There goes the neighborhood

mad faceI’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore …

… so I’m going to blow up my house! No, I’m going to blow up your house! No, not that either – I’m going to bulldoze a bunch of them!

A couple weeks ago, a 69-year-old man in Poland wakes up to find the house empty and a note left for him by his wife. Just want you to know that me and the kids have gone out for a picnic. See you later.

He gives her a call. One ringy-dingy, two ringy-dingy …

“He called me on the mobile phone and demanded that I got home, but when I refused he said he was going to get revenge. I did not take him seriously and then I returned home to find this,” she said, according to a news report.

Revenge? You mean like packing up a couple sandwiches, grabbing a bottle of wine and going on his own picnic? Not exactly. More like start a fire in the basement and throw in a couple of gas canisters for good measure and kablooey – there goes the house. And there goes the husband to the hospital with critical injuries as he didn’t get out before the explosion dropped the roof on him.

So there. See if you ever go on a picnic without me again.

And then there’s the guy living in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, who complained to his next-door neighbor about his lawn.

You! Yeah, you. Your lawn ... mow it!

You! Yeah, you. Your lawn … mow it!

“Slapped me across the face and said, ‘Mow your grass,” the neighbor told the local TV station. “My grass was too tall for him.”

Maybe he was considering the property values or something. In any case, man-of-too-tall-grass decides to take the neighborly advice and fire up his mower. Unfortunately not quickly enough.

“He kicks my door, tells me I’ve got five seconds to come outside,” the man recalled. “I turn around and call 911. And while I’m on the phone he comes back with two gas cans in his hand. Walks up to my kitchen door again, takes a gas can, smashes it against the glass, breaks the first pane. Then he … grabs a brick, throws it through the window. And then he grabs a gas can and starts pouring it into the kitchen. And as he’s pouring he takes his lighter and lights it.”

The man grabbed his 3-year-old daughter and managed to get out before the flames not only consumed his house, but them with it. The neighbor managed to get away before the police came calling over at his place. He’s still being sought.

The guy was a “pretty good neighbor,” says the burned-out resident, that is until “he just went complete psycho.”

You don’t say. The jerk just TORCHED your house. And your lawn didn’t get mowed either. Anybody ever tell you that you have a real knack for understatement?

And speaking of psycho, there’s more than one way to get a message to your neighbors. You can come knocking. You can send a card. You can pick up the phone. Or you can climb up into your bulldozer and fire it up. Call it the “up-close-and-personally-into-your-front-door-approach.”

Neither, rain, nor snow, nor truck, nor home shall keep this bulldozer from its destructive rounds. (Keith Thorpe/Associated Press)

Neither rain, nor snow, nor truck, nor nearby homes shall keep this wacko man and his bulldozer from completing his destructive rounds. (Keith Thorpe/Associated Press)

According to a syndicated news report, a “highly agitated” Washington state man gave his neighbors a piece of his mind by bulldozing through four of their homes recently. The rampage, attributed to a property line dispute that had been “brewing for some time”, also brought down a 70-foot electricity pole, leaving thousands in the area without power for up to 12 hours.

The 51-year-old man “just went nuts,” said one neighbor, while another said she wasn’t very surprised, adding that when she heard the bulldozer start up, she knew the man was about to get feisty.

“We all said one of these days Barry is going to take that dang CAT and he’s going to start tearing up people’s property and that’s what he did,” she remarked to a TV reporter.

Three different homeowners, in three different parts of the world, all going berserk and taking it out on their own or the nearest home-sweet-homes.

There’s got to be a reason. A common denominator.

I’ve got it – global warming.

We’re carbonating our atmosphere, melting our icecaps … and deep-frying our brains.

Inside the criminal mind … not much

I do believe that old saying “Crime doesn’t pay” is only a partial statement. I’ve been clicking around the WWWW tonight, the World Wide Web of Wrongdoing, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the adage, and nothing but the adage, really is:

“Crime doesn pay well, otherwise it would be able to hire a much better caliber of criminal.”

I can understand chopping it off, though. Definitely more catchy. Fits better on a billboard. What I can’t understand is why the criminal element doesn’t better vet its applicants. Considering how badly so many of the hires turn out, you’d think they’d be a little more aggressive in their interviewing, maybe conduct background checks.

Or IQ tests.

Did I say that? Let me re-phrase …

Consider the case of the young man on the left here, Houaka Yang. The Wisconsin 20-year-old is a suspect in the theft of a camcorder from a car.

But it would seem that while the word “suspect” is the legal word used here, it’s very loosely used. Not because the cops found Yang a few days after the theft with the camera in his possession, mind you. That alone would seem to make this an open-and-shut case. But that wasn’t enough for the young man, apparently. Accidently – maybe – he made sure of it.

When the camera was returned to its owner, he found a few extra video segments on it. Including one starring and narrated by, guess who.

“This is my house, yes, and a stolen camera that I stole. But it’s OK, the cops won’t figure it out,” the suspect says during the video. He follows that gem with another lowlight.

“Oh yeah, to introduce you, my name is Houaka Yang. So yeah, how do you do.” And then he aims the camera at himself for the full cameo effect. “And this is me. Hi.”

Well, hi there yourself, Houaka. And how do you do, indeed. Get back to me on that when you get out, in a couple of years.

Zebra, what zebra … oh THAT zebra.

Oh, but Yang’s not alone in not yet exactly perfecting the perfect crime.

Take Jerald Reiter of Cascade, Iowa, over here on the right. Reiter was backing out of the Dog House Lounge in Debuque after staying a little too long and allegedly drinking a little too much. That was his first mistake.

His second was not having his passenger do the driving.

But his THIRD mistake just may have been the clincher: the zebra in his back seat and the macaw parrot on his shoulder. Onlooking and always-observant cops tend to notice odd, out-of-place things and you know how they can be so damn curious. Unfortunately, while unique pets certainly are conversation pieces, they can’t reduce blood-alcohol levels. Not a good nightcap for this pet owner, whose girlfriend told a reporter they’re pretty used to people’s surprise over their exotic pets.

“It’s not every day you see somebody that’s got a zebra or a parrot in the house, and who knows tomorrow what might be in our house,” she said.

Maybe so. But you can be pretty sure – bet the bail money on it – it ain’t going to be Jerald.