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News Quirks

Rocket Man

By Roland Sweet
Posted // March 3,2010 -

Curses, Foiled Again
A man robbing his elderly victim in San Diego, Calif., took exception when a bystander interrupted the crime and punched the robber in the face. The robber responded by calling the police to report the assault. When officers showed up, they arrested the 43-year-old caller. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

• Police had little trouble finding two men who robbed a convenience store in Catawba County, N.C. The suspects called the police shortly after their getaway to request help with a flat tire. One of the officers recognized the men from a surveillance video of the robbery and arrested Mark Franklin, 46, and James Jennings, 31. (Charlotte Observer)

Rocket Man
A 62-year-old man hosting a sledding party in Oakland County, Mich., stuffed a used automobile muffler with gasoline, gunpowder and match heads, strapped it to his back and asked another person to light a fuse, seeking what Undersheriff Mike McCabe called “a rocket-launch effect.” As the man headed downhill on an orange plastic sled wearing a motorcycle helmet and a plastic garbage bag as a cape, the device blew up, causing second-degree burns to the man’s face and the right side of his body and possible eye injuries. “Apparently, he has this sledding party every year, and he always does outrageous things at it,” McCabe said. “But he’s never blown himself up before.” (Detroit Free Press)

Not So Fast
Authorities charged Chamil Guadarrama, 30, with shoplifting after security officers at a mall in Springfield, Mass., found Guadarrama’s pants stuffed with 75 8-ounce glass bottles of body lotion. Noting the suspect wore ordinary trousers but had strings tied around each ankle to keep the bottles from slipping out, police Sgt. John M. Delaney said officers “could not fit Mr. Guadarrama into the cruiser because his pants were bursting at the seams, and he could not bend over.” Delaney said security officer Jane Colon told him they nabbed Guadarrama after a brief foot chase because he “had a hard time running and was extremely bowlegged.” His legs were also “extremely chaffed.” (Springfield Republican)

Morality Play
A male dance instructor told police in Madison, Wis., that a man phoned for private dance lessons, but when he opened the door to let him in, the man shocked him repeatedly in the neck with a stun gun. According to the criminal complaint, the 59-year-old attacker, who was also carrying a sledgehammer, insisted the instructor was a “sinner” who “defiles married women.” He told detectives that his church does not condone touching while dancing and that he intended to scare the instructor “and tell him to leave the women alone.” (Wisconsin State Journal)

Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-Race
Elation among Scots Americans at news reports that the United States was about to lift its 21-year import ban on haggis turned to dismay when the Agriculture Department denied the ban was being relaxed or lifted. A department official acknowledged the ban on beef and lamb products was under review but gave no time frame for its completion. The ban on British beef and lamb took effect during the height of fears over mad cow disease. Haggis is made from the heart, liver and lung of sheep. Even if the ban is overturned, another regulation, dating to 1971, prohibits importing food made with sheep’s lung, which makes up 10 to 15 percent of the haggis recipe. “If it hasn’t got lamb’s lung,” Haggis producer Fraser MacGregor of Cockburn’s in Dingwall said, “it isn’t haggis.” (BBC News)

Justifiable Homicide
At least half a dozen people have been killed and others injured in the Philippines while singing Frank Sinatra’s version of “My Way” at karaoke bars. As a result, many of the clubs have removed the popular song from their playbooks, and karaoke singers have stopped singing it. Most of the “My Way” attacks have reportedly occurred because the singer sang out of tune, causing other patrons to laugh or jeer, sparking an argument. Other incidents, according to Butch Albarracin, owner of a Manila-based singing school that has launched the careers of many famous singers, were provoked by the song’s “arrogant” lyrics. (New York Times)

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.

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