NEWS OF THE WEIRD

TRAINING DAY

A June 2016 police raid on David Jessen’s Fresno County (California) farmhouse caused a $150,000 mess when sheriff’s deputies and Clovis Police Department officers “rescued” it from a trespassing homeless man — with the massive destruction leading to Jessen’s lawsuit announced in March. The misdemeanant helped himself to an ice cream bar, some milk and half a tomato, but was otherwise “unarmed”; however, by the time the police standoff ended, the “crime scene” included more than 50 cop cars, a SWAT team (and backups), two helicopters, standby ambulances, a police robot, and a crisis negotiation team. Windows, walls and wrought-iron doors were destroyed; tear gas and a “flash bomb” were employed. (Jessen suspects that the farmhouse’s isolation enticed police to decide that it presented an excellent training opportunity.) [TechDirt, 3-13-2017]

CRIME REPORT

–Paul Perry Jr., 39, sound asleep behind the wheel of his car, with motor running, at 6 a.m. on April 2, was in no position to talk his way out of a DUI ticket, but did offer a gentle challenge to the Youngstown, Ohio, police officer. Several times, according to the police report, Perry offered to “thumb wrestle” the officer to get out of the ticket. From the report: “Perry was advised officers would not thumb-wrestle him.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 4-4-2017]

— At a time of growing awareness that some people seem almost addicted to their cellphones and instant 24/7 communication, police in Brookfield, Wisconsin, released surveillance photos of a woman in the act of robbing banks on March 25 and 27 — while standing at teller counters and talking on the phone during the entire episodes. Acting on a tip from the photos, police arrested Sarah Kraus, 33, on March 28. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3-29-2017]

THE PASSING PARADE

(1) In same-day competition in March, perennial Guinness Book records jockeys Zoe L’Amore and Ashrita Furman squared off over the record for stopping blades on an electric table fan the most times in one minute using only their tongues. On Italian TV, L’Amore stopped blades 32 times, but Furman, at a different venue, later stopped 35. (2) Norway unseated Denmark as the world’s “happiest” country, according to the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network. (There was no word on whether Denmark was unhappy about losing the top spot.) [UPI News, 3-31-2017] [Reuters, 3-20-2017]

LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS

The eight elite Ivy League universities are better thought of as “hedge fund(s) with classes,” according to a March report by the activist Open The Books, and thus there is little reason for taxpayers to have given them the more than $41 billion in grants and entitlements they received over a recent six-year period. The schools are already legendary for their $119 billion “endowments” (based on donations from alumni and aggressive investment). Those endowments are enough, according to Open The Books, that (assuming donations continue to arrive at the same pace) schools could provide free tuition to every student in the eight schools — in perpetuity. (Even if no new donations are made, the eight schools could provide such free tuition for 51 years.) [Fox News, 3-29-2017]

BRIGHT IDEAS

A Mexico City rider looks at the anatomically correct “penis seat” with shock and disgust. The sign above reads, “exclusive for men”.

In January, local government and sexual-assault critics unveiled a consciousness-raising exhibit on Mexico City’s trains: a plastic seat onto which is subtly molded contours of a male body, except with genitals sharply exposed. (Men supposedly have been spotted absentmindedly lowering themselves onto the seat only to leap up in shock.) A note on the floor by the body read (in Spanish): “It’s uncomfortable to sit here, but that’s nothing compared to the sexual violence suffered by women on their commute.” [New York Times, 3-31-2017] ]