News of the Weird: Carpool lane driver got crafty

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • Wire services
  • February 1, 2013 - 2:44 PM

California activist Jonathan Frieman finally got his day in court in January, but a Marin County judge quickly rejected his argument that he is entitled to use the state’s carpool lanes accompanied only by a sheaf of corporate papers in the passenger seat. The judge decided that the state legislature’s carpool law was intended only to reduce traffic clutter and that driving with no passenger except corporate papers was unrelated to that goal. Frieman told reporters that he had been carrying the papers around for years, hoping to be challenged.

Recordbreaking ‘run’

In November, Tokyo’s Kenichi Ito, 29, bested his own Guinness World Record by a full second (down to 17.47 seconds) in the 100-meter dash — on all fours. Ito runs like a Patas monkey, which he has long admired, and which inspired him nine years ago to take up “four-legged” running. He reported trouble only once, when he went to the mountains to train and was shot at by a hunter who mistook him for a wild boar.

Cellphone for cheaters

Many Japanese men seem to reject smartphones in favor of a low-tech 2002 Fujitsu cellphone, according to a January Wall Street Journal dispatch — because it can help philanderers keep their affairs from lovers’ prying eyes. The phones lack sophisticated tracking features — plus, a buried “privacy” mode gives off only stealth signals and leaves no trace of calls, texts or e-mails. A senior executive for Fujitsu said, “If Tiger Woods had [this phone], he wouldn’t have gotten in trouble.”

Visitation rights

China’s legislature passed a law in December to establish that people have a duty to visit their aged parents periodically. Nursing homes and similar facilities have not kept pace with the rapidly urbanizing population, and sponsors of the law said it would give the parents a legal right to sue their children for ignoring them.

Sound judgments?

• Four days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., officials at Public School 79 in New York City decided to have a full-blown lockdown drill — with no advance warning. Though P.S. 79 is a high school and not an elementary school, it is composed of about 300 students with special needs who, with their teachers, were startled to hear the early- morning loudspeaker blaring, “Shooter (or, possibly, “intruder”), get out, get out, lockdown.” One adult said it took her about five minutes to realize that it was only a drill.

• Neighborhood observers reported in December that the asbestos-removal crew working at the former YWCA in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, consisted merely of teen volunteers from a local religious school. State regulations require that asbestos be handled only by certified contractors using hazardous-materials gear. Officials declined to say who authorized the students to work.

Ironic place of arrest

Donald Blood III, 55, was charged with DUI in December in Dorset, Vt., after parking in the yard of a historic property: the 1852 home in which Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born and “a place of sanctuary where people can come to give thanks to God for their new lives.”

God and shoes

Cindy Jacobs, who calls herself a prophet, said in a January Internet broadcast that God has revealed Himself to her by mysteriously removing critical shortages in her life, such as her car’s well-worn tires that just kept rolling. “I remember one time that I had a pair of shoes that I wore and wore and wore and wore and wore and it just — for years, these shoes did not wear out.”


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