OUR LITIGIOUS SOCIETY
Just before the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, John M. Lyons Jr. filed a lawsuit in New Orleans against Mark Morice, who admits to commandeering Lyons’ 18-foot pleasure boat during the chaos after Katrina hit in order to rescue more than 200 people (according to his count), including a 93-year-old dialysis patient whose wife praised Morice in a New Orleans Times-Picayune story. Nonetheless, said Lyons, Morice, who voluntarily identified himself to Lyons for taking the boat, didn’t have permission to use it, and since it was ultimately lost and insurance covered less than half of its replacement, Lyons says Morice should pay him $12,000.
In August, zookeepers at Apenheul ape park in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, said they had arranged with counterparts at a park in Borneo to establish a live Internet video connection to provide companionship to their respective rare orangutans, treating the connection as sort of a visual dating site. An Apenheul spokeswoman suggested the apes might learn to push buttons to transfer food to each other, creating a mutual fondness that might lead, if transportation can be arranged, to mating.
BUT HE WAS HUNGRY!
Randy Bailey was on house arrest in St. Paul, Minn., with an ankle monitor that alerts police if he strays more than 150 feet (but also with a little-understood four-minute delay before notification). Hungry on Aug. 12, Bailey thought he could race to the Burger King, which was nearly a mile away, and get back in time. However, the drive-through line moved slowly, and an irate, impatient Bailey allegedly kicked in the restaurant’s window before he sped away. Employees got his license-plate number and alerted police, but since Bailey had made it back home in just under four minutes, he claimed to be house-bound and never to have left. But police soon figured it out and charged Bailey with felony destruction of property.
CUTTING EDGE SCIENCE
A Connecticut company (454 Life Sciences) and Germany’s Max Planck Institute have made recent breakthroughs in developing the genome of a Neanderthal man, which shows a 99 percent-plus similarity with that of humans, according to a July New York Times report. If they succeed, it might be possible to bring the species back to life by implanting the genes into a human egg, provided, of course, that some woman volunteers to give birth to a Neanderthal baby.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
Joshua Shores, 34, a Subway restaurant employee in North Platte, Neb., who was allegedly caught on surveillance video pocketing the $502 he was supposed to drop into the restaurant’s safe, tried to tell police and a judge in August not to worry, that he is not a thief but an undercover CIA operative and that the agency would reimburse the money. He had lost his CIA badge, he said, which is why he was working at the Subway, waiting for the agency to send him a new one.
DOCTORS ARE SMART
In July, India’s Medical Association began investigating three doctors who appeared on television to promote their amputation services specifically to beggars, whose income prospects grow with the more sympathy they engender. One doctor said he would remove a leg below the knee, leaving it fairly easy to fit a prosthetic, for about $200. MTW