Newsquirks | Syndicated Columns | Salt Lake City Weekly


Pin It

Curses, Foiled Again
nPolice in Clark County, Ore., reported receiving a call from a motorist who said he noticed smoke coming from a public utility district regulator station, stopped and spotted a man on fire inside the fenced area. Police and fire fighters responded, but the live electrical wires prevented them from reaching the victim for 45 minutes until the power could be turned off. After investigators found a hole cut in the fence, they concluded that the dead man had been electrocuted while trying to steal copper wire when he cut a live wire carrying 7,200 volts.


Heaven’s Angels
nPolice in Pittsburg, Calif., arrested Richard Brooks, 50, after they said he brandished a pool cue as he drove at a group of motorcyclists because, he told officers, he was offended by the skeletons some of the riders wore on the back of their leather jackets and what he perceived as their attempts to appear tough. “It was his impression that they thought they were better than him,” California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Yok said. “They were irritating to him, and he felt he needed to do something about it.” As Brooks started to approach the bikers on foot, he was knocked to the ground by his own car, which he had left in reverse. Yok said that instead of mocking Brooks, the bikers “set their own safety aside” and pulled him to safety.


Avoirdupois Follies
nOverweight drivers use almost a billion extra gallons of gas a year to tote the added load, according to researcher Sheldon H. Jacobsen, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois. His statistical study concluded that men today weigh 25 pounds more than they did in 1960, women 26 pounds more. That extra weight requires 983 million gallons more gas, costing, at $2.20 a gallon, $2.2 billion a year. “What we have here is a relationship that exists between the obesity epidemic and fuel consumption,” Jacobson said, adding that if people would lose weight, “we’re actually going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil very covertly, simply because we’re going to be using less.nn

Alternative Medicine
nDr. James C. Burda, 58, a chiropractor from Athens, Ohio, insisted he could heal clients by traveling back in time to the date of an injury and realigning bones and joints using telekinetic vibration. Identifying his treatments by the made-up terms “Bahlaqeem Vina” and “Bahlaqeem Jaqem,” Burda said he discovered his “God-given gift” when his foot began to hurt while driving from Athens to Parkersburg, W.Va. He said he commanded the pain to stop, and it did. Burda was charging clients $60 an hour for the treatment until he surrendered his license in September after the Ohio State Chiropractic Board discovered his Website and accused him of being “a long-distance quack.nn

When Color-Coded Duct Tape Isn’t Enough
nOklahoma Republican Bill Crozier, a candidate for state superintendent of school, proposed that schools place thick, used textbooks under desks so students can use them for self-defense during school shootings. Crozier demonstrated his plan with a 10-minute video showing him and his aides shooting math, language and telephone books with various weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle and a 9 mm pistol. The rifle bullet penetrated two books, including a calculus textbook, but only one book was needed to stop the pistol bullet. “People might think it’s kind of weird, crazy,” said Crozier, a teacher and former Air Force security officer. “It might be a way to deflect those bullets until police go there.nn

• The Burleson, Texas, school system paid a security company $2,500 to teach students at its 11 schools to fight back if a gunman invades the classroom. “Getting under desks and praying for rescue from professionals is not a recipe for success,” said Robin Browne, an instructor with Response Options, which conducted the training. Students and teachers should “react immediately to the sight of a gun by picking up anything and everything and throwing it at the head and body of the attacker and making as much noise as possible,” Browne declared, insisting that just by using books, pencils and their own legs and arms, “five or six seventh-grade kids and a 95-pound art teacher can basically challenge, bring down and immobilize a 200-pound man with a gun.nn

The program lasted 18 months, until it made national news in October. After fielding calls from parents, law enforcement officials and other school districts, some expressing fear that the program could get youngsters killed, Burleson officials abruptly canceled the training, insisting they hadn’t known what it entailed.


Conclusive Evidence
nA district court in Finland sentenced a couple in their twenties to a year in jail for overcharging a 74-year-old man to fondle the woman’s bosom. The victim, who paid a total of 25,500 euros ($32,000) to enjoy the woman’s breasts on 10 occasions, suffers from dementia but told the court he paid the price willingly at the time. “Based on general life experience alone, it is indisputably clear that a 25,500 euro charge is disproportionate to the compensation in question,” Judge Hasse Hakki, who heard the case, told Reuters news agency. He added, however, that the court in Kokkola declined to settle the matter of “the proper financial value of the compensation.nn

Inside the Other People’s Republic
nA bar in eastern China has begun attracting customers by allowing them to beat up the staff. The official newspaper China Daily reported that the Rising Sun Anger Release Bar in Nanjing invites stressed-out customers to smash glasses, rant and attack specially trained workers. Clients can ask the 20 men, who have been given protective gear and physical training to prepare them for the job, to dress as the character they wish to attack. “The idea of beating someone decorated as your boss seems attractive,” customer Chen Liang said.


• A Chinese woman in Hohhot, whose dog “was fond of crouching on the steering wheel and often watched her drive,” decided to let the dog try to drive her car while she operated the accelerator and brake, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. “They did not make it far,” Xinhua reported, “before crashing into an oncoming car.nn

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

Pin It

More by Roland Sweet

  • Anchors Away

    Canada's National Defence decided to decommission a 45-year-old navy supply ship without a replacement because mechanics in Halifax were spending a "disproportionate amount of time" keeping the vessel operating ...
    • Jul 29, 2015
  • Ablution Solution

    Spas in Japan now offer ramen-noodle baths. The baths are filled with ramen pork broth and synthetic noodles. Soaking in the broth is said to be good for the skin and to boost metabolism.
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • Milking the System

    The federal Medicare Fraud Strike Force concluded a nationwide investigation into home health-care fraud by charging 243 people, including 46 doctors and other medical professionals.
    • Jul 15, 2015
  • More »

Latest in Syndicated Columns

  • Newsquirks

    Curses, Foiled Again ttPolice summoned by a neighbor who suspected a burglary in an upstairs apartment in Hilton Head Island, S.C., arrested Isaac Talavera Jr., 25, whose getaway was slowed by having to call his mother to come pick him up and drive him...
    • Jul 11, 2007
  • Crushable Lightweights

    I’ve come across several references recently to the alleged fact that the introduction of federal automobile fuel efficiency standards in the United States has increased the number of automobile deaths. The only sources cited are “free-market”...
    • Jul 11, 2007
  • Newsquirks

    Curses, Foiled Again ttFour men surrounded a man in a parking lot in Sumter, S.C., and threatened him with a poisonous snake. The victim was unharmed, however, because the attackers fled after the snake bit one of them, according to police Chief Patty...
    • Jul 6, 2007
  • More »

© 2023 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation