I have a penchant for making things worse. Last year I tweeted that I wanted a rubber stamp that said "DENIED." Out of the blue a college pal had a print shop send me one, in red ink.

Well, I got two parking tickets in Berkeley in January. So you see where this is headed. They blew off my windshield as I was leaving town and I forgot about them. Then I got the fine in February and figured it was a good opportunity to use the DENIED stamp, so I did, and mailed back the notice. I just got a bill for $246 and a heavyhanded threat to garnish my wages and report me to a credit bureau and throw me in debtor's prison and excommunicate all my descendants and etc. if I don't pay up.

So do I stamp that notice, too, or just go ahead and get a new phone number?

  • The Pope's visiting Malta, where billboards announcing that visit were graced with stencils of Pedobear. Their meaning seems to escape most; a newspaper wonders why "pandas" were painted on the billboard. But "The organising committee was alerted yesterday morning and it plans to erase the images." But they're just pandas ...
  • Anyone going for a swim out at the Hamptons, you should know there's a dart full of whale tranquilizer floating around out there, after it bounced off the beached whale it was meant to euthanize and skidded into the ocean.
  • Some woman in Tennessee adopted a 7-year-old Russian boy and it didn't go so well. She put him on a plane back to Moscow and paid a guy $200 to drive him over to the education ministry. Whatever happened to leaving kids in basket on someone's doorstep? Russia's considering stopping all adoptions by American families. Oh no.
  • Let's see: Murder, incest, a dead body in the freezer and a "chocolate negligee." For once this kind of story doesn't concern Florida.But it is in Alabama.