Is That a Gun in Your Pocket Underwear…

It seems that one Pennsylvania police officer may have taken the joke about having a gun in one’s pants a little too seriously and actually confused underpants for a gun.

I’m not even going to attempt to judge the merits of the shooting or the lawsuit by the man who was shot against the city. I’m not sure where you begin when the situation begins with a man was standing in a dark alley holding a pair of black underwear.


I’ll be curious to know if the motive for this staged shooting is ever discovered.

Indiana Conservation Officers don’t believe a Bloomington man’s story that he was shot by an unknown person while visiting McCormick’s Creek State Park on June 25.

Instead, Conservation Officers say evidence suggests Peter Raventos, 43, shot himself in a staged incident designed to portray him as the victim of a random shooting. …

On June 25, Conservation Officers and other agencies responded to a 911 call at 10:05 p.m. reporting that a man had been shot at McCormick’s Creek. The call was made by Raventos, who told Conservation Officers he was shot in the back by an unknown assailant while walking along a park trail.

Conservation Officers, McCormick’s Creek staff, the Owen County Sheriff’s Department, Spencer Police, and Indiana State Police conducted a thorough search of the park and nearby area for a possible suspect but found none.

Raventos, meanwhile, was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where he was treated for wounds inflicted by more than 20 shotgun pellets and later released.

From witness interviews and evidence found at the scene and at Raventos’ home, Conservation Officers have since concluded that Raventos rigged a shotgun so he could fire it at himself from some distance.

Witness statements led Conservation Officers to an area of the park where the shooting was believed to have occurred. There they found bungee cords, fishing line, a spent shotgun shell, an unspent shotgun shell, and a small piece of plywood embedded with shotgun pellets.

Conservation Officer K-9 units searching the area also found a shotgun wad-a small plastic cup inside a shotgun shell casing that separates the pellets from the gunpowder. When fired, the wad is expelled and falls to the ground.

Conservation Officer scuba divers searched the nearby White River and located a 20-gauge shotgun that was later linked to Raventos.

Search warrants for Raventos’ home, cell phone, and vehicle turned up additional evidence.

I’m very curious about the evidence from the cell phone. That seems like an odd place to find anything relevant unless it reveals some kind of premeditation that could disclose the potential motive.

I just can’t fathom why anyone would shoot themselves in an effort to make a park look bad.

Last Stand Against Pele

You may have seen a brief mention in the news of a Hawaiian house being taken out by lava last week. Even though most of the mainland blurbs didn’t make it sound all that interesting, I have to admit that I think the background story is amazing.

Jack tells me he purchased his first lot there in 1972 on Queens Street in Royal Gardens; relocating to Plumeria Street residence in 1978. The subdivision contained 1500 lots on the Pulama Pali and coastal plains below. Jack likes telling the story about the day he was finishing the cedar house in early January 1983: Having just placed the windows into his upper loft bedroom, when that very night he saw an erie orange glow flashing on the panes– This glow was from huge lava fountains four miles upslope, he says this while waving his hands in the air like fountains, and was the very beginning of the eruption of Pu`u O`o January 3rd, 1983, which continues to this day.

Click to enlarge to see an ariel view of the isolated house from December 2011.
He was putting that finishing touch on the house the day the eruption started and it took more than 29 years to bring the house down. For the last three years, he’s had to hike in and out. I read in an old article that for a number of years after the roads were cut off, he could still get in with a dirt bike. It’s amazing how much dedication he had staying put, but I can’t blame him. The views he had of a forested hill that overlooked a massive field of cooled lava that drops out into the ocean were nothing short of spectacular. I actually find the views of those fields to be the most beautiful on Hawaii.

According to other sources I’ve read, the first house in the subdivision was taken out by lava on March 20, 1983 – a little more than two months after the flow started. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory gives a clue as to what residents faced in those early years:

…from 1983-1985, `a`a flows fed by lava fountains from Pu`u `O`o overran the upper slopes of the subdivision during 7 eruptive episodes. Residents lived on edge in those years, when every 3-4 weeks towering lava fountains lit up the sky and rattled the windows. Sixteen houses were overrun, and 20 percent of the subdivision was inundated. Streets running straight down the pali formed convenient pathways for the `a`a flows, which filled them to a depth of 5-10 m (16-33 ft).

One former resident says she evacuated about 30 times during the time she tried to live amid the flow. To make matters worse, in 1987, their road to Hilo was cut off. Apparently, several purchased second cars to keep on the outside of the flow. They would drive to the end of the roads in their trapped subdivision, hike a mile, and then continue their drive with the second car to run their errands. A trip to Hilo was now a 120-mile round trip. If the “inside” car was parked too close to the flows, it would get overtaken between their trips outside of the subdivision – something that apparently happened often. Apparently, they would bulldoze access roads for the next 13 years, but those never lasted long. They would be overrun, with the last one being completely taken out in 2000.

Here is footage from Jack Thompson’s friend, a photographer who was with him when they had to evacuate.

Weed Legalization: Surreal Edition

I’m wondering whether I actually am still inhabiting the universe I thought I previously knew, or have somehow been transported into some other strange, parallel universe, where Pat Robertson signs on to decriminalizing weed.

It that’s the case, can I please also move to the universe where Ladd Everitt, Josh Horwitz, and Dennis Henigan are machine gun collectors?

Cows on the Loose!

I have to admit that I didn’t feel too happy when I first read the story about Canadian police officers who decided to shoot cows that had other ideas about being lead to slaughter, but mostly because riddling the cow with 9mm fired from a Glock seemed like a waste of perfectly good beef. I guess Canadian cops don’t carry rifles in their patrol cars.

Down the Wikihole: The Photoplayer

After seeing a video on YouTube from a Facebook friend, I started doing some research into something called a Photoplayer. Apparently this is a one man orchestra that is a relic of the silent film era. This lead to looking at examples of this on YouTube, but the one that was the best was the one I saw on Facebook:

Looks like quite a lot of work, and also looks like a fun instrument to play. Apparently the instrument can be played live as well, without the use of a piano roll.

Looking for a Crappy Christmas Gift? No, Really…

This is just the kind of crappy gift all of your kids need to find under the tree this year. When I say crappy, I mean it quite literally.

For those of you who don’t think this will be a hit with the kids, you are WRONG! This has apparently been one of the biggest sellers in Germany.

If you are looking to follow up with a Gassy New Year gift, it turns out that you’re covered there, too.

(h/t to AdAge for the Doggie Doo commercial)

How About Telling us Where to Buy the Sandwich?

Apparently two armed men robbed a 13 year old boy of his sandwich. Yeadon police say they recovered both the gun and the sandwich. They missed a key piece of information though, which is where in Yeadon to buy a sandwich that’s worth committing armed robbery for? I’m about an hour away from there, but I’ll make the drive to try that sandwich.