‘Roar’ of the Engine
Sophisticated automobile technology makes high-performance engines purr in relative silence, but automakers fear that some drivers are emotionally attached to the engines’ roar. Consequently, as Car and Driver reported in April, the 2012 BMW M5, with its 560 horsepower tempered by sound deadeners, has installed pre-recorded engine noise.
The sound is channeled into the car’s cabin via the stereo system. A computer program matches the amplitude of the engine’s growl to the driver’s revving of the accelerator.
Names in the News
(1) Arrested for felony battery in Bloomington, Ind., in April: Ms. Fellony Silas, 30. (2) Announced as eligible for parole in June by the Kansas Prisoner Review Board: Mr. Wilford Molester Galloway. (3) Arrested for hit-and-run in April in Roseville, Calif.: Mr. Obiwan Kenobi, 37. (4) Arrested on drug and weapons charges in Clarkstown, N.Y., in April: Mr. Genghis Khan.
• At the 10th Arab Shooting Championship in Kuwait in March, as medals were presented and winners' national anthems were played, officials were apparently illprepared for medalist Maria Dmitrienko of Kazakhstan. Consequently, her "national anthem" was, inadvertently, the humorous ditty from the movie Borat. (Instead of such lyrics as “sky of golden sun” and “legend of courage,” the audience heard “Greatest country in the world / All other countries are run by little girls” and “Filtration system a marvel to behold / It removes 80 percent of human solid waste.”) Dmitrienko reportedly kept a mostly straight face throughout. Kazakhstan later demanded, and received, an official apology.
• Clumsy: (1) In March, Germany's celebrity rabbit—the genetically "earless" bunny named Til—was crushed to death in a zoo in Limbach-Oberfrohna when a cameraman accidentally stepped on it while setting up for a news conference to publicize the rabbit. (2) In 2011, a photographer snapping pictures for an art magazine moved a 2,630-year-old African sculpture to get a better shot, and accidentally smashed it ("to smithereens," according to the owner, Corice Arman).
Least Competent Criminals
Questionable Strategy: Robert Strank, 39, was arrested in Beavercreek, Ohio, in April and charged with trying to rob the Huntington Bank. According to police, as Strank approached the bank’s counter, he became ill and asked a teller to call 911 to summon medics. There were conflicting news reports about when medics arrived to treat Strank, but there was agreement that Strank recovered and subsequently presented the same teller his pre-written holdup note demanding cash. He was arrested in short order.
The Continuing Crisis
At a Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance in March, the music continued uninterrupted as two patrons engaged in a fistfight over seating. Conductor Riccardo Muti “never stopped conducting,” said a patron. “He very gracefully, without missing a beat—literally—he brought (the second movement) to a very quiet and subdued close.”
People Different From Us
Lawrence Cobbold, 38, has a house in Plympton, England, but has had to make living arrangements at his parents’ home or elsewhere because his place is totally taken over by his 21,000-item collection of bird ornaments and doodads. He spends an average of four hours a day tidying up the collection, even though it’s sometimes forced him to sleep elsewhere (he recently created sleeping space for himself). His dad—who described his other son as “completely normal”—said, “I just hope I die before (Lawrence). I don’t want to (have to) clear all this out.”
© 2012 Chuck Shepherd