Dog day afternoon He may claim that he's just an animal lover, but the long arm of the law caught up with an 18-year-old from Ashtabula, Ohio, anyway.
Now, he stands accused of stealing a Rottweiler from the back of a pickup truck and has been leashed to another theft, as well.
When a police officer investigating a car theft at a nearby car dealership, got a 911 call to also check out a dog theft, he happened to notice the 18-year-old leading the dog across the lot by its collar. According to the Associated Press, he told the cop he had found the dog in the woods and asked if he could keep it. ``No, I have to find the owner,'' the officer replied.
The dog's owner, now on the scene, then identified Fido. To make matters worse, the car lot owner recognized the young man as a possible suspect in the theft there several weeks earlier of some tires and wheels. A surveillance tape had recorded the heist, and a witness also identified him as the wheel thief. (Or is that real thief?)
Perhaps he should consider another line of ``work.''
The next item came to Marketplace via the Internet, among a list of so called ``Idiot Sightings.'' It's a classic:
Police in a Pennsylvania town supposedly interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and ``connecting'' it with wires to a photocopy machine. Then the message ``He's lying'' was placed in the copier.
Each time the cops thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth they pressed the copy button. Believing the ``lie detector'' was working, the suspect eventually confessed.
A guy like that should be locked up—for his own safety.
The road less travelled
Motorists and passers-by in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles may do a double take over the new billboards Saturn Corp. has put up to plug the debut of its L-series mid-sized car.
They feature a life-sized L-series— the car itself, not just a picture—attached to billboards, with tire tracks suggesting the car drove off the highway and onto the display. If it rains, the windshield wipers wipe; at night the lights come on. (In the event of an asteroid attack, do the air bags deploy?)
Of course, in L.A. and the Big Apple the traffic's so bad some motorists may want to consider the ``off-road'' route. But they'll need a set of those special suction cup tires.
Have lead foot will travel—A driving instructor in Norwalk, Conn., is facing charges for going 120 mph on the Merritt Parkway while driving a 16-year-old girl to Greenwich, Conn., to practice parallel parking.
The state's Division of Motor Vehicles politely points out that the guy's license was already suspended. Guess that pretty much nails shut his future as a pizza delivery "engineer."
Yeah, but what did he die of?— Our sister publication, AutoWeek, ran across a classified ad for a 1981 Escort hatchback with only 38k original miles. The car had one owner who, the ad said, "died at 77, has cracked head, $500 or best offer." So what's the problem with the vehicle?
Tell us again why we should patronize your business— While cruising the Internet, we found a "home page" for a company called Obsolete Automotive. Nothing like selling your strength in your name, we always say.
Actually, the Ontario, Canada-based operation provides hard-to-get parts "and more" for British sports cars, such as the Triumph Spitfire, MG Midget and Austin Healey. Its aim: "Keep classic British cars on the road." Good show, chaps!
This one didn't bite back
A driver on Germany's Autobahn recently ran over a "gator" in the roadway and is seeking damages for a punctured tire. But it's not what you might think.
Police weren't sure how the 12-year-old crocodile, who answered to the name "Charly," ended up there, but a circus owner called authorities to say the croc—his star act—was missing in transit. He speculated Charly fell out of his tank when the trailer went over a rut.
The owner said Charly "wouldn't do harm to anybody." (Well, not anymore!) "He was so tame, his trainer used to kiss him and take him to receptions on a lead."
OK, so all you purists out there can correct us about gators and crocs not being the same. This is called "editorial license."
Well, they've gone and done it.
As the battle periodically rages over whether or not to charge for air, David Leibowitz, a columnist for the Arizona Republic, had a rude awakening recently when he stopped at a Circle K, ``shiny quarter in hand, desperate to inflate my right front tire.''
Instead, he found that the price of air had doubled. To 50 cents. Since he knew of ``no scientific reason why the air in Arizona has doubled in price,'' he was left with the conclusion that it's ``pure corporate greed.''
Actually, the store chain's parent firm doesn't own the air machines but instead rents the space to vendors, a spokeswoman explained. When the company found out about the cost increase, she said it forced the contractors to roll back the prices. To a quarter.
Mr. Leibowitz called for consumers to take a stand about free air, citing as his inspiration legislation in California from Assemblywoman Nell Soto, who has sponsored a bill declaring air and water essential to the safe operation of motor vehicles. ``Therefore, public safety requires that free air and water be accessible at all service stations.''
Despite a lot of bellyaching from petroleum industry lobbyists, the bill passed the California Assembly and has moved on to the state Senate.
Ms. Soto was quoted as saying: ``They used to be service stations, and they had to give you service. Now, if you're lucky, you get a human being to take your money.''
Yes, to air is human. But a lot of people draw a line in the grease when it comes to charging for it.
And speaking of charging for air...apparently some airlines are pushing the government to reduce standards for the amount of fresh air they must pump into their airplanes' cabins. What? You say it's already pretty vile?
Christopher Elliott, an Annapolis, Md.-based writer also known as ``The Crabby Traveler,'' recently discussed the situation in the travel column he does for the ABC-News Website. Under current fed guidelines, he noted, each passenger and crew compartment must be ventilated with at least 15 cubic feet of fresh air per minute.
But the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers recently drafted a new standard for commercial aircraft that calls for a minimum rate of five cubic feet per minute of outdoor air per person. It isn't expected to be considered for approval until next summer.
No one knows how the reduced rate might affect passengers, Mr. Elliott wrote, but at least one medical expert told him passengers with asthma or heart conditions might be at greater risk, and it could trigger more incidents of ``air rage,'' the cousin of ``road rage.''
Why the change? If you guessed buckos, please proceed to the first-class cabin. American Airlines, for example, would save $40 million in fuel cost every year by recirculating 50 percent of its cabin air, according to estimates.
So if the new regs pass, next year when you travel to a trade show or business meeting and deplane feeling a little light-headed, it may not be the alcoholic beverage you consumed, but rather the lack of air you breathed.