Hold Your Fire
Law enforcers deserve credit for exercising restraint under extreme duress as they responded, guns drawn, to a report of an unauthorized entry to a house in Washington County, Ore. They knew that danger, even death, could lurk behind the locked door of a bathroom where they believed they had trapped the suspect. But the suspect rejected repeated demands to surrender, almost defiantly responding to police commands by making strange banging and rustling noises. There could even be a hostage!
Three deputies responded. Then backup arrived — a detective and two canine officers from the nearby Beaverton Police Department. According to sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Danny DiPietro, they yelled out to the intruder that they were police but got no response. Just the mysterious rustling and banging, "Like a loud thud, thud, thud on glass."
The moment came when they decided to burst into the bathroom and take the intruder by surprise. There they encountered one of the most dastardly and feared criminals in the annals of law enforcement: a Roomba robotic vacuum. Book 'em, Danno.
Holy Copyright Infringement, Batman!
Kudos to Warner Bros. for confronting President Donald Trump about his unauthorized use of music from the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises."
Trump, as he is apt to do, retweeted a video from a fan that used the music in the same way a campaign video might have. The two-minute video juxtaposes images of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton with those of Trump, while written text stokes familiar Trumpian grievances: "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they call you racist."
Warner Bros. filed a copyright complaint based on use of the film's music, and the video was soon blocked on YouTube, Twitter and other social media. The company has indicated that further legal action could follow.
The episode highlights two things: The president's irresponsible habit of grabbing anything he likes and throwing it out online in front of the world without considering the consequences; and the fact that the terror he once instilled in both politicians and corporations who were afraid of drawing his Twitter-wrath seems to be lifting.
Holy Pasta Infringement, Florida Man!
You've read a lot about Florida Man in these columns over the years because Florida Man never ceases to amaze bored newspaper editors with some of the stupidest, most outrageous feats of derring-do known to humankind. Just Google Florida Man, and you'll be entertained for hours. Esquire magazine has a website titled "The 90 Wildest Florida Man Headlines of 2019 (So Far)."
Our item this week was going to be devoted to the Florida man who was arrested for burglarizing cars in a St. Lucie County jail parking lot — only minutes after he had been released from that very jail on charges of grand theft.
But then that outrageous story was overtaken by: "Florida man arrested outside Olive Garden for belligerent eating of pasta." Police in Naples, Fla. were called about a disturbance in a restaurant parking lot, where a man reportedly was panhandling for money and yelling expletives, according to the Miami Herald. When they got there, they found a man shoveling spaghetti into his mouth with his hands.
According to the Herald, officers gave the man paper towels to clean the pasta off his face before they handcuffed him. Even in Florida, it seems, certain standards of decorum must be maintained.
The vandal who damaged construction equipment on a St. Louis bridge project earlier this week had what he or she apparently thought was a justifiable reason. A note found at the scene declared: "7 a.m. is too early. Please respect our neighborhood."
St. Louis city ordinance sets 7 a.m. as the earliest allowable time for construction noise to begin. For most people who work regular day hours, that would be a reasonable standard. For those who disagree, the solution isn't to sabotage equipment but to work to change the law.
Of course, that might require more energy than this particular vandal cared to muster. If and when police find out who this late-sleeping-in criminal is, they should make sure to show up with the arrest warrant before dawn.
Good Food, Lousy Hospitality
When a new restaurant opened recently in Charleston, S.C., the owner, having read a tough review of another eatery from the local paper's restaurant critic, pre-emptively banned her from setting foot in the place.
So the critic had colleagues go in, order meals and leave with leftovers, then did a doggie-bag review. To her credit, she set aside any justifiable animosity and reported that the food was excellent — but also informed the readers of the rudeness and cowardice of the owner.
"Malagon serves marvelous food to those allowed into downtown Charleston restaurant," read the headline of the online version of the piece by Hanna Raskin, food critic for The Post and Courier of Charleston.
"Malagon is making exceptional food," she writes, "but its owners don't want you or me to know it."
Raskin left it to patrons to decide whether good food is worth rewarding such a thin-skinned maneuver. According to social media reaction, some have concluded it isn't. As one Twitter commenter put it: "Restaurants need to get over themselves. It's food."
REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH