Thursday, April 23, 2015

Meet Professor Birdsong, author of '177 Dumbest Criminal Stories: International'

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What was the inspiration behind this book and the rest of the series?
I have had a lot of experience with criminal law as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C and later a defense attorney in D.C. 
Since I now teach, I started a blog in 2008 for my students where I post, among other things, funny and weird criminal law stories I find from around the world. For this particular book I realized that I had a goodly number of international criminal law stories. So I came up With the idea of the 177 Dumbest Criminal Stories: International. In addition to the funny crime stories I tell a bit about each country they come form a bit about the legal system of the countries. Researching and editing funny criminal stories is a hobby that has led me to write books that may give people a few good laughs.
From where do you get your stories?
Each week I read a number of newspapers and check wire service stories.
What is it about these crazy stories that hooks you as a writer?
I have always found such stories as fun. I started reading the newspaper as a 12 year old newspaper boy. 
I was always amazed at some the crazy things people did that made the news.
What is it about these crazy stories that draws in readers?
The stories draw readers because they are short, easy to read and funny.

Which book in the series is your favorite?
I actually have two favorites. The first is my “Weird 365: stories for each day of the year.” This book won a 2014 Silver Medal in 2014 from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association as one of the best ebooks of the year. My second favorite is my Weird Criminal Law Stories, Volume VI: Women in Trouble. This volume contains only stories about women who get in trouble with the law.
Do you plan on doing any more of them?
Yes, I hope to put out a new volume of Dumbest Criminal Stories each year for the next two or three years.
What is one of your own personal weird and crazy stories that you would be willing to share with us?
As a federal prosecutor long ago in the 1980’s I had to prosecute a dyslexic bank robber. The fellow had trouble reading and writing but wanted to rob a bank. He wrote a note to pass to the teller and he did pass it to the teller. The note read: “This is a rob, I have a pen, give me mon.” The teller laughed at him and gave him no money. The fellow ran from the bank and was arrested a block away. 
He decided to go to trial. The teller testified at the trial. The badly written not was entered into evidence and the jury had a good laugh and then found him guilty of attempted bank robbery. 
He was given a three year prisons sentence.
Have you ever written or thought about writing a different type of book?
I have already written a book of 12 Immigration Law Essays which was published in
November 2014. In addition to teaching criminal law I also teach immigration law. I am not interested in writing fiction.
You have worked in many governmental and law positions. Which one was your favorite?
My favorite job was when I was a U.S. State Department officer posted to the U.S. Consulate in Hamburg, Germany in 1985 for three years. Hamburg was a lovely city. I had the diplomatic rank of Consul and I was the head of the nonimmigrant visa section.
I also served as the chief hearing officer for former Nazi Party members and Waffen SS soldiers who sought to obtain nonimmigrant visas to travel to the U.S. At that time there were more ex-Nazi Party members and ex Waffen SS soldiers living in this northern German area than anywhere else in the world. As such I hold the State Department record for holding more of these hearings than anyone else in the State Department.
What else can we find you doing, when not in the classroom or collecting weird criminal stories?
I spend a lot of time doing both. When I relax I like to sit at my baby grand piano and bang out and sing a few show tunes.
I also like to swim and bicycle.

How does your family support your endeavors?
My children are all grown and out of the house. My wife leaves me to my own devices
and loves to know that I am staying out of mischief by working on my stories.

What is your favorite advice to offer to your students and readers?
I say write your passion and have fun doing it. I hope my readers appreciate that I am trying to bring them a little joy by putting a funny spin on some dumb criminals.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think I have already said too much.

Thank you so much for your time!
You are welcome. I thank you for the opportunity to provide answers to your questions.

177 dumbest criminal stories international - cover  copyProfessor Birdsong is out with another volume of his Dumbest Criminal stories. And he has done it again! Many of his stories are so funny that they will make you laugh out loud. He has managed to use his expertise and experience in criminal law to bring you 177 more of the most outrageous and dumbest criminal law stories from around the world. This new volume features stories of dumb criminals from China and the Far East, Stories from Around the Indian Ocean basin, Russia and Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom and France, as well as stories from Canada and Mexico. There is the story of a Chinese woman accused of killing a shopkeeper by squeezing his scrotum when he asked her not park her motorbike in front of his shop; her grip was so strong that the man went into shock and died. Then there is the story about a South Korean airline passenger who was not allowed to bring a certain liquid on the plane. She drank the liquid in front of airline officials but refused to swallow. When officials made her spit the liquid into a bucket they found she was attempting to sneak dozens of tadpoles on board. In India we learn about the use of “weapons-grade” spice wherein a group of criminals hijacked a train and freed a fellow gang member by throwing locally made chili powder in the face of police chasing them. They got away with it, too. From Australia there was a 20-year-old thief who stole a tanker truck containing 5,811 gallons of milk and led police on a two hour chase. From Poland we learn of a man who sued his ex-wife for a refund on the $8,000 he had spent on her breast implants. From Germany we find that a well-endowed woman allegedly tried to kill her boyfriend by smothering him with her size 38 DD breasts. Then there is the one about the English man arrested for having sex with his girlfriend’s dog. The stories just go on and on; this book covers just about every silly, unlawful citizens from around the in the globe. The stories are all true stories. Full of his witty “Birdsong” commentary the book is sure to deliver some great laughs. Professor Birdsong presents a wide variety of just plain, dumb criminals that make this anthology worth reading and, will, as previously stated, at times, make you laugh out loud.

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About the author:

birdsong-colorProfessor Birdsong received his J.D. from the Harvard Law School and his B.A. from Howard University. He teaches law in Orlando, Florida. After graduation from law school he worked four years at the law firm of Baker Hostetler. He then entered into a varied and distinguished career in government service. He served as a diplomat with the U.S. State Department with various postings in Nigeria, Germany and the Bahamas. Professor Birdsong later served as a federal prosecutor. After leaving government service, and before he began teaching, Professor Birdsong was in private law practice in Washington, D.C.

Find Pfr Birdsong on his website and on Twitter @Prof_Birdsong


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