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PICTURE PERFECT COP

(7 August 2003, Hartville, Wyoming) Like a true country child, Jim Pond was born to be wild… even though he had grown into the 47-year-old sheriff of Albany County. Watch him riding to the motorcycle rally in South Dakota, in the company of another cop and a friend. See the wild one riding without a helmet—after all, an experienced Harley rider can control his bike.
Who needs a helmet? But Jim did need something else—a photograph, a pictorial commemoration of the road trip to Sturgis, South Dakota. With the wind streaming through the riders’ hair at 65 mph, the conditions seemed right. Jim took his camera and turned around to snap a shot of the rider behind him.

As state trooper David Cunningham later described it, the motorcycle drifted to the right and headed for a telephone pole. Jim lost control trying to wrestle the bike back on the highway, and went sailing through the air, probably wishing for his helmet. When he landed, he broke his skull, four ribs, and a shoulder bone, and also suffered other head injuries and road rash, but managed, through incredible luck, to survive.

His camera was not so lucky. There is no report that the photograph survived.





WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME

The following mind-boggling attempt at a crime spree appeared to be the robber's first, due to his lack of a previous record of violence, and his terminally stupid choices:

1. His target was H&J Leather & Firearms. A gun shop.

2. The shop was full of customers - firearms customers.

3. To enter the shop, the robber had to step around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door.

4. A uniformed officer was standing at the counter, having coffee before work.

Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a holdup, and fired a few wild shots. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, covered by several customers who also drew their guns, thereby removing the confused criminal from the gene pool.

No one else was hurt.






KILLER SHADES

(17 September 2003, San Francisco, California) Barry Bonds had just made the last out at the bottom of the eighth inning. By coincidence, Todd Edward Adams, a Hawaiian surfer dude who had recently relocated to Santa Cruz for the gnarly waves at Maverick’s, was bumming the last beer from a new friend at the San Francisco Giants’ ballpark at the same time.
Todd was leaning back over the railing of the Arcade port walk, getting to the “bottom eighth” of a beer, when his Maui Jim* designer sunglasses slipped off the top of his head. Down they fell, landing twenty-five feet below, where a helpful bum picked them up and tried to toss them back. But it was too far! Todd called out that he was coming down to get them.

His wife, Kathy, described Todd as “a passionate surfer” talented enough to turn pro. Perhaps his sense of physical prowess was his downfall. The agile 38-year-old briefly considered the long walk down, and then came up with an alternative. He climbed over the railing, jumped to perch on a light sconce five feet below, then dropped like Tarzan to the ground, gratefully reclaiming his shades from the bum.

At least, that was the plan, and the first part, climbing the railing, went fine. The second part was more problematic. Todd missed the sconce and “came down like a pancake,” according to a startled observer a few feet from the point of impact. The crowd was shocked into silence. Why would anyone take such a chance for a pair of shades?

Todd would have been chagrined to hear the observer’s next words. “They looked cheap,” he said, apologizing, “I don’t know sunglasses brands.”





A HONEY OF A BUZZ

(September 2003, Escobedo, Mexico) An unidentified 60-year-old man was still thirsty after drinking what most would consider “too much alcohol.” He stumbled toward a nearby bee’s nest, perhaps hoping to follow the beer with a bit of honey, which the bees would surely share.
Instead, over a thousand noble bees sacrificed their lives to protect the hive, a Darwinian response bred into them millennia ago. The man, quite reasonably, went into anaphylactic shock and died.

A hospital spokesman disputed the theory that the bees alone had killed him, attributing his demise to “the stupid things drunken people do,” pointing out that the man was otherwise healthy and could have enjoyed a long life. “The combination was lethal.”








HURRICANE BLUMPKIN


19 September 2003, Virginia
Hurricane Isabel tore into the East Coast, turning shallow creeks into raging rivers before she calmed down to a violent tropical storm. What better time to go canoeing? Especially at 2:30 in the morning, on a moonless night, to cap off a fun party?

Enter Christopher “Blumpkin” Ball, 21, captain of the James Madison University rugby team, a man described by a teammate as “insane, just indestructible.” This ballroom-dancing rugby player left his own party early one morning, with friends who “thought it would be all ha, ha, and funny to take the canoe” to Blumpkin’s old house, straight down Blacks Run Stream.

Winds were gusting to more than 50 mph, snapping trees like toothpicks, as nearly a foot of rain fell on the Shenandoah Valley. Rescue Squad chief Brandon Peavy told the reporter that the normally knee-deep water of Blacks Run was over a six-foot person’s head. Blumpkin’s canoe quickly capsized in the swift storm-fed stream, tossing its occupants into the churning water.

His female companion managed to reach the shore. His male companion, who knew it “wasn’t a good idea from the start,” climbed onto the bank near a railroad trestle. But our “indestructible” friend Blumpkin was sucked underwater twice, never to resurface. He was found at dawn, 100 yards downstream.

Chief Peavy was not allowed to comment on whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident.

[sidebar] Clearly, the “indestructible” Blumpkin never earned his Boy Scout merit badge in canoeing: “If in doubt about danger… land and survey the water from shore before proceeding. Do not run any but the mildest rapids unless you have a guide who knows the river thoroughly. Wear life jackets in all rough water...”







HAZARD BEFELL HIM

(27 March 27 1981) Late one March evening, Bruce Thompson woke up at the foot of a utility pole in the woods, his dog asleep by his side, and a crispy, dead raccoon nearby. Thompson realized he had suffered severe burns on his forearms, hands and genitals, which were eventually amputated.
The details came out in court, when Bruce sued the utility company for removing him from the gene pool.

He had been out ’coon hunting when his dog “caught the scent” and eagerly chased a raccoon up a power pole. The raccoon perched on a glass insulator. Bruce was prepared for just such an event, and brought out his trusty steel pole climbers. He strapped them to his boots, and made his way a dozen feet up the pole.

He began “squalling at the raccoon and slapping the pole,” causing the startled raccoon to run back and forth on the cross arm, and hit an un-insulated copper wire. That was the last thing Bruce remembered before he woke up at the bottom of the pole.

The court found Bruce contributory negligent, stating succinctly, “It [is] clear that, in climbing the utility pole, slapping and squalling at the raccoon, thereby agitating it when it was perilously close to charged wires, Thompson should have appreciated the hazard that ultimately befell him.”








BLOWTORCH AND GUNPOWDER


(8 July 2003, Moore Township, Pennsylvania) An unidentified 16-year-old boy was taken by surprise when a bowl of blackpowder blew up in his face, after being heated with a blowtorch. The inevitable explosion caused severe burns to his face, and he admitted to policer that he was suffering pain after the jarring incident.
He had first tried to light the powder with a grill lighter, but eventually decided a blowtorch would do a better job. About that, he was right: the flash was awesome indeed.

“He made a foolish decision and suffered the consequences,” said Police Chief Keglovitz, and this was not the lad’s first experiment with gunpowder. “He lost one finger,” a neighbor confided, to a firecracker accident a few years earlier.








FATAL FOOTSIE


(22 March 1999, Phnom Penh) Decades of armed strife have littered Cambodia with unexploded munitions and ordnance. Authorities warn citizens not to tamper with the devices.
Three friends recently spent an evening sharing drinks and exchanging insults at a local cafe in the southeastern province of Svay Rieng. Their companionable arguing continued for hours, until one man pulled out a 25-year-old unexploded anti-tank mine found in his backyard.

He tossed it under the table, and the three men began playing Russian roulette, each tossing down a drink and then stamping on the mine. The other villagers fled in terror.

Minutes later, the explosive detonated with a tremendous boom, killing the three men in the bar. "Their wives could not even find their flesh because the blast destroyed everything," the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper reported.




 
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