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Since 1994, this is the 1141st issue of Randy Cassingham’s...

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24 April 2016: Aesop Had Something to Say About That Copyright ©2016 http://www.thisistrue.com

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This is True is... “A few chuckles, a few outrages, a few examples of institutional and individual stupidity, and maybe an item to make you think twice — that’s the mix you get in each week’s stories.” —John in Pennsylvania


To Get Downtown, Catch the Cisco Router Route: There’s finally a train in Colorado connecting Denver to the Denver International Airport, a 26-mile drive from downtown. To get to the airport, jump on the University of Colorado A Line train, which doesn’t go to any of the University of Colorado’s four campuses. Then why is it called that, instead of the Airport Line? Because the university paid $5 million for “naming rights” to the route. “The point of naming rights is to elevate your brand and make people aware of who you are,” says CU spokesman Ken McConnellogue. “We compete against our state sister institutions, as well as those from out of state, for-profit colleges and particularly online universities. All of those entities spend considerable sums on marketing. We have to compete.” The deal with the Regional Transportation District also includes “large advertising displays” on 59 RTD buses. (RC/Boulder Daily Camera) ...If you want to attract students, hire the best professors. To hire the best professors, try adding $5 million to the professor sign-on bonus fund.

iPhone Security: A 33-year-old man tried to steal an iPhone at a New York, N.Y., subway station. He punched someone who defended his teenage victim. But when the police came, he fled across the tracks. That’s when a train hit him. It didn’t kill him on impact; it brushed his face and sent him to the hospital, where he was described as in good condition. The authorities did not immediately announce charges. (AC/WCBS New York) ...Just because you weren’t successful doesn't mean you weren’t well-trained.

If It’s On the Internet, It Has to Be True: Just about everyone rolled their eyes when they saw the report widely circulated on Facebook last month: “Breaking News: Area Meth and Heroin Supply Possibly Contaminated With Ebola” — as if that were remotely possible. The “warning,” issued by the Granite Shoals, Texas, Police Dept. advised druggies worried about their stash to “Contact any Granite Shoals PD officer for testing” — the report noted police had a “special device” to check for ebola. While “just about everyone” rolled their eyes, Chasity Hopson, 29, brought her drugs in for testing — and was promptly arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. (RC/KHOU Houston) ...On the Internet, everybody knows you’re a dope.

Scare Tactics: A man knocked on the door of Bilal Abdul Mani’s Westlake, Ohio, home. Mani wasn’t there but his 14-year-old son let him in. A 911 call from the boy’s 16-year-old brother explained what happened next: “He started screaming,” the boy said, “saying that ‘you need to contact your father... he owes me $1500... he’s like if I start chopping up bodies in here, then I’m gonna be the bad guy, I just got outta jail two weeks ago.” The boys escaped through an upstairs window and ran next door to call police. It turns out, however, that the whole incident was staged by Mani. “I wanted to make sure that they did the right thing when I’m not at home,” he said. Police had a different view: “It was poorly cast, it was badly planned and the execution was worse,” said Westlake Police Capt. Guy Turner. Police commended the boys for their actions, but the case was referred to the city prosecutor for possible child endangering charges against Mani and his friend. “It amazes me that parents that sometimes when they try to do the right thing they’re the one that gets penalized,” Mani complained. (MS/WJW Cleveland) ...Mani can’t model “the right thing” by demonstrating “the dumb thing.”

Primal Urges: The Zany Zoo Pet Store in Eugene, Ore., reported two burglaries, five days apart. In addition to a laptop computer, money from the till, and money the store was collecting for the Girl Scouts, one other thing was taken: Gooey, a galago. Total haul: $9,500 worth of cash and goods. A short time later, there was a break in the case. Police recovered the $2,500 primate, also known as a “bush baby” because it’s so small (2-1/2 to 11 oz — 71–312g), from a prostitute who said it was given to her as a tip. “It’s my first time ever recovering a monkey from a prostitute,” said Eugene Police detective Rick Lowe. The woman says she was paid with the money from the store, and her customer was identified as Nathan McClain; his wife, Abbie, owns the pet store. The hooker was not charged, but police note McClain was arrested twice: first, for driving under the influence of meth as he left an “adult” store that shares a parking lot with the Oregon State Police, and then again, for patronizing a prostitute. (RC/KPTV Portland, Portland Oregonian) ...And he still has a monkey on his back.


Organ Solo
Man Arrested after Allegedly Exposing Himself at St. George’s Episcopal Church
The Villages (Fla.) News headline

Did You Find an Error? Check the Errata Page for updates.

This Week’s Contributors: MS-Mike Straw, AC-Alexander Cohen, RC-Randy Cassingham.


Did You Notice? There were five stories this week rather than the usual four, and I deleted one of the ad spots. This can be what’s sent every week if we meet the goal outlined two weeks ago:

With the ongoing weak economy, the number of Premium subsrcibers is again below my “minimum sustainable” target. If I can get the number of Premium subscribers up by 100 people from [the 10 April Premium] issue, I’ll improve this free edition for everyone else: I’ll boost it to five stories (from the four that have been here for, oh, 19 years now), and will drop the second ad. More stories, fewer ads. I know not everyone can afford Premium, and that’s fine: but those who can afford it can make True better for all. Game on? Upgrade here!

The Results So Far: The first week, we were up 44(!) new and returning Premium subscribers — less 24 expirations (some of whom will certainly be back) = net 20 toward the goal. This week still went the right direction, but not by much: up 24 (including several who expired the previous week), and down 17, for a net total of 28 toward the goal. I’ll continue to report on progress each week: it’s hard to keep True going week after week, and the Premium subscription fees make it happen. (Can’t afford it? Stay here as long as you want, and there are other ways you can help.) But if you can afford it, you can make the free edition’s improvement happen faster: Upgrade here!

Meanwhile, You Can Still Read All the Stories you missed in this week’s full edition: Man charged for carefully seatbelting multiple cases of beer in his car — leaving no way to secure his children. Retired fraud investigator arrested ...for bank fraud (and wait until you hear where the stolen money went!) Woman talked out of jumping onto train tracks to kill herself ...and then charged with holding up the trains. After 5 shocks, Florida man tires of being Tazed by police, so he takes the Taser away from the officer (and then it gets serious). Woman on social media angrily chides people for chiding her over her angry chides. Yet Another Public Entity learns why they shouldn’t “ask the Internet” to name something. Man justifies his rampage by saying he’s here from Future Earth (but is arrested anyway). To read these stories, just ask for your upgrade to start with the 24 April issue. See your upgrade options here.


KPTV (Last Story) is a Fox Affiliate, and Fox News picked up the story and sent it out to other affiliates with the headline, “MONKEY BUSINESS — Cops: Pet Shop Worker Paid For Tryst With Exotic Pet” — which apparently left so many scratching their heads about what the guy did (had a “tryst” with an exotic pet?!) that it was published under a different headline on FoxNews.com: “Man Paid Prostitute with Charity Money and a Primate, Police Say”.

There’s a long history of troublesome monkeys on people’s backs. It apparently goes all the way back to Aesop’s Fables. Known in English as The Monkey and the Dolphin, this version is translated by George Fyler Townsend (1814–1900):

A Sailor, bound on a long voyage, took with him a Monkey to amuse him while on shipboard. As he sailed off the coast of Greece, a violent tempest arose in which the ship was wrecked and he, his Monkey, and all the crew were obliged to swim for their lives. A Dolphin saw the Monkey contending with the waves, and supposing him to be a man (whom he is always said to befriend), came and placed himself under him, to convey him on his back in safety to the shore. When the Dolphin arrived with his burden in sight of land not far from Athens, he asked the Monkey if he were an Athenian. The latter replied that he was, and that he was descended from one of the most noble families in that city. The Dolphin then inquired if he knew the Piraeus (the famous harbor of Athens). Supposing that a man was meant, the Monkey answered that he knew him very well and that he was an intimate friend. The Dolphin, indignant at these falsehoods, dipped the Monkey under the water and drowned him.

The phrase’s use to denote drug addiction apparently dates to the 1940s.

Over the Weekend I posted a link (on True’s Facebook page) from my blog (from 2013) about Unusual Unsubscribes — some of the reasons readers give for leaving. It’s not all protests, but, well, some of the reasons stated are downright weird ...especially considering no reason is ever required. For example, “Lichen” wanted to unsubscribe because she realized that True, which has been billed as Social Commentary from its start in 1994, “is really social commentary.”

Then I asked the Facebook crowd if they wanted to hear about “today’s obliviot” — a reader who Just Didn’t Get It. Premium subscriber Thomas in Illinois was first to reply: “Heck, yes! Always like to see just how oblivious some people can be (and, occasionally, see myself in them).” That’s why I take the time to do such write-ups once in awhile: not just to say “but this is the exception in a flood of cool email,” but rather because we see ourselves in the stupid actions of others, and can learn from the exchange. So with that, I invite you to read about why Jay Jay is Cray Cray. Don’t hurt yourself rolling your eyes!


The Latest Posting to Jumbo Joke: The Bar Bet.

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This Week’s Honorary Unsubscribe goes to Walter Kohn. What Kohn accomplished is hard to explain, but he made giant leaps in electronics and medicine possible.

  • Read his story in the Archive: Walter Kohn (OK to share link)
  • And So Long to R&B singer Billy Paul, best known for his vocals in “Me and Mrs. Jones”, dead April 24 from panccreatic cancer at 81.
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