News of the Weird

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • December 28, 2012 - 2:21 PM

The head of the Perse School in Cambridge, England, recently instituted a "10-Second Rule" for minor disciplinary infractions: Students could avoid punishment if they quickly produced a clever explanation for their misbehavior. "Getting children to talk their way out of a tight corner in a very short period," said Ed Elliott, encourages creativity and could produce a generation of British entrepreneurs. Said a supporter, "Often the ones who get further are the artful dodgers," who "bend the truth." Elliott warned, though, that "out-and-out falseness" would not be tolerated.

Betting ring had odds on kids' games

Sheriff's officials in Deerfield Beach, Fla., arrested nine people in October and charged them in a betting ring that set point spreads and took bets not only on pro and college games but on kids' games of the South Florida Youth Football League. About 6,000 children play in the 22-team association.

Bad guys foiled

(1) Police in Geraldton, Australia, reported in November that they had captured a thief they were chasing in the dark through a neighborhood's back yards. As the thief came to a fence and leaped over it, he happened to land on a family's trampoline and was propelled backward, practically into cops' laps. (2) Guy Black, 76, was charged in Turbotville, Pa., in October with threatening housemate Ronald Tanner with a chainsaw. Tanner, defending himself with the only "weapon" within reach -- an umbrella -- managed to pin Black with it as the chainsaw jammed.

Crime-free day in the Big Apple

Deputy NYPD Commissioner Paul Browne told reporters in November that in the 24 hours of Monday, Nov. 26, not a single criminal shooting, stabbing, or slashing was reported in the five boroughs. Browne said no police official could remember such a day, ever.

Remembering the fish

In October, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals petitioned Irvine, Calif., to create a roadside memorial for the truckload of live fish that had perished in a recent traffic accident. On the other hand, the traffic casualties that day were en route to the Irvine Ranch Market to be sold as food.

Healing with silence?

"Braco," a Croatian-born "healer" -- although he rejects the term -- seems to make legions of sick or troubled believers feel better merely by entering a room and gazing at them in silence for a few minutes before leaving. A Washington Post reporter, seeking relief from his allergies, attended a 100-person session in Alexandria, Va., in October but found no improvement. "Whatever is flowing through him," said one transfixed fan, "is able to connect with a part of us." Another enthusiast said, "the thing that makes Braco unique is he really doesn't do anything."

High school inspirations

(1) Trent Bauer became a midseason replacement as starting quarterback for Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, Ky., after beginning the season as the team's bulldog-costumed mascot on the sidelines. In his first game, in October, he threw two touchdown passes in a 22-19 victory. (2) Also in October, South Plantation (Fla.) High School's third-string quarterback, Erin DiMeglio, was voted the school's homecoming queen. In her first game this season, she came off the bench in a brief stint and completed two passes.

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