Sadly, this post will probably be the first in a series.
This story brought to you by Frank Crow, 56, of Moss Bluff, Florida, who got into an argument about the lack of available toilet paper with his roommate, 58-year-old Kenneth Matthews. (Why do they always give the participants' ages, anyway? It almost never makes a story better unless one or more of the participants is over 90. Oh, well.)
Crow initially denied any involvement -- and I bet there was no evidence at all to suggest he was involved -- but confessed during questioning. (CNN's report has a video link in the story entitled "Watch how an 11-year-old helped get the confession.") Crow said that the men started fighting over the absence of toilet paper and that eventually Matthews pulled out a rifle. Not quickly enough, apparently, because Crow "then began beating Matthews with the sledgehammer and claw hammer," he told police. The beating was wildly successful, as beatings go, since Matthews had to be identified through his fingerprints.
When informed of the reason for the beating, police said they understood Crow's frustration and let him go immediately. "There's nothing worse," said one deputy, "than the feeling you get when you look over, realize there ain't no TP and you got nowhere to go. It's enough to make any man grab a hammer or two and beat his friend to death."
No, that didn't happen. Crow was charged with homicide and is being held without bail. The Marion County jail probably has plenty of toilet paper, but I bet it ain't but one-ply.
Legal consequences involving the Chinese tile game mahjong were in the news twice today.
First, the AP reported that petty criminals in Taiwan are increasingly being given the choice of either paying a fine or engaging in community service. ("Petty criminal" apparently includes burglary, drunk driving, and "posting nude pictures on the Internet.") One frequent type of community service involves forcing offenders to play mahjong with elderly people. According to a Taiwanese official, "the offenders first dismissed the duty as wasting time, but they soon discovered they were respected and drew satisfaction from helping the elderly." It's also easier than picking up trash, of course.
But in Malaysia, mahjong showed its darker side. Two men were playing mahjong in a coffee shop in George Town, Penang, last Thursday, when an argument started. The report did not say what started the argument, but it did say how it ended: one man grabbed a spoon and shoved it up his opponent's nose.
He followed up by bashing the man with a chair.
Other customers broke up the fight and the victim was treated at a nearby hospital, presumably for spoon inhalation. Police are still looking for the assailant.
The rate of mahjong-related violence has skyrocketed recently, going from zero cases to this one.
Desperate not to miss out on election-year scandals, the Texas Democratic Party is offering a former prostitute for election to the state house of representatives.
Tom Malin, a salesman and actor who is running in the March 7 primary, has stated publicly that he worked as a prostitute in the past but has now changed his life and accepted responsibility and the Lord's forgiveness for his past lifestyle. "I've made mistakes," he conceded, but said he would stay in the race because he felt others could benefit from his experience (in having made mistakes and been forgiven).
At least some Democrats knew about Malin's past, but others did not. The Dallas Tejano Democrats endorsed Malin on Thursday, only to learn the additional facts today. "Obviously we will have to reconsider our decision based on the new information," said the group's chairman.
Malin will face retired salesman and non-prostitute Jack Borden in the March primary. The winner will lose to incumbent Dan Branch, who represents a district in central Dallas.
Malin told the Houston Chronicle that "people care about where you're going, not where you've been." Maybe so, but they might care about where others have been.
KAKE News in Wichita has alerted local residents to a new bill that may raise the minimum marriage age to 16, with parental approval, or 18 without approval. Currently, 12-year-olds can get married in Kansas with the consent of a parent or judge.
Is there any irony in the fact that 12-year-olds can mate in Kansas but the teaching of evolution is frowned upon? I mean, there's something there -- I'm just not sure irony is the word.
121 state lawmakers voted in favor of the bill -- and one dissented. Rep. Bonnie Huy of Wichita voted against the bill, noting there have been only 34 underage marriages (under what age was not reported) in Kansas since 1999, and that Kansans facing "the most important decision of their young lives" should not be limited. She also believes the law infringes on parental rights to raise children.
The bill is expected to pass the state senate as well.