, in a hoax, made an al Qaeda bomb threat because her parents disapproved of her boyfriend.

"I didn't know how I would be able to tell my parents about a holiday with him and I couldn't really say to him 'Listen, my parents wouldn't approve'," the woman, 28, identified only as Marina B., told the Duesseldorf state court Wednesday.

Yes, you bloody well could have.

I don't know; maybe it's just me; but isn't it common courtesy to be upfront and honest about things in a relationship? Things like, say, using his cell phone to call in the threat -- an act, it should be noted, which led to his arrest upon the couple's return?

But ah well. Anyway, that's it for now. See you in a bit and hope everyone is having a good Friday.

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Posted by Benjamin Kepple at April 9, 2004 02:51 AM | TrackBack

Apparently the roulette guy won...

Posted by: Geoff Brown at April 12, 2004 09:17 AM


Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at April 12, 2004 10:14 PM

That what they were reporting on the Fox 2 Morning News in Detroit Monday Morning.

Posted by: Geoff Brown at April 14, 2004 08:49 AM