Wired.com’s most recent “Absurd Creature” feature shows a toad devouring a larva of a much-smaller beetle, but the “absurdity” is that the larva is in charge and that the toad will soon be beetle food. The larva’s Darwinian advantage is that, inside the toad, it bites the hapless “predator” with its hooked jaws and then secretes enzymes to begin decomposing the toad’s tissue (making it edible)–and provoking it to vomit the still-alive larva.
GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS IN LAZINESS
An 80-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman were ticketed in separate incidents in Canada the week of Jan. 18 when police spotted them driving cars completely caked in snow except for a small portion of the windshield. The man, from Brussels, Ontario, was driving a car resembling a “pile of snow on the road.” The Halifax, Nova Scotia, woman’s car was, a police statement said, “a snowbank with four wheels.”
Fed up with the “pretense” of the art world, performer (and radio personality) Lisa Levy of Brooklyn, New York, sat on a toilet, naked and motionless, at the Christopher Stout Gallery in January to protest artists’ “BS” by presenting herself in the “humblest” way she could imagine. Visitors were invited to sit on a facing toilet (clothed or not) and interact with her in any way except for touching. Levy told the Bushwick Daily website that too much “ego,” “like a drug,” “distorts your reality.”
In January, the U.S. Department of Justice’s inspector general recommended closing down a program of the department’s Drug Enforcement Administration that paid employees of other federal agencies (Amtrak and the beloved Transportation Security Administration) for tips on suspicious passengers. (The program apparently ignored that federal employees have such a duty even without a bounty.) DEA was apparently interested in passengers traveling with large amounts of cash–which DEA could potentially seize if it suspected the money came from illegal activity (and also, of course, then keep the money under federal forfeiture law). According to the inspector general, the tipping TSA agent was to be rewarded with a cut of any forfeited money.
HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT
Chiropractor William DeAngelo of Stratford, Connecticut, was charged with assault in January after an employee complained that she was ordered to lie down on a table and let DeAngelo apply electrical shocks to her back–as punishment for being the office gossiper, spreading rumors about colleagues. DeAngelo said he was reacting to complaints from patients and staff, but seemed to suggest in a statement to police that he was only “re-educating” the woman on how to use the electrical stimulator in the office’s practice (though she felt the need to report to a hospital afterward).
THE CONTINUING CRISIS
Britain’s North Yorkshire Police successfully applied to a judge in January for a “sexual risk order” against a man whose name was not disclosed publicly and whose alleged behavior was not revealed. Whoever he is and whatever he did, he is forbidden to enter into any sexual situation with anyone without providing at least 24 hours’ notice to the police–nor is he allowed to look at or possess any sexually oriented materials. According to the York Press, the order is temporary until May 19, at which time the magistrates may extend it.
Christopher Lemek Jr. was arrested in Palmer, Massachusetts, in January and charged in a New Year’s Eve hit-and-run accident that took a pedestrian’s life. Lemek emerged as a suspect a few days after the collision when police, visiting his home, noticed freshly disturbed earth in his backyard. Eventually Lemek confessed to literally burying the evidence–using a construction vehicle to crush his truck and an excavator to dig up his backyard and drop the truck into it.
NO NEED FOR A PRE-NUP
The 20-year New York marriage of Gabriel Villa, now 90, and Cristina Carta Villa, now 59, apparently had its happy moments, but as Cristina found out when things went bad recently, Gabriel had attempted to protect himself shortly after the wedding–by obtaining a Dominican Republic divorce and keeping it secret. Cristina found out only when she realized in a property accounting that her name was not on the deed to their Manhattan apartment. (She is challenging that divorce as improper even under Dominican law.)
Several Connecticut state troopers involved in a DUI checkpoint in September were apparently caught on video deliberating whether to make up charges against a (perhaps obnoxious) checkpoint monitor. Veteran protester Michael Picard, 27, posted the videos on his YouTube page in January, showing troopers (illegally) confiscating Picard’s camera and suggesting among themselves various charges they could write up (at least some not warranted by evidence) to, as one trooper was heard imploring, “cover our asses.” (The troopers returned the camera after deliberating, but seemed unaware that it had been running during the entire incident.) State police internal affairs officers are investigating.