NEWS FLASH! Dateline HURRICANE, Utah—An inmate at the Purgatory Correctional Facility is not a millionaire!
Impressed? Well, Salt Lake City’s mainstream news media were so impressed that they ran the story for two—count ’em, two—days in a row. The first day, of course, was the story of how inmate Brian McCluskey had opened a package of M&Ms to discover he was—he thought—the winner of $1 million. KSL TV broke the story, and everyone else followed. “Inmate Becomes Millionaire” they blurted out on the air and in the headlines.
But the second-day story was this: NEVER MIND! When reporters finally got around to checking with the company that makes M&Ms, they found that McCluskey was the First Prize winner, but not the Grand Prize winner. The Grand Prize was $1 million. First Prize (of which there are apparently many) is something like 15 pounds of M&Ms.
Another great job by Salt Lake City’s crack daily news media.
It’s dangerous out there, thanks in part to drivers who don’t like to stop for red lights. According to a recent study, more than 800 people die each year in this country when drivers run red lights. Some 200,000 suffer injuries from those accidents.
The good news? Salt Lake City isn’t the worst place for bad drivers. Phoenix had the highest rate of deaths in the red-light study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, clocking in at 10.8 deaths per 100,000 people. Memphis was second with 8, followed by Mesa, Ariz., Tucson and St. Petersburg, Fla.
Speaking of danger, the Associated Press reports that a Delta, Iowa, man was so upset by a sewer-line problem at his house that he brought a five-gallon bucket of human waste to a city council meeting. Trying to make a point, Michael Joseph Murphy, 42, dropped the bucket on a table at which the council was seated, splashing on several council members.
“It hit everybody,” City Clerk Lourena Schrader said. “It was a mess.”
Hopefully, this will not give anyone else ideas on how to approach the Salt Lake City Council, although sometimes it is difficult to get their attention.
From our “Getting Lucky” file, this bit of news: Olaf Iversen, a fisherman from Oslo, Norway, was trawling for shrimp recently when he netted a big catch. When Olaf pulled in his nets, he discovered that he had landed 1,640 gallons of smuggled alcohol.
About 30 barrels of contraband liquor were tied together 15 miles off the coast, an apparent drop-off point for smugglers. As a result of high taxation, Norway has some of the world’s highest alcohol prices. We have to wonder if they are as high as Utah’s.
Well, there’s always Wyoming, and you don’t need a boat.
Speaking of illegal activities: Utah has the eighth highest arrest rate for marijuana, according to NORML, the foundation dedicated to legalizing cannabis.
High taxes and high arrest rates—man, we’re just tryin’ to have fun.