Oddities for the Month of December of 2021

This is a list of weird, wacky, and other unusual stories that we found around the web. It is for December, 2021.

‘Tis the season to be really weird. Wait… isn’t that every month? Ah well. Enjoy the weird news stories anyway.

Never Take on a Navy Frigate if You’re a Couple of Pirates on a Speedboat

Sometimes, battles are quite epic. Others are, well, rather one-sided. This story winds up being very much the latter:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Royal Danish Navy frigate HDMS Esbern Snare (F342) engaged pirates on Wednesday during an anti-piracy deployment in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa, killing four pirates and capturing the remaining four.

The ship was responding to reports of pirate activity and heading to the scene while sending it’s embarked Royal Danish Air Force MH-60R helicopter in advance to observe the area, according to a Thursday news release from the Danish Armed Forces. The helicopter sighted a speedboat that afternoon with eight men on board in the vicinity of merchant ships in the area and observed that the boat was carrying a number of piracy-associated tools, including ladders.

By the evening, Esbern Snare was close enough to launch rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) carrying Danish naval special forces personnel and called on the boat to halt and permit boarding, the news release said. When the boat refused to respond to the call, warning shots were fired, with the pirates responding by firing directly at the personnel in the RHIBs. A brief firefight then ensued, in which no Danish personnel were hit but five pirates were shot, with four of them killed and one wounded. The motorboat sank after the firefight and the surviving four pirates and the bodies of the dead pirates were taken aboard the frigate, where the wounded pirate was given medical treatment. The release said that Denmark’s inter-ministerial working group will handle what will happen next to the pirates.

Not that the outcome was going to be much of anything else, but did the pirates have Storm Trooper accuracy or something?

Bad: Falling Asleep at Your Own Court Hearing. Rude: Snoring Loudly in the Process

Some defendants in the court system listen attentively and even take notes. Then there’s this guy:

On Monday, prosecutor Brenda Boyd read aloud a lengthy account of the investigation for the court, detailing police intercepts of phone calls, surveillance of suspects and bank accounts containing thousands of dollars belonging to people with no recorded source of income. There was a St. John’s condo used as a stash house, quick meetings in hotel rooms and parking lots, and directions given from a convicted drug dealer serving time in a federal prison. Expensive vacations, high-end jewelry pieces — including a $12,000 Rolex and a set of diamond studded grills, worn on the teeth — and Louis Vuitton shopping trips were paid for with drug money. There were guns, knives, six kilograms of cocaine, 16 doses of LSD and $843,000 cash all seized by police.

It wasn’t Boyd’s first time reading a similar agreed statement of facts into the court record for one of the Project Broken accused; this week she presented the 56-page document as the trial of Steven Noseworthy began in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court.

Noseworthy, 30, sat behind her in the dock as she read, repeatedly falling asleep and snoring loudly in the courtroom.

Noseworthy’s alleged role in the trafficking ring was related to the money: he and Jonathan Mahon were charged with laundering the drug money in St. John’s between June 2017 and March 2018. Mahon pleaded guilty last December to that and another money laundering charge, as well as cocaine trafficking, weapons offences and possessing property obtained by crime, and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

I like how this story is also about cocaine and the fact that the defendant’s name is Noseworthy.

LAPD Officer Gets a New Personal Best: Wrongfully Arresting Someone 5,700 Miles Outside of His Jurisdiction

It’s not really news that an American police officer made a wrongful arrest, but how often do you hear about an American officer making a wrongful arrest in France? Well, that’s decidedly less common:

Two Los Angeles police officers made a wrongful arrest about 5,700 miles outside their jurisdiction.

Two Los Angeles Police Department officers just caused an international incident by making a wrongful arrest—in France.

It happened in Marseille, where LAPD Chief Michel Moore and Assistant Chief Robert Marino were walking the streets after dinner with their wives, along with two LAPD officers as security detail.

On Nov. 17 around 11 p.m. local time, Moore, Marino, their wives, the security detail, and members of the French National police left a restaurant, according to police. A man walking down the street with a group bumped into Marino’s wife, who then accused him of stealing her cellphone.

The security team chased after the man and arrested him, but they and local authorities quickly realized the man hadn’t taken a thing from the commander’s wife, according to French police. And now, the department is opening an investigation into the wrongful stop, which took place more than 5,700 miles outside their jurisdiction, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The incident prompted an internal investigation, and the names of the LAPD officers involved are being withheld.

Let me guess: that will be followed up by the standard ‘we investigated ourselves and found no evidence of wrongdoing’ ending.

Spelling Counts for Road Signs

Once again, if you’re making road signs, at least spell the state you are in correctly. It’s the least you could do:

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A highway sign that recently went up in Delaware was noticeably missing a letter in the state’s name.

The new Wilmington exit sign on Interstate 95 should have said “Delaware Ave” but was misspelled as “Delware,” The News Journal reports.

Delaware’s transportation department and its contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure Company, say the sign was always meant to be temporary and has been replaced.

Exit 7 was previously closed for construction. A subcontractor hurriedly made a placeholder sign after learning the permanent one might not arrive in time for when the northbound exit was scheduled to reopen.

Donnie Arant, a Kiewit area manager, told the newspaper that the blunder was discovered after the sign was installed. It was not clear how long the error was up before it was covered Wednesday. The permanent marker was delivered earlier this week, so the one with the missing “a” was switched out.

I’d like to buy a vowel?

That Time When the Bishop Ruined Christmas

When is it time to tell kids that Santa doesn’t exist? Well, apparently, in a group setting all at once was a bad time:

ROME (AP) — A Roman Catholic diocese in Sicily publicly apologized to outraged parents after its bishop told a group of children that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

In a Facebook post and subsequent comments Friday, the diocese of Noto insisted that Bishop Antonio Stagliano didn’t mean to dash the dreams of the youngsters two weeks before Christmas.

The diocesan communications director, the Rev. Alessandro Paolino, said Stagliano was trying to underline the true meaning of Christmas and the story of St. Nicholas, a bishop who gave gifts to the poor and was persecuted by a Roman emperor.

Italian news reports quoted Stagliano as saying during a recent religious festival that Santa doesn’t exist and that his red costume was created by the Coca-Cola company for publicity.

“First of all, on behalf of the bishop, I express my sorrow for this declaration which has created disappointment in the little ones, and want to specify that Monsignor Stagliano‘s intentions were quite different,” Paolino wrote on the diocesan Facebook page.

“We certainly must not demolish the imagination of children, but draw good examples from it that are positive for life,” he continued. “So Santa Claus is an effective image to convey the importance of giving, generosity, sharing. But when this image loses its meaning, you see Santa Claus aka consumerism, the desire to own, buy, buy and buy again, then you have to revalue it by giving it a new meaning.”

I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that this is not how the Bishop intended on making the news.

Ever Give Up Decorating the Tree Part Way Through?

Decorating a live tree does have drawbacks. One of those is the fact that the tree will be bigger every year. In one case, decorators apparently gave up about a third of the way up:

The Christmas tree in Bailiff Bridge is shining a metaphorical light on the West Yorkshire village, having been described as “the worst in the north” after it was decorated only a third of the way up.

Council bosses say the issue with sprucing up the spruce is that the natural tree has grown too tall, meaning it is unsafe to decorate the higher sections “as they can’t be reached by any maintenance vehicles”, according to Calderdale council’s cabinet member for public services and communities, Jenny Lynn.

“It’s Elf and Safety gone mad,” said the local Conservative councillor George Robinson. “It is clear that it is the worst Christmas tree in the north. When I saw the tree, my heart went into my stomach, the Christmas spirit left my body – I was just left with a Scrooge-like feeling. The lights go a third of the way up the tree, there are two stray baubles on there, clearly a token gesture: in some ways, you wonder why the council bothered.”

Amid a pandemic, local people had hoped the tree would bring some festive cheer to the village, but instead it has left them feeling as gloomy as the upper branches when walking past Memorial Park where it is situated.

“A Christmas tree is not just a tree,” said Robinson, “it is what it represents, it embodies ambition, excitement, being with family and friends, it is much more than a tree – I think that is the point. Especially after Covid, people want to look at a tree and be excited.

“Some people have said we would be better taking our own Christmas tree and plonking it in the park. It would certainly bring more joy to residents than that shambles, which is up there.”

It admittedly reminds me of Christmas trees decorated by little kids where the decorations get concentrated on the lower portions of the tree to be honest.

Merry Christmas to All, and to All on This Zoom Call, You’re Fired

Layoffs are never fun, but the list of ways to issue layoffs better than this is probably a really long one. Firing everyone right before Christmas via Zoom call:

This is actual footage from a Zoom call by Sears where they laid off a huge chunk of staff, apparently too large a number to address individually. This video was taken today, December 10, and uploaded by one of the employees on that call, who had more than a few choice words to say in return.

That same employee is actually an EBW user, and let us know that they were part of a group of trainees for the remodeling department, earning less than $700 for their three weeks of training. They were supposed to start receiving a non-training wage – a roughly six-figure income – on Monday.

It’s pretty painful to watch, and clearly, the folks at Sears don’t keep up with the news because not one of them seemed to be aware of the backlash created by the recent Zoom layoffs over at Better.com.

While some may argue that layoffs are a part of business cycles, doing so en masse over something as impersonal as a Zoom call is hardly defensible. Sears will likely find itself hard-pressed to be able to put any kind of positive spin on this.

Note that the video contains NSFW language, though that is probably the most understandable aspect of it.

What Not to Do If Your Wendy’s Order is Taking Too Long

Sometimes, things get delayed when you order something. No matter how American you are, it’s still probably not a good response to simply open fire:

A woman trying to order Wendy’s in the drive-thru began shooting when the fast food chain took “too long,” police in Ohio said.

A uniformed Euclid officer in a marked police car was working on off-duty assignment behind the Wendy’s restaurant late Friday, Dec. 3 when she heard three to four “very close distinct gun shots,” according to a police report obtained by McClatchy News.

As she began driving toward Wendy’s at about 10 p.m., she reported seeing a driver in a silver Chevrolet flee from the area.

“From our understanding, she was upset with her order,” Euclid Police Chief Scott Meyer told WJW. “She felt it was taking too long and she had some choice words for the staff … The manager heard her swearing at the staff members. He then told her she would not be served and to leave the lane. She was upset with that and she then fired three rounds.”

After the shooting, the manager reported the shooter “was loud and told him through the speaker ‘my order better be mother (expletive) right,’” before he told her to leave and “have a nice day.” He says that’s when the female customer fired a gun, according to the report, but he did not witness the shooting as he was inside the restaurant.

Boy does she need to chill out.

Santa Accused of Hacking a Speed Sign

Who knew that, all this time, Santa was a hacker?

PLYMOUTH, N.H. — Plymouth police believe that a speed sign on Highland Street was hacked by none other than Santa Claus, the department said.

Police said they were made aware on Thursday that the signs were possibly hacked and found that different messages were displayed than what was programmed.

If someone was driving faster than the posted speed limit, the word “naughty” appeared under their speed. If they were driving at or below the speed limit, the word “nice” showed up.

Detectives started an investigation and found the sign was a cyberattack victim. A search warrant was granted and the hacker’s IP address came from, the North Pole, according to authorities.

Police determined that Santa Claus is keeping an eye on drivers to keep everyone safe.

Good luck, Stanta! I’m behind seven proxies!

Neighbour Has an Epic Christmas Light Display? Just Use the Ditto Light Display

Why go through the effort of putting up thousands of lights and a multitude of displays when you can go for a much simpler look?

When the holiday season hits you can try to compete with your neighbour on Christmas decorations — or you can play along with them.

That’s what two people in one Saskatchewan city decided to do when their neighbour put up a Christmas display with more than 10,000 lights.

Warman couple Chris Boechler and Mandie Scrivens decided to work smarter, not harder, in their response.

So instead of trying to match the display, they pared down their own lights, simply spelling out the word “ditto” in lights with an arrow pointing at the neighbouring home.

It was a way of saying “we can’t keep up with them, but we want to join in on the fun,” said Boechler, of neighbour Auryn Kucheran’s bold decorations.

I know the joke is old, but I laughed anyway.

Bad: Arrested. Brilliant: Assume Your Brothers Identity. Fail: Brother Also a Wanted Man

Just when you thought you had a stroke of genius in the heat of the moment:

SINGAPORE – A motorist involved in two unrelated fatal traffic accidents in 2008 and 2014 was caught driving a car last year even though he had been disqualified from doing so.

In an attempt to get himself off the hook, Jason Chia Junjie, 40, gave false information to a police officer by claiming to be his younger brother.

But in a twist, the court heard that the brother was wanted by the authorities at the time and Chia was arrested.

The Singaporean was on Monday (Dec 13) sentenced to nine weeks’ jail and fined $5,000. He was also disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for 20 years.

He had pleaded guilty to one count each of driving without insurance, driving while under a disqualification order, and giving false information to a public servant.

D’oh!

They Finally Found That 2020 Election Fraud

Should we really be surprised at the political leanings at this point?

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – Three residents of The Villages have recently been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into voter fraud, court records show.

Jay Ketcik, Joan Halstead and John Rider are each charged with casting more than one ballot in an election, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

The probe into the allegations of voting irregularities was initiated by the office of Sumter County Supervisor of Elections Bill Keen, according to prosecutors. Keen declined to comment about the cases, citing the ongoing investigation.

[…]

Ketcik, Halstead and Rider could not be immediately reached for comment. There is no indication from court records that they know each other.

Court records also do not reveal which candidates they cast votes for in the 2020 general election.

All three were registered as Republicans in Florida at the time of the election, voter registration records show.

Rider’s voter registration appears to have been changed to No Party Affiliation around the time of his arrest, state records indicate.

Busted!

This Just In: Amazon Still a Terrible Place to Work At

An Amazon driver was threatened with a firing. In this case, there was a tornado nearby and the sirens were going off. Even with the threat of death, Amazon still told him to keep delivering orders or he’d be fired:

Many, if not all of us have had bad days at work. It’s making a living, not making margaritas, right? Maybe your boss has wanted something unreasonable done, or a client has suddenly and unexpectedly really needed your deliverable by EoD. Most of us, however, haven’t had a work day as bad as one Amazon driver: Forced to, potentially, choose between her living and her life.

On December 10th, a tornado demolished an Amazon fulfillment center in Edwardsville, IL. One driver, out making deliveries in the tornado’s path, heard warnings on the radio and relayed them to her dispatcher. Then she heard the sirens. Then she heard that returning to the distribution center would cost her her job. Bloomberg obtained, and verified, a series of texts between the driver and dispatcher:

[…]

Driver: Tornado alarms are going off over here.
Dispatch: Just keep delivering for now. We have to wait for word from Amazon. If we need to bring people back, the decision will ultimately be up to them. I will let you know if the situation changes at all. I’m talking with them now about it.
Driver: How about for my own personal safety, I’m going to head back. Having alarms going off next to me and nothing but locked building around me isn’t sheltering in place. That’s wanting to turn this van into a casket. Hour left of delivery time. And if you look at the radar, the worst of the storm is going to be right on top of me in 30 minutes.
Driver: It was actual sirens.

Dispatch: “If you decided to come back, that choice is yours. But I can tell you it won’t be viewed as for your own safety. The safest practice is to stay exactly where you are. If you decide to return with your packages, it will be viewed as you refusing your route, which will ultimately end with you not having a job come tomorrow morning. The sirens are just a warning.

Blood for the economy blood gods!!!

… yeah, if that’s not a reason to quit Amazon, I struggle to think what is.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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