Man who hit oncoming train with his head in 2002 does it again

A Stanfordville, N.Y., man was in stable condition Monday after an incident last Friday where in Poughkeepsie he leaned over into the path of an oncoming Metro-North train, suffering head injuries.

Parker T. Hall Houghtaling, 23, was recovering from his injuries at St. Francis Hospital Monday, where he was listed in stable condition. Houghtaling was waiting on the platform of the Poughkeepsie train station Friday when he stuck his head out and was hit by the 6:26 p.m. commuter train, according to authorities and eyewitnesses.

It wasn’t the first time. In 2002, he was waiting at the 51st Street subway station in Manhattan when he stuck his head out and was hit by a subway car. He was hospitalized with a shoulder injury, nose fractures and bruises, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs Metro-North and the subway system. It was unclear Monday what led to the incident in the subway. . . .

On Friday, officers found four prescription drugs on Houghtaling — all legally prescribed to him. Authorities ordered toxicology tests in the hopes of determining whether the prescription drugs played a factor in Houghtaling getting too close to the incoming train.

There were several witnesses Friday.

“They saw him take steps toward the edge, they saw him step back, and they saw him lean into the train,’ Anders said, adding Houghtaling was standing and conscious when the train’s conductor and engineer found him. — Poughkeepsie Journal

If it were just once, I could see it being the medication, but clearly Parker T. Hall Houghtaling suffers from chronic stupidity, and that’s why he has won the Stupid Person of the Day award.

Lies and the principals who believe the lying liars

Marlene Whitby, principal of William Penn Elementary School in Elizabeth, Pa., submitted her resignation Wednesday, after parading an 8 year old girl around to all the classes in the school and denouncing her as a liar and a thief. The girl’s accuser, another student, later admitted she falsely accused the victim.

Whitby and the school’s administration came under fire this month when the parents of third-grader Katie White protested that Whitby had not been punished for the September incident.

After the classmate accused the girl of stealing the $5, Whitby took her from room to room, calling her a liar and thief. The other child later recanted the story.

The girl’s father, Ryan White, said that when he spoke to Whitby she acknowledged that she didn’t look at a school bus video or talk to the bus driver to verify the theft accusation. . . .

Police had to be called to Wednesday’s board meeting because some in the crowd of about 70 people became upset when board President Lowell Meek said there would be no public comment on a personnel and discipline matter. — Associated Press

Anyone who’s been around children for more than a few minutes knows they make things up. Especially if they’re being mean to each other, which they do frequently. Marlene Whitby, who should have known better, is therefore today’s Stupid Person of the Day.

Man duped out of $70,000 by money-multiplying potion

People will believe just about anything, it seems. Nou Chang, 52, of Coon Rapids, Minn., owner of Foley Foods grocery store there, was duped into believing that con artist Franklin T. Forlemu, 22, of Savage, had a potion that would turn blank paper into hard cash if immersed in the potion for several hours.

According to the complaint, Forlemu went to Chang’s store, slipped blank pieces of paper between some $20 bills, donned a breathing mask and poured his mysterious concoction over the pile. When he was done, the blanks looked like twenties to Chang.

Forlemu told him to get large sums of cash, and Chang came back with $70,000 in $100 bills.

He watched Forlemu put the blank slips between them and pour the solution on the stack, then wrap the wad in tinfoil and pour on more.

Forlemu said the money and paper must be sealed for three hours before opening the windfall. But when Chang finally unwrapped the tinfoil stack, he found nothing but white paper.

Chang felt foolish, he told police. But he wound up lucky.

Police arrested Forlemu at his apartment and found $76,000 in $100 bills duct-taped in a cardboard box under his bed, including Chang’s cash.

The potion turned out to be water, said Coon Rapids Detective Dave Westberg. He said Forlemu used sleight-of-hand to make it look like the paper slips turned into cash.

Forlemu refused to say where the additional $6,000 in the box came from, Westberg said. — Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Con artists and swindlers do their thing very well, and one should be skeptical of things that seem too good to be true. In this case, it’s the victim, Nou Chang, who gets today’s Stupid Person of the Day award. But the fact that he got his money back should make him feel a little less bad about it.

Confused man shoots trick-or-treaters

A 70 year old pensioner in Torino (Turin), Italy, frightened by two trick-or-treating boys in Halloween costume, instead of giving them candy, grabbed his hunting rifle and shot them.

The 14-year-old boys, dressed as demons, had knocked on the man’s door during an evening of “trick or treat’ near the northern town of Turin and set off a firecracker.

When the door opened, instead of a treat, the man fired four shots at the boys having been scared by the noise and their strange outfits, the news agency ANSA said.

Police arrested the man, who lived alone and was the victim of several robberies, for attempted murder, ANSA said. Police said the boys’ lives were not in danger but one risked losing an eye. — Reuters

The two children are listed in serious condition at Ivrea hospital, according to the news report.

The practice of trick-or-treating is relatively new to Italy, so maybe today’s Stupid Person of the Day, who was not named by police, simply hadn’t heard of it yet.

Going down in Larry Bird’s jersey

In Oklahoma City, Okla., on Tuesday, a man being sentenced asked for a longer prison sentence than he had been given.

The lawyers reached a plea agreement Tuesday for a 30-year term for a man accused of shooting with an intent to kill and robbery. But Eric James Torpy wanted his prison term to match Bird’s jersey number 33.

“He said if he was going to go down, he was going to go down in Larry Bird’s jersey,’ Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott said Wednesday. “We accommodated his request and he was just as happy as he could be.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in 26 years in the courthouse. But, I know the DA is happy about it.’ — Associated Press

Student sues university to keep ferret in dorm

Sarah Sevick, 19, a freshman at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Tex., has filed an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint with the federal government because the university refused to allow her to keep her ferret in her dorm room.

Sevick said she has been diagnosed with psychiatric problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder. She takes medication for depression and anxiety, she said. . . .

Sevick requested to keep the ferret at her dormitory and in class before she moved onto campus in August, but was denied. . . .

Sevick said she’s had many attacks since she’s been on campus without the ferret.

She discovered Lilly’s calming effects when she received the ferret as a gift about a year ago.

“Pretty quickly, we realized it was very responsive to her,’ said Sevick’s mother, Kay, who now cares for Lilly. “When (Sarah’s) anxiety goes up, (Lilly) climbs on her and nuzzles her, and will stay for hours with her until she’s better.’

Sarah Sevick said university officials feared the ferret was a threat to other students and wasn’t trained as a service animal. . . .

Meanwhile Sevick said she’s not doing well in class.

“It’s almost like I’m being jinxed,’ she said. “Because of that, I stay in my room.’ — Associated Press

Whoa, being depressed is a disability? I’m terribly depressed! Excuse me while I go file for some nice government benefits. As for Sarah Sevick, I hear she needs a boyfriend. Any of you eligible bachelors out there want to go out with her?

Have Skunk, Will Learn

A sixth grader at Warsaw Middle School in Pittsfield, Maine, was sent home for medical reasons and was given a three day suspension after picking up a dead skunk on the way to school and chasing down students with it.

Authorities are seeking charges against the boy for disorderly conduct.

The 12-year-old boy came across the dead animal on his way to school Friday and told police he brought it “just to show my friends,’ Officer Jeff Vanadestine said.

“I got four or five phone calls from upset parents,’ said Kane, who was already aware of the problem because the boy had been sent to his office because of the skunk smell.

Kane said the boy apparently had gotten desensitized to the stench.

“He came in and sat in the principal’s office, and I said, ‘Oh no. Outside.”

The boy was sent home on a medical discharge because of the odor and then was given a three-day suspension.

The parents of two girls chased with the whirling skunk want to press charges of disorderly conduct against the boy.

“We are looking into that,’ Vanadestine said. –Associated Press

And yes, his parents bathed him in tomato juice in an attempt to rid him of the smell.

Today’s unnamed Stupid Person of the Day is a real stinker!

Football player plans to amputate finger

An Australian professional football player plans to have his left ring finger amputated in order to attempt to improve his game.

Brett Backwell, who plays Australian rules football for Glenelg, a suburb of the city of Adelaide in South Australia state, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. he has suffered from pain and restricted movement since he broke his left ring finger three years ago.

Doctors had suggested fusing the bones in the finger, but Backwell rejected the proposal.

He said he believed that amputating the finger was the only way to stop the pain and allow him to keep playing.

“To chop a finger off, that’s a bit drastic,’ Backwell told the ABC. “But I love my footy (football), and love playing sport, and if that’s going to help me to succeed at this level then it’s something you’ve just got to do.’ — Associated Press

So instead of following actual medical advice to have his finger repaired, he’s going to have it cut off. Brett Backwell therefore qualifies as today’s Stupid Person of the Day.

Armed robber was a Stormtrooper

I’m afraid that police don’t generally release the names of people who make 911 calls, so I don’t know who to blame for this.

Last weekend, the Ramada Inn in Janesville, Wis., held a Star Wars convention. As you can imagine, people showed up in full costume for the event.

One of the vendors came fully dressed as a Stormtrooper.

Police responded to an armed robbery call at the hotel from today’s Stupid Person of the Day, who obviously missed the big sign out front about the convention, but who can hardly be forgiven for missing everyone else in the hotel in Star Wars dress.

The alleged suspect was dressed as a Stormtrooper, a soldier for the Galactic Empire in the science fiction movie series “Star Wars.’

“Apparently some people who saw him felt there was a threat,’ said Sgt. Kay Nikolaus of the Janesville Police Department.

The Stormtrooper was really a vendor participating in the weekend convention, held annually at the Ramada Inn, said Joann Lewandowski, who lives with event organizer Ray Norton. — Janesville Gazette

Next time you see Stormtroopers at a Star Wars convention, call Luke Skywalker, not the police.

Florida Marlins suspend batboy for drinking milk

It’s Stupid Sports Team of the Day today, I think.

On a dare, a Florida Marlins batboy tried to drink a gallon of milk in under an hour without throwing up. But not only did the batboy not succeed in the challenge, his mere attempt cost him his job for six games, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

The Marlins suspended the unidentified batboy for the team’s upcoming six-game homestand against the Cardinals and Mets from Aug. 28 through Sept. 4 for accepting the dare Sunday from Dodgers pitcher (and former Marlin) Brad Penny. . . .

“It’s kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk,’ Penny told the Herald. — ESPN

Oh, by the way, you can’t drink a gallon (3.79L) of milk in an hour without throwing up.