The world continues to entertain


I’m constantly surfing the Web.
Coastal Point

If I’m home, chances are pretty good that my iPhone is in my hand and navigating me from one Web site to the next. I usually click on a headline that grabs my attention, only to click on to the next one filed under “related stories.” It’s an endless game of chasing the story or blog until my eyes close and I predictably find myself in dreamland.

This is both good and bad. On one hand, I usually end up a little smarter than when I started simply because of the onslaught of information I’ve stumbled across. On the other hand, I often tune out everything else going on around me and I’m left maybe a little more dumb about the things that are actually in my life than when I started.

Let’s call it a wash.

Regardless, there are always interesting things out there to read. And interesting people.

For instance, I came across an Associated Press story on msnbc.com about a book publishing house that has had to recall nearly 1 million home-improvement books because, well, they didn’t work.

According to the story, Oxmoor House recalled the books last Friday “because of errors that could lead do-it-yourselfers to make risky mistakes while installing or repairing electrical wiring.”

I feel like I’m missing something here. If one were to write a do-it-yourself book as a source of information for others, shouldn’t the author — oh, I don’t know — understand how to do it himself? I’m not going to write a book about something I don’t understand, like fly-fishing, carpentry or the allure of reality television.

But would you like to hear something really funny about this story? AP reported that bookstores have sold these recalled books since January 1975. You would think that at some point over the past 35 years it would have come up that readers were electrocuting themselves.

The story that made me laugh the most over the past week took place in Florida, and was also reported by AP. Officials from the sheriff’s office in Monroe County said they discovered marijuana plants growing in a wooded lot and subsequently confiscated them. The police then left a note behind with a phone number and the message, “Thanks for the grow! You want them back? Call for the price.”

According to police, Steven Alan Locasio called the number about 10 minutes later, offered $200 for the plants and agreed to meet the detectives for the exchange. He was arrested.

I’m laughing at two things here. Obviously, the fact that the guy called the number and was then locked up got me chuckling. But the mental image of the police giggling while they wrote the note, and the shock that had to be on their faces when the guy called had me laughing out loud.

A Reuters story that I came across on Yahoo! News also got my attention. According to the story, Poland’s tax office has fined an unemployed woman about $820,000 for failing to pay tax on income she earned as a prostitute. The story was brief, and left me with more questions than answers. Did she come in to the tax office with receipts? What could she write off as a business expense? Was Charlie Sheen involved in all this?

My next search brought me back to Florida, and the story of a renegade scofflaw who was locked up in the big house over Thanksgiving.

The msnbc.com story reported that Gabrielle Shaink Trudeau, 78, was arrested for driving on a suspended/revoked license and served 15 days in jail before being released. Public defenders failed to appear at her initial court appearance, according to the story, and no assistant public defender met with her at the jail. So Trudeau sat. And waited. When she was finally arraigned, 15 days later, prosecutors dropped the charges and the judge let her go.

Who says our system has some problems?

An Associated Press story this week told of a Washington woman who wanted revenge on her husband, who had told her he was leaving her. To get back at him, the woman tampered with the wiring on his power tools and the man was knocked to the ground when he tried to use his table saw after receiving a shock.

Maybe she just used the wrong do-it-yourself book.

But, of course, I digress.