November 01, 2007

Status Quo + Your Highway Dollars = Status Quo

There's this three-way stop just down the road from my house (Auburn @ Cook, for you locals) where one of the legs immediately transitions to a bridge over I-69. It is a major bottleneck at morning rush hour, with traffic backed up more than a quarter mile in both directions of Auburn Road, as people are trying to get to the junior high and high schools on Cook. It's a moderate bottleneck at afternoon rush hour, with dozens of cars lined up on Cook trying to turn either way onto Auburn.

Before: 2-lane bridge, 3-way stop with one lane in each direction.

Do: Destroy bridge, cutting off easy access to east Fort Wayne for thousands of people and gerhosing the traffic patterns of thousands more. Spend three months rebuilding the bridge higher. As an exclamation point, close the whole intersection for two weeks at the end to rebuild it, essentially making Auburn Road a mile-long cul-de-sac.

After: 2-lane bridge, 3-way stop with one lane in each direction.

Posted by Chris at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Roadgeekery

April 01, 2007

Fusion vs. Green Bay Blizzard, 3/31/07

The FreedomFusion were victorious in their debut, winning 36-28 over the defending-conference-champs-in-name-only Green Bay Blizzard.

Random thoughts:

  • QB Cody Hodges must work through his reads pretty fast - there were at least two times he seemed to surprise the receiver with the ball, like the receiver knew he was the third option and really wasn't expecting it (to their credit, I'm pretty sure all of those were caught).
  • Speaking of Hodges, he seemed pretty well dialed in considering that he's only been with the team since Monday. Imagine what another week of familiarity with his team might do.
  • One of the things you have to watch out for when a longtime star player becomes a coach is whether or not he can actually, you know, coach. 'Touchdown' Eddie Brown looks like he's well on his way, based on how the team looked in their debut (indeed, for most of the players, it was their first af2 game at all). I didn't see much of the confusion that you might expect from an expansion debut.
  • There was also one little bit of what I think was 'coachmanship' - the Fusion had the ball 4th and goal inside the Green Bay 10 with seconds left in the fourth quarter. They sent out the field goal team, but let the clock run out on the quarter. When the quarter break ended, they ran out the offense and caught Green Bay by surprise, making them burn a time out - one that might have proven crucial in the final minutes. Not only that, they got a touchdown on the play!

I should have some pictures up on Flickr tomorrow.


Posted by Chris at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

March 31, 2007

So That Means The Teams We Really Need To Worry About Are The Ones That Went 3-13 Last Year

Heading out to the Coliseum to watch the FreedomFusion opener. It's against Green Bay, who were the conference champions last year. Normally, that'd be a recipe for a grade-A pimpslapping - defending conference champ against expansion team - but since they have a new coach, and only five players return from that team, maybe the Fusion has a chance.


Posted by Chris at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

February 06, 2007

Two Bunk Beds, Catered Meals, Double Occupancy, Secure Location

Maybe Men's Health Was Right, Part II - drunk and stupid in Fort Wayne:

The Indiana State Police say their post is not a motel, but they will still leave the light on for you.

That hospitality may have been bad news for a Warsaw driver who police say wanted a room at the Fort Wayne post early Wednesday -- especially because police say he was driving a damaged Hummer and was intoxicated at the time.
Well, at least the guy wasn't actually from Fort Wayne. OTOH, maybe Fort Wayne just exudes such stupidity that it corrupts out-of-towners.
Dispatcher Jonathon Jacob, watching from the back door, saw a woman passenger crawl across the Hummer's center console to exit through the driver's-side door. He asked whether they needed assistance. The driver said they were going to the front door to get a room.
To be fair, there was a hotel right next door.

But why he drove past it to get to the cop shop is beyond me.

Posted by Chris at 09:27 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Local Stuff

January 30, 2007

What A Great Idea - You Can't Get A Ticket For Parking At An Expired Meter

I had occasion to be down at the county jail not too long ago, where I snapped this little bit of irony with my camera-ish phone-type thingy:

Yes, that's a metermaid truck. Yes, that's the sidewalk.

Posted by Chris at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Unclear On The Concept

January 05, 2007

That Kind Of Advertising We Don't Need

One of the issues of driving a vehicle with your company's name on it, particularly if you're a small business or one-man operation, is that if you hose somebody over in traffic, the negative association may make them less likely to buy from you.

"Tom Hoot Siding, Windows, and (whatever)," I'm looking at you.

Yeah, there's a website. No, I'm not going to link to it.

Posted by Chris at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Unclear On The Concept

December 06, 2006

Potential Career-Limiting Move Narrowly Averted

A friend of mine subscribes to email updates on news stories/sports/weather/et cetera from a local TV station. At the end of one of those emails a couple of weeks ago was what I can only call the most charming cut-n-paste-o I've seen in a long time. I've changed identifying details but the rest is verbatim:

Nice article [deleted]! I will say that I have been in the business since Lastname was [a young age], and I have never met a person that has as much class and honesty as Firstname. In this day and age it's difficult to find many people who are as dedicated to honing their craft and getting each story correct like Firstname does. He is also one of the most humble and down to earth people you will ever meet. In other words a gentleman in the true sense of the word!

Posted by Chris at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

October 10, 2006

Hockeypalooza 2006 In The Books

Yesterday was the last day for lunchtime roller hockey at the Plex, as they're about to put the turf down to make a second soccer field. The usual suspects showed up, and we skated for an extra hour this last time. I played pretty much the same way I always do - a few good plays, a lot more bad ones, but at least I ended the season trying to make a play instead of just watching the play happen somewhere else. If you're going to suck, the least you can do is suck at full throttle.

And as an extra bonus, I gave Chess a nice little souvenir to carry into the offseason.

I miss playing already.

Posted by Chris at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

August 23, 2006

And You Can't Back Up While In One, Either!

It's the beginning of the fall semester here at IPFW, all the new freshmen are clogging up my campus, and none of them knows how to drive in a roundabout. This should be mandatory reading for any incoming freshman.

One more time, people:

  • You cannot turn left into a roundabout.
  • You cannot turn left into a roundabout!

OK, that was three more times. Sorry.

I can't wait until the less motivated half of the freshman class quits.

Posted by Chris at 02:21 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Roadgeekery

July 02, 2006

Maybe We Really Are The Dumbest City In America

(title callback here) ... because we seem to have some pretty dumb outlying towns.

Later dusk catches some organizers off guard:

Fireworks organizers and spectators across northeast Indiana are realizing that the daylight-saving time switch is presenting a problem for traditional Fourth of July celebrations.

When asked when their local fireworks shows would occur, most local fireworks coordinators just said “dusk” and confessed to not knowing exactly when it would become dark with the clock change.

OK, guys, I've got your answer. It's pretty complicated, so stay with me here...


Maybe we shouldn't have adopted DST; we don't seem to be coping all that well.

Posted by Chris at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

June 07, 2006

The Suspect Was Seen Shortly Afterwards Trying To Pedal A Motorcycle He Stole

Just what we need - more stupidity in Fort Wayne. This guy needs to decide whether he's a con man or a purse-snatcher, because he apparently lacks the multitasking skills necessary to do both at once:

With her generosity, a Fort Wayne woman saved her wallet and money from a robber Sunday night.

Ammie Betchtold was walking to a grocery store on Bluffton Road on Sunday night when a man approached her and asked for money for gasoline, according to a police report.

Betchtold pulled her wallet out of her purse to give the man a dollar. At that point, the man swore at her, told her not to move and grabbed her purse. The man then got into his black minivan and drove away, leaving Betchtold standing in the parking lot, wallet in hand, according to the report.

She told police her money, credit card, bank cards and identification were all in her wallet, according to the report. The only things stolen were her house keys and paperwork.
So now the question is whether the robber will recognize that he now has the keys to the victim's house before she changes the locks. I'm betting on the victim.

Posted by Chris at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Unclear On The Concept

May 25, 2006

Not Quite Crashed, But With Two Engines Out And The Third On Fire It Doesn't Look Good

I forgot about the Freedom game last Saturday. Actually, it was kind of an 'active' forgetting, since their season is all but over after Saturday's loss to Evansville dropped them to 3-6. That's the second time in a row I've seen them lose a home game on the last play; maybe I'd better not go to any more home games.

Maybe 'all but over' is a bit much, given that they're only half a game behind three teams tied for the last two playoff spots, but the offense hasn't shown any real life for quite a while. With Dutcher gone (I had earlier said he was retired, but that's not correct) and Brian White not yet in game shape (read: fat), no opponent fears the long ball; with Rocky Harvey and Luther Stroder still hurt, no opponent fears the running game - although there may be signs of life there based on Ronnie McCrae's performance. The defense is still pretty good, but they're being asked to carry the team right now, and that's a tall order in indoor ball.

That said, I've still got some pictures from the game, shown after the break (click for full view).

Scott Russell wraps up Dale Jennings for a loss.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Scott Russell wraps up Dale Jennings for a loss.

Rachman Crable wraps up Aaron Leak for the Freedom's second sack of the game.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Rachman Crable wraps up Aaron Leak for the Freedom's second sack of the game.

Keith Recker stretches out for his second TD catch, a 10-yarder.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Keith Recker stretches out for his second TD catch, a 10-yarder. Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006

Andrae Brooks is just about to pick off this Aaron Leak pass.  He would return it to the 7-yard line. Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Andrae Brooks is just about to pick off this Aaron Leak pass. He would return it to the 7-yard line.

Rachman Crable, Alf Fertil (I think), and Bam Carter corral Aaron Leak for the Freedom's third sack of the game.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Rachman Crable, Alf Fertil (I think), and Bam Carter corral Aaron Leak for the Freedom's third sack of the game.

Ronnie McCrae's first touchdown, which he took into the line and bounced outside for 17 yards.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Ronnie McCrae's first touchdown, which he took into the line and bounced outside for 17 yards.

Ronnie McCrae's second touchdown, which would have been the game winner if not for Luzayadio's last-second FG.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Ronnie McCrae's second touchdown, which would have been the game winner if not for Luzayadio's last-second FG.


Posted by Chris at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

April 30, 2006

Not Buying Season Tickets Is Looking Like A Smarter Play Every Day

Last year, the Ohio Valley Greyhounds laid an egg after several years of dominating their level of indoor football. Might the Freedom be headed for the same fate this year - without even the titles OV could show for their time? They got ownzored by Lexington on Friday night, 65-32.

With three losses in a row, Fort Wayne is pretty much out of the division title hunt - now being three games and a tiebreaker behind Lexington - and will be hard pressed to make the playoffs at all, let alone get a home game. It's clear that without Jeremy Dutcher (retired), Bryan White (shoulder), and Rocky Harvey (ankle), Fort Wayne's offense is in trouble, and the defense can only hold up for so long if they're always on the field.

And I think the fans sense this, too. The home crowds aren't nearly as loud as they've been in years past, and although I think attendance per se is down only a little bit (as judged by my totally un-scientific "looks like we got about this many" scale), there were several critical junctures in the Sioux Falls game a couple of weeks ago where the PA announcer had to beg the crowd to get into the game. Contrast that from the Lexington home game two years ago, where the crowd confused the Horsemen into two delay of game penalties.

Nobody fears the Coliseum crowd right now. Nobody fears the Freedom offense right now. If Harvey and White don't come back soon, the season is over.

Posted by Chris at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

April 12, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To, Um, Somewhere Other Than The Embassy

I ended up going to the James Taylor concert at the Embassy last night by accident, which is interesting when you consider that I'm not really a fan of his. Of course, I have some observations:

  • He's pretty tall. I'd guess 6'2" or so. Of course, I was guessing from my seat in Row O of the balcony, so I was a mile-and-a-half away, and it's possible that the only point of comparison (his piano player) was an actual Little Person, but I don't think so.
  • He called this tour the One Man Band tour, which is interesting given that he had a piano player and used a videotaped choir to back a few songs, so the show mechanics were a lot different. He brought a laptop-driven slide show, and he'd show some pictures between songs and a tell a little story or a couple of jokes.
  • From these stories, for instance, I learned:
    • I'd always assumed that Sweet Baby James was a song written for and about him by his girlfriend/wife at the time, whoever it was. Turns out it was a song James wrote as a lullaby for his nephew, also named James.
    • He was working (recording, maybe? I dunno) in England when a friend recommended they blow off some steam on a Mediterranean island off Spain whose name I forget. While they were there he met a girl named Karen and they made a side trip to (I think) Ibiza, where they lost track of time and missed the last ferry back. Lacking money for a hotel on Ibiza, they slept at the ferry dock. James got a little homesick then thinking about his family back in North Carolina, and he said Carolina In My Mind basically dropped into his lap. Karen, of course, is the girl mentioned in the song. Incidentally, he never saw her again after that.
  • He had a laptop with him, and projected some pictures and video clips to punctuate his stories....
  • ...or provide a punch line to a joke. For instance, he said he never got a picture of Karen, so he consulted a police sketch artist to do a drawing of her which he showed at the concert. As you might expect, it looked like something you'd see on a Wanted poster, and he said he'd made a mistake because now he can't think of her as anything but a fugitive from justice.

So how was the show? Well, I'm probably the wrong guy to ask. Since I'm not familiar with any of his stuff beyond the obvious hits, I didn't really know how most of what he played 'should' sound (although I thought he started out a little weak voicewise but warmed up quickly). He certainly gave a full show, at 2 1/2 hours counting a 20-minute intermission. All in all, it was very entertaining and I enjoyed it. If I were a fan of his, I'd have enjoyed it a lot.


Posted by Chris at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

April 06, 2006

Look Whose Career Got Sledge-O-Matic-ized

Last Saturday, Rodney Carrington performed at the Embassy Theatre downtown (capacity 2,500). Guess who did his thing the same night across town at Snickers Comedy Club (capacity about 250)?



Posted by Chris at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

April 02, 2006

R.I.P. Indiana Stupid Time

I always maintained that there were six time zones in the continental US: Eastern Time, Central Time, Mountain Time, Pacific Time, Indiana Stupid Time, and Arizona Stupid Time, to reflect the fact that Indiana and Arizona use Eastern / Mountain Standard Time year round. As of 2:00 this morning, there are now five: Indiana Stupid Time has gone away, to be replaced by Eastern Daylight Time. Never again will I have to tell customers, friends, and family elsewhere in the country that our relative time difference varies according to what month it is. Oh happy day!

Of course, I'd gotten used to not having to change the 27 clocks in my house twice a year, so I was grousing a little about that today when I had to do it, but it's worth it to finally be able to tell my parents and in-laws in Michigan that we are on the same time as them forever and ever amen. Or at least until the Farm Bureau lobbyists regroup and change the General Assembly's mind again.

Posted by Chris at 09:13 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Local Stuff

March 27, 2006

I Knew That Wearing Depends Was A Good Idea

The show last Friday night was superb. My thoughts:

  • Greg Warren was good but not great. He did the 'Flute Man Greg' bit that's de rigueur for him, but I was hoping to hear the bit where he calls his friend Huey (if you're a fan, you know what I'm talking about). Best one-liner: "A lot of American men have fantasies where the woman dresses up in a French maid's outfit. I wonder if a lot of French men have fantasies where the woman dresses up in a Taco Bell uniform."
  • Roy Wood Jr. did a bit that absolutely nailed a radio conversation between a traffic cop and his dispatcher (by which I mean "rapid-fire copspeak with only about every third word intelligible," just like on Cops). Best joke, in the context of Kobe Bryant's $4M diamond apology to his wife: "If I caught my wife in bed with another man and saw four million dollars on the dresser, I'd tap in and let her take a break and have some Gatorade. I ain't gay, but for four million dollars, I could be 'confused' for a night."
  • Donnie Baker didn't emcee; he actually did a set. And yes, he wore a pair of Zubaz. Damn funny as only Donnie Baker can be, but he kept on bobbing his head as he walked around and it got distracting after a while. I think he was trying to strut, but it didn't come off quite right. Best one-liner: "I once rubbed one off in a litter box just to see if it would clump."
  • Mike Armstrong does the best 'Devil-in-my-head' voice I've ever heard. He had two jokes worth repeating (actually, he had more; I just can't remember the others):
    • "I got my mother-in-law a TV and a stereo for Christmas. Boy, was she mad when Rent-A-Center came by the next week to pick them up."
    • "Here's a game you can play: go to a Catholic church for Christmas Eve midnight mass. When the priest comes by sprinkling the holy water on everyone, when it hits you, go [in his Devil voice] "AUUUUUGHH! IT BURNS! IT BURNS!"
    In what is perhaps the acid test for how much I like a comedian, I'll be buying his CD.
  • Frank Caliendo. Damn, what a voice talent. He must have done fifteen different impersonations during his set, and his Jim Rome, W, and John Madden voices were dead on. I don't really have a 'joke of the night' for him, but he did a five-minute pseudo-stream-of-consciousness bit that can best be described as "Robin Williams, in his prime, plus voices, minus cocaine." I laughed to a point well past incontinence and most of the way to anoxia.

Posted by Chris at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

March 24, 2006

But Will Donnie Be Wearing His Zubaz Pants?

Chess, DA, and I are headin' out tonight to see the Friends of the Bob & Tom Show tour at the Embassy. Here's the bill, emceed by Donnie Baker (I think Donnie's hilarious (and he has his own Wikipedia page to boot), but why couldn't it be Kristi Lee?):


Posted by Chris at 12:47 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Local Stuff

I'd Recommend He Say He Spent The Time On Death Row

So the mayor of Gary is resigining because $107k/year isn't enough to put two kids through college, so he needs a better-paying job:

GARY – Mayor Scott King announced Thursday he is resigning after 11 years in office, leaving his $107,000-a-year job to return to the private sector to earn more money to pay for his children’s college.

“This is a great job except for the pay,” he said. “I don’t know this for sure, but I think I’m one of the few mayors to take a pay cut coming into this job. Over the last 11 years, that fact has been a challenge.”
So that means he's probably going to have to go on interviews and stuff. How is he going to deal with the resume stain of being mayor of Gary for 11 years? (by the way, when someone from Cameroon says that Gary is a bad place to live, it gets your attention!)

He couldn't possibly be resigning for other reasons, can he?

In February 2004, three Gary officials were indicted for allegedly making false statements to federal investigators, including former deputy mayor Geraldine Tousant, whom King embraced during his news conference.

Charges against Tousant and Vaness Dabney, of the city's Redevelopment Department, were dropped. City Park Supt. Kimberly E. Lyles pleaded guilty last year and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.


Posted by Chris at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

March 21, 2006

Maybe I'm Not Going To Hell Just Yet...

...because I'm too ashamed to repeat the first thing that popped into my head when I heard about this accident involving a bus full of special-needs students:

(Van Wert County - WANE) A school bus carrying special needs students crashed just before 9:00 a.m. this morning. Apparently the bus driver swerved to miss hitting a deer on Tulley-Harrison Road near Lincoln Highway and the bus overturned.

"We called for all the ambulances in Van Wert County, think we ended up with 15 ambulances in total here," said Convoy Fire Chief Don Wilson.

"There were some tears and upset students, because they didn't know what was going on, but the students were also to tell officers their names and ages," said Ohio State Police Lt. Gene Smith.

Thank God that nobody was seriously hurt.

Posted by Chris at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

March 03, 2006

But What About The - SSSSHHHHHHHHH!

Not quite two months ago, a court in LaGrange County (just up the road from the Fort) convicted Adel Al Yazidi on three counts of attempted murder over a shooting in March of 2004. The reason this is blogworthy is that no mention was made in the account of that conviction of the other interesting things found when Al Yazidi was arrested. They certainly caught my eye. Here's my post from March of 2004 discussing the article, and here's the Google cache link of the J-G article itself:

The person charged in the shooting is Adel Al Yazidi, 34. He was arrested Friday in Trumbull County, Ohio, accused in the attempted murder of three people on the outskirts of this northern LaGrange County town on March 24.

The case has since evolved beyond the shooting. When Yazidi was arrested, police found a Mideastern video depicting various buildings and explosions, along with sheets of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps inside the home where he was staying.

"The FBI stated they don't believe there's any link (to terrorism)," said Detective Jeff Campos of the LaGrange County Sheriff's Department, adding he is not worried about a terrorist threat in LaGrange County.

. . .

While searching the home of Yazidi's girlfriend north of Warren, near Orwell, Ohio, police found thousands of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps and the video.

Yazidi has been linked to addresses in a number of states, including Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York and Indiana, Campos said.

But police do not believe Yazidi is funding terrorism in Yemen.

Wendy Osborne of the Indiana FBI said she could not confirm or deny whether the FBI is investigating Yazidi.

The counterfeit cigarette tax stamps Ohio police found in the house - where Yazidi was staying - look like official stamps issued by state governments, said Detective Chet McNabb of the Trumbull-Ashtabula-Geauga Law Enforcement Task Force.

The stamps, which are legally required to be affixed to packs of cigarettes sold everywhere but on Indian reservations, are clear cellophane, with writing in black or blue ink, McNabb said. The counterfeit stamps - made on a computer - are stuck to packs bought at Indian reservations and then sold for full price.

"They'll take them to mom and pop stores, Arabic stores, put fake tax stamps on them, sell them for full price," McNabb said. "Eventually that money gets funneled back into the system to go back oversees. That's one of the ways (terrorists) get money."

I'd certainly be interested in hearing more about this angle, even if that turned out to be "We investigated that further and didn't find anything."

Posted by Chris at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

January 03, 2006

I Am ABOUTTHISCLOSE To Filing This Under 'White Trash Wednesdays'

The first birth of 2006 here in the Fort occurred at 12:12 on New Year's Day, as Tana Deter and Ron Timmons welcomed son Canon Lynch Timmons to the world.

I did not misspell his first name.

And yes, they named him after the camera company:

. . .the couple tried to pick a name to fit their new son’s moment in the spotlight. They named him Canon after the camera company of the same name. Their son’s middle name come from guitarist George Lynch, Timmons said.


Posted by Chris at 01:02 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Local Stuff

October 05, 2005

Life Imitates 'Dukes Of Hazzard'

White Trash Wednesday

Welcome back to White Trash Wednesday, or as I call it, "Life In Northeast Indiana:"

Fort Wayne police were called to 6400 W. Jefferson Blvd. at 6:34 p.m. Friday in the parking lot in front of the Cap-N-Cork store, a police report said.

Witnesses told police that Marsha Strutz drove into a field next to the parking lot and then drove up a hill with enough speed that she went airborne and landed on top of another vehicle in the parking lot at Covington Plaza, the report said.

Strutz, 57, of Winter Field Run, then hit three other parked vehicles before a wheel fell off her car, the report said.
Something tells me that seeing her in a pair of Daisy Dukes would not be a good thing.

I don't need to mention this, but I add it for completeness:

Police arrested Strutz on two counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, one count of felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated by a controlled substance, the report said. She was no longer in police custody Sunday night.

This is the third time Strutz has been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated in the last year in Allen County, the report said.

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:

Posted by Chris at 08:17 AM | Comments (1)
Category: White Trash Wednesday

August 10, 2005

Dude Is Most Appropriately Named

(SondraK explains the title)

More local dipshittery. This criminal mastermind had a plan to steal over 22 large from the store where he worked:

A local grocery store employee was formally charged Monday with theft in connection with the loss of about $22,000 from the store safe.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, David W. Todd used his work keys to unlock the safe at the Georgetown Square Scott’s Foods, 6310 E. State Blvd., and took about $4,911 cash on Aug. 1 and $17,222 in cash plus $3,103 in checks Aug. 2.

On both days Todd, 22, of the 5600 block of Woodshire Drive, walked the bags of money to his car and went back to work, court documents said. When he got off work about 6 a.m. each day, he went home with the money, court records said.
Dammit! He was so close! What tiny error did he make? What stroke of luck allowed the long arm of the law to reach out and pinch him?
A store security manager called Todd and told him a surveillance tape from Aug. 1 showed him taking the money from the safe and then walking out the front door, court records said. While talking with Todd, the security manager received a call from a bookkeeper who reported a second loss of cash and checks on Aug. 2, court records said.
They had a camera connected to a VCR covering the safe! How could Todd possibly have anticipated that? Have you ever heard of such a forward-looking security measure?

Posted by Chris at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Dangerous Stupidity

July 31, 2005

On The Other Hand, Somebody Could Hold A Store Clerk At Gunpoint From 100 Yards Away...

A Fort Wayne man wanted to open a precision gunsmith business in his home, repairing and upgrading competition rifles to shoot more accurately. Some of his neighbors went into hysterics; unfortunately, they carried the Board of Zoning Appeals away with them:

The Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals shot down a south-side man’s request to operate a firearms business from his home Thursday.

Indiana Avenue resident Brock Bell wanted to work part time as a precision gunsmith, who would make competition rifles shoot more accurately. But the Board of Zoning Appeals decided the business could harm the community and was not in the public interest.

About 15 neighbors who attended the meeting argued there was nothing to stop Bell from expanding the business and selling guns.

The business could have reduced property values and increased crime in the neighborhood, said Melissa Skalicky, president of the West Rudisill Neighborhood Association. [emphasis added]
OK, sure, if Bell wanted to keep an inventory of handguns and shotguns in his house. That's not what the business entails.
People who were looking for guns might have broken into nearby homes if they knew there was a firearms business in the area, she said.
They'd break into... nearby homes... if they knew there was a firearms business in the area. Wow, criminals must be even dumber than I thought - I always figured they'd break into the firearms business to do that. And we all know about how the gang-bangers loves they Anschutz 1413 Super Match 54's. I think The Game wrote a rap about how he all OG when he roll wit hiz five-four. Word ta yo' gunsmizith, homey.
Skalicky said several neighbors planned to sell their homes for below-market price if the firearms business were approved.
"Because," she whispered, "One of them wants to move into the neighborhood."

OK, I made that up. But it's the first thing I thought of when I read that quote.

Bell needed the board’s approval to obtain a federal firearms license that would have allowed him to ship and receive firearms in the mail. Most of his customers would have been from outside the region because competition shooting is a specialized hobby, he said.

Bell said he planned to keep the guns secured in a safe to discourage break-ins. At most, he would have stored five guns in his home while he was repairing and upgrading the weapons.

. . .

Although Bell planned to focus on repairing and improving competition rifles, the federal license would have allowed him to sell other guns. Marcia Heymann, chairwoman of the zoning committee for the Southwest Area Partnership, said she worried the gunsmith business would expand into sales.

“The issue becomes not necessarily the intent in selling (guns),” she said, “it’s the ability to sell them.”
I think that's just a smokescreen. If the board were serious that their biggest concern was that Bell might start selling other guns, I'm sure some kind of restrictive language could have been written into the zoning variance. I think it was all about 'Guns Are Bad.'

I don't really think that Fort Wayne is the dumbest city in America. But I do think that some neighborhoods - and some city officials - can make us look that way.

Posted by Chris at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

July 16, 2005

And We Shall Fight Them In The Cornfields...

Somebody call Tim Bedore - another species has been identified as part of the animal conspiracy, and they've made their first move:

A seasonal worker for a Steuben County seed company was literally bowled over Thursday evening when a deer in a cornfield where he worked ran into him.

Bonito DeLeon, 53, was struck by a deer on the run just before 8 p.m. after DeLeon and several other workers for the Lord Seed Co. in Howe startled a group of the animals resting in the cornfield southeast of Indiana 327 and County Road 400 North near Orland.

The blow threw DeLeon back, sending him airborne and knocking him unconscious, said Indiana Conservation Officer James Price, who was on the scene Thursday.

. . .

DeLeon was taken by helicopter to Parkview Hospital, where he was tested for internal injuries and released about midnight, said Sherrie Larimer, human resources manager for Lord Seed Co. He stayed overnight in the hospital’s guest house, Larimer said, and she was going to pick him up Friday afternoon.

With the corn 5 1/2 feet tall, the collision, which happened at dusk, was probably just as startling for the deer as it was for the workers, Price said.

According to workers Thursday, three deer, in their haste to escape, circled the workers. One ran to the left of DeLeon, one ran to the right of him and one ran straight into him, a written statement from Indiana Conservation Officers said.
I'm sure the other two deer had targets of their own; fortunately, they must have been thwarted by anti-deer countermeasures.

Posted by Chris at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

May 24, 2005

Next Up: Graffiti On The Willis Bridge

Fort Wayne has a public art project called Mastodons On Parade, where over 100 local artists painted fiberglass mastodons to celebrate IPFW's 40th anniversary. After an unveiling party on April 30, the mastodons were distributed to various locations throughout Fort Wayne.

And here's where I'm beginning to wonder whether Fort Wayne really is the dumbest city in America, because less than a month later, three of them have been vandalized.

Why? What were you thinking? I'd like to ask the same questions J-G columnist Frank Gray wants to:

I can’t help but wonder exactly who committed the vandalism. If they get caught, I’d like to know. I’d like to put their name in the paper, just so they get credit. I’d like to interview them and ask them exactly why they decided to smash up one of the statues, let them explain exactly what their rationale was.

Were you drunk, or just in a bad mood, or bitter about who you are? Is this something you’d planned pretty carefully so you wouldn’t get caught?

Do you like to destroy things in general, or does it just bother you to see people cooperate in projects like the parade of mastodons? What other things in the city would you like to spoil? What else does the city have that you would like to take away?

The final question would be, where are you going to get the money to replace the mastodon you smashed up? Or will you just agree to buy it when it is auctioned off, promising to be the high bidder?

I should take some comfort in the fact that other cities that have done similar things have had vandalism problems, but that just means we'd have company in the 'Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!' department:

Auburn University in Alabama put tigers around its town, and people stole them.

In Lafayette, pigs were put on display around the town, and the damage to those was so extensive they had to be moved off the streets and into buildings to protect them, said Irene Walters of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

Posted by Chris at 08:59 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Local Stuff

May 19, 2005

Broadcasting From A Secure Undisclosed Location

I've listened to Bob & Tom for about ten years now, ever since they graduated from being just another Indianapolis morning show to syndicating their show to the rest of Indiana (with affiliates in Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Evansville). Back then, they were pretty Indiana-centric, talking a lot about the Pacers, the Colts, IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, and stuff happening around Indy.

Now that they've gone hugely national, they go to great pains to disguise where they're actually broadcasting from. There was a perfect example of this on yesterday's show, where comedian Ron Pearson is talking about an upcoming appearance with America's Favorite Survivor. Note how Tom squishes him when he's about to mention that Rupert is from Indy.

I'm not a nostalgic guy in general, but sometimes I miss the old B&T days, with bits like "Lord Help Our Colts," "Amish Bell," and "I Can't Drive 465."

Posted by Chris at 12:54 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Local Stuff

May 17, 2005

More Pub We Don't Need

Great. In addition to being the dumbest city in America and having a city attorney whose conduct in January resembled a drunk driver's to three decimal places (without him even having to answer questions about it), Fort Wayne can now be known as the home of the George Washington impersonator busted with 200,000 child pornography pictures:

A Fort Wayne actor known in several states for his impersonation of George Washington at historical events was sentenced Tuesday to 87 months in federal prison for admitting he had received a digital image of child pornography.

Steven A. Black, 61, of the 200 block of West DeWald Street, made a brief, inaudible statement to U.S. District Court Judge Theresa L. Springmann before she accepted his plea agreement and meted out the recommended sentence.

. . .

According to a plea agreement, Black admitted to receiving one digital picture of a young girl having sex with an adult man. The prosecution told the judge in February that if the case had gone to trial, it would have presented evidence that suggested Black had at least 200,000 images.

Posted by Chris at 08:36 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Local Stuff

May 06, 2005

Take Your Break, Comrade... Or Else.

If you work at the local GM plant, and you choose to work during your break, your union bretheren won't like it:

General Motors Corp. and UAW Local 2209 are investigating an April 29 complaint that a union member wielded a two-by-four at co-workers who were voluntarily working during their break time at the southwest Allen County plant.

According to a report filed by the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, a witness told responding officers that “there is an ongoing problem” at the plant. “Those that choose to work during their breaks are harassed and intimidated by others who are in the union but do not agree (with) working during breaks,” the report states.

But why would you want to work during your break? Because there's extra money in it!

Working during breaks isn’t new, [president of United Auto Workers Local 2209 Don] Swegman said. When the production line is behind schedule, employees in that area are offered the chance to work during their breaks for overtime pay, which amounts to time and a half.

[GM spokeswoman Pam] Reese said the opportunity to earn extra money varies depending on the production schedule but doesn’t always fall on the same department. Swegman agreed.

The local union president said the company is within the parameters of its contract with the union when it makes such work available. [empahsis added]
It's extra money, the company's cool with it, the union's cool with it. What's not to like?

But some GM workers apparently resent those who choose to work during breaks. Union workers traditionally refer to people who cross picket lines to work as “scabs.” According to the police report, the workers who were intimidating others were calling them “scabs.”
I must have missed the point where the union rank-and-file decided to become communists, because the only possible explanation for this is that they want to punish people who work hard. And speaking of communists,
Catherine Mulder, an assistant professor of labor studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, said anytime that many people are working together, tensions will crop up.

“There are going to be personality conflicts,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like a big issue to me. It could happen in grammar school. It could happen anywhere.”

In fact, Mulder said, union shops often have less conflict than non-union shops because members have a sense of solidarity and well-defined work rules meant to ensure that people are treated fairly rather than rewarded based on how much management likes them.
Hey, prof, did you even hear what you said? '[R]ather than rewarded based on how much management likes them?' What about 'punished by their co-workers for trying to excel?'

This is yet another reason why unions have far outgrown their usefulness.

Posted by Chris at 03:57 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Dangerous Stupidity

April 27, 2005

Oh, Yeah? Well, I'm Going To Sue Them For A Dollar For Every Catholic On The Planet!

We spent enough tax/bond money upgrading the Coliseum, so I'm glad it's paying dividends:

Memorial Coliseum was ranked in the top 50 arena venues in the world based on first-quarter ticket sales of 2005.

POLLSTAR Magazine ranked the Coliseum 34th for sales between Jan. 1 and March 31. The Coliseum’s ranking puts it above Gund Arena in Cleveland, MCI Center in Washington and Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Randy Brown, Coliseum general manager, said in a statement that the recognition will help attract even larger events.
That's gotta be 34th per capita or something, because I can't see our 12,000 seat area in a metro area of 300,000 as being ahead of those other places on raw numbers.

Anyway, that's not even the real story in this article. Let's just get right to the story:

A Lima, Ohio, woman has filed a grievance with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission against the city of Decatur/Adams County Parks Department, alleging she is the victim of religious discrimination.

Tresa Salyer, 35, is a licensed minister in Ohio, and a practicing witch, with a congregation of about 35.

According to Salyer, she had been paying since January to rent a table at a monthly flea market set up by the Adams County Coin Club in a city-county-owned building.

She had planned to sell incense, jewelry, candle burners, oil and other items. But when she arrived on the first Sunday in April, she claims she was asked to leave and barred from setting up the table. The club organizers told her they did not want her to operate there because she is a witch, she said.
The club asked her to leave, not the city, so I'm not sure that's actionable, but I concede that she may have a case. Or at least I did, until I read this:
“I am asking for $4 million in compensation,”Salyer said, “and if they come to the table with anything less, we’re going to federal court.”

The $4 million represents one dollar for every pagan on the planet, Salyer said.

Still working on a WTW entry. Meanwhile, take a lap around the trailer park:

Posted by Chris at 05:37 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Local Stuff

April 17, 2005

At Least They Knew They Could Outrun Their Victims

Maybe Fort Wayne really is the dumbest city in America, because shedding excess dumb-itude to surrounding counties is the best explanation for these yahoos:

Three Elkhart County men remained in the LaGrange County Jail on Friday, accused of holding up a buggy and robbing its occupants of $1.

. . .

About 9 p.m. Thursday, the three men were riding in a Pontiac Grand Prix on South LaGrange County Road 200 West, according to a written statement from the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department. The Grand Prix blocked the road so that a buggy could not pass.

The men – two of whom wore masks – jumped out of the car and held the family in the buggy at gunpoint while they demanded money, the statement said. A man in the buggy threw his wallet onto the road.

The men took the wallet and fled the scene, police said. It contained $1.

. . .

A Topeka police officer stopped the car and arrested its occupants, it said. Police also found the handguns, which had been thrown from the car.
I've been to Topeka, Indiana; when they say 'A Topeka police officer,' I'm pretty sure they meant 'The Topeka police officer...'

OK, let's total this up:

  • three handguns: $600.
  • take: $1.
  • Net: $-599.
Looks like they're down about $199.67 per guy. But, hey, amortize that over three years in jail, and it's a loss of only $66.56 per guy per year. Most airlines don't get that kind of ROI.

Posted by Chris at 05:53 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Dangerous Stupidity

April 13, 2005

Yes, But What We Want To Know Is Are They Back Together?

Here's an update to a February (local) White Trash Wednesday story:

A 25-year-old Fort Wayne man was sentenced Monday to five years in prison and five years’ probation for driving his car into the entrance of a Target store and holding two employees captive.

. . .

Police arrested Hans in early January after he rammed his Ford Thunderbird into the entrance of Target, 6119 Stellhorn Road, just after 4 a.m. on Jan. 7. He had been looking for his estranged wife, who was an employee at the store. She had filed a protective order against him but was not there that morning because she had overslept.

After the crash, Hans told employees he was armed with a gun and demanded money, court records said. Hans then grabbed an employee by the arm, took him through the front of the store and told him he would not be hurt if he followed him. Hans took another employee hostage after releasing the first employee, court records said.

Hans’ wife told investigators that Hans left a message saying: “I’ll gut you like a fish.”

Moments before he crashed into Target, court documents said, Hans called her cell phone and left a message saying, “I’m about to drive through Target looking for you. I want to see you one last time before I go.” [emphasis added]

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:

Posted by Chris at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)
Category: White Trash Wednesday

March 21, 2005

With Any Luck, This Chowderhead Will Learn A New Meaning To 'Getting Rear-Ended'

This would have been a perfect White Trash Wednesday story, but I didn't want to subject the innocent victims to the embarassment of being featured on WTW. If anybody ever deserved the death penalty for DUI, it's this mental defective:

A Fort Wayne driver accused of causing a fatal crash and two hit-and-run crashes Tuesday had alcohol, cocaine and Benzodiazipam in his system, according to probable cause affidavits filed Friday in Allen Superior Court.

Todd A. Bebout, 45, was arrested on a preliminary charge of reckless homicide, eight counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, two counts of criminal recklessness and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident. leaving the scene of an accident.

Bebout was released from a hospital Thursday where he had been treated for injuries. He was booked into the Allen County Lockup and bail was set at $709,500 Friday.

Tests on Bebout’s blood and urine samples showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 percent, almost twice the legal limit for driving. Cocaine and Benzodiazipam – a depressant used therapeutically to produce sedation, induce sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures – were also detected, probable cause affidavits said.
. . .
Police determined Bebout’s Dakota hit the front passenger side of the Villager, which was going south on Hessen Cassel. Both vehicles veered into the path of a Chevy pickup traveling north on Hessen Cassel.

The driver of the Chevy pickup was not injured.

The fatal crash ended Bebout’s erratic cruise around the southeast part of the city, court documents said.

The Dakota was swerving toward children waiting for a school bus in the 4000 block of South Monroe Street about 7 a.m., court records said. The children provided descriptions of the vehicle and driver that matched Bebout and his vehicle, probable cause affidavits said.

The Dakota struck a Chevrolet Caprice parked on the east side of the street and kept going. Paint left on the Caprice and Dakota matched each other, the affidavits said.

Twenty minutes later, the Dakota left the road and traveled through a yard before crashing into a house at 5121 Oliver St. The damage was severe enough that the integrity of the structure is at risk, the affidavits said.

. . .

According to the Indiana Department of Correction offender database, Bebout was convicted in Allen County in 2001 of cocaine possession and battery by bodily waste.

Bebout’s driver’s license had been suspended for one year as a part of misdemeanor OWI charge in 1991. It was suspended again in 2002 when he failed to appear in court for a speeding charge in 2002.

The period of that suspension was not clear, but Bebout received an infraction this month, before Tuesday’s crashes, for driving while suspended, according to court records.
I hope I don't have to explain what 'battery by bodily waste' means.

Posted by Chris at 04:00 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Dangerous Stupidity

Colder Than A Well Digger's Leg - Or A Meth Cooker's Hand

One of these days, some crank-head's going to get killed doing this, and I'm going to laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh:

Police in Defiance County, Ohio, evacuated residents living near Mark Center early Wednesday after someone tried to steal anhydrous ammonia from a 1,000-gallon tank, which then leaked its contents.

The leaking gas created a low-lying cloud that spread up to a half-mile from its origin at Hicksville Grain Co. Residents living in a two-mile radius from the grain elevator were asked to evacuate about 1:40 a.m., Sheriff David J. Westrick said.

When police arrived at the Hicksville Grain branch in Mark Center, 9589 Main St., they found that someone had tampered with the 1,000-gallon tank in an apparent attempt to steal the gas. A valve was damaged and most of the tank’s contents escaped, the sheriff’s department said.

. . .

The gas is used by farmers as a fertilizer but is commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine. Anhydrous ammonia is also a dangerous material that can freeze body parts and lungs on contact. No one with similar injuries had reported to any local hospitals as of Wednesday afternoon, Westrick said.
Of course, when it happens, somebody innocent will undoubtedly also be hurt, so I won't even be able to laugh.


Posted by Chris at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Dangerous Stupidity

February 18, 2005

It's Not So Much A Golden Dome As It Is A Vinyl-Sided Pole Barn

Last season, when Notre Dame qualified for the NIT, they were not able to schedule their second-round game in their own arena, as it was hosting part of the NCAA women's tournament. What they could get was Fort Wayne's own Memorial Coliseum. The game was a huge success, selling out within a few hours of the announcement being made on local media.

fND liked the idea so much that they'll be using the Coliseum for tonight's hockey game against Michigan. When I got my tickets at the Coliseum yesterday, they'd already sold 7000 tickets, and they expected a complete sellout (about 10,500) by gametime. I plan on bringing my camera, so I may have pictures tomorrow. I might even get the T-shirt.

Posted by Chris at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

February 16, 2005

No Report As To Whether His Last Words Were "Hey, Y'All, Watch This!"

In today's lesson - a live demonstration of which took place a couple of hours up the road from Dangerous Logic Galactic HQ, we learn the difference between a flak jacket and a bulletproof vest. A flak jacket is designed to stop relatively-low-velocity shell fragments - not bullets, or for that matter, shotgun pellets:

HOBART – A man whose friends initially said he was killed by gunfire outside a Gary liquor store actually died after he donned what he thought was a bulletproof vest and asked a cohort to shoot him.

A friend then shot Daniel Wright with a .20-gauge shotgun, but it turned out the vest Wright had put on Thursday was a flak jacket not designed to stop a bullet.

Wright, 20, was mortally wounded in the shooting and died later at a Gary hospital after two of his friends drove him there.

Why on earth would Wright have asked his friend to shoot him? Here's why:

Hobart police Lt. Leo Finnerty said Friday that Wright was going to join the military and wanted some battlefield experience. So he went to a field in Hobart with his friends, donned what he thought was a bulletproof vest, and then told them: “Shoot me. I’m ready.”

“He voluntarily put on the vest because he wanted to experience what a .20-gauge shotgun would do,” Finnerty told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville.

I'm inclined to think the Army is better off not getting this guy - someone who showed such spectacular bad judgement could be counted on to make a mistake that could get a lot of people killed. Sad that he's dead, but 'Death By Stupidity' is more common than we want to admit.

Posted by Chris at 12:14 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Dangerous Stupidity

Sporting Goods, Aisle 3; Domestic Counseling, Aisle 4; Hostage Services, Aisle 5

How could I possibly have missed this Fort Wayne story that happened back in early January (I had to find out in Sunday's News Of The Weird?

Kyle Hans, 24, drove his car through the front of a Target store in Fort Wayne, Ind., in January, down an aisle, where he told employees he had a gun and wanted to see his estranged wife so he could reconcile with her. When the employees informed Hans that his wife didn't work there anymore, he got frustrated and took one of them hostage, forcing the evacuation of the store and an eventual standoff with police. Officers talked Hans down, got the hostage freed and arrested him. [WISE-TV (Fort Wayne), 1-7-05]
I'm not sure this is a true White Trash Wednesday story - I don't think Target is the store of choice for yer average White Trasher (*cough*Wal-Mart*cough). Just to be safe, I'll be publishing another WTW story later.

In the meantime, take the whole White Trash Wednesday tour:

Posted by Chris at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

February 15, 2005

And I Will Defend With The Evil Geniuses For A Better Tomorrow Assisted By The Orbital Mind Control Lasers

My long-time reader knows I've got this thing about Daylight Savings Time - specifically, anger that it isn't observed in most of Indiana (I've discussed this before, in April of '04 and April of '01). This puts us in our own time zone, which I call 'Indiana Stupid Time' because it makes us look like backwards-assed country fucks every time I have to explain it to somebody not in Indiana (and when I worked on the program I spent half of last year on, which required us to telecon on a near-daily basis with multiple sites spread across all four time zones, I had to explain it a lot).

And even though Governor Daniels is more actively pushing the 'adopt DST' issue than any previous governor in my memory, I'm not going to get my hopes up unless and until he actually signs a bill into law. It seems that every year, it looks like it's going to finally by God happen, then the Farm Bureau Illuminati makes a couple of phone calls and the whole thing goes down the memory hole and nobody speaks of it again... until the next year.

The local news last night had coverage of some of the debate in the General Assembly, including something I thought very curious:

Several members of the Indiana Theater Owners Association said that if the state added daylight hours, fewer people would go to the movies, and theater owners would lose money.

All the GA is debating at this time is whether or not to adopt DST. If they do, then they'll consider the question of which time zone to align with (a nontrivial issue, since Indiana is on the western edge of the Eastern time zone and on the eastern edge of the Central time zone). It seems to me the smart play for the theater owners would be to favor adopting Central Daylight Time, since that would lead to earlier sunsets year-round (if you're on the eastern edge of your time zone, your sunrises and sunsets are earlier than if you're in the middle or on the western edge). Earlier sunsets -> increased theater revenue (actually, the broadcast last night had the spokeslady for the theater owners claiming that movie patronage would drop 20% if the state added more daylight hours, which sure smells like a brown number to me).

So clearly the theater owners are working as the pawns of someone else. And by applying Tetrick's Law ("Once you play Illuminati enough, all games become Illuminati") and Carter's Corrolary ("Every weird thing you see in the world can be expressed in terms of Illuminati plays"), I have concluded this:

The Indiana Theater Owners' Association, assisted by the Farm Bureau, is attacking to control Indiana.

[Incidentally, I would be just as happy if the rest of the country abandoned DST; my beef is against constantly having to remind out-of-staters what time zone Indiana is in on any given day.]

Posted by Chris at 02:04 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Political Stupidity

February 07, 2005

The Newest Portugese Export...

...seems to have hit Fort Wayne. You have probably heard the story of Portugal's Marco Guerra, who posted pictures of himself holding guns and various ill-gotten booty on his website, which included his name and mobile number:

Police in Portugal have arrested a teenager who set up a personal web page which featured photographs of himself posing with a machine gun along with cash he said he obtained through crime - as well as his full name and mobile telephone number, a report said.

. . .

Guerra can be seen on the internet site, which is still up and running, holding a nine-millimeter gun against his face, carrying a rifle and waving a machine gun in the air.

The site also includes photos of a table full of €20 and €10 notes and marijuana along with the statement that "through illegal or obscure deals you can live really well."

Homestead High School is in an affluent part of Allen County, so it's to be expected that the kids there are up on the latest European trends, but this is ridiculous (scroll down past the Churubusco garage fire):

A Homestead High School student stole textbooks and padlocks from the school and exhibited pictures of the items on two Web sites, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department said.

Homestead Assistant Principal Steve Lake told police Thursday about Web sites that show pictures of books and padlocks missing from the school.

. . .

The student told school officials that other people were involved in the thefts, but he did not name them. He admitted that he took the pictures of the items and posted them on the Web sites, the report said.

Posted by Chris at 04:54 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Dangerous Stupidity

January 30, 2005

No, Thanks, I'd Rather Let The Credit Champ Cure My Debts

Badly Mixed Metaphor Of The Day (seen on an I-69 billboard north of Fort Wayne): "Let The Credit Doctor Knock Out Your Debts!"

I can kind of see what they're getting at, but "Let The Credit Anesthesiologist Knock Out Your Debts!" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

That, and wouldn't your debts just regain consciousness later with a really big headache?

Posted by Chris at 07:32 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Local Stuff

January 26, 2005

Well, At Least He Didn't Run Over Anybody Without 'Noticing'

This is the closest I'll get to contributing to White Trash Wednesday, because even in a city as dumb as Fort Wayne, you really can't consider the City Attorney as white trash; however, this incident is perfectly indicative of white trash behavior:

Fort Wayne City Attorney Tim Manges was ticketed Monday, accused of leaving the scene of an accident early Saturday. Police reports say Manges’ Jeep Cherokee hit a parked car and a tree at Broadway and Taylor Street at 1:17 a.m. Saturday, causing damage estimated at more than $2,500 to a 1993 Ford four-door.

Manges – who negotiated on behalf of the city the patrol officers’ union contract but also defends officers in legal cases – said he did not believe he hit anything except the curb. There was no damage to any vehicles or a tree, he said, so he continued on his way home from being out with a friend. Had he known he hit anything – if, in fact he did hit anything, he said – he would have contacted police immediately.

. . .

The area was hit by a winter storm Friday night and Saturday that dumped heavy snow. The police report says the road was covered with snow and slush. Manges said he began to fishtail while driving in the snow and over-corrected slightly, sending his Jeep “straight into the curb.” He said there is no damage on his vehicle or any mark that he can find on the tree in question.
I don't want to jump to any conclusions here, but if you're driving on snowy downtown streets in a 4X4 after 1:00AM on a Saturday morning, and you still manage to lose control and hit a curb, a car, and a tree, AND YOU DON'T NOTICE HITTING THE CAR OR THE TREE...

Well, let's just say I can pretty easily think of one hypothesis that explains all those facts without contradicting any. There's also the issue of who said what to whom:

The Saturday report says only that Manges’ Jeep was found and towed. The Monday report says Manges stated Saturday that he wasn’t feeling well and that a friend spoke to investigators because Manges was ill.

That's interesting. If it were me, trying to clear my name, I'd rise up off my freakin' deathbed to talk to the people responsible for determining what happened.

Incidentally, the hypothetical hypothesis I allegedly refer to above also explains that behavior.

Posted by Chris at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Official Stupidity

Because Everything's Bigger In Texas, Even The Idiots

I've done my best to ignore the Men's Health article naming Fort Wayne as America's Dumbest City, because I know that all these 'best of' and 'worst of' lists are inherently bogus (and yes, I'd be saying the same thing if Fort Wayne had been in, say, the middle of the list) and you can pick the criteria to make them say whatever you want them to. On the other hand, I have to wonder why they counted Nobel Prize winners born inside city limits - but only the physics and medicine winners, not, say, chemistry or economics. I also have to wonder how the city with the fifth-best library in the country for cities in its size range (250k-500k, and Fort Wayne BARELY has 250K) can score dead last in that kind of list. But I've already spent more time on this than I wanted to, and I haven't even gotten to my point yet.

It would appear that Corpus Christi, like Texas in general, doesn't like being second place in anything, so they want to challenge Fort Wayne for the title:

A radio station in Corpus Christi, Texas, (the city dubbed second stupidest) wants to wrest the title from the Summit City.

In a competitive spirit some might consider misguided, Jim Lago, an AM morning host at News Talk 1440 KEYS, says his city doesn’t like finishing second.

He’s even come up with some slogans for his coastal community that should help the public relations push.

“Welcome to Corpus Christi,” one goes, “where C students live like kings.”

Or, “Corpus Christi, our dropouts do better than your high school graduates.”

Or, “Corpus Christi, come be a genius or fit right in.”

His campaign doesn’t stop there. He’d like to arrange a minor league baseball game between the Fort Wayne Wizards and the Corpus Christi Hooks, never mind that that Wizards are single A and the Hooks are double A.

“What’s a few A’s among dumb people?” Lago reasons.

The fact that they want the title proves they're dumber than we are; I say we let them have it.

Posted by Chris at 12:27 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Local Stuff

October 18, 2004

It's One, Two, Three Crimes In One!

They say truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense. And even with that in mind, and knowing that the Donks will do everything they think they can get away with in order to get President Bush delected, I couldn't even have guessed at this:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio man was arrested and accused of filling out more than 100 voter registration forms that were ficticious, the Defiance County Sheriff's Office announced Monday.
So far, so normal, right? Just another case of voter reg fraud (and at 100 registrations a fairly small one), just one of thousands undoubtedly in the works by the Delusional Party. But wait until you see how dude got paid:
Defiance County sheriff's deputies allege the man "was paid crack cocaine for the falsified registrations."

According to Sheriff David J. Westrick, Defiance deputies along with Toledo Police Department detectives searched a residence in Toledo, believed to be the home of the woman who hired the man to solicit voter registration.

Officers confiscated drug paraphernalia along with voter registration forms from the home, Westrick said.

The occupant of the home, Georgianne Pitts, 41, advised law enforcement that she had been recruited by Thaddeus J. Jackson, II, of Cleveland, to obtain voter registrations.

Pitts admitted to paying the suspect crack cocaine for the registrations in lieu of money, the sheriff's department said.
Well, that's interesting. A guy in Cleveland is using a lady in Toledo to try to register voters in Defiance County (about 150 miles away). That's some kind of outreach program! But who is Thaddeus J. Jackson, II, anyway?
A business card provided by Pitts indicated that Jackson is the Assistant NVF Ohio Director of the NAACP National Voter Fund, Westrick said.
I think its safe to say that the extra votes wouldn't have gone for President Bush.
Sheriff's officials indicated the initial complaint "came from the Defiance County Board of Elections. The Board had received the 100 plus registration forms from the Cuyahoga Board of Elections that had been submitted to the Cuyahoga Board by the NAACP National Voter Fund," Westrick said.
Well, score one for the hicks (I can say that; I live in the next county over. Besides, there actually is a Hicksville in Defiance County. It's where I buy my beer on Sundays). The Dumbocrat machine figured they'd be too stupid to notice ONE HUNDRED REGISTRATION FORMS WITH NEAR-IDENTICAL SIGNATURES FROM ANOTHER COUNTY'S BOARD OF ELECTIONS!

Posted by Chris at 06:16 PM | Comments (7)
Category: Local Stuff

September 13, 2004

You Can't Fight City Hall

But apparently you can crash your truck into it. From just up the road in KendalltuckyKendallville comes this one:

An intoxicated man rammed a pickup truck into Kendallville City Hall on Saturday evening, destroying the front door of the landmark building, police said.

Kenneth Barden, 42, of Kendallville crashed into the building at 234 S. Main St. in a 1993 Nissan pickup truck just before 6 p.m. The metal frame and glass door were destroyed and will cost the city about $15,000 to repalace, said Sgt. Dan Leighty of the Kendallville Police Department. There were no injuries.

Barden was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and criminal mischief – both felonies – and criminal recklessness with a vehicle – a Class A misdemeanor. He was being held at the Noble County Jail in lieu of $9,500 bail.

Leighty had spotted Barden just before the crash as he was screeching the pickup’s tires. He followed Barden north on Main Street. A moment before Leighty planned to make a traffic stop, the vehicle made a sharp left turn and rammed into the building, Leighty said.

Barden told police he had problems with alcohol and wanted the city to do something about it, Leighty said.
Looks like he'll get his wish.

Posted by Chris at 09:31 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Local Stuff

August 26, 2004

The Other Paw Drops

Well, Gary Dutcher got his day in court Tuesday. He was found guilty of possessing a public nuisance animal and was fined $2,500:

Dutcher and his cougar were driving home from a trip to the veterinarian in January, when Dutcher's car slid off Stellhorn Road. The animal ran loose for almost four hours, before Fort Wayne Animal Control officers shot and killed it. After the incident, Dutcher was also sued by his neighborhood association, who claimed keeping exotic animals in his home violated the association's rules [the association won that suit, too, but I don't know how much Dutcher had to pay - ed].

I'm trying to feel sorry for this guy, I really am. But it's hard to do so when he:

  • Ignored his vet's request to cage Samson before bringing him in
  • Drove Samson to the vet during a snowstorm in a Camaro (a really shitty snow car) instead of his truck (I am trying to verify secondhand reports that Dutcher often drove Samson around uncaged in his Camaro in order to impress women)
  • Didn't have Samson restrained in any way so when Dutcher crashed his car, Samson could escape

I also heard on the news broadcast (but can't find on their web page) that Dutcher is trying to sue the city for... well, I'm not exactly sure what he thinks he can sue them for, but it looks like he's going to try anyway. I'm sure this story will continue to develop.

Posted by Chris at 11:07 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Local Stuff

August 18, 2004

Who Ever Thought Call Letters Could Be An Oxymoron?

If you follow the news at all, you've heard of the little incident at our local airport:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A liquid leaked from an unclaimed bag Wednesday inside the Fort Wayne International Airport, causing some workers to report feeling ill and prompting authorities to halt passenger service.

. . .

Six people — four airport workers and two emergency responders — were decontaminated after the liquid was first seen leaking from a bag left unclaimed about an hour after the flight arrived, airport officials said.

The six were treated at a hospital and released, Richardson said.

A field test on the substance was inconclusive, Richardson said, and a second sample was sent to a laboratory for further testing.
It's all over the news today, everywhere from the afore-referenced McPaper article to my favorite tv station website, Orlando's Local6.

Everywhere, that is, except Fort Wayne's own NBC affiliate, WISE. As of 1PM Central Time, their website had no mention AT ALL of the incident, ten hours after it happened! Hardly an encouraging sign, especially since both their primary competitors do...

And don't even get me started about their HDTV non-coverage of the Olympics...

Update: The airport reopened about 1:30 CT; the substance was deemed non-hazardous but has been identified only as 'an ingredient used in making perfume.' Still no mention of the incident on UnWISE-TV's website.

Posted by Chris at 12:10 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Local Stuff

August 13, 2004

Eleven-Word Concert Review

Alice Cooper: "Too overpowering for a small venue; see him in an arena."

Posted by Chris at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

July 08, 2004

Home Field Bottom Line Advantage

Fort Wayne has a team in the National Indoor Football League (think Single-A minor league baseball, but football, played indoors). The Fort Wayne Freedom are a pretty decent team, too. They just missed the playoffs after an 8-6 record last year in their inaugural season, and they made the playoffs as the #6 seed by going 8-6 this year. Their opponent Sunday will be the #3-seeded, 9-5, Show Me Believers.

The game will be in Fort Wayne.

Why? Money. Fort Wayne led the league in attendance this year, averaging over 8000 per game. Show Me, on the other hand, never topped 3000. The league decided, and the Show Me owner accepted, that the game would be in Fort Wayne rather than St. Charles. The gate is split 2/3 - 1/3, and Show Me decided that 1/3 of a 10,000 gate (minimum - Fort Wayne's last home game drew 10,000 - I'm betting a playoff game will damn near sell out (which would be about 12,000)) was a better deal than 2/3 of a 3,000-person gate. Of course, the Freedom come out WAY ahead under this scenario.

This is good news for me and my son - we've been to five games this year, and I already have our tickets for Sunday (in prime PAT-catching territory, and in the NIFL it's "catch it and keep it"). The games are an absolute blast: the pregame ceremony features a speech from Braveheart, pyrotechnics, and an Eminem rap, and the house just plain rocks the whole game long. It just seems a bit sour to get a home game this way, and I feel bad for the Believers' fans.

Just not bad enough to skip the game. Go Freedom!

Update: Fort Wayne won, 45-28, and it wouldn't have been that close except for some questionable officiating (I should have suspected something was amiss when I saw the refs get off the visiting team's bus).

The attendance was only 5,180, which disappointed me tremendously since this is the last home game they'll have this year (barring a series of miracles that would pit them against the #6 seed in the other conference in the championship game). Also a correction to the original entry - Show Me was the #5 seed (Lexington was the #3 seed).

Posted by Chris at 11:48 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Local Stuff

April 12, 2004

Follow The Money, Broadcast Style

Followup to my annual rant against Indiana not observing DST: turns out that the reason the local broadcast stations stick with primetime starting at 8:00 PM (like Eastern Time) is so they can keep the 7-8 PM hour for local programming, which is far more lucrative than the 1-2 AM hour they'd have if they went with a 7:00 PM primetime start. So they're jacking us around for the money.

The only reason they can get away with doing that is because Indiana doesn't change time. So now I've got to add them to the Farm Bureau as Powerful Shadowy Forces that oppose progress in Indiana.


Posted by Chris at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

April 06, 2004

The Market In Action

When I first moved to Fort Wayne almost 14 years ago, there were at least three companies operating first-run movie theaters in town. Over a period of several years, Regal Cinemas eventually acquired all of them.

A couple of funny things happened after that - the prices went up and the theaters started deteriorating. Since Regal had a local monopoly, they had no real incentive to keep prices low or invest anything in the local market.

A couple of years ago, Rave opened an 18-screen theater complex here. No longer did I have to deal with sticky floors, broken seats, and screens the size of a TV set; I could have a reclining seat with a headrest! And TWO cup holders! And tons of leg room with stadium seating so I could actually see the screen. And it was an honest-to-God full-size movie screen! It was like I'd died and gone to heaven, and didn't have to pay any more for the privilege. Sure, it was considerably harder to get to than the closest Regal multiplex, and parking was a bitch, but it was worth it.

Incidentally, Rave is a funny beast - they've got theaters scattered around the Southeast, Midwest, and Texas, but I can't discern any pattern. Maybe they specialize in cracking abused monopoly markets. But I digress.

Over the last couple of years, Rave's been beating Regal like a runaway red-headed circus stepchild chimp - Rave now has about 80% of the local market. As they've been doing that, they slipped in a couple of price increases and hoped we wouldn't notice. I noticed, but I didn't care since they were still light-years ahead of anything Regal offered locally.

Finally, Regal is fighting back. Last summer, they closed one of their local 8-plexes (the one nearest my house, not that I cared - I haven't set foot in a Regal theater since Rave opened) in order to remodel it into a - surprise! - 14-screen stadium-seating multiplex! It had its grand re-opening last Friday, and from all appearances it's quite spiffy. I haven't been there yet, but my son reports that it's 'very cool.' And here endeth today's lesson about the power of the free market.

Posted by Chris at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

April 04, 2004

Everybody Else Springs Ahead...

...Indiana gets left behind. Once again, the rest of the country moved forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time; once again, Indiana didn't. I've bitched about this before, and everything I said then still holds, but now there's another twist (actually, they did this last year, too, but I didn't write about it then). Our local broadcast stations have all decided to use Eastern Time for their network programming. Allegedly, this is to avoid confusion and keep them from having to run "Remember, this show airs one hour later starting next week" crawls for the week leading up to the time change.

I think this is colossally stupid of our local stations. Now, instead of having to remember just whether or not our TV is on Central Time (summer) or Eastern Time (winter), I have to remember whether the program I want to watch is on a cable station (their feed time didn't change, so they're on Central Time), a local station pre-recorded program (Eastern Time), or - and here's the twist that'll give brainlock to the average Hoosier couch potato - a local station live broadcast (Central Time)!

All this because the stupid Farm Bureau has the Legislature in their pockets.

Posted by Chris at 09:27 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Local Stuff

April 02, 2004

See No Jihadis, Hear No Jihadis

Update to Wednesday's story about last week's Howe shooting incident. Apparently the FBI thinks there might be something worth investigating after all:

Items found after the arrest of the man accused of firing on three people in Howe last week has led the FBI to investigate possible ties to terrorist organizations. Adel Al Yazidi, 34, was arrested March 26 in Trumbull County, Ohio, on three LaGrange County charges of attempted murder. After the arrest, police searched the Ashtabula County home where he was staying.

There, near the Pennsylvania border, they found a Mideastern video depicting various buildings and explosions, as well as sheets of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, police said.

"There were some objects in his possession that kind of piqued our interest," FBI Special Agent Robert Hawk said Thursday. "I think it bears us looking into his background to see if there are any ties to terrorist groups overseas."

Hawk, of the FBI's Cleveland office, would not specify which objects were of interest or what terrorist groups Yazidi could be linked to.
However, not everybody's on board this train:
LaGrange County Prosecutor Jeff Wible said the state of Indiana has not changed its charges.

"I really have no information that this guy is connected to terrorism," Wible said. 'I'm really, really reluctant to tie him to terrorism. I just don't want to give any credence to that."
Why. The. Hell. NOT?!? Maybe he is, maybe he isn't - but you owe it to the people who elected you to have that investigated!

Posted by Chris at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

April 01, 2004

Who Blowed Up Da GameBoy?

(I swear this isn't an April Fools joke.) The Fort Wayne PD's bomb squad destroyed a suspicious metal case left in an airport restroom Tuesday; it was on the news and in the paper's print edition, but the only thing I could find on Google News at press time was this brief reference from an Indianapolis TV station. The story:

Airport evacuated after case found

Electronic gaming unit left in restroom

By Masaki Harada
The Journal Gazette
A suspicious metal case left in a restroom at Fort Wayne International Airport prompted the evacuation Tuesday of passengers in two airplanes and the airport's boarding area.

The case, about 12-by-12 inches, turned out to contain what investigators suspect was a handheld gaming unit, airport officials and Fort Wayne police said.

Airport security staff members were told there was a metal case in a restroom in the boarding area. An X-ray showed the case had numerous electric wires inside, airport spokeswoman Sandra Lux said. The case was locked and had no identification, she said.

. . .

The bomb squad deterimed the device inside the case was an electronic gaming machine, police spokesman Mike Joyner said.

Airport officials suspect the case was left in the restroom by someone who had exited a plane that landed at the airport, Lux said. Airport security did not recall finding such a case when searching passengers entering the boarding area, she said.

Police detonated the case without opening it as a precaution, Lux said.

--Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, April 1, 2004, p. A-1
Somewhere in the Fort Wayne area, some poor kid is saying "Dad, I can't find my GameBoy. I remember having it when I got off the plane..."

Posted by Chris at 11:55 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Local Stuff

March 31, 2004

Amish Country Splodeydope?

It's too soon to tell, but there's a possibility that the Jihad has come to northeast Indiana:

HOWE - A week-old shooting involving a Russian assault rifle sparked a two-state, multi-agency investigation of possible, but so far unlikely, connections to terrorist activity. The person charged in the shooting is Adel Al Yazidi, 34. He was arrested Friday in Trumbull County, Ohio, accused in the attempted murder of three people on the outskirts of this northern LaGrange County town on March 24.

The case has since evolved beyond the shooting. When Yazidi was arrested, police found a Mideastern video depicting various buildings and explosions, along with sheets of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps inside the home where he was staying.

"The FBI stated they don't believe there's any link (to terrorism)," said Detective Jeff Campos of the LaGrange County Sheriff's Department, adding he is not worried about a terrorist threat in LaGrange County.
It's not like they found bomb-making materials or anything. They just stumbled over (allegedly) part of the revenue stream, that's all. Nothing more to see here, citizen. Move along.
The investigation in LaGrange County began after a local business owner, Saleh "Sam" Ali Obad, told police Yazidi had forged about $30,000 in checks from Obad's business, B&S Auto Sales.

Obad had left his business in the care of Yazidi when he returned to visit family in Yemen. Yazidi allegedly took checks from the business and forged Obad's name on them, cashing them throughout the region, according to Obad and police.
Oops! Stepped in another part of the (alleged) revenue stream. Never mind.
Obad told Yazidi he had filed forgery charges against him, police said, and about 6:30 p.m. March 24 on North LaGrange County Road 050 East, Yazidi placed an SKS assault rifle across the roof of his car and opened fire on a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche driven by Obad, with his wife, Ella Wampler, and a friend, Saif Abdulla Muthana, all of Howe.

No one was injured, although the vehicle was riddled with bullet holes in the front, the engine and the doors on the driver's side. One large round went through a house across the street, passing through the living room and lodging in the kitchen, Campos said.

The three were following Yazidi after he had been seen driving slowly by Obad's home and business property, according to police and Obad.

After the shooting, Yazidi took off in a stolen 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis, Campos said. He was arrested Friday in a different vehicle north of Warren, Ohio, near the Pennsylvania border.

. . .

While searching the home of Yazidi's girlfriend north of Warren, near Orwell, Ohio, police found thousands of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps and the video.

Yazidi has been linked to addresses in a number of states, including Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York and Indiana, Campos said.

But police do not believe Yazidi is funding terrorism in Yemen.

Wendy Osborne of the Indiana FBI said she could not confirm or deny whether the FBI is investigating Yazidi.
So let me get this straight. The cops raid the guy's girlfriend's apartment, find items consistent with A) terrorist sympathies (the videos) and B) known methods of financing terror (the tax stamps), and they won't either 'confirm or deny' that they're investigating further? Look. If he's under investigation, why not say so? It's not like the rest of his cell won't already know he's been arrested. If he's not under investigation, what are they waiting for, a buggy bomb to go off in front of Yoder's farm? And if by chance he's not funneling money to Hizballah or whoever, what better way to clear his name than "We investigated further and determined there is no link between Mr. Yazidi and terrorism?"

If you're not clear on the role counterfeit cigarette tax stamps play in financing terrorism, read this. Indeed, given that Charlotte, Michigan (the town mentioned in that story) is less than 90 minutes drive from LaGrange, it's possible that Yazidi was in on that exact scam!

Back to the Journal-Gazette story:

The counterfeit cigarette tax stamps Ohio police found in the house - where Yazidi was staying - look like official stamps issued by state governments, said Detective Chet McNabb of the Trumbull-Ashtabula-Geauga Law Enforcement Task Force.

The stamps, which are legally required to be affixed to packs of cigarettes sold everywhere but on Indian reservations, are clear cellophane, with writing in black or blue ink, McNabb said. The counterfeit stamps - made on a computer - are stuck to packs bought at Indian reservations and then sold for full price.

"They'll take them to mom and pop stores, Arabic stores, put fake tax stamps on them, sell them for full price," McNabb said. "Eventually that money gets funneled back into the system to go back oversees. That's one of the ways (terrorists) get money."

Several Indian reservations are in New York, within a three-hour drive of Trumbull and Ashtabula counties.

McNabb said the task force found no cigarettes in Yazidi's girlfriend's house.

Police also found a video that showed "buildings, vehicles, all sorts of things being blown up," McNabb said.

"I have no way of knowing what it is, what it relates to," he said. "I don't know the language, so I don't know what they're saying."

But the video is definitely of Mideastern origin, McNabb said. The FBI terrorism task force out of Cleveland plans to examine it today.
Three guesses what it'll say. First two don't count.

Posted by Chris at 03:49 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Local Stuff

March 12, 2004

How Many Nuggets Can You Get From An Eight-Foot Chicken, Anyway?

PETA brought their wacked-out animal supremacist freak show to a Fort Wayne elementary school yesterday:

Representatives from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals showed up at the school on Cook Road as promised at the end of the school day to give kids "Chicken Chumps" trading cards. The cards, with names such as "Cruel Kyle," "Sickly Sally" and "Tubby Tammy," show children eating chicken and looking miserable.
When I saw this on the news last night, I was all ready to go nuclear on the local school administration for allowing this to happen until I learned that the Chikkken Corps stayed on the public sidewalk instead of school property. I am happy to hear that parents didn't take too kindly to the idea:
Carol Mills, who walks her children home from the school every day, was furious about the activity.

"They don't even understand," she said. "How mature are these people to come harass elementary school kids because they eat chicken nuggets? Are they serious?"

The PETA representatives, including a person in an 8-foot-tall chicken costume, were barred from school grounds and warned by crossing guards to stay out of the way of children. When school officials kept children from crossing the road near the chicken, Ravi Chand, PETA vegan campaign coordinator, and the chicken moved to the other end of the sidewalk closer to the children.
Nor did the school board:
School board Secretary Jon Olinger, who visited the school Thursday, said an elementary school was the wrong place for PETA to spread its message.

"I think it's pathetic that they're aiming a political message at 8-, 9-, 10-, 11-year-olds," he said. "It's a professional terrorist organization as far as I'm concerned."
I think Mr. Olinger has it exactly right. People for the Ethical Equal Treatment of Animals are trying to get us to recognize rights animals don't have. I say it all the time: for the vast majority of practicioners, veganism/vegetarianism (and I don't care enough to learn the distinction) is an animal-worshipping religion based on guilt over the fact that humans are sentient and animals are not. In fact, if I'd heard about this in time, I would have made a big placard that said "This is the god PETA worships" with an arrow, and just followed the chicken around. It's a public sidewalk, right? They wouldn't be able to stop me!

And I think it's pretty clear that this kind of thing doesn't play well here:

Countering their demonstration was Jay Thompson of Huntertown, who was handing out raccoon tails and holding a sign that read, "Wildlife Population Control Specialist."

He said PETA's message is not appropriate for elementary-age children.

"There is an ethical way to treat and teach children," said Thompson, who owns Land and Lakes Outfitters, a bait and tackle shop in Huntertown.

[PETA vegan campaign coordinator Ravi] Chand was able to distribute cards to just a handful of children - most of whom were from Shawnee. The cards, modeled after the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, illustrate the cruelty the organization said chickens are subjected to and the ill health PETA said comes from eating them.

"Chickens should be our friends not food," said 14-year-old Chance Kuruda, although he said he eats chicken.

So will he continue to do so, even after what PETA had to say?

"Yeah," he answered.

There's one more thing about this that really bugs me. There's a high school just down the road, and some of those students can even vote! Why did they target elementary school students? The only reason I can see is that little kids are more easily swayed by the "don't hurt the cute little chicks" non-argument. Scumbags.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go kill an animal and eat it.

Update: My friend Jim says that PETA's tour (and it actually is a tour; look on the 'Press Releases' tab under for the story, since I refuse to link to it here) is targeting elementary schools rather than high schools because they can intimidate little kids, but high schoolers can intimidate them (or at least mock the hell out of the dork in the chicken suit).

It's also been pointed out to me that my idea for a 'This is the god PETA worships' protest sign is designed to get an emotional response from the predominantly conservative Christian population, which is more than a little hypocritical given my attitudes towards religion in general. I disagree with that; my religious beliefs are irrelevant to this issue.

And it's not like I'm wearing an eight-foot Jesus costume.

Posted by Chris at 11:05 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Local Stuff

March 05, 2004

Big Cat Road Trip?

A preliminary injunction against Gary Dutcher evicts his cats:

An Allen Superior judge ruled Tuesday that a man housing four wildcats in his northeast Allen County home must remove the animals until the final outcome of the lawsuit filed against him by his neighborhood association. Judge Stanley Levine issued the preliminary injunction calling for the removal of the animals after a hearing Tuesday afternoon.

During the hearing, Gary L. Dutcher, 32, testified that he has already removed the animals from his home, [address redacted]. Attempts to reach him Tuesday night were not successful.

It was not known late Tuesday where he took the animals.
I think about what started this mess and it makes me wonder exactly how he removed the cats. Did he just pile them into his Camaro, drive until he hit something, then pop the door and say "Right. Off you go, then?"

Posted by Chris at 12:43 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Local Stuff

February 27, 2004

Halt! Neighborhood Association!

Update to the story of a Fort Wayne man who wrecked his car and let his cougar escape: he's now being sued by his neighborhood association to force him to get rid of his three remaining wild cats (another cougar and two fifty-pound servals):

An Allen County man housing wildcats at his home not only faces criminal charges but also must contend with a civil lawsuit filed by his neighbors, seeking permanent removal of the animals. Gary L. Dutcher, 31, was charged last month with leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor; operating a vehicle while his license was suspended, an infraction; and maintaining a public nuisance, an ordinance violation.

Dutcher crashed his car on Stellhorn Road near Lahmeyer Road Jan. 31 while hauling his 150-pound cougar named Samson home from a veterinary clinic. The wildcat fled the car and eventually had to be shot and killed in the 7000 block of Stellhorn despite efforts by emergency workers to tranquilize the animal.

. . .

On Monday, Still Water Place Community Association sued Dutcher, seeking the eventual permanent removal of the wild animals. The lawsuit alleges he has broken restrictive covenants established for the neighborhood because the animals are "inherently extremely dangerous."

. . .

The lawsuit notes the escape of Dutcher's cougar in January shows the need for the immediate removal of the animals "before another of the animals escapes from its enclosure to roam the community or, worse, attacks humans and other animals."
Personally, I think the 'leaving the scene of an accident' charge is a bit much (reports are that he left the scene of the accident to CHASE THE ESCAPED COUGAR!), but the guy probably should have read his neighborhood association's by-laws, which (I'm guessing) had some verbiage along the lines of "NO CATS THAT CAN KILL YOU!".

But I probably shouldn't expect Dutcher to pay real close attention to legal issues...

About one month before Dutcher crashed his car and the cougar escaped, he was arrested on drunken driving charges. He pleaded guilty earlier this month and is awaiting sentencing, scheduled for March 1.

In May 2003, he was sentenced to 18 months probation for impersonating a U.S. marshal in October 2002.

Posted by Chris at 04:48 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Local Stuff

February 20, 2004

Missed Him By That Much...

I had an exam in my networking class Monday night, so I went to campus a couple of hours early for some last minute studying. I got to the student union bare moments after the end of a lecture by International Socialist Solidarity Movement co-founder Adam Shapiro. Dammit dammit dammit! I pay my dues to the VRWC precisely so I can have advance notice of things like this! At the very least, I could have taken notes for a vigorous fisking later; with a little more lead time, I would have been able to ask embarrasing questions like:

  • Why are you still perpetuating the fraud that the IDF massacred innocent bystanders in the Jenin refugee camp when in fact there was no such massacre?
  • Do you still support the Palestinians' right to resist through "legitimate armed struggle?" How exactly do you define "legitimate armed struggle?"
  • Do you condemn Palestinian suicide bombing? Do you deny that New Jersey ISM chapter leader Charlotte Kates said "Why is there something particularly horrible about 'suicide bombing' - except for the extreme dedication conveyed in the resistance fighter's willingness to use his or her own body to fight?"
  • Why do you not endorse the Roadmap? What do you think would happen to Israeli Jews under a one-state Palestine?
  • Don't you think your energies in the occupied territories would be better spent keeping the Palestinians from perpetuating their culture of hatred than in overtly suborning yourselves to terrorist groups?
And that's just off the top of my head.

Posted by Chris at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

February 03, 2004

They're Called 'Wild' For A Reason

We had our own When Animals Attack moment in the Fort this weekend:

Fort Wayne police, after a four-hour search, shot and killed a cougar that had gotten loose in northeast Fort Wayne on Saturday night. Sampson, a tan-colored, 4-year-old cougar, belonged to Gary Dutcher of Allen County, and escaped from his car when it slid off Stellhorn Road near Lahmeyer Road just before 7 p.m., police and state conservation officers said.

The search ended just north of Stellhorn Road about 11 p.m.

The cougar was hiding in the bushes of a residence. A Fort Wayne animal control officer fired several shots from a tranquilizer gun and the cat became agitated and tried to jump on a police officer.

Police then fired two shotgun rounds, killing the cat, police spokesman Tom Rhoades said.
Apparently Dutcher was on his way home from a vet checkup for the cougar when he put his car in the ditch. As he got out of his car, the cougar -- who was not caged or otherwise restrained -- escaped (different story in the next day's paper):
The animal was not in a cage and, even though mildly sedated, ran from the car and was found about four hours later hiding in the bushes near the Hupe Insurance Services, 7011 Stellhorn Road. To protect the public, members of Fort Wayne's Emergency Services Team surrounded the area. An animal control officer fired two tranquilizer darts into Sampson, but police said they were forced to shoot and kill the cat when it began running south toward some homes.
Interestingly, the print edition of that day's paper said the cougar attacked a police officer.
No one was injured. Dutcher, who could not be reached for comment, was cited for causing a public nuisance - which carries a fine of up to $2,500, according to Belinda Lewis, the city's director of animal control. Lewis said it is unclear whether the law required Sampson to be caged during transport, but she said a cage should have been used and had been requested by the veterinarian.
Where the hell's my clue-by-four when I really need it?
  • Use a cage. Repeat: USE. A. CAGE!
  • So a cage that big won't fit in a Camaro. Dude doesn't have a pickup truck?
  • If it was a routine checkup, why make the trip in crappy weather (granted, it was only a mile or two if he was going where I think he was)?
Dutcher and the local authorities will cross paths again on this issue, and Dutcher will most likely lose:
Dutcher has been keeping wild cats for about six years, and last year had two mountain lions and three servals, or African wildcats. Lewis said the servals were kept in cages in the garage while the mountain lions - Sampson and a female, Delilah, were in backyard cages surrounded by barbed wire and an electric privacy fence. Sampson had been declawed.

Even though Dutcher has a federal permit to keep and exhibit his cats, Dutcher might have to give them up or move when his home in the 8300 block of Chapel Bend Drive is annexed into the city next year. City ordinance prevents residents from keeping exotic or dangerous wild animals.

Some of Dutcher's Stillwater Place neighbors began objecting to his cats as far back as 1999, complaining about the odor and worrying what might happen should one of them get loose.

Dutcher, a member of the Midwest Exotic Feline Education Association, told The News-Sentinel in 1999 he and other members keep big cats to protect species that are becoming increasingly rare. "They're like children to me," he said. "We take very good care of them. I've gone to every length to make sure everything here is safe. You've got to know how to handle them."
I hear this and I think of Timothy Treadwell and Aime Hugenard saying Alaskan brown bears are mostly harmless "party animals" a year and a half before getting mauled to death by one.

Update: has a page documenting incidents involving captive cats. Verrrrrry interesting.

Posted by Chris at 03:52 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Local Stuff

December 13, 2003

Most People In Retail Are Morons

OK, not really, but sometimes it seems like that. Take today: my son and I went to the local [names changed, a bit, to protect the stupid] 'GameInsane' store (you know, the one that's connected to 'CapitalOfTheMovieBiz Video') to trade in his old DreamCast. I had a hard time letting it go, since I was halfway through an undefeated season for Michigan on NCAA 2K1. But I digress. Anyway, we get there at about 10:30, and the place is already pretty busy. We get the thing traded in and get ready to leave, then my son decides he wants to get something at the store right then. I'm not in a hurry, so I say OK. We have to get back to the end of the line, of course, but there's only four people in front of us so I figure 5-10 minutes, tops.

Fifteen minutes later, there are still three people in front of us. I wasn't paying attention before (as in 'why the hell did it take 15 minutes to take care of one person?'), but I start listening now. These Einsteins can't decide which creaky old system to buy - an original PlayStation or an original GameBoy. This is revealed through a detailed conversation with the lone counterdroid, interrupted by occasional phone calls which the counterdroid answers and fully processes - despite the fact that there are now two more people behind us!

Five minutes after that, the guy behind me gives up and leaves. I was trying to decide whether to leave or just throw $20 at Mrs. Mobile Home and say "Jesus H. Break-Dancing Christ, woman, here! Buy them both! But for the love of God, let's move this freaking line along!" Right about then, another salesdroid comes in. Now I'm thinking "Great. He'll fire up the other cash register and deal with the people who aren't actually brain-damaged and know what they want to buy." No such luck - salesdroid #2 heads right into the back of the store to do, hell, I don't know what, but it sure ain't helping us any.

Now, I've never worked in retail, but there are some things that I believe are self-evident:

  • First, if I'm the only guy in the store, and I'm faced with line of six customers, I don't take any phone calls longer than "Our store hours are 10 AM to 9 PM." Anything longer than that gets a "please hold." Potential customers are on the phone. Actual customers are in line right now, waiting patiently to give you money!
  • Second, If I show up at work and my buddy has a line of six customers waiting, I should conclude that nothing I might do in the back room is of higher priority than, you know, actually servicing customers!
  • OK, let's assume that the second register didn't actually work. How about getting Mr. Late Arrival to help your cheap-ass indecisive lady while you take our money?
Neither of them figured that one out. So we left.

Posted by Chris at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

November 06, 2003


Nothing for the next few days, as I'll be attending PENTACON. Maybe I'll do a post-mortem when I get back on Sunday night. Don't hold your breath, though - I say that every year.

Posted by Chris at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

November 02, 2003

So How'd It End?

A couple of you have asked how my son's football team's playoff game went. Sadly, they lost. Happily, they played tough, leading 8-6 at halftime and only losing 14-8 to the eventual city champions (the same team that thrashed them by twenty-plus points in the season opener). I'm proud of the way my son stuck with it when it looked like there was no hope, and happy that they were able to turn things around in the second half of the year.

Posted by Chris at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

October 10, 2003

Of Performance And Fairness

My son's team, having gotten a taste of victory last week, apparently liked it a lot, because they won again yesterday (hanging another bagel on their opponents to boot!). Now, at 2-3, they're in the playoffs. Due to the state of sports reporting around here (what do you mean, I can't get daily news, scores, and standings for middle school football? I'm shocked, I tell you! Shocked!), I don't know anything about the team they're playing next week in the first round.

I opined to flower_goddess that since they were 2-3, they were probably the lowest seed or close to it, and would thus be playing the highest seed (or thereabouts) in the first round. Her response: "Well, that's hardly fair! They're going to get killed!" I replied, "That's how playoffs almost always work - the worst team to qualify plays the best team first, and the middle teams play each other." She wasn't seeing eye-to-eye with that model: "If the best team is really the best team, they should have to play the second-best team first to prove it!"

I was so floored by this statement, which runs counter to, well, my entire lifetime of What I Know To Be True About Sports, that I couldn't even respond for a minute. Eventually, I came up with a few alternative lines of argumentation:

  • "The reward for finishing first is the easiest path through the playoffs. In fact, most playoffs re-roll after every round to ensure that the best surviving team faces the worst surviving team in the next round."
  • "Your way wouldn't be fair to either the #1 or #2 teams. There's no incentive to finishing hard if your reward is to play the other best team first."
  • "Why reward the teams that just barely squeak into the playoffs with a game against another weak team first?"
It can be observed that all those grow from the "there should be some incentive to do well in the regular season" argument. Didn't matter; none of that made any impression on her.

Do you think I went overboard when I said "If women ran football, not only wouldn't there be a playoff, they wouldn't even keep score!" ?

Posted by Chris at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

October 02, 2003

Monkey Off Our Back

This is my son's fourth year of organized football. Before yesterday, his teams (three seasons of PAL football and the current season of his middle school team) were a combined 0-20-1. Some lowlights:

  • His teams were 0-1-1 in games designed to get the two worst teams together to give one of them a chance to win.
  • Last year, his team gave up more points in their best defensive effort (24) than they scored all year total (6).
  • They also allowed more total points on interception returns (18) than they scored.
  • They also allowed more total points on safeties (8) than they scored.
  • They also gave up more total points to second- and third-string units (12) than they scored.
  • In three years of PAL football, his teams had 4 games with positive net yards. Total.
  • Also in that time span, they averaged two first downs per game.
And his team was 0-3 so far this year: 36-12, 24-0, 28-22. That last one was simultaneously hopeful and heartbreaking - after taking the lead, they gave up a Hail Mary on the last play of the first half (nobody bothered to cover the receiver). They took the lead again and gave up another bomb (nobody bothered to cover the reciever). They took the lead a third time and gave up yet another bomb (and still, nobody bothered to cover the receiver). They finally lost the game in overtime.

So yesterday was the Bruin Bowl, where the two middle schools that feed the high school play in the high school's stadium. Although it isn't the last game of the season, it's usually the high point since they get to play where the Big Boys play, at night with lights, with a P.A. announcer, and all that. Anyway, their opponents came in 2-1, and I was all ready to to have to console my son after yet another blowout.

A funny thing happened on the way to the beating. After forcing the other team three-and-out, we scored on a beautiful 40-yard pass on our first play. After forcing another three-and-out, we returned the punt inside the 20 and scored two plays later. Well, it went on like that all game, and when the siren sounded (a siren! really!) at the end, his team had won 28-0, and we were finally on the other side of the kind of thrashing we were used to receiving.

There's a cliche about feeling like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Most cliches are cliches (i.e., overused) because they have more than a grain of truth to them. As I walked down the ramp and out of the stadium, I truly did feel like I no longer had a burden I was accustomed to carrying, when flower_goddess and I would try to sneak back to the car without being noticed because we just got pounded again. My son wanted to quit after the 24-0 game earlier this year -- he literally believed that he was a jinx to his team. The same group of kids had gone 5-2 the previous year, and the only difference this year were the addition of him and a couple of other kids who graduated from PAL. We were able to convince him to stick it out mainly by making him consider how he'd feel if he quit and the team then won a game.

Fortunately, now he'll never have to know.

Posted by Chris at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff