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News of the Weird
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Chuck Shepherd

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News of the Weird


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News of the Weird
by Chuck Shepherd

Star Tribune, March 24, 2005

A large portion of the materials on plagiarism on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Writing Center website was revealed in February to have been taken verbatim from Purdue University’s Web page on plagiarism.

Note (Hal’s):
Unfortunately, this story proved too good to be true. On April 21, 2005, the column published a correction: the plagiarized material on the UW-Oshkosh site was on a different topic; the material on plagiarism on that site wasn’t – so far as is known – plagiarized.

— end note



items below checked (see note) when added

Star Tribune, October 12, 2006

At the Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court in England in July, Andrew Curzon was charged with wrongfully attempting to cash a neighbor’s pension-adjustment check in the equivalent of about $220,000. The explanation by Curzon (who is a law student) is that he has “dyspraxia,” which renders him unable “to engage in logical thinking.”


Fakin’ it

Star Tribune, January 17, 2008

Least competent criminals

Arthur Cheney, 64, was arrested near Marysville, Calif., in December driving a car that had been spotted at a bank robbery. On the center console of the car, officers found a yellow “sticky” note with a handwritten “Robbery — 100s and 50s only.” Said an officer, “We call that a clue.”



Star Tribune, December 6, 2008

Additional category: Computer programming

On second thought ...

Facing a state budget crisis in July, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fired about 10,000 temporary and part-time workers and ordered the 200,000 permanent employees to be paid only the minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until the Legislature passed a crisis-solving budget. However, a week later the state controller pointed out that state payroll records could not be changed to accommodate the cut because they were written in the antiquated COBOL computer language and virtually the only state employees who knew the code were some of the part-timers Schwarzenegger had just fired.

Note (Hal’s):
This seemed so crazy that I searched online for confirmation before accepting it. Articles covering it ranged from PC Magazine to the Sacramento Bee.

— end note

Star Tribune, November 21, 2009

Come here, ya big ape

CNN, reporting from the London Zoo in August, described the excitement surrounding news that the zoo would soon acquire a 12-year-old male gorilla from a preserve in France. Zoo officials were pleased, but its three older female gorillas were almost ecstatic. Shown posters of Yeboah, the male, female Zaire “shrieked in delight”; Effie wedged the poster into a tree and stared at it; and Mjukuu held the photo close to her chest, “then ate it.”

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Background graphic copyright © 2003 by Hal Keen