News Grab Bag Jan/Feb 2014: Deaths, Names and Badassery

Okay, so I routinely bookmark news stories that I’d like to write about, sometimes they get a post to themselves, but now and then a few smaller ones pile up and I do these News Grab Bag ones, so this is a collection of stories that caught my eye earlier this year but which I never got around to writing about. You may have heard some of them before but I hope you enjoy.

Early contender for badass of the year

It may only be the start of March, but it’s going to take a lot to topple James Grant as 2014’s badass champion.

Grant, a doctor in New Zealand was out fishing when friends when he was attacked by a shark. Now at this point I’d probably lose my shit completely and yell for Aquaman to come to my rescue, but the Kiwis, like their Aussie neighbours, are made of stronger stuff. Grant pulled his diving knife and repeatedly stabbed the shark which was sinking it’s teeth into his leg.

The shark swam off and Grant and friends returned to shore. At which point he did what every self respecting man from down under would- went for a pint. Admitting that adrenalin may have had something to do with it, Grant treated his own wounds with a first aid kit while having a beer before deciding to take himself off to hospital.

Grant shows off his bandage

Grant shows off his bandage

More.

Going out in style

Being a morbid so-and-so I’ve spent far too much time thinking about what my funeral will be like. This mainly revolves around the music selection, although I have given some thought to my coffin. However, none of my ideas are as elaborate as two instances unique funerals that I read about recently.

First up, in Puerto Rico young boxer Christopher Rivera was gunned down. At his wake he was posed in full boxing regalia and mourners were allowed to pose with their lost loved one. It all seems a little weird to me but it’s unique and pays homage to what was an important part of his life.

Puerto Rico Standing Wake

The second story also revolves around what the deceased loved. Over in the States Bill Standley was laid to rest astride his Harley Davidson bike. His sons assisted in building a special coffin which would allow this to happen, after Standley started it while battling cancer. Described as a “quirky man” by his daughter, Standley would show visitors to his home the coffin and tell them his plans, which might seem grim to some but I gotta respect the dude for his creativity and sense of fun.

ngb standley

Contemptuous laugh

The fact that I’ve never been called up for jury duty is something that bugs me a lot. I think too many court room dramas have left me with an unrealistic impression of trials and how dramatic they are, but even taking this into effect I’m curious to see how the system works and also have dreams of being the sole voice for compassion and decency, Fonda-style.

People who have done jury duty have told me it’s either dull or distressing. Either way, it’s an experience that’s light on laughs.

Or usually it is, but recently in a London court room the judge had to tell the jurors to stop laughing.

To be fair the case they were hearing was a bizarre one. The accused is said to have attempted sex with a sheep after a cow wouldn’t perform fellatio on him. I defy anyone not to read that sentence and not snigger, it ranks high on the weird crime stories I’ve heard.

More.

Well nobody can say they didn’t see it coming

There’s an obscure passage in the Bible about the handling of the snakes, which I’m only aware of because I read The Years of Living Biblically. Some Christians have taken this line to believe that God’s love will protect them from snake bites and snake handling preachers exist, who handle venomous snakes as part of their services.

It’s attention grabbing to say the least and there’s even been a TV show in the USA, which features Jamie Coots. In a tragic, if unsurprising turn of events, Coots died in February after being bitten by a snake.

I’m not religious and so this practice strikes me as extremely bizarre. For one it feels a bit presumptuous to test God’s love for you, I mean, I know the Christian almighty is a caring dude but that seems to be pushing it. If God does exist he’s got enough on his plate without having to deal with folks who are putting themselves needlessly at risk just to prove a point.

My sympathies go out to Coots’ loved ones, but I can’t help feeling that this was a stupid way to go out and this sort of practice really needs to stop.

Coots

Coots

Out for Justice

The Sochi Winter Olympics finished recently (the Paralympics kick off this week) but in the run up there were a lot of fears about the safety of the games, with terrorist attacks and the usual problems of having a high profile event coming into effect. It was debated in the media and it’s the type of situation where you need experts to come in and discuss it. You know the type- ex-military types, or security officials from previous games.

But Russia Today clearly decided they needed something more. They needed someone with real experience, a man who’s taken on the mob, terrorists and saved the lives of a battleship’s crew. What a guy, right? The problem is that these weren’t one guy. They were several guys, all fictional, with one linking factor. They were all played by the same ponytailed ass kicker.

Yes, I’m talking about the man, the legend, Steven Seagal.

Calm down everyone, Russia's gonna be alright!

Calm down everyone, Russia’s gonna be alright!

Russia Today went right to the big guns for advice on how to keep the games safe.

Subtitle fail

Oops.

ngb subtitle

What’s in a name?

I always feel bad for people with daft or unusual names. At best you’re gonna waste time telling people how they’re spelt, or else face open ridicule because your parents didn’t think it through.

I don’t go in for governments telling people how to live but I’ve always felt that there should be naming office and when particularly moronic names come up they get to veto it. “You want to call your kid ‘Pineapple’? Yeah, his name’s gonna be Jeff”.

So I was kinda pleased that down Mexico way they have a rule that “prohibits giving children names that are derogatory or that don’t have any meaning and that can lead to bullying,”.

That quote comes from the Civil Registry director in Sonora, Cristina Ramirez. Already failing to get by are Rambo, Facebook and Lady Di, the last kid in particular dodged a bullet there.

I’m all for it. I mean, you might think it’s cute, but your kid’s gonna have to deal with it their whole life.

Overdue

Younger readers might not know this, but we used to have these things called VHS cassettes which had movies on. And not only that we had shops that would rent you a movie for a night or two. Kind of like a library.

Like a library they had fines if you were late getting them back. Which is fair enough. I once went overdue on Anaconda and had to pay an extra £2, it was worth it though because I love that movie.

I think it was the one time I was late taking it back and once the fine was paid it was done and dusted.

But what if you went overdue by a long time.

And lived in a country as daft as the USA.

Well, you could wind up like Kayla Finley, of South Carolina, who went to a sheriff’s office to report a crime only to be told she was a wanted woman. The reason why there was a warrant out on her? She hadn’t taken a video back 9 years ago.

Ouch, that’s gonna be a hefty fine.

Finley was understandably miffed about the whole thing, especially as she was jailed overnight. She’s due in court and aims to fight the case.

Adding salt to the wound is the fact that her undoing might be down to Monster in Law, a painful failure to make a comedy and a black mark on the careers of it’s leads Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez.

ngb monster in law

Hopefully the matter resolves itself easily, and Finley just has to pay a minor fine. I can’t see them asking for too much because, well, it’s not like they’d have got much demand for a VHS copy of this movie in recent years.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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