Friday, August 30, 2013

Weird Crime: Even If You Can Pull Money Out Of Your Butt, You Probably Shouldn't

(photo @ prlog.org)

Bulls Gap, Tennessee

On the morning of August 27, 2013, police were called to the residence of a man named Bobby Gulley. He claimed that his girlfriend, 43-year-old Christie Black, was stealing money from him and that he had caught her in the act.

Bobby was quite a crafty fellow. According to him, he had laid a trap for his thieving partner which she just simply couldn't resist: Two envelopes containing $5,000 (in $100 bills) and a bag of pills. Both of these items were left on a foosball table overnight while the couple went to bed.

That morning at 7:00 AM, Bobby awoke to find that the money and the bag of pills had disappeared. Just as he had suspected, Christie was unable to keep her hands off the goods in what had to be the the most unsubtle sting operation ever attempted by a civilian.

 Let's hope Bobby doesn't utilize his skills for evil purposes

Unfortunately for Bobby, a person who is desperate enough to take such obvious bait is likely to do something even stupider once they have obtained it. When he confronted Christie about her alleged stealing, she began her defense by promptly vomiting up the bag full of pills right in front of him.

By this point, she probably figured it was a lost cause. Christie admitted to Bobby that she had taken the money....and shoved all of it directly up her poop chute.

After what had to be one of the greatest reactions of disbelief in human history, Bobby call the authorities. While the police were on their way to the house, Christie desperately attempted to remove the cash from her rectum with a set of tongs and a toilet brush. This did little more than cause her to bleed profusely and (hopefully) question a large number of her life decision up to that point.

When the officers arrived, Christie claimed that she needed the money and medicine because her boyfriend was going to kick her out of the house. While I want to have some sympathy for her plight, I do have to ask a couple of questions:

1. Christie, you will get no argument from me or virtually any other person that you need some sort of medication. But if your boyfriend really was trying to keep it from you, than why would he put it in a plastic bag and lay it on the foosball table where you could get to (and swallow) it?

2. If you really needed the $5,000 to help you find a new place to live, why didn't you just walk out of there with the money? It was allegedly placed next to a bag of "medicine" which was supposedly "yours." That would at least give you some type of probable cause for thinking it belonged to you...and not having to poop it out later.

You would think that a few ideas and scenarios would need to be exhausted before shoving money up your butt, but Christie went straight for the Hershey Highway Hideaway. It would also seem safe to say that Bobby has dodged quite a relationship bullet for the time being....

...oh c'mon. You know she's going to try and get back together with him. The guy's got his own foosball table!

Christie Black remains hospitalized (and very embarrassed) as of today. After being released, she will be arrested and charged with theft.

A mugshot of Christie from earlier this month when she was arrested for public
intoxication. You know it's been a bad day when that situation now seems almost quaint.

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 couple decides to stop by Lowe's and get back home first before getting in on.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Weird Crime: You Can Do It, But We Won't Help

On Wednesday, August 28 of 2013, North Charleston police got a call at approximately 8:30 AM from a Home Depot location. When officers arrived on the scene, they were directed to a storage shed in which multiple customers had witnessed a man and woman enter and close the door behind them.

Now of course there was always the chance that these two were just checking out the shed's dimensions to see if it would be able to store their homemade flower pots and Christmas decorations, but that's not the type of thing you leave to chance.

When the door to the shed was opened, 20-year-old Emily Craig and 31-year-old Shaun Bowden were found in various states of undress. From behind their pay wall, the Post Courier reports that after briefly being questioned by the police (and taking notice of Shaun's exposed genitals), it was determined that the couple had indeed been having sex.

This was already embarrassing enough for the couple. But to make matters worse, Emily provided a false name and birthday to the police that did not match the ID she had in purse at the time. Since this wasn't Emily's first run in with the law, she probably should have known better.

There are a couple of things about this incident that really don't make sense to me:

-A storage shed? Seriously? Aside from the great (but obvious) 'Love Shack' references you would be able to make, that had to be insanely uncomfortable for both parties involved. I guess they might have been going for some sort of dare or something, but that hardly seems worth it. Besides, everyone knows that the true pinnacle of all Home Improvement store hijinks is to actually use one of the store display bathrooms (which is also pretty stupid and not worth trying).

-8:30 in the morning...at a home improvement store. That's why I brought up the dare factor. Who in the heck gets up that early to go shopping for door frames and ends up being unable to control their primal urges?

 Though to be fair, their door frame 
kits are incredibly affordable and easy to work with

-I really want to know what the mark down is on that shed is now. No way they can sell it at full price unless it's put on Ebay or Craigslist. That might actually end up giving Home Depot a pretty huge profit margin.

Shaun Bowden was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. Emily Craig was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and providing false information to the police. You'll notice that while Shaun's mugshot seems to convey some level of shame, Emily seems pretty darn proud of herself.

As of today, the two lovebirds were still being held pending a bond hearing.


They should probably have their bathroom breaks spaced out from each other.

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 couple decides to stop by Lowe's and get back home first before getting in on.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weird Crime: When Mothers (and Stun Guns) Get Involved

St. Bernard, Louisiana 

On August 18 of 2013, two female teenagers got into an altercation about one talking to the other's friend. If you've spent any amount around kids that age or watched the movie 'Mean Girls', than you know that this isn't something out of the ordinary. What is out of the ordinary, however, is when things escalate to the point where one of the teens' mothers took it.

34-year-old Tammy Chalette (the mother of the one of the parties involved) showed up at the school the two feuding children attended (Chalmette High School) on the morning of Thursday, August 22. She claims to have just been walking her daughter to class, but the motivation for (and fortitude to carry out) an ulterior motivation was definitely there.

According to Miller, her daughter's adversary began shouting at them as they walked through the gym. Miller then approached the girl, took out a stun gun, and discharged it.

Unfortunately for Miller, the gun apparently did not work. School officials (and probably a couple of gym teachers) immediately separated the pair and called in the police.

Okay, first of all, we're going to break tradition a little bit for this one. Instead of putting the mugshot at the end of the article, it's going right here.

A few observations:

1.) I think I might be in love.

2.) Even though it's just a picture, those eye's make me feel like I'm in huge trouble for something.

3.) That definitely looks like a woman named Tammy...and someone who would totally bring a stun gun into a high school to attack her daughter's enemies with.

I desperately want to believe that this smoking hot mom was simply defending her daughter's honor, but that might not be the case. According to the (almost) victim, she had previously been on the receiving end of Tammy's daughter's fist and some threatening phone calls made by Tammy herself.

If any part of that is true, than Tammy's hot:crazy ratio probably tips into the area of full on aversion.

Preach it, Barney

Tammy also claimed that she kept the stun gun with her due to working in New Orlean's French Quarter. Now I'm not saying that there aren't plenty of respectable/clean jobs there, but they probably are not held by women that would attack a 16-year-old with a stun gun in a high school gym.

Tammy Miller was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. She was released on $3,500 bond the next day. 

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 crazy hot mom decides not to try and talk the law of Girl Word into her own hands.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Objective Movie Malice: Drumline

I once asked a friend of mine who did crime scene investigation work if she ever watched CSI. She responded by claiming that she had to be "in the right mood" to deal with the gross inaccuracies it constantly portrayed.

"If I'm in the right mindset, I can watch it like a comedy and laugh my head off," she explained. "Otherwise, watching that show while I'm in a bad mood can drive me insane."

For non-band people that have seen 2002's hit movie 'Drumline', this is the basic thought process that I have to to take them through when they say to me "I bet you really love that movie, right?!"

Now don't get me wrong; Drumline isn't the first or only movie about musicians or band instruction to get things wrong. The people who worked on 1995's Mr. Holland's Opus never seemed to have the heart to tell Richard Dreyfuss that he spent a majority of the movie conducting with the wrong hand. 

Also, don't ever tell one of your struggling clarinetists to simply "play the sunset." Instead of suddenly being able to effortlessly go over the break, they will most likely look at you with fearful bewilderment or proceed to make a noise that sounds like a goose getting punched.

"Good lord...that just made you sound even worse!"

But Drumline's mistakes and inaccuracies reach such a degree that it starts to become unfathomable. This was a film that actually had fairly high production values and a great deal of talent behind it. 

Despite being primarily known these days for hosting America's Got Talent and being married to a crazy woman, Nick Cannon (who stars in the film) is a very good actor. So is the movie's female lead, Zoe Saldana. The film's cinematographer, Shane Hurlbut, is one of the best in the business.

But for any person involved in teaching band, it is readily apparent that 20th Century Fox put a much greater emphasis on their wardrobe department than they did hiring anyone to advise them on the particulars of music education at the collegiate level.

Sure, the music is great and the energy and excitement it helped to create about band was appreciated. But it also helped give people that were new to the marching/concert band world some fairly large misconceptions about how things are done...and caused those of us who have been part of it for a long time to develop headache while trying to watch it. Below is a summary along with some of the lowlights.


The film opens with an overhead shot of Cannon's character, Devon Mays, at his high school graduation. Devon is also shown to be slouching in his chair at a completely different angle than the rest of the students so that we know he's a rebel with a bad attitude.

The fact that Devon is sitting in the audience, however, is a bit odd since the high school band (which he presumably is a part of) is playing the traditional Pomp and Circumstance graduation march.

But before you can yell "Maybe it's just the non-seniors that are playing!", Devon walks by the group...who somehow are still able to play despite most of their instruments being on the ground by their feet.

Which also might explain the awful tuning

After Devon receives his diploma, the principal addresses the assembled and and friends of the recent graduates while also introducing their "National Champion Band." We'll go ahead and assume they mean that Devon's group received first place at the Grand Nationals marching competition that year and NOT that whoever was advising the director/script writer was completely unaware that a "national championship" for band doesn't exist.

After an inspirational quote from R. Kelly (which was very unfortunate/poor sourcing in 2002), the band starts to play one of the worst arrangements of 'I Believe I Can Fly' you can possibly imagine. Luckily, Devon is able to convince the rest of the percussion section (who are all using marching equipment in a concert band setting) to liven things up with an impromptu back beat.

Devon follows up this enigmatic end to his high school music career by giving his mother flowers and telling her that he wouldn't have made it this far without her.

This is one of the last times the character will seem at all likable.

After saying goodbye to his mom, Devon immediately goes to visit his estranged father who works at a ticket taker on the New York subway system. He proceeds to hold up the entire line for 2 minutes while telling his dad what a low-life he considers him to be and that he's making it on his own without him. It feels a little harsh, but maybe it was deserved (despite the people who missed their train while he was making his speech).

The next scene, however, is where we really start to dig into the madness. A group of students (including Devon) on a bus headed to the fictional Atlanta A&T University begin introducing themselves. Jason, who seems to be channeling Jamie Kennedy's B-Rad, announces himself as a bass drum specialist.

For those of you not involved in music education, let me explain why this is so maddening. Teaching percussion (when it's done properly by any standard) should involve the student learning to play a multitude of instruments. This includes snare drum, xylophone, timpani, and bass drum.

Even the really bad band programs that only have their kids specialize in one area, however, would at least have it be snare. If a kid "specializes" in bass drum, it's probably because he came from a horrible band program AND was unable to handle the rhythmic complexities found in the snare part 

If there is a college that takes "bass drum specialists" on its drumline, I can assure you that they are going to be all types of awful.

The scene further descends into Kafka novel territory when the bus driver begins chastising the students' school for their band director's choice of music. He even goes so far as to say that he stopped driving for Atlanta A&T exclusively because of it.

...because steady work is nothing compared to stating your musical preference.

Once arriving on campus, Devon is promptly shot down by an incredibly attractive upperclassman on the dance team named Laila (okay, that part is accurate).

They are then summoned and addressed by their drum majors, one of whom refers to himself as God's Gift and also expects all band members to call him that (very accurate).

The next day, the freshman are loudly roused from their beds and rushed out onto the field. There we get to meet the band director, Dr. Lee (played by Orlando Jones), who is standing in front of a small ensemble that's playing an incredibly impressive rag time version of When the Saints Go Marching In. (To make sure that we know how much he loves and understands about music, he follows every contour of the piece with his eyebrows while his eyelids remain closed).

Dr. Lee then transforms from a band director into a drill sergeant, running a military style conditioning session that would have most band kids (and a good number of athletes) grasping for their inhalers. This was especially jarring since I kept expecting him to say something funny, but it never happens.

And in case any of you think I'm simply referring to '10 laps' as military style conditioning, the freshman (or "Crabs" as they are hilariously called) also have to run stadium steps holding up their instruments and sit in the pouring rain while holding their sticks and yelling out a cadence repeatedly.

After dealing with this cruel and unusual punishment, Devon and his roommates retreat to their dorm rooms to ice themselves and complain. Jason (or "Affirmative Action" as he's called on account of being white) brags about how he could have been a "P1 at Georgia or Georgia Tech" due to his awesome bass drum specialist skills.

The next scene shows Dr. Lee being dressed down by the university president for not playing enough popular music. He takes out this frustration by running the band through more rounds of physical punishment.

After a while (and more torture), we finally get to see the students march with their instruments while playing.

Unfortunately, this consists of the drum line section leader explaining to his section that playing the drums is like having sex. He then proceeds to give the creepiest playing demonstration imaginable while also creating the potential for a very warranted sexual harassment lawsuit.

After a few more scenes of internal section strife and Devon making an ass out of himself, we get to the auditions (or "tree shaking" as it's called). As anyone who has done a college audition can tell you, these can be terrifying enough on their own with any added factors.

But since this movie apparently had something to prove, Atlanta A&T's auditions are done in the dead of night outside on a football field...with the upperclassmen listening from above and honking their car horns to indicate whether what they heard was good or not.

To make things even more difficult, the entire thing consists of one piece of sight reading. Now if any of you have seen the movie, you know that a central point of struggle for the main character is the fact that he can't read music. Yet somehow after listening to everyone else flub through the sight reading example, Devon is able to play it almost perfectly.

Now I'm not saying that playing by ear is impossible. But in this particular instance, wouldn't it mean that at least one person (and probably a lot more) would've had to play the example better than the person listening so that they were able to perform it?

Despite this leap in logic, Devon is able to make P1 (along with somehow coasting through every All-State and chair placement audition in his "National Champion" high school band). He's also the only freshman who was able to do so, which really sucks for all the others who were actually able to sight read (or just read music at all).

Later, we see the band practicing (and inexplicably groan about having to play) Earth, Wind, and Fire's 'In The Stone.' We also get to watch Jason The Bass Drum Specialist lose his spot the day before their first game in one of the stupidest spot challenges ever.

Continuing the theme of inexplicable last minute changes, the drum line section leader also gives Devon his solo right before the band heads out onto the field for their first performance in an attempt to "break" him.

Once they get out in front of crowd, however, Devon freezes up (because he obviously never would have played in front of a large audience for his "National Championship" band back in New York). The section leader smirks and takes back the solo...

...only to have Devon completely cements himself as a total douchenozzel by taking the solo back from him in the middle of the performance AND adding a crappy lick to the end of it. He then uses this new found swagger to successfully ask out Laila, the hot upper classman dance team captain.

But after scoring with Laila at what might be the coolest looking band party to ever happen, Devon's world comes crashing down when his section leader finally exposes him as not being able to read music...by asking him to read a short piece of music (something that apparently had never happened during the last 8 years).

Dr. Lee proceeds to go into a blind rage over this revelation. His anger definitely needed to be directed somewhere, which could have been:

A.) The band director of Devon's "National Champion" band for not teaching him how to read music (or mentioning that in his recommendation letters).

B.) Himself for creating an audition process in which someone who couldn't read music was able to beat out countless others that could

...but instead ended up being

C.) At Devon for "lying" on his audition and "lying" on his college application.

As much of a tool as Devon had been so far, I think I have to side with him on this one. For starters, he didn't "lie" on his audition; he played what was asked. The fact that it was held outdoors where Devon could use his super power of hearing something and playing it by ear twice as good as it previously sounded was Dr. Lee's decision, not his.

Furthermore, I'm not sure how Devon "lied" on his college application unless it actually asked "Can you read music." If it did, than the music department at Atlanta A&T has much bigger problems than a rogue snare drummer in their ranks.

But Dr. Lee was determined to set Devon on the right path, which is why he had him enroll in a class on how to read music. If the the brief scenes of the course are any indication, it's clear that the instructor made the classic mistake of jumping right into 16th note triplets and chord structures instead of starting out with the musical alphabet and basic rhythms.

It also appears that he liked to make his bass clefs and common time
 symbols indistinguishable from each other just to keep poor Devon on his toes.

In the next scene, we are treated to a game between Atlanta A&T and Morris Brown University. The Morris Brown band gets things started with a great arrangement of 'Apache' by the Sugarhill Gang. 

Dr. Lee responds by complaining amd citing a lack of musicianship (what?) in hip-hop. He then has his band play an impressive arrangement of 'Flight of the Bumblebee. Morris Brown counters with an arrangement of 'Let Me Clear My Throat.'

I personally thought both groups were pretty great. The university president, however, was steamed. As halftime approached, he charged down towards the field and ordered Dr. Lee to put "his boy" Devon back on the field.

I don't care how invested a university president is in the school's band; the thought of one demanding that a single snare drum player (who he refers to as his "boy") be immediately placed into the show right before the band goes on the field is laughable.

What's even funnier, however, is that this edict is carried out in the form of Devon being placed back on the line (with a SOLO) for the homecoming game.

But this film continues to strive in its quest to make Devon look like the biggest jerk on the planet. During said homecoming game, he somehow manages to start an all out brawl against one of the sloppiest drum lines  that you will ever hear. This is finally reason enough to have him kicked out of the band program.

This causes Devon to head over to Morris Brown and ask the director there (who had previously expressed an interest in him) about getting a scholarship.

The director agrees, but only if Devon can provide him with Dr. Lee's play list for the upcoming BET Classic Competition. Despite being shady as hell, this line of thinking also doesn't make any sense.

For starters, what advantage did the Morris Brown director have to gain by learning A&T's songs that they were planning to perform? And furthermore, why couldn't he just go (or send someone else) TO LISTEN TO ONE OF THEIR OUTDOOR PRACTICES?

Devon (wisely) decides against throwing in with this dumbass and heads back to school, where a package from his estranged father awaits him. Inside are tapes of him playing in a band, which inspires Devon to begin creating his own music.

He heads down to the music lab, where his former section leader, Sean, is also doing some work. The two alpha males confront each other and let their feelings boil over into some type of incredibly stupid rudiment fight. It ends with both of them pointing their drumsticks in each other's faces and breathing heavily.

...maybe we should kiss to break the tension.

Meanwhile, the computer had been recording what they were doing...which must have been pretty impressive since their snare drum playing was somehow able to produce a treble clef piece in the key of D that randomly changes to bass clef in the key of C.

After marveling at Devon's ability to play basic rhythm patterns on snare while having them change clefs and key signature, Sean becomes Devon's mentor and begins teaching him how to read music.

During their partnership, Devon and Sean are somehow able to write all the parts for an impressive arrangement of old school funk and modern day hip hop. Dr. Lee beams with pride over the two former adversaries coming together to give his band a chance at winning the big competition. He then begins their rehearsals for the show by telling the students "Let's get crunk."

Fortunately, the students did not take his advice and begin heavily drinking. Instead, they begin rehearsing in earnest and things being to come together.

Meanwhile, the movie's narrative on Devon's attitude does a complete about face. To help prove that he is now a good guy, Devon helps his white bass drum specialist friend Jason learn how to play his instrument and dance at the same time...by encouraging him to pretend that he is having sex with it.

Jason uses his new man-on-bass drum love knowledge to win back his spot for the big competition (the day before it occurs).

On the evening of the BET Classic at the Georgia Dome, we are treated to a great compilation of college marching band performances. But when Morris Brown's time comes to perform, they attempt to kick things up a notch by enlisting the help of rap artist Petey Pablo, who was at the height of his popularity before fading into his current state of complete obscurity.

There are a couple of things about this that don't really work in the context of the movie:

1. Enlisting the help of a professional recording artist to basically perform a set as your marching show doesn't really seem fair or in line with the rest of competition.

2. Compared to the other bands we just heard, it actually isn't that good. The performance mostly consists of Petey Pablo screaming out hooks and lines from a few of his songs while the band stays in a concert block behind him.

Atlanta A&T follows this up by thoroughly kicking Morris Brown's ass in music, drill, and choreography...all without the help of a professional recording artist.

The judges, however, place the two schools in a tie. To break it, the competition decides to have a face off between the two drum lines at center field (completely discounting the rest of the band as a factor, apparently).

Dr. Lee and Sean then decide that it's time to let Devon (who started a violent physical altercation the last time he was involved in a drum line face off) take a spot from one of the snares who had worked and performed with the band all year up until that point. Predictably, A&T's drum line wins the face off and takes home the grand prize.

The viewer, on the other hand, is left the strong desire to bang their head against a wall repeatedly. I mean sure, the music was good and the movie had some funny moments. But if you are a musician, some of the inaccuracies and gross oversights are just too much to overcome.

Maybe feeling that way makes those of us in the band director community snobs. Perhaps we just need to lighten up and try to enjoy the movie and ignore the fact that a movie about marching band was made that apparently lacked a large amount of input from people that actually know something about the subject.

But no matter what your opinion about the film is, it still has an important message that we would all do well to remember.

Hiring Petey Pablo doesn't guarantee first place at a competition.

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, 20th Century Fox decides to hire another adviser on the subject of their next movie.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Weird Crime Wednesday: Lend me your ear...I'll get the coffee

(photo @ legaljuice)

Port St. Lucie, Florida

On Sunday, August 11 of 2013, 29-year-old William Bradford was asked by his friend, 36-year-old Christine Stephenson, to come over to her house. The reason for her invitation was that she felt protection was needed against her roommate, 26-year-old Kenneth Thompson.

It seemed that in addition to having a habit of returning to their house drunk and breaking things, Kenneth also believed with all his heart that Christine was the love of his life. The fact that Christine did not return his affection had become a bit of a sore spot during their time cohabitating in the same living space.

To emphasize her stance on their relationship to one another (and for her own protection), Christine had decided to take out a restraining order on Kenneth the next day. But in the meantime, she still had one evening left living in the same quarters as him and didn't want any trouble.

Now while I do completely sympathize with Christine in this situation, I do have a couple of questions before we go any further into what happened next:

1. Why not go stay at a motel for the evening? (Or if you don't have the money, stay at the home of a friend or relative)?

2. If a man is psychotically obsessed/possessive of you, how do you think he is going to react when he comes home to find another male with you in the house?


As you might have guessed, things quickly got out of hand after Kenneth walked in the door. Living up to his alleged control-freak persona, Kenneth grabbed Christine's phone and began examining the contents...where he came across information (either texts or emails) that revealed Christine's plans to get a restraining order against him.

Like a true violent psychopath, Kenneth reacted to hearing undesirable news by first becoming self destructive (claiming that he was going to shoot himself in the face) and then lashing out at someone else (who ended up being William) in the form of repeated punches to his target's face.

At this point, Christine and William wisely made the decision to leave the premises. But as they were heading out to the car, Kenneth attacked William and wrestled him to the ground. After the two men had tussled for a while, Kenneth decided it was time to show the fleeing pair just what a desperate/crazy person they were dealing with...by biting down on William's ear, twisting it in his teeth, and pulling off a chunk of flesh.


Like most fights that are not happening on television or in a movie, massive amounts of blood and the sight of a dismembered body part caused everything to immediately stop.

Realizing what a complete tool he was being, Kenneth changed course and decided to try and help preserve William's earlobe. Unfortunately, Kenneth's lack of ability to have a rational thought process was not just contingent upon malice and rage. He ran back inside, got a cup of coffee filled with creamer, and spit the piece of William's ear inside of it

He would later claim to police that he took this course of action because he had heard that "if you lose a tooth, you should keep it in creamer." 

At the hospital, Kenneth continued his streak of crazy by claiming that Christine was his girlfriend and that William was his best friend. As you might imagine, Christine and William did not corroborate his sentiments about them to the police. He also brushed off William's injury since it was "just a small piece" of his ear that had been torn off.

As bad as all of this sounds, it actually could have been much worse. When police went back to the house, they recovered a shotgun, crossbow, and machete from Kenneth's room. It's very fortunate for everyone involved that he decided to take out his unjustified frustrations with only his fists and chompers.

Kenneth Howard Thompson was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. He was booked into the St. Lucie County Jail.

...where you can't try to solve all your problems by biting off people's ears.

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 psychotic stalker decides to eat an ear of corn instead of the ear of his "best friend."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Weird Crime: iPad Fraud Can Be a Cold Mistress

(photo @ destructoid.com)

Wellington, England

On May 14 of 2012, 29-year-old Nathan Meunch walked into the Wellington Post Office with a package that he wanted delivered. Elaine Sloane, the counter clerk who greeted him, noticed that Nathan's jacket look a bit damp and inquired if it was raining outside.

When Nathan answered that it was, Elaine became suspicious...most likely because she could clearly see from a window near her work station that it was not raining at all. Probably figuring that he was just not paying attention (or a compulsive liar), Elaine shrugged it off and asked him what he would like to deliver.

Nathan informed her that he was mailing a set of iPads that were valued at approximately $4,000. They were to be sent by special delivery and fully insured. When Elaine asked for a return address, however, Nathan couldn't remember what it was. This probably should have raised another red flag, but she might have just assumed that he had an incredibly bad memory on account of him forgetting what the weather was just like outside.

It's not like everyone has an iPhone that can let them know when it's raining.

About an hour after Nathan dropped off his parcel and left, another post office employee noticed a puddle of water forming underneath the package. After investigating the cause of wetness, they discovered that the "iPads" were actually just blocks of ice.

At that moment, it became clear that either something had gone catastrophically wrong at the Apple manufacturing plant, or that Nathan was trying to pull off a (terribly planned) scam. 

Look, trying to commit mail insurance fraud with fake iPads is wrong...but if you are going to do it, why in the heck would you use ice? There are any number of products or materials that could have been substituted AND wouldn't have suffered the logistical pitfall of melting after a short period of time away from freezing temperatures....IN THE MIDDLE OF MAY.

It's people like Nathan who ask "What do they 
do with ice sculptures after they've melted?"

I'm not sure if it was to maintain the integrity of the investigation or just to make the suspect feel even stupider, but the post office actually still delivered the package its recipient, 39-year-old Nigel Bennett. Sure enough, a few days after delivering the boxes of melted ice, the post office got an insurance claim for the around $4,000.

The two men's scheme was easily exposed by the authorities, who charged charged both of them with fraud. At the trial, even Bennett's own lawyer referred to their plan as "rather pathetic."

On Monday, August 12 of 2013, both Nigel Bennett and Nathan Meunch were sentenced to 12 months of community service, 150 hours of unpaid work for the court system, and a £500 (approximately $775) fine.

Nathan Meunch

Nigel Bennett
The pair were also sentenced to 1 year of having to use the Nexus 7 tablet

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, the remains of a fake iPad are used to help water a beautiful garden.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weird Crime: Domestic Mediation Is Not Mightier Than the Sword

Osceola County, Florida

On the evening of August 9, 2013, 74-year-old Isabel Rego was having her granddaughter (along with her 4-year-old great-grandson) over to her place for dinner. Since her 44-year-old son Juan Lovine already shared the living space with her, Isabel's home was set to have four generations of their family under one roof together.

But as beautiful as that may sound at first, there are many families that do not do well unless they are separated by large distances and generic Christmas cards. In this one's case, Juan and his adult daughter were unable to break bread together before escalating the dinner conversation into an intense verbal altercation.

This is normally where most extended family drama ends (followed by lots of awkward stares and whispering), but things between these two quickly turned physical. It began with Juan grabbing his daughter and pushing her into the wall. She was then able to successfully counter with a devastating jab to his eye.

That's when Juan decided to take things the next level by grabbing a 5-foot-long sword and stabbing his daughter in the right arm and chest.

...or what ancient vikings referred to as "family counseling."

As you might imagine, 911 was called...although none of the available reporting on this incident indicates who it was that actually dialed emergencies services. If it was Isabel, than she may have had a change of heart while waiting for the police to arrive; once the officers got there, she attempted to prevent the police from arresting her son.

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Isabel decried the officers' overreaction to the situation, explaining that Juan was just angry because his daughter's punch (which it should be noted was in self defense) had caused his eye to bleed. She also claimed that Juan never intended to kill his daughter, but was only trying to "poke" her.

On the subject of why he had a sword in the first place, Isabel said that her son had bought the sword at Medieval Times as part of a collection that he keeps in the house (which helps explain why he is 44 years old and still lives with his mother).

Isabel also claimed that what the police interpreted as her trying to physically assault them was actually her just giving Juan a kiss goodbye. Considering the fact that she considers being stabbed twice with a 5-foot sword a "poke", that potentially could be accurate.

And if Isabel really was trying to give her son a kiss goodbye as he was being hauled off to jail, than you really have to wonder just how much this woman hates her granddaughter. Not only had her son just tried to beat her granddaughter up, but he resorted to stabbing her with a sword after rightfully getting his ass handed to him...

...and that's the way she sees him off? Even my own overprotective and loving mother would have sent me on my way with a well deserved kick to the nuts if I had tried something like that.

Jaun's daughter (whose name is not being released) was listed as being in stable condition on Saturday with none of her injuries being life-threatening.

Isabel Rego was arrested and charged with resisting law enforcement. She paid $500 bond and was released from the Osceola County Jail.

Juan Lovine was arrested and charged with attempted felony murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and domestic violence. After being released from the Orlando Regional Medical Center, he will be held at the Osceola County Jail while awaiting trial.

...and he won't have his precious sword collection.

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 daughter is able to knock an abusive father out completely before he is able to arm himself.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: The Max Headroom Broadcast Signal Intrusion

On Sunday, November 22 of 1987, Chicago's WGN-TV news desk looked to have a pretty easy night as far reporting on the city's sports teams was concerned. It had been a frustrating year for all NFL fans due to a strike occurring in the middle of the season, but now the "real" players were back on the field and the Chicago Bears looked like they were headed towards a post season appearance.

Earlier that day, the Bears had trounced the Detroit Lions 30-10 at Solider Field. Sports anchor Dan Roan was getting set to report on this happy outcome for Bears fans during the 9:00 Sunday evening news broadcast. But before he could, this happened...

After approximately 30 seconds of metallic buzzing and what looked like the receptionist at the gates of Hell bouncing around back and forth, WGN was able to switch their studio link frequency and get back on the air. Dan Roan, along with the rest of his Chicago viewers and WGN's national cable audience, had absolutely no idea what had just happened.

Please Note

Children of the 80's who watched way too much television like myself can probably skip the next section

Who/what was that?

If you were alive during the 1980's, you at least have a point of reference. The person (or demonic being) on the screen was wearing mask in the likeness of Max Headroom, a character from the British cyber-punk cult movie Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into The Future.

The movie takes place in a dystopian future where TV corporations run the world. A reporter trying to crack a big story about them is killed, but his consciousness is transferred into a computer...which also makes him tell lots of corny jokes and speak with a stutter.

The movie, and subsequently the character of Max, was so popular that he eventually got his own TV show.

Embedded below are some of his "greatest hits." You'll notice that the background for nearly all the clips looks like what the person in the Max Headroom mask was trying to imitate via the use of swaying corrugated metal.

Max soon became an international hit, which lead to him booking numerous guest appearances on British and American television shows; he even once appeared on Sesame Street.

But what he may be best known for was his ill-advised turn as the spokesman the disastrous product known as New Coke. The Coca-Cola Company had attempted to change the formula of their signature drink, which not only tasted terrible, but led to commercials like this getting made:

For those of you that didn't watch the video embedded above (and I can't blame you after already suffering through the previous Max Headroom clip collection), New Coke's slogan was "Catch the Wave." Unfortunately for the company, all they seemed to catch instead was a lot of flak for changing the soda's classic formula.

The Second (and more successful) Attempt

None of this information, however, explains why someone decided to dress up as Max Headroom and interrupt a major news station's broadcast. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you scare easily), a second and more successful attempt at a broadcast signal intrusion was made that evening.

This time, the target was Chicago's PBS affiliate, WTTW. During an 11:15 airing of the Dr. Who episode entitled 'Horror of Fang Rock', Max was able to completely overtake the station's signal, this time with sound and a lot more air time to work with.

Embedded below is a video of the incident along with attempted subtitles. It's a bit NSFW due to some mild language, but mostly because at 1:44 you see the side of a man's butt being whacked by a fly swatter. I don't care how old you are, that's a pretty traumatizing thing to witness.


For those of you left that haven't gone into a comatose state due to a mixture of fear and confusion, let's try to identify and possibly analyze what we just saw.

0:25 - The signal hijacking is successful. Max giggles with delight that he has interrupted WTTW's signal and now controls the station's broadcast. This is very serious since unlike WGN, WTTW was unable to regain control of its signal...meaning that Max now had full control of their broadcast.

0:28 - It's unclear who Max was referring to as a "frickin' nerd", but he then takes a shot at legendary Chicago Bulls play-by-play announcer Chuck Swirsky. After Max claims to be better than him, he refers to Swirsky as a "freakin' liberal." I have not found any information on Swirsky's political views, nor does it seem very relevant to the work he has done as a sports radio broadcaster...so yeah....

0:43 - After exclaiming "Oh Jesus!" and moaning for a few seconds, Max picks up a can of Pepsi (Coke's main competitor) and parrots its competitor's "Catch the Wave" slogan while tossing the can off camera. This was probably meant as an ironic joke or a dig at Coke's advertising campaign.

0:53 - Max continues to moan and scream while also putting some type of rubber extension on his middle finger. He then begins to sing "your love is fading," which is a line from The Temptations 1966 hit (I Know) I'm Losing You. At this point, "love" may be a representative term for our collective sanity.

1:00 - Max begins singing the theme to Clutch Cargo, an animated television show from the late 1950's. Despite it's time period, the production values are still unforgivably terrible (as evidenced by the video below).

1:06 - Max claims that he "stole" CBS while continuing to sing the Clutch Cargo theme.

1:13 - Max randomly screams "OH MY FILES!"

1:20 - Max (FINALLY) says something that seems to have a direct and intended target, proclaiming that he has just made a "masterpiece for all the greatest world newspaper nerds." This would seem to be a dig at at WGN, whose initials stand for World's Greatest Newspaper. This also seems like a pretty douche move since he's actually hijacking the signal of a PBS affiliate, instead.

1:30 - Max puts on a glove and claims that his brother is wearing the other one. He then complains that it's dirty and that it has blood on it. Yeah, I got nothing....

1:40 - I guess Max figured that his time was limited before someone found him. Thankfully, he ends the video before we have to watch his partner in crime spank him with a flyswatter for very long.

How did people react to this?

As you can imagine, the FCC was pretty pissed. They spoke on air to news stations about the incident and threatened to track down whoever committed this act of random brain poop and bring them to justice.

TV viewers at home who were subjected to Max's broadcast were also pretty ticked. Both stations got numerous calls and complaints. One man who was interviewed even claimed that it made him want to punch his television set.

If that sounds a bit drastic, keep in mind that this was before the internet that we know and love today. People watching Dr. Who when the signal intrusion occurred couldn't just go find the episode later online. They also couldn't do a Google search and to try and understand what the heck just happened (not that it would have helped them much, anyway).

It was jarring, a bit terrifying, and it ruined an episode of great television. 

How did someone do this?

The people who did this (we'll assume it was at least two due to the flyswatter footage) were able to send a stronger signal and override those being broadcast from both the John Hancock Center (WGN) and the Sears Tower (WTTW). 

What's even more impressive, however, is that the large amount of equipment needed to pull off such an operation would have cost in the range of $25,000...in 1987. In today's dollars most assuredly be much more. 

And even if Max and his crew could somehow just rent all the technology needed to pull off their stunt (which would still be a very expensive proposition), it would have to be done from the rooftop of an adjacent building, an incredibly powerful ground generator, or from the rooftop of one of the buildings themselves.

...which brings us to our next question:

Why did someone do this (and what was the point)?

The people that pulled this off were clearly well financed and incredibly tech savvy....so you would figure that the chance to broadcast your message to the people of Chicago during prime Sunday evening TV viewing hours would be the perfect opportunity to say or do something really profound indicative of their impressive intelligence.

Instead, we got what looked like an adderall and ritilan induced fever dream along with a lot of incoherent babbling and pop culture references. For a juvenile prank, this was an incredibly massive undertaking. It also carried a lot of risk; a man who had recently hijacked HBO's signal was easily tracked down and brought to justice.

But to this day, no one involved in the Max Headroom broadcast intrusion incident has ever been identified or caught. That means that they are most likely still alive and cackling hysterically every time it gets brought up as one of the biggest (and most bizarre) pranks in history...

...or maybe with today's technology and their already proven know-how, Max and Company are waiting for the right time to pull off something even bigger.

Sweet dreams!

For an entertaining (and short) documentary from Oddity Archive on this incident, click here.

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, Max Headroom decides to wait until Dr. Who is over before hijacking a broadcast signal.