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News Quirks 03.08.06 

Curses, Foiled Again A motel clerk in Anchorage, Alaska, told police that a man with short blond hair, a puffy red coat and blue face paint pulled a knife and demanded money, but when the clerk retreated into an office and locked the door, the man left empty-handed. An officer who remembered talking to a man at another motel named Daniel Peter Clark, 19, who had short blond hair and wore a puffy red coat, went to that motel, where, according to Lt. Paul Honeman, "in runs Mr. Clark, still wearing his blue face." A search of Clark's room turned up a knife sheath and a blue inkpad.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct South Korea's national fencing team suspended one of its top foil fencers, Nam Hyun-hee, for two years because she got cheek implants. While having surgery to fix a problem with her eyelashes because they were bothering her vision, Nam decided to have additional work done to increase the amplitude of her cheeks and missed several days of practice because of a swollen face. The Korean Fencing Federation, which said that neither it nor her coaches approved the additional cosmetic procedure, declared that Nam should not have put her personal appearance ahead of her commitment to the team.

You've Come a Long Way, Baby Swedish researchers announced that they have developed the first female crash-test dummy. All current dummies are based on how men's bodies react in collisions and other accidents, according to Sweden's National Road and Transport Research Institute, even though "for neck injuries from rear-end collisions, whiplash, the risk for women is twice as high as for men."

Can't Help Myself Police in Brisbane, Australia, reported that while shoplifting suspect Lucella Bridget Gorman, 38, was at the city police station being fingerprinted and photographed, she stole the digital camera being used to take her picture when an officer turned his back. He noticed the camera was missing, found it in Gorman's handbag and added another count of theft to the charges.

Slightest Provocations Australian prosecutors charged a 30-year-old woman in Northam with stabbing her 35-year-old boyfriend in his head, back and legs with a pair of scissors "during an argument over him playing the same Elvis Presley song again and again," on what would have been Elvis's 71st birthday. The song was "Burning Love."

Real-Life Cliches Playboy magazine announced that its new Indian version would feature articles but no nudity. "This is quite a departure for us," Christie Hefner, chief executive of Playboy Enterprises, told reporters. The International Herald Tribune noted that Indian law prohibits the sale or possession of material that is "lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest." What's more, few single men have bachelor pads. "Most men, until they're married, live at home" with prying parents, said N. Radhakrishnan, editor of the Indian magazine Man's World. "Once you're married, your wife wonders what you're reading."

Things That Go Kaboom Norman Frey, 46, filled a balloon with welding gas to take to a Super Bowl party in Sheridan, Colo., to add to the merriment. While he and an unidentified woman were en route, the balloon rolled around in the backseat area of Frey's car, apparently developing static electricity until it exploded. According to Arapahoe County sheriff's deputies, the blast blew out the windows, bent the doors outward and pushed up the roof about a foot. Frey and the woman reportedly suffered shrapnel wounds and busted eardrums.

- Edward Reiner, 52, an amateur rocket builder in Oceanside, Calif., suffered minor injuries while packing powder into the casing of a rocket motor he was holding when the motor exploded. The blast blew his garage door off the hinges, singed his hair and cut his hands. Marveling that Reiner wasn't seriously injured, fire Chief Peter Lawrence said that the victim told him, "God has a plan for me, and apparently it was not supposed to end tonight."

- Brazilian authorities reported that police officer Thiago Ribeiro Trindade, 23, was killed when his backpack accidentally exploded in a car parts store in Belo Horizonte. "He put the bag on the counter where there were hot tools used for soldering," a police official told Reuters news agency. "Contact with these produced the explosion." Investigators were unable to determine what was in the backpack that could have exploded.

Sex Is Its Own Punishment Britons cause $612 million in damage a year by having energetic sex. According to a survey commissioned by the adult-store chain Ann Summers, a third of couples broke something during sex, and one in 10 made insurance claims after trashing lamps, vases and beds, even pulling down curtains. Forty-one percent have suffered carpet burns, a third pulled their backs and 12 percent twisted ankles or wrists. Other leading injuries are bruised bottoms and legs, grazed elbows, scratched backs, bumped heads and broken bones. "It's fantastic that people are adventurous," Ann Summers head Jacqueline Gold said, "but they need to be more careful."

Nose Jobs Scientists have come up with a new nasal spray aphrodisiac for women that works in minutes. Researchers said that women who used the drug PT-141 in test studies felt a tingling or throbbing followed by a strong desire to have sex immediately after spraying their noses. PT-141 is a synthetic version of a sex hormone that works on both men and women. "In the case of women, what we're really doing is sensitizing the vaginal tissue so when they get touched or stimulated, they would feel it a little bit more," said Carl Spana, president of Palatin Technologies in New Jersey. Originally uncovered through tests on rats, the drug aroused female rodents "so quickly they started mounting males."

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Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.


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