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Oddballs who captured our attention

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Famous people do stupid things every day. We all do stupid things every day. It only seems like celebrities are further from the food chain of reality because reporters follow them. However, every once and a while seemingly normal people scrape off the boring and do something wild enough to make headlines. I have to tell you, I love this. I especially like the part they usually know they will go to jail and do it anyway. In no way am I advocating breaking any laws -- ever.

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I started thinking about my love for odd behavior after I read about these two jokers who crashed a White House State Dinner. I just laughed. That requires a lot of guts, even to consider it. They penetrated the best security in the nation. From all descriptions, it seems like the guards knew they were not invited and they still got in. They must be silver-tongued rascals.

I was waiting for them to pronounce some cause. Usually when people are crazy enough to go to jail they are trying to promote world peace or some other universal cause. In a word, no! They just wanted the publicity, that is all. I expect a book and I hope it flops. I almost lost my admiration for public flair when I read they felt they were victims of the press. Please.

Then I remembered Red Square. In 1987, a German man named Mathias Rust landed a small single engine airplane smack dab in the middle of Red Square, downtown Moscow. It was the middle of the Cold War and the Soviet Union was boasting an impenetrable air defense system. Then, some joker buzzed the Kremlin and touched down. He was a peace dog that wanted to "build an imaginary bridge to the east." That never happened. It did rock the Russian military and cause mass firings. And yes, Rust went to jail, pardoned a year later by new leadership.

Then there is Dan Goodwin. On Memorial Day 1981, Goodwin donned a homemade Spider Man suit and climbed to the top of the Sears Tower, the tallest building on the planet at the time. His heroics of using only suction cups and sky hooks brought him immediate attention. The Chicago fire department tried to block his attempts several times by lowering window washing equipment. Legend has it that Spider Dan even stopped half way up for a smoke break. Dan's cause: to point out how skyscrapers lacked proper fire fighting and rescue ability. Spider Dan went to jail.

We can not forget to add Raphel Gray to the list of the fiendishly clever. This is the 18-year-old kid who hacked into Bill Gates' personal credit card information and posted it on the Internet. This was in 2000 when Gates and Microsoft were launching software that was hailed as completely secure and safe. Gates himself had claimed that he could not hack the system. I applaud you young Mr. Gray, I hope your time in prison was not too hard on you.

Not many remember the 2003 antics of Mark McGowan. He was the college student who was protesting the increasing cost of college tuition. He refused to pay his debt and staged a protest. This genius decided that he would push a peanut down the street with his nose. His two-week journey ended with McGowan presenting the peanut to British Prime Minister Tony Blair as payment for his debt. Well, it did not work.

This all takes me back to the first publicity stunt in our nation's history. A bunch of people were completely torqued off at the government. They felt that they were being oppressed. The government even put a tax on an item that was used simply for personal enjoyment. These rabble rousers decided to dress up and paint their face and run about in the middle of the night. They destroyed personal and government property -- just to prove a point. History calls this hoax "The Boston Tea Party."

Please don't think that I am trying to put Spider Dan on the same stage as the Boston Tea Party. I just admire when people believe so much in a cause that they rebel against the establishment knowing full well that it is illegal and may face jail time. Don't be so foolish to think that the Tea Party gang did not get in any trouble.

This all started (my ramblings) with the crashing of a State Dinner. It is too bad that these two are completely vacant of any cause or need to expose a wrong. They are lowly camera hogs who are now complaining of mistreatment by the very tool they were trying to manipulate, the media. Somewhere, Spider Dan is crying.

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