RemeMbering the not-so-great stuff of 2008
The one thing we learn by looking back on the year is that some people don't ever learn by looking back.
• A man in Ledgeview, Wis., was snowed into his garage. So he broke out a torch to melt the snow. It also set his house on fire.
• A man in Norway had problems with wasps in his garage. So he doused a rag in lighter fluid, lit it and threw it on top of the nest. Which was on a pile of wood. "Maybe using lighter fluid wasn't such a good idea," he said. Later.
• A man in Sargent, Ga., wanted to get rid of the cobwebs around his eaves. Since he apparently does not read the Skinny, he used a blowtorch. It only burned half the house. Water damage from the firefighters got the rest.
GET OUT OF JAIL
• An official investigation into the escape of eight prisoners at a Clovis, N.M., jail determined that they probably got out because someone left a key in the door. Official policy is to not do that.
• A man in Oak Park Heights, Minn., was to be released from prison after serving a sentence for drug charges. But he wouldn't leave. He thought that he still had six months and that it was a trick. To make him leave, prison officials had to call the police.
• A man in jail in Paducah, Ky., didn't plan to escape but left when he saw an open door. He felt bad about it and returned the next day. "They were surprised," he said. "They haven't seen that before."
• A woman in Virginia Beach, Va., needed to help finance her $7,000 wedding, so she auctioned off a spot in the bridal party. A beverage company won the auction and gave her $10,000.
• A man in Australia learned that if you call in sick, and your boss is a friend on Facebook, don't let your Facebook status reflect that you aren't really sick.
• A couple in England divorced after the woman caught the man cheating on her. Well, his avatar in a computer role-playing game was cheating on hers. Close enough.
• A British man sent a flirty text to a woman. Well, he tried. He sent it to a wrong number. She thought she knew who it was from, so replied in kind. They ultimately realized that they didn't know each other, but got engaged anyway.
• Graduates at England's Anglia Ruskin University were instructed to not throw their hats in the air, for fear someone could get hurt.
• The tradition of throwing coins to children at a parade in Cambridgeshire ended when the council decided that someone could get hurt.
• Officials in Bournemouth decided to remove fire extinguishers from apartment buildings, thinking they encouraged people to stay and fight the fire and someone could get hurt.
• A shopping center in Hemel Hempstead called off a tradition of holiday caroling because they were afraid that the emergency exits would be blocked, and someone would get hurt.
• A public pool stopped making water wings available to kids because they were afraid that sharing the devices could make someone sick.
• The resort town of Torbay started handing out free flip-flops to drunken women in high heels, thinking that they could get hurt.
• Officials in Worcestershire ruled that a man could not protect his garden shed with barbed wire because if someone tried to break in, they could get hurt. Really.
Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.