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Since 1994, this is the 1203rd issue of Randy Cassingham’s...

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2 July 2017: New Fiscal Year, New Web Site, New Podcast Copyright ©2017

More Expensive than Uber: Jonathan Clayton Hinkle, 28, called 911 in Brevard County, Fla., to report that his grandmother had suffered a stroke, and he needed a ride to get to her to render aid. Where to? the dispatcher asked. The parking lot of the Hooters on Merritt Island. He would run there if he had to, but he was willing to pay for a ride to get there quickly, he said. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Hooters to look for the elderly woman in the parking lot and, when that failed, in the area, but found nothing after a three-hour search. Until, that is, they tried calling Gayle Strickland, 79, directly. She said she was fine, and had asked Hinkle for help in moving her stuff. Hinkle was arrested, charged with felony-level misuse of 911, which could earn him up to 5 years in prison. (RC/Orlando Sentinel) ...Though of course, after six weeks in he’ll be asking for a special release “to attend my grandmother’s funeral.”

Snap, Crackle, POP: A man was shot in Eureka, Calif., and the gunman escaped — on a bicycle, witnesses reported. The victim wasn’t terribly injured, though: the gun used was a flare gun, which shoots a shotgun shell, and that shell was loaded with ...Rice Krispies cereal. Detectives quickly caught up with Timothy Glass Jr., 29, and arrested him. The victim was taken to the hospital by ambulance. (RC/KRCR Redding) ...The treatment for such a wound: milk.

Let’s Go Viral: Monalisa Perez, 19, posted a tweet: “Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever. HIS idea not MINE.” The idea: Pedro Ruiz III, 22, wanted to shoot a YouTube video to test whether a book held against his chest would stop a .50-caliber bullet from a Desert Eagle pistol, advertised as “one of the world’s most powerful semiautomatic handguns.” Short answer: no. The bullet — which Perez fired from a foot away — went through a hardcover encyclopedia and into Ruiz’s chest, killing him. Perez, who is pregnant with their second child, was charged with second-degree manslaughter. “He had told me about that idea,” says Ruiz’s aunt, Lisa Primeau. “I said, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Why are you going to use a gun? Why?’” Ruiz replied, she says, “Because we want more viewers. We want to get famous.” The videos, shot from two different angles, will not be publicly released. (MS/Minneapolis Star Tribune) ...Famous, yes; viewers, not so many.

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Keep Trimming That Word: Associa, a property-management company, knows Joe DeVirde has a mailbox in front of his Wesley Chapel, Fla., home. In fact, the company is so well aware of his mailbox that it sent out a notice that the thing needed to be painted. But instead of putting the notice in the mailbox, or mailing it there, Associa sent it to DiVerde’s ex-girlfriend, whose name was taken off the property several years ago. Last year, she moved, and Associa decided her new address was now the right place to send DeVirde’s homeowners’ association notices — an address where DiVerde has never lived. By the time DiVerde actually got a notice, it was telling him about a $1,000 fine. But he even got that one too late: he has not only racked up $800 in interest and fees, “Now they intend to foreclose on my house,” DiVerde says. “I shouldn’t have to pay for this. I want the lien taken off my house.” (AC/WTSP St. Petersburg) ...Don’t worry: they’re going to send the foreclosure papers to the judge’s ex-boyfriend’s new office.

In Florida, It Starts Early: A prostitute was arrested in Trinity, Fla., after making a house call. Pasco County Sheriff’s investigators say Trisha Baia, 25, advertised online, and was hired at 1:30 a.m. by an unnamed male in a gated community who buzzed her in. And, he cautioned her, “they had to be quiet because his parents were asleep upstairs.” When his parents found out — the boy is only 15 — they called police. Baia says the boy claimed to be 19, but she was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between 12 and 15. The boy even stiffed her, Baia says: he agreed to pay $150, but when she arrived, he said he only had $80. She went through with her side of the deal anyway. (RC/Tampa Bay Times) ...The problem is, his parents are afraid to spank him since he offered to pay for that, too.

Police Chase Man at 25-30 mph — why so slowly is the funny part. Boy needs rescue after climbing into game machine, and finds he can’t get back out. Pastor of “Wealth Ministry” charged with tax fraud. Florida burglar caught because.... Man’s reason why he stole 500 signs from his city’s streets is the amusing part. Woman’s video recording of fight at McDonald’s leads to customer’s arrest. Food at Farmer’s Markets may not come from where you think it does. Man discovers intruder in his bedroom, and asks a dumb question (the burglar’s answer is the funny part). To read these stories, just ask for your upgrade to start with the 2 July issue, and get a full year of expanded issues for just $32. Details here.

The Big Surprise Is, This Doesn’t Happen Daily
Three floors Evacuated at Yenni Building Due to ‘Strong Odor’ in Bathroom
WGNO New Orleans, La., headline

Did You Find an Error? Check the Errata Page for updates.

This Week’s Contributors: MS-Mike Straw, AC-Alexander Cohen, RC-Randy Cassingham.

This is the First Issue of True’s 24th year, which boggles my mind. But I’m hardly winding things down: there’s a new web site, a new site and newsletter tagline (if you missed it in the header: “Uncommon Sense”), and the new Podcast, which will also be called Uncommon Sense.

Kit and I are finally back from a 16-day trip to California, the highlight of which is detailed in the blog post I promised last week, but didn’t get done until Monday. I teased that it would be “interesting, educational, and NASA/space-related,” and I think it succeeds on all counts. The primary reason for the trip was that I was invited to an insider, behind-the-scenes, bring-your-camera tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Sure, I used to work there. But this tour was actually even better than working there: I got to go places I didn’t even have access to as an employee. And our guides were the scientists behind the missions. For example, the briefing we got on the status of the Voyager mission was done by Dr. Edward Stone, the mission’s project scientist since before the spacecraft launched — and they launched in 1977! Ed was JPL’s Director for part of my tenure there, and was (and is) highly respected. The Iowa kid who started his education at a junior college is now 81 years old, and he’s still the Voyager mission lead. There is apparently no hint he’s ready to retire: that’s how much fun it is to work at JPL!

I was able to ask Ed a question I’ve always wanted to know about Voyager, since I’m a radio geek: how powerful is its radio transmitter that sends the mission data back to Earth? The answer was less power than I had guessed — less than the ambulance radio in my volunteer medic response unit. And that’s part of my write-up, amply illustrated, about the tour in my blog on True’s new web site: Behind the Scenes at JPL.

There are still a dozen missing blog posts that I’ve not finished tweaking — I’ll be finishing those, reposting them one by one, over the next few days. You can’t subscribe to blog post notifications, or comments — yet. It was a huge job to move this site: it’s about 800 pages, not even counting the story archive! I’ve been putting all my spare time into it, and I’m quite pleased with the results. It’s secure, mobile/tablet friendly, and a much better menu structure.

Then There’s the Podcast, which came in the middle of all that. That needed new hardware, a lot of new software, and coordination while we were on the road. But it did debut on time: today! Well, there was an earlier “Episode 0” introduction to test things out, and sure enough, there were some glitches, but those are (all?) ironed out now.

Because it’s so new, it’s not yet listed in the de facto directory of podcasts, iTunes, which many other podcast apps tap for searches. Still, you can listen to the episodes on True’s web site, or download the MP3 files from there. And, if you’re a little more tech savvy than most, subscribe directly with the RSS feed link, which is

Each episode will have a page on the site for listening, downloading, and any “Show Notes” from that episode, such as links to anything mentioned. So far, that includes:

The Podcast should be listed in iTunes in the next week or three, at which point you’ll find it much easier to find and subscribe to, whether you use iTunes or another app. For general info about the Podcast, and the podcast app I recommend for Android phones/tablets, see the Podcast Page, which will also also have an up-to-date list of all episodes. Enjoy!

Ten Years Ago in True: Another stupid criminal calls undue attention to himself: Can’t Catch Me. (Note the archive still needs some tweaks before it “really” works exactly right. Search isn’t enabled for the archive yet, either.)

Today on Randy’s Random: Woe is Me! (or, how you know life is unfair).

This Week’s Honorary Unsubscribe goes to Ms. Sheila Michaels — and I use the term advisedly. Read her story in the Archive: Sheila Michaels.

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