Showing posts from January, 2009

Zombies Invade Texas. Do You Have a Zombie Escape Plan?

Zombies are invading Austin, Texas, and not the cool musical kind that sang "She's Not There" in the 60s.

This past Thursday, January 29, as rush hour motorists made their way to work, the electronic roadside construction signs warned "Caution! Zombies Ahead!" and "Nazi Zombies! Run!!!" and urged people to "run for cold climates."

According to a story on KXAN News, Austin Public Works is up in arms (disembodied arms?) about this.

"Even though this may seem amusing to a lot of people, this is really serious, and it is a crime," said Austin Public Works spokesperson Sara Hartley. "And you can be indicted for it, and we want to make sure our traffic on the roadways stays safe."

Hartleys said this is a class C misdemeanor in Texas. She also said "and" a lot.

And while this incident was funny – although Hartley said it was dangerous, since these signs are for road safety – I think the local media was actually a little fun…

Odd February Holidays

Odd February HolidaysErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

I was disappointed to learn that I had missed Men's History Month this January, also known as MANuary. I blame it on the fact that I thought I knew when it was, and I just didn't look at the calendar or ask for directions. So, to assuage my guilt, I'll cover some of the different holidays, celebrations, and observances for February.

To start, everyone knows about Black History Month, where we study and celebrate the accomplishments, lives, and history of African-Americans throughout U.S. history.

But did you also know it's National Get to Know an Independent Real Estate Broker Month? So call your local independent broker, and invite him or her to coffee. Once you hit March, it's up to you whether you hang out with them or not.

February is the month for love, because Valentine's Day is February 14th. So celebrate love during International Flirting Week (Feb. 9 - 15). But if you're shy, and d…

Warning: This Box of Eggs May Contain Eggs

I understand the need for safety and warning labels, but one British firm has taken things a little too far, by telling shoppers their eggs contain, well, eggs.

The Happy Egg Company, part of the Noble Food Company, has put a warning label on the inside lid of their 6-pack egg cartons that says, "Allergy Advice: Contains egg."

Daily Mail on Sunday food writer Tom Parker-Bowles (son of Camilla Parker-Bowles) said "It does get to the point when warnings go too far. We don’t need to be told a peanut contains nuts or eggs contain egg. Perhaps as a nation we should stop being so overexcited about the bureaucracy of everything. The company probably feel they need to cover their backs to escape the wrath of health-and-safety rules."

Happy Egg originally blamed supermarkets' labeling rules for their warning, but later said they did it on their own, after the supermarkets said they only require producers to comply with already-existing laws.

Sounds like somebody's got a…

New I'm a PC/I'm a Mac ad

I love LOLCats and their sister site, ROFLRazzi, a celebrities picture captioning site. I did these Tuesday.

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Place Names That Make Me Giggle

My very first humor column ever was a 1,200 word complaint about the fact that I lived on Birdie Court, and had to endure the derisive snorts of my Guy friends, who would ask if I lived near KittyCat Lane. (No, I lived on a golf course, so I lived near Putter Place, Dogleg Drive, and Eagle Court. Manly, rough-and-tough Eagle Court.)

But that's nothing compared to the poor folks who live in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, Big Bone Lick, Indiana, or Penistone, England (pronounced, pennis-tun. Or so they say.)

I have written about towns with funny names in the past, but a recent article in the New York Times showed me there are way more funny cities, towns, and streets than I had ever heard of.

A further Internet search also introduced me to great towns like Crapstone, England; Humptulips, Washington; Issue, Maryland; Bucksnort, Tennessee, and of course, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base; Big Bone Lick State Park (just outside Union, Kentucky); and Flush, Kansas.

Or my personal favorite, Hell, M…

Swedish Man Tries to Make Up With Girlfriend, But She Stabs Him in the Back. No, Seriously.

A 47-year-old Swedish woman is in a Swedish jail after she stabbed her Swedish boyfriend in his back with a Swedish knife. He is in Sunderbyn Hospital – in Sweden – and is in stable condition.

(Swedish is one of those words that starts to look funny if you say it too many times.)

According to a story in The Local, Sweden's English language newspaper, the couple had planned a romantic dinner as a way to smooth over a rough patch in their relationship.

The man cooked dinner and gave her several presents to show his love for her.

"But she didn't like them and ripped them up with a scissors. She was also critical of the food, and when he stood up to throw the food away she approached him from behind and stabbed him in the back with a knife," said police spokesman Yngve Hansson.

(If they were in Switzerland, I could do a really good joke about this guy and Swiss cheese.)

Apparently there was alcohol involved – I know, I was just as surprised as you are! – which means police wer…

President Barack Obama 'Offensive.' Sam's Club Says So

So there he was, minding his own business, doing his job at a Jacksonville, Fla. Sam's Club, when Shane Rhiles was asked to take his shirt off.

Why? Because a customer found the shirt – with President Barack Obama's face on it – offensive.

A story on Jacksonville's Channel 4 says that Rhiles was told by a supervisor that a customer didn't like the shirt, so he needed to go home and change.

"I was like, 'Is it that serious?'" Rhies told Channel 4. "She was like, 'Yes, because we don't need any problems.' I was like, 'Well he's the 44th president of the United States of America."

Overuse of "like" notwithstanding, it's out of line when a customer can claim to be offended by a t-shirt of our president. Especially when the shirt doesn't say anything offensive, depict anything offensive, or have anything offensive on it at all.

"He's our president – the first black president. This is an accomplishment for…

Former French President Jacques Chirac Attacked by Angry, uh. . . Tiny Dog

Former French president Jacques Chirac reminded the world why everyone makes fun of French people when he was taken to the hospital after being attacked by his Maltese, a tiny white breed of dog that doesn't get bigger than 5 - 6 pounds. (That's a file photo of the victim and perp, not a post-attack photo.)

The Chirac family says the dog, Sumo, is clinically depressed, and is prone to "frenzied fits." The dog is being treated with anti-depressants.

Over the last several years, the dog has become increasingly violent, and belligerent. The dog has reportedly been seen in the company of Paris Hilton's dog at clubs, or spending time with its disreputable friends. According to reports, this latest attack was unprovoked.

In a story in the London Daily Mail, Mrs. Chirac said, "The dog went for him for no apparent reason. We were already aware the animal was unpredictable and is actually being treated with pills for depression."

"My husband was bitten quite ba…

Indiana's Official State Beverage is. . . Water?

Indiana's Official State Beverage is. . . Water?
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

We made food history last week when Indiana declared the Wick's sugar cream as its very own State Pie. I celebrated the event by having my wife tell me I couldn't eat any because of my cholesterol.

I'm a huge fan of sugar cream pie, and beg my mother-in-law for one every Thanksgiving. She tries to get out of it, saying it's hard to do correctly, and she's awfully busy with the rest of the Thanksgiving preparations blah blah blah.

Occasionally we'll compromise, and she makes a pumpkin pie instead – a proper pumpkin pie, not the kinds made with cinnamon, nutmeg, and construction adhesive. But I'm in ecstasy whenever the pie is sugar cream.

Although a lot of the media laughed at our exciting news, we're not breaking new ground. Three other states already have a State Pie, Florida, Louisiana, and Vermont. Although Louisiana's is actually a State Meat Pie, …

7 Things About Me for Smaller Indiana

I've been memed! I've been on the Interweb for several years, and even had to learn what meme was a few months ago, and realized I had never been memed. But my friend Kristie Bradford of Kristie's Creations tagged me in the new Seven Things About Me that's making its way around the Smaller Indiana social network,

1. I was born in Missoula, Montana while my dad was in the Ph.D. Program at the University of Montana. We moved to Muncie when I was 2, and I've never been back. I don't even remember what the place looks like.

2. I played French Horn from the 5th grade through my senior year in high school. I played cello for two years, guitar for three, and violin for one week. I gave up the French Horn when I went to college. I usually don't miss it, until I hear Ravel's "Bolero."

3. I played King Herod in my church's Passion Play in Syracuse, IN just a few months after I got married. My wife and I were the stage managers. I didn't want to be …

AllVoices for Writers: All of the Work, None of the Pay

Several months ago, after seeing a Harlan Ellison rant on YouTube where he said he considered blowing up a movie studio that asked him to do a DVD interview for free, I've been a strident opponent against writers being asked to write for free.

And I felt my blood pressure rise a little bit when I saw an invitation on LinkedIn to join allvoices, the open source media site for new writers.

You don't need any special qualifications. They're looking for writers, any writer, who has "Good English." Here are the qualifications:
Qualifications: Good English. Bloggers, part- time writers, students, professionals, journalists. Anyone who has an interest in writing and would like to earn through writing is qualified to sign up.In other words, if you talk with good English, you can journalist for this here news sight. 4-real? OMG!

Puh-leeze. As one commenter to the invitation said, "The fact that I can add and subtract by no means qualifies me to work as an Accountant, but…

Man Dies While Court Tries To Collect Bill. That'll Show 'Em

From the Taking Your Job a Bit Too Far files:

An investigation has been launched into whether a British debt collector accidentally killed Andy Miller, 78, in trying to collect a £60 ($90) debt.

According to a story in the London Daily Mail, Miller had suffered a heart attack and stroke that put him in a coma, back in November. As a result, he was overdue in paying a speeding ticket – a ticket he had planned to contest.

But because he was incapacitated, he wasn't able to contest the ticket, let alone communicate with family members. So magistrates in Blackburn added £290 ($420) in fines, bringing the total to £350 ($507), and ordered a debt collector to go to Miller's home.

The debt collector, with all the subtlety and care of a rabid badger, forced Miller into his car, and drove him to an ATM. Miller's family warned the bailiff that their father's health was poor, but their protestations fell on deaf ears. Miller had a heart attack and died right there in front of the ATM…

Bonfire Canceled, Man Arrested for Burning Trees Anyway

Salem, Massachusetts holds an annual bonfire to dispose of leftover and used-up Christmas trees, but they canceled it because of the weather. Joseph Richard Ferrante Jr., of Ipswich, Mass. didn't like the news, so he set them on fire anyway.

He has been charged with willful and malicious destruction of property.

The event was originally going to be held last Thursday, but the Salem Fire Department had the city postpone it to the following day because of high winds. Ditto for the next day too.

Ellen Talkowsky, special projects manager for Salem, told the Salem Gazette the city wasn't going to reschedule, because the weather will only get worse, and the legal burning season is coming to an end. Instead, the Department of Public Services will chip the trees, and use them for city trails.

Ferrante was arrested by local police, after a woman saw him standing near the pile, and later identified him after the pile burned.

According to the police report, "she observed the same male pa…

It's Not a Rickroll, It's a BarackRoll

Aussie video nut Hugh Atkin has some mad editing skills and some time on his hands to have come up with this little gem. I only just found it, even though it's 5 months old.

This past Thanksgiving, I wrote about how the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Rickrolled the entire country by having Rick Astley pop out of one of the floats and sang "Never Gonna Give You Up."
According to Wikipedia, the Internet's infallible authority on everything, a Rickroll is a practical joke where a person finds a link to something interesting and cool, like the Laughing Stalk blog, but the link actually goes to a Rick Astley video, usually the Never Gonna Give You Up video.There's another video on Hugh Atkin's YouTube site about John McCain's RNC speech being Barackrolled, but it's not true.

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Playing For Change: Stand By Me. Coolest. Thing. Ever.

My good friend Norma sent me this YouTube video of Stand By Me as a New Year's wish, and I just got around to watching it 16 days later. This has got to be one of the coolest musical productions ever. It was part of the Playing For Change film, which was actually part of the Heartland Film Festival here in Indianapolis. I reviewed a few of those films, but unfortunately, didn't get a chance to see this one. Until now.

Once you realize what's happening and how they made it, it'll give you chills. Simply awesome.

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PETA Wants New Word for Fish, World Rolls Its Eyes

PETA Wants New Word for Fish, World Rolls Its EyesErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

Would you eat a kitten?

If People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had their way you would. They've launched a campaign to show the world how stupid they can be—I mean, to rename fish as "sea kittens."

Those crazy kids over at PETA want to improve the fish's image, and get us to stop eating them.

"People don't seem to like fish," says the PETA website, which features cartoon fish with kitten faces and whiskers. "They're slithery and slimy, and they have eyes on either side of their pointy little heads."

Pointy heads? Slimy? Are they talking about fish or lawyers? Besides, people like fish just fine. The small ones make great pets, and the big ones taste great grilled with some lemon and butter.

What about cat lovers? They'll be upset to learn that their little furry bundles of joy are now being equated with something that's sli…

Cut to the Front of the Line? That's a Jailing

I love my hometown of Muncie, Indiana. It's the home of Ball State University, Jim Davis and Garfield, Muncie Central High School (8 state basketball championships), and David Letterman.

It's also the home of Edward Pluhars, Senior and Junior. These two were arrested on January 11 for cutting in line at the northside Wal-Mart. In front of a police officer. And then fighting with him. And hitting him with their van.

According to a story in the Muncie Star-Press, MPD officer Chris Kirby was in line at the service desk when Pluhar the Younger cut in front of him. Kirby told Junior to wait his turn, to which Junior refused.

Pluhar the Senior then told Kirby to mind his own business, and asked him if he would like to step outside for a few words.

According to the Star-Press, who feels the need to protect our Victorian sensibilities, Pluhar said he would "kick Kirby's posterior." (Yes, they actually said "posterior.") Pluhar also suggested he might shoot Kirby.


Gary, Ind. Mayor Rudy Clay Buys a Hummer for the City, Despite $36 Million Deficit

From the Unclear on the Concept file:

Gary, Ind. Mayor Rudy Clay wanted to do his best to stimulate the American economy, so he used city funds to buy a car for the Mayor's office.

So he bought an H3 Hummer. For $30,000. While his city has a $36 million deficit.

To top it off, Mayor Clay asked for a cap on property taxes for his city, which means the city will get less money than they need.

But Mayor Clay is not completely stupid. He realized the mayor of a city should have a vehicle. And he told Indiana's Distressed Unit Appeals Board (DUAB) as much.

"What do you want me to do, walk around here?" he asked the board. "I've got to have a car."

But a 2009 Hummer H3? The gas mileage on these things is measured in furlongs and liters. How is that financially responsible?

Mayor Clay did point out that he got a $5,000 discount on the car, or it would have cost a lot more. Well, $5,000 more. Hey, Mayor Clay, that's some mighty shrewd dealing. Instead of wasting $…

Tina Fey Tells Haters to "Suck It" During Golden Globes Acceptance Speech

Back when newspapers were still popular, important, and relevant, there was a saying, "Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel."

Although the power of the Internet has given the ink to the people, the adage is still true: "Never pick a fight with someone who can spank you on national television."

During Tina Fey's acceptance speech, she said, "You can find a loooot of people who don't like you (on the Internet). And I'd like to address some of them now."

She then proceeded to tell three of her detractors to "suck it." Too funny.

Tina Fey 1, Haters 0. Plus 5 bonus points for doing it on national television.

Of course, there's that old ink by the barrel thing again, and DianeFan, Cougar-Letter, and BabsonLaCrosse all had something to say about Tina's little shout out.

The three commenters – or possibly two, since another message board writer says DianeFan and Cougar-Letter are the same person – are frequent message…

School Board Removes Popular Math Teacher, Students Remove School Board

Students at Tioga high school in Groveland, California were so angry when their favorite math teacher was fired, they organized a recall campaign against the entire school board.

The Big Oak Flat-Groveland school board thought they were acting properly when they ousted Ryan Dutton over allegations of plagiarism. Dutton, a former punter for the Amsterdam Admirals (NFL Europe), was accused of copying from another student at Cal State Fresno while he was working toward his teaching credentials. He was also removed from his position as Tioga's baseball coach.

Cal State Fresno said the allegations were unfounded, but the board refused to reinstate him, claiming they were acting on "private information." So the students staged a one-day protest that shut down the school, and then continued on with the entire recall.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the Groveland community is just a bunch of cranks:

School board President Lillian Cravens said the campaign to oust t…

California Tangerine Growers Threaten Legal Action, Restraining Order Against Bees

California's tangerine growers are all abuzz over nearby bees who are – gasp! – pollinating their tangerine trees! They're complaining that California beekeepers are allowing their bees to use their citrus groves to do their dirty nasty business.

According to a story in the Associated Press, the citrus growers are complaining that the bees are causing their seedless tangerines to develop seeds.
So the tangerine growers have stamped their little feet and are threatening legal action.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is actually in the process of writing regulations to cover the issues, which is great, except bees can't read.

Apparently, these new regulations will require beekeepers to register with the local agricultural commissioners by March 1, so citrus growers can keep track of hives within two miles of their groves.

If they find bees too close to their property, they can ask the beekeepers to move although the bee boys are not required to do anything. Loo…

Who Says There Are No Gay Animals?

Who Says There Are No Gay Animals?I originally wrote this as a guest blog post for the Bilerico Project, a national LGBT blog.

"There are no gay animals!" someone once said to me during an argument a few years ago. A lot of conservatives trot this one out, thinking this proves homosexuality is a choice, and not a genetic predisposition. My opponent threw this one onto the table, thinking this would end the argument completely.

"Au contraire," said the zoo in Harbin, China, brandishing contradictory evidence like Van Helsing waving a cross at Count Dracula. Then they put their hand in front of their face and shouted "Face! Boo-yah!"

I had offered up a similar response at the time, but my own lowly opinion does not soar to the lofty levels of credibility of a Chinese zoo. Plus I didn't do the "Face!" thing. I really need to work on my debate skills.

According to a December 15 story in the London Daily Telegraph, a pair of gay male penguins were ex…

Boys Basketball Practice - A One-Sided Conversation

Boys Basketball Practice - A One-Sided Conversation
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

"Okay, boys. Put down the basketballs, I want you to do some warmups, and then you'll do some layup drills. First, let's do some jumping jacks."

"No, Evan, hands go up when your legs spread apart. Make an X, and then make an I."

"No, an X. No—like this. Do you know what an X looks like?"

"I know you're six. That's why I figured you knew what an X looked like. Reese, don't be the Hulk during jumping jacks."

"No, the Hulk does not smash jumping jacks."

"Okay, boys, run one lap around the gym. Ready, set, go."

"No, Jack, the other way. Go the other way. There you go. Travis, Jacob! Quit shoving each other. Reese, don't smash Travis and Jacob. The Hulk doesn't smash his teammates."

"Okay, bring it in. Come here, guys. Let's do some — guys, come here now, please!"

"Let's do some …

When is a School not a School? When it's in England

Richard Caborn, a British MP (Member of Parliament) is wondering why the shiny new £4.7 million ($6,825,294) primary school is no longer being called a "school." Instead, they're calling it a "place of learning."

"We decided from an early stage we didn't want to use the word 'school,'" headteacher Linda "Dream Catcher" Kindgon told the Sheffield Star. "This is Watercliffe Meadow, a place for learning. One reason was many of the parents of the children here had very negative connotations of school. Instead we want this to a be a place for family learning, where anyone can come.

Negative connotations of "school?" How can there be a negative connotations of "school?" If anything, there is now a new negative connotation of "head teacher." As in, "Head teacher Linda 'Moon Unit' Kingdon is a politcally correct airhead."

"We were able to start from scratch and create a new type of …

Fighting Fire with Panties

I don't like to find humor in another person's tragedy, unless that person was evil, despicable, or a politician. But when that person can find humor in his or her own tragedy, well, I have to laugh along with them.

On my friend Cindy Hartman's blog, she has a guest post from J. Sewell Perkins, who describes what it was like to fight a house fire all by herself. In her panties, garter belt, and stockings.

During her half-naked adventure, she attracted quite the crowd, and her description of it made me laugh. However, I created the unfortunate mental image of the real firefighters also dressed this way, which did not.

The best line for me came after the fire was out, and the insurance adjuster ("professional tightwad") was at her house.
The proverbial straw came for me when I walked into one of the back bedrooms and witnessed the epitome of pettiness. There was the adjuster sitting on the floor going through a box of tampons. “What the heck (I didn’t say heck) are you…

Karl Lagerfeld Justifies Wearing Fur with Bush Foreign Policy

"We have to get them before they get us," said slightly insane German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, in defending the wearing of fur.

Okay, he didn't say exactly that, but Lagerfeld did say that it's okay to kill "those beasts who would kill us if they could."

Hmm, where have I heard this before. . .? Oh yeah, it's George W. Bush's preemption doctrine he used when he wanted to invade Iraq.

Funny, I've never thought of mink, fox, and ermine as crazed animal killers who hunt humans. Sure, there are stories of pigs and mink who end up killing the very activists who freed them, but that's no reason to eat bacon.

The fact that it's meaty and delicious is the reason to eat bacon.

But despite his love for dead animal skin, the Fur Führer doesn't like to eat meat.

"I can hardly eat meat because it has to look like something what it was not when it was alive," he said in an interview on the BBC's Radio 4.

Surprisingly, Lagerfeld'…

Al Franken Leading Minn. Senate Race, Norm Coleman May Go Back On His Word

Former funny man and apparent Democrat Senator-to-be Al Franken looks to be in the lead in Minnesota's Senate race. The Saturday Night Live alum currently leads the race by 225 votes, and the state's Canvassing Board only has to certify the results on Monday to make it official.

Not so fast, Al. It looks like Republican opponent Norm Coleman may file a lawsuit to challenge the election results. He also has a petition before the state Supreme Court to include 650 votes that were improperly rejected, but not sent to St. Paul for counting.

Hmm, Norm Coleman. . . Norm Coleman. . . that name sounds so familiar. How do I know that name?

Oh wait, I remember. That's the guy who, when he was leading the recount, said if the tables were turned, he would step aside, even if the margin were a slim one.

I said back in November that Coleman wouldn't step aside if he were in Franken's shoes, and it looks like he hasn't. If Norm truly wanted to be a man of his word, he would do wh…

IRS Demands Their Five Cents, Reluctant to Pay Four Cent Refund

Detroit attorney James Howarth is one of few Americans who is both in trouble with the IRS and is being rewarded by them.

Last November, he received a letter from the IRS demanding the money he owed them, a whopping five cents. They even threatened him with additional penalties and interest if he didn't pay.

He then received a second letter saying they owed him money instead: four cents.

However, Howarth has to request the refund since it's less than $1. And apparently they won't pay any penalties or interest. What's good for the goose is not good for the gander.

"When I owe them a nickel, I must pay them. It's not optional," Howarth told the Associated Press. "But when they owe me, I have to ask for it."

When contacted by the media, IRS spokesman Luis D. Garcia said the agency doesn't comment on individual accounts. He then asked the reporter for his name and social security number.

What's especially stupid about this case is:
The IRS spent $.…

Edna Jester, Football-Stealing Senior, Filing Lawsuit

You may remember Edna Jester, the 89-year-old woman who was arrested for keeping the neighbor kid's football after it landed in her yard.

Now she's filing a lawsuit against the neighbors, Paul Tanis and family, for the "emotional distress" of all the balls, Frisbees, and various junk landing in her yard.

"It's a very silly suit," Kelly Tanis told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We haven't really seen or heard from Edna since any of this happened. And now what we have heard comes from her lawyer."

The lawsuit says that Paul Tanis and his children regularly enter Jester's yard to retrieve all sorts of objects that are flung carelessly into her yard, onto her porch, and against her house.

Kelly Tanis says it's not true, and that her children's outdoor activity has been severely curtailed because of Jester's earlier football theft back in October. She also said the two parties have only had contact with each other twice – once when Paul …

Lake Superior State University's Banned Words for 2009

Lake Superior State University's Banned Words for 2009Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

It's that time of year again. Or at least it was.

At the first of each year, I write about Lake Superior State University's List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. This year is their 34th, and my fifth.

Each year, LSSU comes up with a list of words they would like to see banned from our language forever, or at least for the year. And for whatever reason, "it's that time of year" got the axe. But I happen to like it, so I'll be a maverick and keep on using it.

Or I would be if they hadn't nixed "maverick" as well. Re-introduced to our common lexicography by Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign, and then beaten to death by Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live, the word was used so much that ". . . even the Maverick family, who descended from the rancher who inspired t…

British P.E. Teacher Fired for Wearing Sneakers to Teach

From the Unclear On The Concept files:

Adrian Swain, an East London PE teacher was fired – the week before Christmas, no less – for wearing a tracksuit and sneakers to school, something he had done for the past 30 years. He was fired by the acting head teacher, Lorraine Page, who decided he was in violation of the school dress code.

According to an article in the London Daily Mail, the school's local education authority has supported the firing, because teachers "should not wear clothing children are not allowed to wear themselves." Never mind that a track suit and sneakers are generally accepted clothes for PE teachers, just like gym uniforms and sneakers are generally accepted clothes for PE students.

However, if the children aren't allowed to wear them, what are they wearing to PE class? School uniforms and black patent leather shoes? Sounds like an injury and lawsuit waiting to happen.

Of course, Swain may not be completely sacked. His fellow teachers at the compreh…