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Syndicated Columns

Newsquirks

By Roland Sweet
Posted // June 11,2007 -

When Thomas Reyes, 23, walked into a neighborhood grocery store in Philadelphia and pointed a gun at owner Eddie Gomez, one of the customers, Thomas Santana, who is 66 and 5-feet-4, grabbed the 6-foot-1 gunman from behind and beat him with a can of Mott’s applesauce, hitting him four times in the head. During the struggle, the suspect shot himself in the head and passed out, according to detective Curtis Matthews, who observed, “There’s blood everywhere.?



Second-Amendment Follies



Kelly Honeycutt accidentally shot and killed his wife while trying to balance a plate of fried chicken and a pistol. Authorities in Morganton, N.C., said that Honeycutt, who is legally blind, found the .38-caliber pistol while he and his wife, Norita, were moving into their new home, then shot her in the head with it after she handed him the chicken. Pointing out that theirs was “a storybook marriage,” Burke County Sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Beall explained, “It just looks like a case of bad timing while handling a gun.?



Where’s the Beef?



Following a three-year political effort, Hindu hard-liners succeeded in having references to Hindus’ beef-eating past deleted from school textbooks. The Washington Times reported that Hindus, who revere cows, insist Muslim invaders introduced beef to India in the 10th century, but several scholars have argued that ancient Hindus enjoyed beef long before the Muslims arrived. History texts, for almost a century before the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party spearheaded the drive to eliminate beef references, have recounted that some, especially higher-caste, Hindus once considered beef a delicacy.



Why Order a Salad?



A Pennsylvania court fined Dawn Higgins $173.50 after she bought a salad but threw away the lettuce. Higgins explained in Northampton County Common Pleas Court that she had ordered a McDonald’s chicken ranch salad but only wanted the chicken, so she tossed the half-dozen lettuce leaves out the window of her parked car. Higgins protested the fine, arguing that she didn’t litter because the lettuce is biodegradable.



Another Woe to Worry About



After a 36-inch television set fell on and killed a 3-year-old Houston girl, the Houston Chronicle reported that falling TV sets pose a growing threat to children in the United States. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency-room doctors in 2005 treated 2,600 children younger than 5 that had been injured by falling TVs. “It’s become a real public-health issue,” said Dr. Stephen Fletcher, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, which has treated 11 injuries from falling TVs in the past year and five deaths in just the past four months. Experts pointed out that the problem is more the fault of inadequate anchoring of the front-heavy sets than it is their design or size. Sixty-five percent of reported cases involved sets with 20-inch to 30-inch screens.



Desperate Measures



Police investigating a fire in a dorm at the University of Central Florida said student Matthew Damsky admitted setting a couch on fire. Damsky told officers that he thought starting the fire would be a good way to meet women while the dorm was being evacuated.



• After a woman reported swerving to avoid a dead man lying on a remote stretch of highway near Esperance in Western Australia state, investigators discovered that the so-called victim was actually a stranded motorist trying to attract help. “The best way he thought to get a vehicle to stop was to lay down in the middle of the road and pretend to be dead,” detective Doug Blackhouse said, adding that the man didn’t think anyone would stop if he were standing up. Police didn’t charge the man but warned him that lying in the road was “a stupid thing to do.?



Missing More Than the Boat



Two Irish men who missed their ferry home from Holyhead, Wales, stole a fishing trawler and headed for Ireland, even though neither of them knew how to sail. When they couldn’t find land, they called for help. “They thought they were just off the coast of Ireland,” Ray Steadman, press officer of the Holyhead lifeboat, told Irish broadcaster RTE, which reported that the men were rescued 12 miles north of where they started, 66 miles from Ireland. They had been going in circles the whole time.



Master of Johns Degree



Singapore introduced a training program to boost the status, skills and wages of its toilet cleaners, of whom more than 50 enrolled in the first of the three-day courses. Toilet cleaners who complete the class, taught by Japanese experts in the latest toilet technology, are promoted to “restroom specialists.?



Take-Home Pay



A 48-year-old employee of the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra told a court that he stole $114,034 over a 10-month period by filling his work boots with newly minted $2 coins, then walking out. The judge criticized the mint’s security, calling it extraordinary that it failed to detect someone leaving work each day with up to 150 coins in each boot. The worker sometimes carried out the money in his lunchbox.



Way to Go



Rodolfo Profili, 77, died at his home in Viterbo, Italy, when he fell off a ladder while trying to attach the Italian flag to a pole before Italy’s World Cup match against France. The Italian news agency ANSA reported that Profili apparently lost his balance and fell nearly 30 feet off a precipice. His body was found still clutching the tricolore.

 
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