FROM CUBA, WITH LOVE
One of the remaining 116 Guantanamo Bay prisoners (a man suspected of having been close to Osama bin Laden) has a dating profile on Match.com captioned “detained but ready to mingle,” the man’s lawyer Carlos Warner told Al Jazeera America in September. Muhammad Rahim al-Afghani has relentlessly proclaimed his innocence, and Warner released a series of charming letters from his client intended to humanize him. Al-Afghani commented on Lebron James, Caitlyn Jenner, the Ashley Madison website and, for some reason, South Dakota, but with the recent publicity, Match.com appears to have suspended the account.
THE CONTINUING CRISIS
“Let me get this straight,” wrote an incredulous commenter in September. “[T]hose who oversee” the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan, have the park “populated with snakes that can bite and inflict serious wounds.” The remark was in response to a visitor’s having been bitten by one of at least 27 rattlesnakes loose (by design) on the grounds. (The Eastern Massasauga rattler is protected by state law.) On the other hand, the park has posted many snake warning signs, and the woman who was bitten had removed her shoes to walk in the lush grass.
ALUMINUM FOIL FOREVER
City officials in Tarpon Springs, Florida, scrambled in May to find an ordinance that artist Piotr Janowski might have violated when he covered two palm trees, and then three sides of his rented home, in heavy-duty aluminum foil, to the consternation of neighbors. Janowski is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his work has been shown in that city’s Polish Museum of America. And National Forest Service officials announced success in fire retardation in August by protectively sealing a remote structure near an Idaho wildfire in multi-ply foil. And then there is Arthur Brown, 78, also “successful” in having kept his house in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, free of “aliens” by sealing it in foil (although neighbors griped in September about falling property values).
LATEST SELF-DECLARED RIGHT
Officials in Carroll County, Maryland, finally released a woman in August after she had been detained for 67 days–just for declining to give her name to a traffic patrolman (who had stopped her for a broken taillight). In her idiosyncratic understanding of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, to “not be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against (herself)” means keeping her identity hidden from police. Eventually, sheriff’s deputies captured her fingerprints, and since they matched no outstanding warrants, she was released.
An international property rental service recently found a seven-bedroom castle on 200 acres in Ringuette, France, for the equivalent of $2,925 a month–which San Francisco’s KNTV immediately contrasted with the listing of a 401-square-foot apartment in the city’s Lower Haight district, offered at $3,000 per month. Another French castle (six bedrooms, a pool, three-acre garden, “several lawns”) rents for the equivalent of $4,940–about what a three-bedroom on Collins Street in San Francisco goes for.
Marie Holmes tearfully disclosed in March how the $88 million Powerball lump sum she had won would allow her to finish college and help her four kids (one with cerebral palsy). Right away, though, her boyfriend, Lamar “Hot Sauce” McDow, was charged with drug trafficking and needed $3 million bail, which she took care of. Then, in August, in Brunswick County, North Carolina, “Hot Sauce” was arrested again, for selling heroin, and reporters surmised that Holmes must have been the one who posted that $6 million bail. Holmes addressed her critics on Facebook: “What Y’all need to be worried about is Y’all money…”