Ah, didn’t know that 70% of the nation’s cheesy Chucks served alcohol? Neither did we, till we happened upon the tale of what happened after a Michigan Chuck E. Cheese banned booze last year, after a brawl involving 80 people. The number of fistfights and other problems necessitating police calls at the franchise dropped from 40(!) a year to a dozen, mostly about vandalism and swiped purses.
A recent Wall Street Journal story noted, “Chuck E. Cheese’s bills itself as a place ‘where a kid can be a kid.’ But to law-enforcement officials across the country, it has a more particular distinction: the scene of a surprising amount of disorderly conduct and battery among grown-ups.” Wisconsin police, the story says, complain that they get more calls to break up Chuck E brawls than altercations at the biker bar down the street. The main problem, they said, was the combination of “alcohol, loud noise, thick crowds and the high emotions of children’s birthday parties.” Police were called to one Chuck E party last April when a grown-up interrupted someone else’s kid’s party – 7 cops rolled out and found 40 people knocking over furniture and fighting “in front of the restaurant’s music stage, where a robotic singing chicken and the chain’s namesake mouse perform.”
Some of the pizza parlors have banned booze in response, while others armed their bouncers with guns. Ahem. Somehow, that does not make us feel safer. What do you think? Do you ever go to Chuck E Cheese? Seen anything like this?
OK, it’s not April Fool’s Day yet. We checked after reading about the Portland, Oregon baseball diamond that swallowed a girl. Yes, really. The 9-year-old had just hit the ball and was running to first, when a 16 to 20-ft sinkhole suddenly opened under the baseline and Paje Wiklund disappeared from sight, landing, fortunately, on an old pipe which saved her from plummeting to the bottom of what appears to be an abandoned septic system. Another child ran for help, while a 10-year-old reached in and pulled Paje to safety.
Jeez. Maybe we’ll just sit here this weekend and watch TV. It’s safer…
A part of me feels sorry for Nadya Suleman, the beleaguered SoCal mother of 14, including 8 newborn octuplets, especially when I see something like this: paparazzi and spectators swarming Suleman’s garage, trying to break in to see the babies. But I’d feel a whole lot sorrier, if she hadn’t just fired her volunteer nurses, the ones Dr. Phil arranged for her during the media feeding frenzy that followed the octuplets’ arrival. Now, the nurses’ high profile attorney, Gloria Allred, is doing the talk show rounds, saying Suleman “doesnâ€™t even come into the nursery to feed her own babies, to hold them, to bathe them, to change them, to love them, to bond with them, except when the cameras are rolling.â€ť Suleman’s attorney, meanwhile, says one of the nurses filed a report with Children’s Protective Services, thus setting up an “adversarial” relationship.
Conflicted doesn’t even begin to describe my emotions – horror over each new development, pity for those babies, shame for even reading this stuff, and a sense of profound relief that no one ever tried to second guess my every action when I was a sleep deprived, new mother. How about you? Click comments and share your thoughts…
Seems police officers in Des Moines got an interesting 911 call yesterday: kids playing flaming kickball. When the cops arrived on the scene, they found two children, ages 12 and 14, standing on a driveway that reeked of gasoline. Nearby: a gas can whose spigot had melted. According to the police report: “Both said they poured gas on a baseball, lit it on fire and kicked it back and forth, pouring more gas on it to keep it lit.”
Well … at least the kids were outdoors, getting some exercise…
Who needs TV when reality plumbs the outrageous factor so thoroughly? In a scene straight out of — wow, we’re not even sure there’s a TV show that quite equals this, Jerry Springer crossed with “Desperate Housewives,” perhaps? — some tawdry TV script, a Pasadena high school teacher’s wife was so convinced her husband was having an affair with a colleague, she stormed onto campus earlier this week and got into a fistfight with her husband’s alleged lover. The female teacher was mildly injured during the fracas, and the wife, 29-year-old Leta Carruthers was arrested for battery. No students were injured during the altercation, but we can only imagine their thoughts upon witnessing a grown-up brawl in the hall. We’re hoping they didn’t stand around and chant, “Fight! Fight!”
Our favorite line in the news coverage? School board president Tom Selinske calling the fight “an action of passion.” Guy’s got a way with words…
Most. Adorable. Story. Ever. Enrique Aguirre, a San Francisco-based wildlife photographer, was out on Monterey Bay on a picture taking safari when he caught this otter turning the tables on him. Yep, that would be a video camera in the otter’s paws, aimed directly at Aguirre. The incredulous photographer – the human one, I mean – thinks the camcorder probably fell out of a kayaker’s hands at some point, and was scooped up by the little sea creature. But the otter dove before Aguirre or any of his fellow photogs could stop and ask him the make and model. We’re hoping the otter posts his footage on YouTube.
Hilarious and a little profound too. We’ve definitely had days where we wondered “is this real life?” and “Is it going to be forever? Ahhhh…”
Now spoofs are popping up all over the web, including one starring Christian Bale’s, er, voice and another featuring Chad Vader – Darth’s younger and “less charismatic” younger brother – riding home after the dentist.
As proof that we live in a small world, a cop in Virginia discovered that a fellow police officer is his biological father. Turns out his mom had a brief affair with the man while separated from her husband. More than three decades, a little detective work and a DNA test later, the two men had proof of their biological connection. Proof? Hey, the picture of these two tells it all. Surprising more people didn’t realize they were father and son (or brother and brother, at least) sooner.
Ahem. Seems a Billings, Montana school bus driver added an extra, unauthorized stop to her route: a local liquor store. According to the Associated Press story, a passerby spotted the distinctive vehicle and unexpected shopper, and called police. It gets better … er, worse. When cops caught up with her and boarded the bus, the driver figured she wouldn’t get in trouble if they didn’t see the booze… so she asked a middle school student to hide the bottles in the back of the bus. Um, your thoughts?