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News Quirks (4/23/14) 

Capitalizing on Disaster

Protesting Beijing's choking air pollution, artist Liang Kegang returned from a business trip to France with a glass jar of clean, mountain air, which he auctioned off for 5,250 yuan ($860). The month before, tourism officials in smog-free Guizhou province announced plans to sell canned air as souvenirs. Tourism authorities in Henan province distributed bags of air from a mountain resort in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital, to attract visitors. Finally, recycling tycoon Chen Guangbiao began selling fresh air in cans online for $3 each. (Associated Press)

Patient, Heal Thyself

When Rose Preston experienced symptoms of a stroke at her home in Washington, D.C., she called 911. An ambulance arrived promptly. Once Preston was inside, however, the two D.C. Fire & EMS responders began "constantly bickering back and forth with one another," she said. "I didn't feel safe being transported by the vehicle." Preston got out of the ambulance and returned to her home, noting that the paramedics didn't seem to care and didn't ask her to sign a formal patient refusal. Later that day, she took a subway to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with Bell's palsy, which requires immediate medical care. Chief Kenneth Ellerbe said D.C. Fire & EMS was investigating the "unacceptable" incident, which occurred two months after the death of a 77-year-old man who collapsed across the street from a fire station. When his daughter pleaded with a firefighter to help the man, she was told to call 911 instead. (Washington's WRC-TV)

Is There Anything Bacon Can't Do?

Authorities accused Cameo Adawn Crispi, 31, of trying to set fire to her ex-boyfriend's home in Naples, Utah, by leaving a pound of bacon burning on a gas stove. A police officer responding to a complaint by the ex-boyfriend discovered the fire in time to stop it from spreading. According to charging documents, Crispi "stated she was attempting to start a fire in the house to get back at [the ex-boyfriend]." (Salt Lake City's Deseret News)

Sound Barriers

Philadelphia schools eager to keep teenagers from loitering during off hours are counting on high-frequency sonic waves emitted by a device known as "the Mosquito." Adults over 25 generally cannot hear the sound, but teenagers find it "extremely annoying and will leave an area within a couple of minutes," said Michael Gibson, president of Moving Sound Technologies, which sells the device. (Philadelphia's KYW-TV)

2nd Amendment Meets the 21st

Wilshire Gun, a new state-of-the-art indoor firing range in Oklahoma City, has applied for a liquor license. "We wanted to build a place, the first one in Oklahoma, where you could go in, shoot, enjoy the retail area and then go to the café," owner Jeff Swanson said, insisting that shooting complexes that offer customers more than just a place for target practice "is where the shooting sport is headed." Swanson explained that Wilshire Gun's staff intends to scan the driver's license of customers who order drinks to assure that none would be allowed to enter any of the shooting facilities as a spectator or shooter for the remainder of the day. (Oklahoma City's KOKH-TV)

Anti-Social Media

When British graphic designer Edd Joseph bought a video game console online but the seller failed to deliver it, Joseph copied the entire works of William Shakespeare and texted them to the seller. Although he sent them as one text, without paying extra because his calling plan allows unlimited texting, the seller can receive them only in 160-character chunks, meaning the 37 works arrive successively in 29,305 individual messages. Despite receiving abusive replies from the seller, who still hasn't refunded his money, Joseph said he'd continue sending the texts. "I'm not a literary student, and I'm not an avid fan of Shakespeare," he pointed out, "but I've got a new appreciation you could say, especially for the long ones." (Britain's Bristol Post)

Creature of Habit

Christopher M. Miller, 40, spent 15 years in state prison for robbing a Stride Rite shoe store in Toms River, N.J. Immediately after his release, Ocean County police said Miller boarded a bus from the prison to Tom's River, where he robbed the same Stride Rite store. Police located the suspect a few blocks from the store and recovered the stolen money. (Baltimore's WBFF-TV)

First Step to Gun Control

Kentucky Rep. Lesley Combs admitted accidentally firing her Ruger semi-automatic handgun in her Capitol office while unloading it. "I'm a gun owner. It happens," she explained, adding that she intends to replace the weapon. "It's an automatic. I need to stick with revolvers." (Louisville's WHAS-TV)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

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

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