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News Quirks 10.05.05 

Curses, Foiled Again When the two men who had taken a used Lexus for a test drive in Hamilton Township, N.J., didn't return soon enough, the worried dealer called police. Meanwhile, the men used the vehicle as their getaway car after robbing a bank in Hamilton Square. They brought back the car just as police arrived and noticed that the car and the men fit descriptions given by bank officials. Police arrested the pair.

Trends in Body Art Elizabeth C. Wallenberg, 27, filed a lawsuit against New York's Consolidated Edison, accusing the power company of "negligence, carelessness, recklessness and culpable conduct." According to the suit, Wallenberg fell off her skateboard onto a red-hot manhole cover over a steam pipe in Manhattan and wound up branded above her buttocks and left arm with letters from the company's logo on the cover.

Save on Roaming Charges A German man pretended that his car had broken down so that he could dupe local residents into letting him use their phones to call sex hotlines, according to police in Bad Urach. They said that at least four women complained after the man, said to be in his early 40s, used their phones. The women thought that he was calling for roadside assistance, but he was actually calling premium-rate kinky sex lines for up to 20 minutes at a time. "It was raining, and I felt bad that his car had broken down and so let him in to call the breakdown services," one victim told police. "But after 15 minutes, he still hadn't come off the phone, and when I went to look he was red in the face and was obviously excited about something."

No Talk, Just Sex Belgian prisoners could be granted extra time for sex after a student researcher declared that conjugal visits are too short. Convicts are currently allowed one two-hour undisturbed visit from their partner every month. But Louvain Catholic University student Ina van Havere conducted a study into the sex lives of prisoners and concluded that the short time granted leaves relationships "very strained." Havere explained that the time restraints mean couples are forced into bed almost immediately, leaving them with no time to talk.

Second-Amendment Follies

Authorities in Brownsville, Pa., reported that Fred Daugherty grabbed his gun to shoot a raccoon in his yard but missed the animal and shot and killed his 2-year-old daughter, who ran in front of him.

Dutch Treats The Dutch Naturists Federation (NFN) called on the government to set aside certain beaches for people who like to have sex in public. The naturists feel that displays of public sex do not belong on regular nudist beaches and have advised naturists to call the police if they see people having sex in recreational areas that are intended for nudists. "Well-meaning naked vacationers often suffer because of the behavior of others," an NFN representative said, citing a recent increase in incidents of open-air sex. "The police often mistake ordinary naturist walkers for a public-sex gathering. They send the naturists on their way or even issue a fine."

- The romps have become such a problem that park rangers have turned to planting stinging nettles and thistles to discourage couples from having sex in the open. "They are very difficult to catch," said Jose Evers, head ranger of the Het Twiske park, near Amsterdam, "because they warn each other with mobile phones when they hear us approaching."

Stop It or You'll Go Blind New research indicates that immediately after people are shown erotic or gory images, they frequently fail to process what they see next. "We observed that people fail to detect visual images that appeared one-fifth of a second after emotional images, whereas they can detect those images with little problem after neutral images," said David Zald, assistant professor of psychology and member of the Vanderbilt University Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, said. "If you are simply driving down the road and you see something that is sexually explicit on a billboard, the odds are that it is going to capture your attention, and for a fraction of a second afterwards, you are going to be less able to pay attention to the other information in your environment."

Heavy Petting A motel exclusively for horny pets has opened in Brazil. The Pet Love motel, in Sao Paulo, offers decorated rooms, complete with satin sheets and ceiling mirrors, for pets to mate. Las Ultimas Noticias newspaper reported that the motel is aimed at pet owners who are concerned for their animal's needs. "Pets have needs," a Pet Love spokesperson said, "and they also want some excitement."

Winners Despite this summer's bombings around London, James Belshaw and Sophia Severin managed to continue kissing until their lips had been touching uninterrupted for 31 hours and 30 minutes. Claiming the world record for the longest kiss, the couple kept their lips together even after the four bombs exploded, including one blast on a bus less than a mile away.

Auto Erotica Dutch police arrested a couple for having sex on the hood of their patrol car. The couple, from Groningen, explained that they hadn't noticed the two policemen sitting in the car. One of the officers got out and told the couple to stop what they were doing and leave, but the 25-year-old man refused and insulted the policeman. His 33-year-old lover tried to stop the car from taking her boyfriend away. "The law doesn't say you can't make love on a police car," a police official acknowledged. "But the policemen have to be available for duty. If the two lovers had left when they were told, nothing would have happened."

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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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