• Wife convicted of murder apparently witnessed by pet parrot

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    My kind of story. This one is from White Cloud, Michigan (story here)

    A jury has convicted a western Michigan woman [Glenna Duram] of first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband in a crime apparently witnessed by the man’s pet parrot. . . .

    Martin Duram’s ex-wife, Christina Keller, has said that after the slaying, the pet parrot, Bud, repeated “don’t (expletive) shoot” in Martin Duram’s voice. Keller took ownership of the bird after Martin Duram’s death.  –AP via CBS News

    There is an old Perry Mason episode, “The Case of the Perjured Parrot,” in which the bird’s testimony also figures. (Synopsis of the show here)

    But, as the title suggests, the parrot wasn’t talking straight.


    Tip of the hat to my brother, Bob, for this gem.

  • When you see a bear in the woods, it REALLY helps to be a professional runner

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    Kenyan marathon runner, Morinda Marube, was out for his normal 18-mile morning training in Maine when he confronted two black bears, who thought he looked like breakfast.

    According to the Lewiston-Auburn Sun-Journal

    [The bears] stopped and looked at Marube. He quickly came to a halt and looked at them.

    “I had to think very fast,” he said.

    Jumping into the lake wasn’t an option.

    “In my head, I know I can’t swim. I fear swimming. I fear water,” he said.

    “Secondly, I knew I could not climb up a tree because bears can climb a tree,” he said. “The only solution I had at that time was to be able to run.”

    Those calculations took about five seconds, he said.

    The moment he turned his back to them, both bears charged him, he said. . . .

    He ran for the [vacant] house, also about 20 yards from where he stood, screaming as he went. –Lewiston-Auburn Sun-Journal

    He made it, with only ten yards to spare. He unlatched the screen door, got inside, and realized that the thin screen was all that separated him from two hungry, angry bears.

    He was in luck.

    They wandered around the base of the porch and some of the out-buildings, then suddenly took off, chasing each other across the dirt road and into the woods. . . .

    A day earlier, Marube had run a four-mile race in Bridgton, finishing second.

    Had he been chased by bears that day, he surely would have won that race, he said Wednesday. –Sun-Journal

    Comment: Police say that after Mr. Marube washes his pants several times, they should be back to normal.


  • Public-sector unions versus . . . Goats

    Yes, goats are taking away our jobs, says AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

    It happened at Western Michigan University, which has a contract with the union barring non-AFSCME employees from certain jobs, including grass-trimming.

    The Foundation for Economic Education reports on the job-stealing goat saga. 

    The basics are simple:

    1. The goats were brought in during the summer to clear poisonous brush and overgrowth around campus
    2. Those tasks are hard for humans to do
    3. Renting a team of 20 goats for the summer was a good way to do it, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive
    4. The goats, rented from a local farmer, were very effective, cleaned out the 15 acres quickly, and were ready for more.
    5. Since the school had already rented them for the rest of the summer, they decided to let them continue grazing as a “lawn-mowing” service.
      • That was not the school’s original intent, but it was a useful, if unexpected, way to save taxpayer money.
    6. Lawn mowing is normally at AFSCME union job.
    7. The union considers the goats scabs and has filed a grievance.

    Comment: A spokesman for the goats said they were concerned about “cheaper Chinese goats.”