Chuck Shepherd

Officials in charge of a Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal heritage site recently installed "speed bumps," similar to those familiar to Americans driving residential streets — but on a pedestrian walkway, with row upon row of risers to resemble a washboard. A Western travel writer, along with editors of People's Daily China, suggested that officials were irked that "disorderly" tourists had been walking past the ancient grounds too rapidly to appreciate its beauty or context.

Relax by watching others boil

Compared with busy coastal metropolises, Indiana may evoke repose, and entrepreneur Tom Battista is suggesting the state's largest city capitalize on the sentiment by reserving a destination site on a low-lying hill overlooking the chaotic merge lanes of two interstate highways — affording visitors leisurely moments watching the frantic motorists scrambling below. He plans three rows of seats and a sunshade for the relaxed gawkers to take in the "ocean"-like roar and imagine overwrought drivers' rising blood pressure.

You have to be joking

Sean Clemens, now awaiting trial in Liberty, Ohio, in the death of an 84-year-old woman, allegedly confessed his guilt to a co-worker after telling the man that something was bothering him that he needed to tell someone about — but only if the co-worker would "pinkie-swear" not to tell anyone else. The co-worker broke the code.

• In the course of pursuing claims against an Alaskan dentist, Dr. Seth Lookhart, for Medicaid fraud, government investigators found a video on his phone of him extracting a sedated patient's tooth — while riding on a hoverboard. He had apparently sent the video to his office manager under the title "New Standard of Care." Lookhart had been indicted in 2016 for billing Medicaid $1.8 million for unnecessary patient sedations.


In April, Tennessee State Rep. Mike Stewart, aiming to make a point about the state's lax gun-sales laws and piggybacking onto the cuddly feeling people have about children's curbside lemonade stands, set up a combination stand on Nashville's Capitol Hill, offering for sale lemonade, cookies and an AK-47 assault rifle (with a sign reading "No Background Check," to distinguish the private-sale AK-47 from one purchased from a federally licensed dealer). In fact, some states still regulate lemonade stands more than gun sales — by nettlesome "health department" and anti-competitive rules and licensing, though Tennessee allows the stands in most neighborhoods as long as they are small and operated infrequently.

Least competent criminals

• In March, WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., broadcast surveillance video of a 7-Eleven armed robbery in the city's northeast sector — since some footage offered a clear picture of the suspect's face. Moments into the robbery, the man peered upward, caught sight of the camera and, shocked, reached for his apparently forgotten ski mask on top of his head, where he pulled it into place.

• In November, three teenagers were arrested after stealing superfast Dodge cars in the middle of the night from a dealership in St. Peters, Mo. After driving less than a mile, police said, the three had lost control of their cars, crashing them, including "totaling" two 700-horsepower Challenger Hellcats.

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