Friday, June 28, 2013

Weird Crime: Bamboo Flute Goes Hard, Son

(photo @ wikipedia.com)

Gainesville, Florida

Let's imagine for a minute that your family decided to named you Bamboo Flute. At the very least it wouldn't be a stretched to imagine that you would probably resent them greatly for doing it. It's also very possible that as a male, you might feel the need to compensate for your bizarre name with an over the top "gangsta" persona.

Judging from the Facebook page kept by the real Bamboo Flute Blanchard of Gainesville Florida, he either enjoys attempting to be dangerously ironic or is trying way to hard at being an O.G.

Below is a screen shot from one of the pictures on his page. In the comments, he states:

"Ima Fly Every Last One Of my niggas Out Here. Best believe Ya boii Cominn Up in this world !! I miss all My gville shady cats! Represent 352 all Day son !!"

Translation: I would like to procure a flight for all of my good friends to come visit me at my current location. You should also be aware that I am doing quite well and currently on a path to success. I miss all my good friends from the Gainesville area and I am also making a concerted effort to represent the 352 area code as best I can in everything that I do.

Unfortunately for Bamboo's family, his attempts to demonstrate just how hard core he really is extend beyond Facebook ramblings. According to one of his 16 siblings (!), Bamboo has always been a little bit nuts. He was also arrested just last month on a DUI charge. 

But on the evening of June 25, 2013, Bamboo decided to escalate things to a deadly degree. While having a chat with his younger brother (who I'm guessing also has a weird name) about what it would be like to take someone's life, Bamboo picked up a knife, rubbed it across his heart, and stated that he didn't think he could "handle it." 

 But almost immediately following that statement, Bamboo decided to test his own resolve by walking into the bedroom of his 54-year-old father and stabbing him in the chest.

Emergency services were called and the father was (thankfully) saved, treated, and released from the hospital. But when the police tried to ask Bamboo why he stabbed his own father, he would only respond to them with a series of grunts....which is not nearly as cool as it would have been if he'd busted out an actual bamboo flute and started playing 'The End' by The Doors.

Bamboo Flute Blanchard was arrested and charged with attempted murder. Bamboo's father (who was not identified in any incident reports) refused to give a written or verbal statement against his son.

...which still might not make them even for giving his son that name.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, someone with a weird name decides against showing their displeasure with it by stabbing their parents.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Weird Crime: Blood Is Thicker Than Water (Or Kool-Aid)

Cocoa, Florida

On June 19, 2013, 22-year-old Brandon Crosley decided to beat the heat by making himself a refreshing batch of Kool-Aid. But as Brandon was preparing the drink, his 48-year-old father, Greg Crosley, told Brandon that he was not doing it correctly.

Now at this point, there are a couple of things we need to consider before the situation escalates.

1. It's not very hard to make Kool-Aid. I mess up microwavable macaroni and cheese with alarming frequency, but I can still whip up a pitcher of the sugary summertime drink without much difficulty. This means that either Brandon is a complete moron, or his father is a pretentious turd...which brings me to my next point...

2. Even if Brandon is a moron or his father is a pretentious turd (or they both fit those respective labels), there's no reason for any argument over how to correctly stir a powdered drink mix to result in physical violence, especially between family.

Not pictured: The massive brawl between these three that the
Kool-Aid man broke up while also helping them to talk things through.

But since this is the state of Florida (and you're reading about the incident here), you know where this is headed. The father-and-son verbal altercation soon took a turn for the worse, which resulted in Brandon punching his dad in the head repeatedly.

Realizing what a complete douche he had just been (especially considering the fact that his dad was disabled), Brandon decided that his next best course of action was to flee to a neighboring apartment...because clearly his disabled father was an imminent threat to run away from and not in need of any assistance.

Unfortunately for Brandon, his dad had no qualms about calling the police on a son that had just tried to beat his face in. When Brandon was found, he was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence. He is currently being held in the Brevard County jail on $1,000 bail while awaiting a July 18 arraignment.

...where he'll probably end up staying for a while. Not 
even the Kool-Aid man would bust out the wall for this jerk.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, a family learns to love each other no matter how poorly anyone makes their Kool-Aid.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weird Crime Wednesday: You Don't Steal Another Man's Frozen Gopher Feet

Preston, Minnesota

In December of 2012, Michael Junge filed a complaint with the Fillmore County Sheriff's Department. According to him, multiple bags of frozen gopher feet had been stolen from his property between the dates of November 23 and December 5.

Now before you go thinking that Michael is some sort of serial killer in training, you should know that he has been trapping gophers and removing/freezing their feet for the last 20 years.

Okay...that probably didn't help alleviate your level of fear and/or disgust, but he had a good reason for killing all those little critters and keeping such macabre souvenirs. In an interview with KAALtv.com, Michael explains that he started out trapping them for a farmer that he worked for who was looking to get rid of the troublesome rodents (as adorable as they may look, gophers can wreak havoc on crop field).

It also turns out that some townships in farming communities will pay $3 per pair of gopher feet as a bounty for the service of offing the little pests.


With this in mind, Michael decided to reinvent himself as the Gopher Angel of Death. While no figures were given as to how many he had killed over his entire lifetime, the amount reportedly taken during the two week span that batch went missing was approximately 1,400 pairs of gopher feet...which translates into about $4,200 in reward money.

My first thought was that this seems like a bit of a waste of money for a local government.


Does this mean that I could have been going on occasional gopher killing sprees to supplement my income or pay for a nice vacation? Or maybe I could have really gone all out and dedicated my life to mass gopher genocide, living a life of luxury while becoming a deadly legend anywhere that burrowed holes into the soft earth were found.

"Some say that the Death Dealer can blend in...even look like one of us..."

But I digress...Michael was missing his gopher feet and he was understandably pissed off about it. Fortunately for him, there is (probably) not a very high street market price for his stolen goods; it's the type of thing that most definitely needs to be turned into a government authority to receive proper compensation.

So when 37-year old Tina Marie Garrison and her 18-year-old son Junior Lee Dillon turned in $1,041 worth of gopher feet back in November, it may have raised a few eyebrows. But when the mother-son duo tried to turn in $3,780 worth of gopher feet the very next month, there was no doubt that something wasn't right...or in the understated words of the township clerk who paid out the bounty, that many gopher feet turned in at one time seemed "unusual."

On May 2, Tina and Junior were arrested and charged with receiving stolen property and theft. Tina has pleaded not guilty while also completely throwing another one of her children under the bus. According to her, the ill-gotten gopher feet were given to her by her oldest son...who innocently "got them from a friend."

Junior, on the other hand, has decided to go with straight up denial as his defense; he claims that he never actually turned in the gopher feet and that someone else may have used his name when the bounty was collected.

It's also worth noting that Junior dated the daughter of Michael's girlfriend, meaning that there may have been a personal motivation to stealing from him...and also begs the question about what type of things does a woman NOT put up with in a relationship when she's willing to let you keep large stockpiles of gopher feet in the garage?

Junior's hearing (where it looks like he may also plead not guilty) will be held next month.

Bail for both Tina and Junior (who are still apparently behind bars) has been set at $10,000.

...or approximately $3,333 gopher feet.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, a gopher gets its feet back.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weird Crime: The Leg is Mightier Than The Fist

(photo @ verybadfrong.com)

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

On Sunday, June 16, 2013, 43-year-old Jeffrey Johnson was enjoying an evening ride on his moped (and being free from having to carry a Man Card) along the beautiful South Carolina coastline. His travels were brought to a violent end, however, when a 35-year-old man named Joel Parrish knocked him off of his vehicle and onto the street.

A police report of the incident does not give any motive for why Joel was being such a colossal douche, but whatever his problem was with Jeffrey, it was bad enough that Joel began punching and kicking him and soon as he hit the ground.

To add insult to injury (as well as increase the severity of said injuries), Jeffrey also had a prosthetic leg...which fell off when he was pushed from his moped. Not one to waste a free blunt object, Joel picked it up and began striking Jeffrey with it repeatedly.

One can only imagine the horror that passing motorists much have experienced while witnessing a man get beaten with one of his own appendages (not to mention the fact that Jeffrey would not have been able to stand up and defend himself).

After the attack was over, Jeffrey was able to get himself to a hospital where he received stitches for a laceration above his right eye. He also told the police what happened, which lead to Joel getting well-deserved visit from the Myrtle Beach police department.

At approximately 7:30 AM on Monday, June 17, Joel Parrish was arrested and charged with 2nd degree assault and battery. He is currently being held at the Myrtle Beach Jail while awaiting a bond hearing.

...where I'm sure tough guys like him earn lots of respect
for attacking disabled people with their own prosthetic limbs.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, a jerk who assaults disabled people gets beaten with his own shoe.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why I Love Teaching Middle School: There's Regular Vomit...And Then There's Band Trip Vomit

(photo @ thegeekycrafter)

Every year during the month of May, I take my 7th and 8th grade band students on a trip to Orlando, Florida. While this may sound like most people's idea of what the ninth ring of hell is like, it's (surprisingly) very enjoyable.

In addition to getting to go to Disney World or Universal Studios, we also participate in either a concert at a large outdoor venue or a workshop where the students get to see what it's like to be a studio musician for a movie production. I've also been very blessed to have traveled with groups of students that were exceptionally well behaved along with chaperones who are always on top of things.

But no matter how good the children are, there are some things that children (and adults) won't do the way that they're supposed to...like eating actual food. Oh don't get me wrong; they definitely eat a lot. But in addition to the park food that their all you can eat wrist bands provide for them (and isn't exactly healthy stuff, either), they are away from their parents, who will often times give them a significant amount of cash "in case of an emergency."

For one of my students named Mackenzie, that "emergency" ended up being her presence inside of Honeydukes, the incredible candy store located in Universal Studio's Harry Potter World.

Now in her defense, it is truly a beautiful site to behold for anyone (myself included) that has a sweet tooth. But you could potentially develop diabetes just from standing in the store for too long. It is also definitely not a place to to buy mass quantities of food with which to replace an entire meal.

Mackenzie, however, has a young person's heart (and metabolism), meaning that she probably consumed more sugar in one helping than would be safe for anyone that wasn't a gummy bear. Combine that with a generous helping of Butter Beer (the non-alcoholic but deadly sweet and sugary drink served throughout Harry Potter world), and Mackenzie's digestive system was in no shape to go on any thrill rides...which of course she did.

Not Pictured: Part of a balanced breakfast

Mackenzie and her boyfriend, Jack (awwwwww) decided to get in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a "robocoaster" that utilizes a mixture of projected film scenes, animatronics, steam/water effects, and cars that move, pivot, and whirl inside of a dark/enclosed environment.

You get chased by a dragon that gets right in your face and breathes fire (steam) on you, giant spiders spit venom (water) at you, and evil Dementors get all up in your grill during a Quidditch match.

Below is a video that takes you through the ride from the point of view of one of the occupants (who must have also had a death grip on his or her camera). 

Even if you don't know a thing about the Harry Potter universe, it's still a pretty amazing ride. Unfortunately for Mackenize, it's also very intense and motion oriented. She had earlier warned Jack that her stomach felt a little funny, but bravely decided to soldier on after already waiting in line for a long time.

At this point, you can probably guess what happens next just by the title of the article and the series of dietary mistakes that have led to this point. But Mackenzie, who made All-State in 7th grade on the contra bass clarinet and is a great student, doesn't do anything halfway...which apparently also includes barfing.

At one point during the ride, the car you are seated in swings wildly to one side while also flipping you straight back so that you're looking directly up at the ceiling. It was right then that all the sugary food Mackenzie had been eating launched like a bat out of hell from her esophagus and into the air.

A bit like this...

The artificially sweetened vomit then came right back down to earth and landed on Mackenzie. Whether it was the clumps of puke that had repatriated themselves to her body or another bout of sickness caused from the food she had eaten that day, Mackenzie wretched and once again hurled a stream of partially digested candy through the darkened hallways of Hogwarts Castle.

By the time she (and the ride) was done, Mackenzie had projectile vomited a grand total of five times. After they got off, Mackenzie wisely determined that she should visit the first aid station. 

Now if it had been me in this situation, I would have been an absolute wreck. I am a complete and total pansy when it comes to throwing up. A bout of upchucking, no matter how small, leaves me weak, teary eyed, and violently shaking. Once I've puked, that's pretty much a wrap on the rest of they day while I go lay down and whine like a big baby for a few hours.

Mackenzie, on the other hand, is one tough girl. While walking from Harry Potter World to the first aide station (located in The Lost Continent), she had to hold up the bottom of her shirt the entire ways so that more puke didn't fall onto the ground....and LAUGHED the whole way there.

Once she arrived at first aide, her boyfriend Jack, who had accompanied her there (AWWWWWW), told the medical personnel what had happened. The Universal staff (either out of kindness or pure disgust) allowed Mackenzie to take a shower in their facilities. 

While myself  and a few of the chaperones waited in the lobby, Jack fretted and expressed his concern for Mackenzie's well being (interspersed with occasional declarations of how "awesome" her high velocity puke had looked).

After about half an hour, Mackenzie emerged wearing clothes provided to her by Universal. The shirt was actually pretty cool. The shorts...not so much. But it was an incredibly kind and appreciated act none the less.

Jams may be from the 80's, but they are never out of style
when the shorts you were wearing before are covered in barf.

Mackenzie was pretty embarrassed about the whole thing, but I assured her that despite how horrible she had initially felt, she had also become a legend. I don't know many adults that have such an incredible vomiting story OR could have handled it as well as she did.

We also discussed how candy doesn't replace any of the other food groups for an entire meal. But if kids eating too many sweets is the biggest problem I have to deal with on a 3 day trip, I'd say that I'm pretty lucky to have such a great (if sometimes unpredictable) group of students.

There are a lot of things I am very proud of Mackenzie for, but I never thought any of them would involve her resolve in the face of copious amounts of regurgitated candy. I guess even after nine years of teaching, you never know how your kids will surprise you.

And you gotta feel a little bit sorry for any Dementors that tried
 to steal Mackenzie's happiness and got a face full of barf, instead.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, a Dementor gets puked on.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Weird Crime Wednesday: Sometimes Every Answer To A Multiple Choice Question Is Wrong

Casselberry, Florida

On June 2, 2013, police responded to an early morning 911 call that a man had knocked on someone's door and begun to strip naked on their back porch.

When officers arrived on the scene, they were met by a completely nude 22-year-old man named Thomas Edwards, Jr. According to Thomas, he had been invited by his girlfriend to come over to her house and propose to her. But in addition to requesting that he make an honest woman out of her, Thomas claimed that she had also requested he ask for her hand in marriage while in the buff.

Oh yeah....and he also told police that his name was actually "Zim."

 "If I ever do enslave humanity, 
someone else has to be in charge of Florida."

Unfortunately for Thomas, his marriage proposal was not working out very well. Not only had the police been called, but his girlfriend had apparently told him to go to some random person's home. The (very unlucky) homeowners that he had greeted in his birthday suit had no idea who Thomas or his girlfriend was.

That might be why he decided to ask the officers on the scene if they could just take him to jail. Since Thomas was standing naked outside a stranger's home at 3:45 AM in the morning, this probably wasn't at all an unreasonable request (although you shouldn't take something like that for granted in the state of Florida).

But Thomas apparently wanted to make sure there was no doubt that he deserved some time in the slammer. He first asked the police officers if head-butting them would do the trick. When they advised against that course of action, Thomas inquired if spitting in one of the officers' faces would rustle their jimmies enough to send him to jail. Once again, they advised him doing so.


Unfortunately for the police, Thomas had already decided on the latter course of action. After spitting in the officer's face, he was predictably tasered and arrested.

Thomas Edwards Jr. was charged with indecent exposure in public, battery on an officer, and burglary (?)

He was booked into the Seminole County jail on $5,000 bond and was still there as of Tuesday morning.

 ...and ladies, it sounds like he's still single.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fun With The Public School System: What Can Happen When Your Students See You In Public

For many years, primary and secondary school-aged children have generally had a predictable response to seeing their teachers out in public. It was usually a mix of awe and bewilderment over the fact that we actually set foot outside of the school building in which they always observed (and were tormented by) us.

But with the advent of social media, many students are now much more aware that their teachers exist within the community as regular (and not so regular) people. But my own personal experiences indicate that your students observing you out in public can create some fairly odd social interactions.

When you're spotted by students that like you.

This is always a pleasant surprise, especially for people like me who have wildly inconsistent self-esteem levels. If one student sees you, it's always nice to have them come up and say hello.

If a group of adoring students sees you, however, the waves of screaming adoration that can occur have the ability to make you feel a bit like a rock star (who still has to drive themselves home and pick up groceries on the way).

But no matter how much you love the kids that you teach, there will come a time when you will have to deal with 'Pregnancy Personal Barrier Blindness.'

PPBB is a phenomenon that pregnant women constantly have to face. For some reason, people feel that it is perfectly okay to walk up to them and touch their stomachs. It doesn't matter if the person knows them or not; they will place their hand (or both hands) right there on her belly while she attempts to force an uncomfortable smile while scanning for the nearest exit.

"No need to see if I'm still pregnant; a 
homeless guy on the subway already checked."

While I've never had a student walk up to me and randomly touch my stomach, I have had them completely forget any concept of personal space or social barriers that they had exhibited in school. Students have sat down at my table in a restaurant, sat next to me and my wife at the movies, and stared at me intently for 20 minutes while I was talking on the phone.

It's worth mention that this reaction is also perfectly understandable. You've always been focused on them and their classmates during every other interaction they've had with you, so it may not dawn on them (especially the younger ones) that things should be any different at Applebee's.

PPBB can be a minor annoyance sometimes, but it's a small price to pay to have your students excited to see you.

When you're spotted by students who don't like you.

Those of you who have never taught before may be worried about this happening. But what you might not realize is that these interactions often have the most potential to create a hilariously odd situation.

The most common thing you will experience in this situation is having the student (or students) try and hide from you. I noticed this once while sitting in Starbucks; a student that I had written up multiple times that school year began dashing behind shelves and serving tables in a feeble attempt to keep me from seeing him.

This perplexed me for a couple of reasons:

1. I had no power to write him up or enact any other type of discipline inside of a coffee shop.
2. I really didn't want to see or interact with him, either.

His antics, which made the other customers stare at him like a squirrel that had lost its mind, ended up drawing more attention from me than if he had just gone about his business (and we both could have ignored each other in peace).

Another time while I was walking towards the movie theater, I heard a student shout "Mr. N is a #$%&ing PUSSY!"

I assumed that this was a student (and not an adult antagonist) based on the fact that despite referring to me as a "#$%&ing pussy," they still had the decency to address me by honorific/formal title.

Unfortunately, I never was never able to identify who said this to me (and subsequently deduce why they may have considered me to be a  "#$%&ing pussy.") In a hilariously supreme act of irony, the student took off like a jack rabbit in other direction as soon as I turned my head and looked at him.

What happens when students spot you doing something weird

As many of you may know (or will now find out), I am an action figure collector. While I am not ashamed of my awesome hobby, I am also well aware that it is an odd one for a 33-year-old man to have.

That's why one Friday afternoon while shopping at Target, I was a bit thrown off my game when a student saw me in line at the cash register. He was far enough away that I was pretty sure he hadn't seen me...or the Darth Maul Returns battle pack I had just snagged off the shelves.

I already owned Savage Opress and had a custom cybernetic Darth Maul
 I liked better, but the Nightsister figure was worth the price of the whole thing.

But on Monday, I discovered that I was wrong. As my students handed in their weekly music vocabulary quizzes, I noticed that the student I had seen at the store had a message written underneath his name. It read:

Star Wars toys + Vitamin Water + Twizzlers = A Good Weekend 

And you know what? The kid was right; it did make for a pretty good weekend (or the start of one, anyway). And it's also completely okay if your students know that you're a person with hobbies and a life outside of school.

While their parents (or parent) may be the primary adults in their lives, many of their cues on how adults act will be taken from their teachers. This is doubly true for any students that have a bad or tumultuous home life.

You may need to watch certain aspects of your behavior (like I do while watching Kentucky football games in public), but there is nothing wrong with your students also seeing you as a regular, every day person....

...even if it ends with them calling you an obscene name while running away.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.