Newsquirks | Links | Salt Lake City Weekly


Pin It
{::INSERTAD::}Curses, Foiled Again
Two managers interrupted a burglar at a restaurant in Wilmington, Del., who stayed on the scene too long because he needed to find safecracking instructions. Police arrested Branden M. Tingey, 28, whom they said was using an office computer near the safe in the manager’s office to search the Internet when he was discovered.

All Business
Some Japanese hospitals and private companies have begun paying $1,000 a day to rent robot receptionists able to recognize about 10,000 words in routine conversations and speak basic sentences. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Wakamaru robots are bright yellow, 3 feet tall, weigh 60 pounds and move at 1.5 mph.

Jailhouse Rocks
Indiana state prisons banned handshaking, ordering inmates to limit greetings to bumping knuckles. “It is recommended that people use a gentle ‘knuckle knock,’” read a memo from corrections commissioner J. David Donahue. For inmates unsure what that meant, prisons posted posters illustrating the gesture.

• Prisoners in Missouri’s Scott City Jail mixed pancake batter and toothpaste to disguise a hole chiseled in the mortar of an interior wall. They were able to remove a block so a female inmate could slip into a cell housing a male inmate.

• Anita Rachel Thomas, 20, used cocoa butter, baby powder and extra socks to try to escape from a jail transport van in Las Cruces, N.M. Authorities said she was able to wriggle free of leg irons because she was wearing six pairs of socks, which she removed. She then greased her legs and hands with cocoa butter to slip out of the leg irons and handcuffs. Finally, she threw baby powder at a guard and started running. A guard grabbed her before she’d gone two feet.

Watts Happening
Authorities in Myanmar reported thieves in Yangon are taking advantage of frequent power outages to steal the copper power lines. “It’s just like playing Russian roulette,” one Yangon police officer told Reuters, noting miscreants never know exactly when the power will come back on. “I’ve seen a few cases in which thieves were electrocuted.”

When Erections Aren’t Enough
After lab tests with rodents to investigate claims that Viagra can alleviate jet lag, Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Centre at England’s Loughborough University, concluded, “It might help globetrotting hamsters, but at the moment, there isn’t any evidence to suggest it works in humans.

Highway to Hell
The Roman Catholic Church issued 10 new commandments aimed at curbing “downright stupid and arrogant behavior by drivers or pedestrians.” Proclaiming the need for “road ethics” based on “theological, ethical, legal and technological principles,” the commandments, part of a 36-page Vatican document, “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road,” declare driving is a matter of virtue and that charity requires drivers to “allow someone who wishes to drive faster to pass.”
The document, intended for bishops conferences worldwide, also points out that having vehicles serviced is a “duty” and encourages reciting the rosary on journeys because its “rhythm and gentle repetition do not distract the driver’s attention.” The document also recommends setting up chapels along roadways and having a “periodic celebration of liturgies” at major intersections, truck stops and restaurants.

• A 52-year-old German woman, who drove her Volkswagen Beetle across a sidewalk in downtown Düsseldorf and into a subway entrance, told authorities that she mistook the subway for an underground parking garage.

• Ben Carpenter, 21, was crossing an intersection in his wheelchair in Paw Paw, Mich., when the light changed. A tractor-trailer pulling forward bumped the chair, which lodged in the truck’s grille, and pushed it at speeds of 50 mph for 4 miles before someone noticed and called 911.

Home Is Where the Urinal Cake Is
A Moroccan family found itself homeless after authorities closed the public toilet the five had been living in for seven years. BBC News reported that Aze Adine Ould Baja worked cleaning the toilet in Sale, but when his daughter was kidnapped years ago, he had to sell everything he owned to get her back. Penniless, the family moved into the toilet as a temporary measure, and their official address on identity papers became “toilets, Sidi Ahmed Hajii district.” Complaining about their living arrangement to the local newspaper, Baja’s wife, Khadija Makbout, explained, “When my son went to school, the other children would tease him and call him ‘the boy from the toilet.’” After appealing to authorities to help the family find other housing, Makbout said officials cemented over the toilet entrance to block its use.

Vehicular Justice
The Defense Department authorizes discretionary condolence payments of as much as $2,500 for Iraqi citizens killed “as a result of U.S. and coalition forces’ actions during combat.” A report by the Government Accountability Office found that compensation for damage to motor vehicles also has a $2,500 maximum.

Mother of the Year (So Far)
Bonnie M. Desmond, 19, was charged with manslaughter after she told authorities in Lake Stevens, Wash., that she covered her 4-month-old son’s mouth with duct tape to keep the infant’s pacifier from falling out.

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 »
  • Free Will Astrology | Feb. 5-11

    nARIES (March 21-April 19)nI was watching a martial arts competition on ESPN TV. It featured a fierce macho dance-off, in which rivals took turns brandishing their high-octane warrior choreography. At one point the announcer waxed poetic as the eventual winner pulled off a seemingly impossible move: “And that was a corkscrew illusion twist rodeo spin!” In the coming week, Aries, I urge...
    • Feb 4, 2009
  • News Quirks | School Daze

    Curses, Foiled AgainnPolice in Council Bluffs, Iowa, reported that a man who threatened a store clerk with a gun took cash and then pulled out a can of pepper spray and tried to spray the clerk. Instead, he accidentally sprayed himself in the face and ran away. n• A shoplifter who made off with $1,200 worth of designer purses from a store in Cape Coral, Fla., was run over twice by her getaway...
    • Feb 4, 2009
  • The Straight Dope | A Lion Shame

    My friend says Christians weren’t actually thrown to the lions in ancient Rome, but when I was at the Colosseum, I saw a big cross there in honor of all the Christians martyred at that spot. He insists this was just made up by the church to perpetuate their religion. What gives? —vbunny nThe story has its suspicious aspects, I guess. According to the historian Tacitus, Christians durin...
    • Feb 4, 2009
  • More »

© 2023 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation