Caped Crusader Turns Superfreak

The hooch proved to be this superhero's Kryptonite.

Captain Jackson, costumed defender of the citizens of Jackson, Mich., has to hang it up after pleading guilty to impaired driving, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Local factory worker Thomas Frankini, 49, donned his crime-fighting tights a few years ago — along with a purple cape — to patrol city streets struggling with gangs, amass awards from community groups, chase shady characters from dark corners, and help merchants be sure to lock up.

"It was a cold winter night, as I remember it," said George Davis, the former manager at Jackson's historic Michigan Theater, to the Free Press. "We were playing a Cary Grant movie or something like that and he suddenly appeared and held the door open for seniors."

As word of his feats spread, Captain Jackson, with an amused wink from the cops, even began to pose for photos with visiting Elvis impersonators, celebrities, elected officials — even the new postmaster for the city.

"Believe me, I didn't ask for this job," Captain Jackson said last year on his Web site,

But as the caped crime fighter's glory reached new heights, there was only that much further to come crashing down.

The Dec. 14 edition of the Jackson Citizen Patriot greeted readers with a headline that dealt the worst blow for vigilantes in tights since J. Jonah Jameson went after Spider-Man:

"Crime fighter busted for drunken driving."

Even worse, the paper exposed the Captain's secret identity, and that he'd suited up his daughter and girlfriend as his super sidekicks: Crime Fighter Girl and Queen of Hearts.

Now, Captain Jackson is considering hanging up his cape and leaving town.

"My patrol days are over, I'm afraid," Frankini told the Free Press in a phone interview last week, before he failed to appear for an interview with the paper on Tuesday.

"We're gonna keep going, but I guess not in Jackson. We're definitely in danger, I know that," he told the paper. "We're like David Hasselhoff from 'Baywatch' — he had this singing career and he was popular everywhere but America. Why they decided to destroy one of the best things I know in Jackson, I have no idea."

If he does move away, disappointed local residents say maybe their fallen hero will don his tights yet again elsewhere.

"Maybe," Davis suggested, "he could become Captain Parma, Captain Hillsdale, or something like that."

— Thanks to Out There readers Steve P. and Daniel H.

The Avian Forrest Gump

Run, avian Forrest Gump, run!

A badly maimed cockatoo's life and ability to walk has been saved after a top veterinarian fitted her with prosthetic legs, according to

Leadbeater Cockatoo Candy was viciously mauled by her mate, another cockatoo she shared a cage with in her owner's Fort Myers, Fla., home.

"It kind of looked like she had sat in a blender," said Dr. Don Harris, who performed the unusual procedure he invented, to "At that point, most people would have said because she's lost both her feet she should be euthanized."

But the owners asked, "Is there anything you can do?"

To fulfill their wishes, Harris, a PetPlace consulting veterinarian, cooked up the tiny prosthetic devices after Candy's family brought her into the Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center in Miami.

— Thanks to Out There reader Caroline M.

Ay, Chihuahua!

FREMONT, Calif. (AP) — A pack of angry Chihuahuas attacked a police officer who was escorting a teenager home following a traffic stop, authorities said.

The officer suffered minor injuries including bites to his ankle on Thursday when the five Chihuahuas escaped the 17-year-old boy's home and rushed the officer in the doorway, said Fremont detective Bill Veteran.

The teenager had been detained after the traffic incident, Veteran said.

The officer was treated at a local hospital and returned to work less than two hours later, Veteran said.

It was the third time this month a Fremont officer was bitten by a dog while on duty. Neither of the other officers were seriously injured.

And it was the second bizarre incident in as many hours for the Fremont Police Department.

Two hours earlier, a homeowner in Niles reported that an intruder broke into her home and added pornography to her computer.

The woman said she woke up and was startled to see a stranger typing away on her computer. The intruder fled, but left behind an altered screen saver that featured images of "erotic Indian art," Veteran said.

Nothing was reported stolen, and neither the woman nor her 9-year-old daughter was hurt, he said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Diane F.

Talk About Going Out on Top

PORTAGE, Mich. (AP) — A bowler collapsed and died at a bowling alley shortly after rolling the third perfect game of his life.

Ed Lorenz, 69, bowled a 300 Wednesday in his first league game of the night at Airway Lanes. When the retiree got up to bowl in the fifth frame of his second game, he clutched his chest and fell over, and efforts to revive him failed.

"If he could have written a way to go out, this would be it," said Johnny D Masters, who was bowling with Lorenz.

Friends said Lorenz started bowling in 1957 and ended last season with a 223 average. He rolled his first two 300 games over a one-week period in 2004.

In May, Lorenz was inducted into the Kalamazoo Metro Bowling Association Hall of Fame.

I Think We've Confirmed the Whole Car Thief Thing ...

SEATTLE (AP) — A man arrested for investigation of auto theft, handcuffed and put in a police car managed to slip behind the wheel and drive off Wednesday night, leading officers on a chase before he crashed and briefly escaped on foot.

Police brought in tracking dogs and a helicopter and recaptured the man late Wednesday night in woods along Harbor Avenue, police spokesman Rich Pruitt said.

No one was injured. The man was not immediately identified.

After his arrest, the man managed to get his cuffs in front of him and make his way into the front seat of the police car, Pruitt said.

Police chased the squad car across the West Seattle Bridge and onto Harbor Avenue before it crashed and the man took off.

Further details were not immediately available late Wednesday night.

— Thanks to Out There reader Derek H.

Meow, My Owner Is a Big, Fat Jerk

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — If cats have nine lives, a kitty here has definitely used one up.

The house cat survived being locked in a cage, thrown off a bridge and then stranded in an icy puddle of river slush.

The ordeal ended Tuesday morning when a pair of passers-by spotted the calico cat while crossing a footbridge and called for help.

Missoula firefighters arrived minutes later, donned wet suits and launched a rescue boat.

Someone had put the animal in a cage, along with a rock weighing about 16 pounds, and tossed it into the Clark Fork River. But instead of landing in the water, it bounced several times on the ice and then became stuck.

It's unclear how long the cat had been there.

Firefighters took it back to the fire station, dried it off and fed it leftover Christmas turkey and a dish of milk.

"It was really skinny, nothing but skin and bones, and had collar marks where a too-small collar had rubbed the fur off its neck. But it was really friendly," firefighter Philip Keating said.

Firefighter Josh Macrow decided to keep the cat. After his shift, he took it to a vet and then home to his 12-year-old daughter.

"It's the sweetest cat," Macrow said. "It sits on your shoulder when you drive down the road and it curled up with my black Labs this morning."

Naming the animal was easy, he said.

"We call her Lucky."

— Thanks to Out There reader Caroline M.

Hey There,, How's It Going?

NEW YORK (AP) — A 19-year-old PETA staffer has legally changed his name to

Chris Garnett, youth outreach coordinator for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said he changed his name in support of the group's anti-KFC campaign.

"People don't believe me at first when I tell them my name, but it never fails to spark a discussion," Garnett, er,, said in a statement. "Many vow to boycott KFC after I explain the company's indifference to cruelty to animals."

Norfolk, Va.-based PETA's complaints against KFC stem from video footage shot last year recording alleged mistreatment of birds at a Pilgrim's Pride Corp. plant in Moorefield, W.Va. The plant is a KFC supplier.

Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, has disputed the claims of mistreatment. In June, a grand jury refused to indict former workers at the West Virginia chicken plant.

"Stacked" star Pamela Anderson, who has narrated a PETA video showing the alleged abuse, supports Garnett's name change.

"I'm sure Chris can't wait till KFC stops torturing chickens so he can change his name back," the actress said in a statement, adding that the chicken abuse "is awful and has to stop."

— Thanks to Out There readers David M. and Shane M.

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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