williamthomasw5I was down in The States last week – feet up on a balcony of a lodge in New York State that looks out over the Pennsylvania countryside – thumbing through a pile of U.S. newspapers.

The hiking was great until I saw a “Catch Of The Day” photo in the French Creek General Store of a 580-lb. black bear shot and killed by an Amish hunter.  Walking in the bush, I don’t know which scared me more – hungry bears the size of Volkswagens or a guy with a gun whose religion forbids him to wear prescription glasses?!?

Anyway, the human interest stories in American newspapers never fail to provide full-value entertainment.  A woman named Jenna Krehbid, attending the Isis Shrine Circus in Salina, Kansas left her seat in the big top during the clown’s performance to use the facilities.  Entering the women’s washroom she was immediately confronted by a full-grown Bengal tiger.  She screamed and the tiger flinched.  Then she bolted and the tiger was subsequently captured by circus staff and returned to his cage.  Not sure where Jenna did her business – on the spot or in another washroom, but Ang Lee has already purchased an option on the movie rights to her story.  Working title:  Life Of Pee.

Under politics, I see where Jean Quan, the mayor of Oakland, California got herself into a real pickle last week.  Amid a 40% spike in burglaries last year in Oakland, the mayor heartily promoted a city-sponsored educational class on how to pick locks.  The class was originally designed for people who needed to get into their vehicles after losing their keys but after the mayor’s celebrity endorsement, people with aspirations to become car thieves signed up as well.

The mayor has apologized and promised to do a better job of reviewing class listings in the future.

With the city averaging 33 burglaries a day, the mayor should also be very careful about presenting all those keys to the city.  It’ll be her office that gets burglarized next.  The bottom line:  nobody was jailed in this unfortunate incident because really, what good would it have done.  They now know how to pick locks!!!

A small town in Ontario made the pages of American newspapers last week.  You know how you’re sitting around a table and there’s just one stuffed mushroom left on the tray and everybody in the room is too polite to polish it off.  Yeah, well apparently they don’t have that problem in Lindsay, Ontario.

A 39-year-old woman became more than a little angry that her 41-year-old live-in boyfriend just assumed that because he’s a man, he should get the last beer in the fridge.  When police arrived at the home, they found both combatants completely drenched in chips and dip.  I can’t tell you how proud that makes me feel, reading a U.S. newspaper with the headline:  “Canadian Couple Charged In Chip Dip Assault Over Beer.”  If the copy editor had somehow managed to work the word ‘hockey’ into that headline, I think I would have teared up or had to pack up and come home.  In America they’re battling over gun control; in Canada it’s the last can of Labatt’s Blue.

No details on who actually did get the last beer but from what I read, neither of them really needed the first fourteen.  It had to be the woman who called police because the man would have already been on his cell, calling the Beer Store to see how late they were open.

I can’t wait for the trial.  Plain or ruffles?  Pre-packaged dip or the kind you make stirring French onion soup mix into a bowl of sour cream?  Man, I love that stuff.  Better they went at it with chips and dip rather than something served on skewers.  Police are not releasing their names until next of kin have time to leave town.

Finally, the cashier at Family Dollar in Lithonia, Georgia faced down an armed robber last week.  Confronted by a marked man with a handgun who demanded the money in the till, the woman calmly explained that she could only open the cash register by ringing up a purchase.  The man then bought a Reese’s Pieces bar and emptied the till before fleeing.  The unnamed female cashier is now up for some sort of citation for bravery and “Sales Lady Of The Month.”

I reminded myself that newspapers were supposed to be informative and thought-provoking and maybe even enlightening.  But after reading those four papers, all I could think of was how furious Ricky was going to be when he got home from the club and found out what Lucy and Ethel had been up to.

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