MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24 This week of infected pets and animate body bags kicks off at the intersection of the internet and real life. Our physical setting: Utah, where today a US District Court froze the assets of several internet business coaches offering a "proven and guaranteed home job to make $379 a day from home" that, according to the Federal Trade Commission, routinely left consumers heavily in debt. "This case halts a massive scam that bilked consumers out of millions for useless work-at-home kits and business coaching services," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The defendants duped consumers into thinking they could earn thousands working from home." Reuters lists the companies in question as Essent Media LLC, Net Training LLC, YES International, Coaching Department, and Apply Knowledge. "Jonathan Hafen, the lead attorney for the defendants, had no comment," reports Reuters.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25 In worse news, the week continues in San Diego, where a family is suing Petco after their 10-year-old son died from a bacterial infection they say he contracted from his pet rat. "The boy's grandmother purchased the male rat... because her only grandson wanted a mate for his female rat," reports the Associated Press. "The boy took the rat home May 27, 2013, and woke up the night of June 11 in severe pain with a fever and stomach problems... He died at 1:09 a.m. the next day." The cause of death, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office: streptobacillus moniliformis infection, commonly known as rat bite fever. According to the lawsuit filed by the dead boy's family, the rat appeared safe, but "Petco should have known about the rodent's health and did not adequately test for the disease." In response to the lawsuit, which seeks an unspecified amount of money for the suffering endured by the boy's parents, Petco Animal Supplies Inc. expressed its condolences over the boy's death and said it is "in the process of investigating these claims and will respond appropriately when we have more information." Dear citizens of America: It seems silly to have to say this, but don't buy rats from a pet store. If you simply must have a pet rat, get one from your friendly neighborhood rat rescue shelter (see: any alley in Belltown).
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26 Speaking of things that should be kept away from children, the week continues in Stamford, Connecticut, where a 72-year-old substitute teacher was arrested after allegedly masturbating in front of students today at Westhill High School. "The substitute teacher was caught twice with his pants down before class fondling himself with students watching," reports Stamford's WTNH News. "Police put the 72-year-old in handcuffs for public indecency after a teaching assistant found him fondling himself in the hallway... Police say they caught the substitute teacher in the act twice on camera." Charged with the aforementioned public indecency along with breach of the peace and risk of injury to a minor, the accused public masturbator was jailed on $25,000 bond.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27 In happier family news, the week continues in Lexington, Mississippi, where the loved ones of a freshly deceased man rejoiced today after their allegedly dead relative kicked his way out of a body bag in a funeral home where he'd been sent to be embalmed. Details come from WAPT News, which identifies the still-living dead man as Walter Williams. "The coroner said he checked Williams's pulse about 9 p.m. Wednesday and pronounced him dead at his home in Lexington," reports WAPT. "After the coroner helped move Williams to Porter and Sons Funeral Home, workers were getting ready to embalm him, and that's when he started to move. "Williams was inside the zipped-up body bag and kicking to get out." As for the cause of the resurrection: "The coroner said Williams's pacemaker may have stopped working and then started up again." Whatever the case, Williams's family is thrilled to have him back. "I don't know how long he's going to be here, but I know he's back right now," nephew Eddie Hester told WAPT. "That's all that matters."
•• Meanwhile in international affairs, today the World Bank postponed a $90 million loan to Uganda, in response to the country's draconian punishments for gay people and those that don't hate them. "Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-gay bill earlier this week that strengthens already strict laws against homosexuals by imposing a life sentence for certain violations and making it a crime to not report anyone who breaks the law," reports the Guardian. "The World Bank, a poverty-fighting institution based in Washington, usually refrains from getting involved in countries' internal politics or in issues such as gay rights to avoid antagonizing any of its 188 member countries. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, however, sent an e-mail to bank staff saying the bank opposes discrimination, and would protect the safety of all employees."
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28 In lighter news, the week continues with the KOMO report on the man dressed as a woman who was arrested last night after allegedly taking cell-phone photos in the women's restroom of the Des Moines Library. "According to police, a victim knocked the man's phone out of his hand and chased him out of the restroom after catching him in the act around 5 p.m.," reports KOMO. "Officers tracked the man along South 216th Street as he reportedly shed his skirt. Officers eventually arrested him."
SATURDAY, MARCH 1 Nothing happened today, unless you count the person who crashed her Subaru on I-5 south of Seattle, triggering a major collision before she allegedly attempted to flee the scene by making off with a concerned bystander's car. "The woman was arrested and booked on suspicion of reckless driving, hit-and-run, and attempted auto theft," reports KOMO.
SUNDAY, MARCH 2 Nothing happened today, unless you count the 485th Academy Awards, starring gorgeous Lupita Nyong'o, lame U2, not-funny-enough Ellen, and douchetastic Matthew McConaughey.