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the last six years almost continuously in prison because, usually, each time he is released, he immediately shucks his clothes as he walks out the gate (and whenever arrested, he strips during court appearances). He was released in October from his most recent incarceration, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and authorities were puzzled how to proceed since Gough (aka “the naked rambler”) appears maniacally committed to the clothes-free lifestyle. A BBC News profile suggests that Scotland may simply send him back to England and hope he stays.

LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS

; Recurring Themes: (1) Jamel Wilson, 18, in Knoxville, Tenn., became the most recent hapless carjacker forced to abort his gunpoint heist after discovering the car was a stick shift, which he could not drive. He fled on foot but was arrested minutes later. (2) David Weber, 53, was arrested in Miami Beach in September, minutes after allegedly

66 CULTURE • DECEMBER 2012

stealing items from a locked car, including a credit card. Police were called when Weber tried to use the card at a nearby bar and learned to his dismay that the card belonged to the bartender.

LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS

; Rookie Mistakes: (1) Arthur Bundrage, 28, was arrested in Syracuse, N.Y., in October after he returned to the Alliance Bank—which he had just robbed minutes earlier—because he discovered that the employee had given him less than the $20,000 his demand note ordered. Officers arrived to find Bundrage standing by the front doors, trying to get back in. (2) A September theft from a sofa superstore in Northampton, England, ended badly for two men, who had just loaded a pair of couches (worth the equivalent of about $650 each) into their truck and were about to drive off. However, the store manager rushed out and, noticing the truck’s unfastened back door, reached in and pulled

the sofas out, leaving the men to drive away empty-handed. The sequence was captured on surveillance video, leading store owner Mark Kypta to liken it to “something out of a Benny Hill film.”

READERS’ CHOICE

; (1) Maria Pestrikoff, whose home is on a 60-foot cliff near Kodiak, Alaska, was rescued in September after she accidentally fell off while text-messaging a friend. (2) The remains of a 70-year-old hog farmer were found on his property near Riverton, Ore., in September, and authorities said, based on the condition of his body, that his hogs had gotten to him before he got to them.

GOVERNMENT IN ACTION

; Among the federally funded projects highlighted in the “2012 Waste Book” of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn were a $325,000 grant to develop a “robosquirrel” (to help study the somehowconfusing interaction between

squirrels and rattlesnakes) and a $700,000 grant by the National Science Foundation for a New York theater company to create a musical about climate change and biodiversity (which actually opened this year, in Kansas City, and included among its concepts, according to one critic, “flying monkey poop”). Abuses of the food stamp program were also detailed, such as by one exotic dancer who, while earning $85,000, drew food stamps in an amount roughly equivalent to the sum she spent on “cosmetic enhancements.” ; While the Department of Veterans Affairs remains under criticism for inadequate funding for personnel disabled in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, it spent in 2010 more than $5 million on training conferences just to teach bureaucrats how to administer parts of its latest collective-bargaining contract, according to an October report in the Washington Examiner. In fact, reported the Examiner, $34 million in payroll goes to

V I S I T U S AT i R e a d C u l t u r e . c o m

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