GESTURE TO JUDGE GETS MAN WEEKEND BEHIND BARS
When Alan D. Biggs decided to tell a judge in Missouri that his honor was No. 1, he accompanied the sentiment by holding up a finger.
Unfortunately, it was the middle one.
Associate Judge Lewis E. Mallot found Biggs in direct criminal contempt of court for "making a mockery of court proceedings and being disrespectful to the court" by using the gesture.
The incident came as Biggs waited for Mallot to extend for two years the protection order Biggs' former wife got against him last month on grounds that he had beaten her, broken her nose twice, threatened to kill her and harassed her. As Mallot sentenced him to jail for contempt, Biggs said, "I had all I could take." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
DEAF MAN COULD BE BLIND AFTER LOSING ONE EYE IN ATTACK ON BUS
A deaf Minneapolis man lost one eye and may lose sight in the other because of an attack by young men who apparently mistook his sign language for gang signs or obscene gestures, police say.
As the victim waited for a bus in Minneapolis one night, five men in a car stopped and something was said to him. According to police, they "apparently misinterpreted what was going on and probably took his gestures the wrong way." Chaney eluded them and got on the bus. The driver, sensing a problem, refused to let the others board but did not get a good look at them. The five drove ahead and were waiting when the bus stopped more than 2 miles away. They boarded and paid fares. They attacked Chaney and another man they thought was with him. One assailant broke a beer bottle over Chaney's head and gouged his eyes with the jagged edge. Oh Joy! (Star Tribune 3/5/95)
FINGER AND RUN- NEW MENACE
A Gainesville Florida Sheriff's deputy tried to stop a man's car late one night because he had only one functioning headlight. The man refused to pull over and made an obscene gesture several times before speeding up to 65 mph. Two other deputies joined the chase and tried to surround the car.
After the driver rammed one squad car and went into a ditch, he fled on foot until deputies tackled him. He then got to spend some quality time in jail. (UPI)
PEACE SIGN MAY START A FIGHT IN THIS MISSION
Winston Churchill flashed the sign to signal victory over Germany. Vietnam War protesters popularized it as the peace sign. But in Bosnia-Herzegovina, raised index and middle fingers are fighting words.
Soldiers in the US 1st Armored Division are being warned not to approach Serbs with the two- finger greeting. The gesture is "very offensive" and "could provoke a violent reaction," says a new Army handbook.
The reason: The sign is an informal hello used by Croats, who are the Serbs' mortal enemies.
And, just in case Americans hadn't already noticed, the Army guide tells soldiers the country's long-warring inhabitants are "easily insulted" and prone to genocide.
The warnings are among scores of do's and don'ts and tips on local customs, history and language contained in the 16-page "Soldiers' Guide to Bosnia." The pocket-size book was handed out to American troops in Germany as they prepared to enter the Balkans in 1995 to enforce the Dayton peace agreement. (The Washington Times)
GOOFY ON TRIAL
by Dana Parsons
reprinted from the LA TIMES
Wednesday November 25, 1998
Kevin Bogart has been a cop for 20 years. Has he seen too much, grown too cynical, or is it possible that Goofy÷that beloved madcap character÷did indeed make an obscene gesture when Bogart's wife snapped a photo of him and their children at Disneyland?
Goofy, he of the previously unimpeachable reputation, giving someone the bird?
And while dressed as Santa, at that?
Sounds pretty farfetched, frankly, and Bogart didn't believe it himself until the photos came back the next day. But there it was.
Or was it?
To say the least, the photos from the family's day at Disneyland on Nov. 10 unsettled the Bogarts, who live in Alta Loma in San Bernardino County. So much so that Kevin wrote to Disneyland and sent them a copy of the "disturbing photos," as he described them.
"Our 9-year-old son opened the pictures first and looked at them. He had a strange look on his face," he wrote. "He walked up to my wife and asked her, 'Why is Goofy flipping you off?' "
That reinforced what the Bogarts had discussed privately the day before when Mrs. Bogart told her husband about her Goofy suspicions. Kevin Bogart was skeptical: "Who would think Goofy would do that?"
Two photos offended the Bogarts÷the one from the sleigh and another showing Goofy walking away alone with a finger extended downward.
In his letter, Bogart told Disneyland officials he showed the photos to his co-workers at the West Covina Police Department. "Everyone who viewed the pictures came to the same conclusion that Goofy was indeed flipping us off," Bogart wrote.
A longtime admirer of Goofy's work, I phoned Bogart, who was more mellow on the phone than he was in his letter. Within minutes, he backed off from his suggestion in the letter that Disneyland consider giving his family a yearly pass "so that we may be able to come back again and again to recapture the magic of Disneyland."
Are you trying to extort Disneyland? I asked Bogart. "I'm a policeman," he said. "I'm not looking for something for nothing. They don't have to send us anything."
It's just that his family was offended, he said, and they wanted Disneyland to acknowledge the offense and make things right.
I asked Disneyland spokesman Ray Gomez what the photo of Goofy in the sleigh looked like to him. "It looked like Goofy holding his hand up," Gomez said dryly.
Disneyland investigated the incident and cleared Goofy, Gomez said. I took that to mean Goofy was apprised of the allegations but Gomez wouldn't confirm that.
The tight squeeze in Goofy's glove makes an obscene gesture virtually impossible, Gomez said. He invited me to try on a pair of Goofy's gloves, but I declined.
Stymied by the conflicting accounts, I knew what had to be done. On Tuesday morning, Bogart and I rendezvoused at a service station in Corona and he showed me the photos.
"Interesting, huh?" he said.
I brought them back to the office and asked colleagues what they saw in them. "It's Goofy sitting on a sleigh next to a kid and giving someone the bird," one editor said. Four other colleagues agreed, but a couple of others scoffed at that interpretation.
My investigation wound up taking a lot of time, and I flashed on Ray Gomez sitting in his office, trying on the gloves himself to see if he could make an obscene gesture with them. It struck me we were all spending a lot of time.
Why did you take things so far? I asked Bogart. "If it's a dead issue, I understand," he said. "I just wanted to talk to someone and see if it was worth making a big deal about or not."
Kevin, it wasn't.
But now that your allegation is in play, though, be advised: I understand Goofy is talking to an attorney.