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Bad Excuses
From the Bad Excuse file: A New Jersey couple was arrested for stealing outdoor table umbrellas from restaurants around Basking Ridge. They didn't deny taking the umbrellas, but they said it was all for a good reason. You see, it was part of a "social experiment." They were doing a documentary on "doing the right thing." They even had a manila folder with them full of notes about the project. But apparently they hadn't thought through what was going to happen when witnesses "did the right thing" and reported them to the police. Link: Baskingridge.patch.com
Categories: Bad Excuses, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Sat Jul 28, 2012
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Teacher Larry Wilson offers up these gems, all of which really were told to him by tardy students:
  • "I had too much homework in my important classes."
  • "I'm having a baby this weekend, can I turn it in later."
  • "I turned it in, and I guess you lost it."
  • "Glee was on."
  • "I'm a crack baby."
  • "I'm working on my essay at home."
  • "My allergies are extremely bad right now, and I'm on my period. It's VERY heavy flow, so I apologize in advance if I freak out on you or anyone."
  • "It's at my mom's house, and I'm at my dad's this week"
  • "My mom wouldn't let me do my homework."
  • "I ran out of paper, so I did my homework on this paper towel. Is that okay?"
Read the full article at anchoragepress.com.
Categories: Bad Excuses, Education
Posted by Alex on Fri May 11, 2012
Comments (2)
Craig Silverman has coined a term for a new kind of excuse popular with writers caught plagiarizing. It's the Maureen Dowd Plagiarism Defense. He explains:

In 2009, Dowd used close to 50 words from a John Marshall post on Talking Points Memo. She didn't offer any attribution. The words were presented as her own, and that led to accusations of plagiarism, and to a correction being issued. The Dowd Defense emerged when she reached out to a variety of websites to explain how it happened. This is what she told Huffington Post and others:
"I was talking to a friend of mine Friday about what I was writing who suggested I make this point, expressing it in a cogent — and I assumed spontaneous — way and I wanted to weave the idea into my column. but, clearly, my friend must have read josh marshall without mentioning that to me."

So yes, the words weren't hers. But she thought she was just copying the words of a friend.

Craig notes a more recent use of this defense. A piece by Josh Linkner on Fast Company was found to contain parts of a blog post by Chris Dixon, unattributed. Linkner apologized to Dixon and explained:

A friend of mine sent me that excerpt and I had no idea it was yours or anyone else's so I didn't attribute it when I wrote my post. As an author, VC, and entrepreneur I hold myself to the highest standards and I'm deeply sorry this happened.
Categories: Bad Excuses, Journalism
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 10, 2012
Comments (2)
Two stories have been in the news recently about Manhattan school employees who were somewhat derelict in their commitment to the truth.

The first was Joan Barnett, a parent coordinator, who, in order to get two-and-a-half weeks of vacation, claimed her daughter "Xinia Daley Herman" had died. Her mistake: she submitted a death certificate with weird, misaligned fonts. When busted, she initially claimed her daughter really had "died of a heart condition." But eventually she broke down and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. It's not clear from the article if she really had a daughter with that name. Link: National Post

The second is teacher Mona Lisa Tello, who submitted a fake jury duty letter to get out of class for two weeks. Her mistake: the letter was full of misspellings ('trail' instead of 'trial,' 'manger' instead of 'manager'). Link: NY Daily News

Both Barnett and Tello lost their jobs. So now they have all the vacation time they could possibly want.
Categories: Bad Excuses, Education, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 12, 2012
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