10 worst ideas of the week: Feb. 28 

1. Self-abduction

French firm offers to kidnap you

The details: Are you rich, bored and need an adrenaline boost? Ultime Realite, a firm in eastern France, is offering a package where it will kidnap you, keeping you incarcerated — bound and gagged — for four hours. All for a tidy sum of $1,226. That is just for the basic package. If you choose, you can involve an escape or even a helicopter chase. The longest incarceration has been 11 hours. The company was opened in January and is receiving two requests a day, many from top-level executives who are tired of bungee jumping and skydiving.

2. Poor sport

Speedskater shoves worker after disqualification

The details: Sven Kramer is a legend in the Netherlands, which treats speedskating like it is the Super Bowl. The Vancouver Olympics’ 5,000-meter gold medalist was disqualified after winning his 10,000-meter race and, he thought, another gold after he skated the last eight laps in the wrong lane due to his coach providing the wrong directions. To make matters worse, Kramer pushed and shouted at a worker, causing international scorn. He has since apologized.

3. Big Brother strikes

Man arrested for wearing wig, clown mask in Florida

The details: A 19-year-old Tampa, Fla., man faces charges after a deputy spotted him wearing a clown mask and bright wig as he walked down the street with two other people. Apparently, it’s against the law to wear a mask or hood on a public road in Hillsborough County if you’re over the age of 16. He was released from Hillsborough County Jail on $750 bond.

4. Bank fees

Credit cards blitz consumers to keep using services

The details: As credit card rules tighten for banks, the industry is aggressively pitching customers with various persuasive letters, phone calls and e-mails urging consumers to keep using costly services. The new rules require banks to get customers to agree or “opt in” to continue some services, like debit card overdraft protection. Some banks are now charging up to $35 for this service; fees that provide sought-after revenue.

5. The inhumanity

Onlookers tweet, videotape, taunt man to jump

The details: A young man committed suicide by jumping from a downtown San Francisco building in his underwear, shocking the crowd that had gathered. Onlookers will carry not only the memory of the death itself, but of some members of the crowd yelling “Jump!” just before the tragedy, videotaping, calling and tweeting about the event — which many seemed to think was a publicity stunt. “It was pretty messed up,” a witness said. A teen who had been present commented on The Examiner’s Web site that the lack of respect for the victim was very traumatic.

6. Florida politics

Senate campaign heating up

The details: Marco Rubio, Senate candidate and former Florida House speaker, blasted opponent Gov. Charlie Crist’s campaign for leaking Rubio’s state GOP credit card statements. Rubio said his nearly $110,000 in charges over 25 months were legitimate travel to promote the Republican Party. Sharon Day, the state party’s national committeewoman, defended Rubio and said she was angry someone would try to use the credit card statements against him.

7. All wet

Dubai’s giant aquarium cracks and floods mall

The details: Shoppers at Dubai’s glitziest mall fled in terror after a 2-year-old aquarium holding hundreds of sharks and stingrays in 10 million gallons of water cracked open through a 30-inch-thick acrylic viewing panel. Torrents of water gushed into the tank’s walk-through area, where visitors are virtually surrounded by the water. Workers wearing lifejackets managed to seal off the leak without any of the aquarium’s 33,000 sea creatures getting out.

8. NBC on thin ice

Olympic figure skating held for air until almost midnight

The details: Broadcasting decisions on NBC’s part are leaving viewers angry and confused, especially when they have to wait until past bedtime to watch a tape delay of the women’s figure skating competition. Kim Yu-na, Rachael Flatt and Joannie Rochette’s performances were some of the most popular and compelling, but Bay Area fans had to wait until almost midnight to see who was crowned the champion. NBC is contracted for the Olympics until 2012, so the peacock network needs to get its priorities straight.

9. Hot for teacher

Teachers perform lap dance in front of high school students

The details: A spirit rally turned into a steamy erotic dance at a Winnipeg high school, when a male teacher danced suggestively around a female teacher who was sitting in a chair. More than 100 students in grades 9-12 watched, and many whooped their appreciation from the stands. Of course, someone was videotaping with a cell phone, and the video wound up on YouTube and went viral. Both teachers are off work while the board looks into the incident, but many students say they support the teachers and want them to come back.

10. Dumb dialing

Cops overhear teens talking during automobile theft

The details: Two Florida teenagers face charges after 911 dispatchers heard them discussing breaking into cars. One teenager’s cell phone accidentally dialed 911 while the two were rummaging through a car they had broken into, deciding what was worth taking. Officers were directed to the area and confronted the teens, who both admitted to the robbery.


Dim bulb of the week: Tony Kornheiser

What: ESPN host says Hannah Storm’s outfit looks like ‘sausage casing’

Why: The “Pardon the Interruption” host made inappropriate comments on longtime colleague Storm’s clothing, saying her duds were “horrifying” and that her shirt looked like “sausage casing wrapped around her upper body.” Kornheiser also speculated on Storm’s age vis-à-vis her hemline: “It’s way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s.” He was suspended for two weeks.

Sinking ship

Recent college graduates owe an average $23,200 debt in student loans, and the burden is expected to keep rising. The number of student loan accounts in the U.S. has climbed to 69 million — a 29 percent increase since just two years ago. As college becomes less and less affordable, students borrowed a grand total of $527 billion to get through to graduation.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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