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News Quirks (6/18/14) 

Curses, Foiled Again

Andrew James Joffe, 24, called 911 to report that he was lost and being chased by wild hogs in Pasco County, Fla. Deputies who responded located Joffe and then discovered he had an open warrant for driving with a suspended license. While his backpack was being inventoried for safekeeping at the jail, a deputy found a GPS whose "home address" wasn't Joffe's. Joffe admitted to taking it and other items from a car. "We have had people with warrants call us to turn themselves in before," Sheriff Grady Judd said, "but it's unusual for someone with an active warrant, who just burglarized a car, to get lost and call us for help." (Sarasota's WWSB-TV)

Authorities charged Riley Allen Mullins, 28, with robbing a woman in Bremerton, Wash., after the victim received a Facebook friend notification from the suspect. She recognized him as the robber by the distinctive neck tattoo on his profile picture. (Kitsap Sun)

Whistle a Happy Tune

Thailand's National Council for Peace and Order, the military junta that took charge on May 22, embarked on a campaign to restore happiness by cleaning litter from the site of anti-coup demonstrations, holding free band concerts, and offering free haircuts and dessert. "Thai people, like me, have probably not been happy for nine years," Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army chief who led the coup, said in a national address, "but since May 22, there is happiness." NCPO official Col. Winthai Suwaree added that the military's continuing crackdown on dissidents is necessary because "they affect the NCPO's mission to return happiness to the country." (Thailand's Samui Times)

Fetishes on Parade

Lonnie Hutton, 49, walked into a bar, pulled down his pants and underwear, and tried to have sex with an automatic teller machine, according to police in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Responding officers found Hutton, still waist-down naked, walking around, thrusting his hips in the air. After they took him outside and ordered him to sit at a picnic table, he "exposed himself again and engaged in sexual intercourse with the wooden picnic table." (Nashville's WKRN-TV)

First-Amendment Follies

Seham Jaber told police that a masked man wearing gloves forced his way into her apartment in Albuquerque, N.M., and began punching her in the face while shouting anti-Muslim insults. He then ransacked the home, and when he found the family's citizenship papers, tore them up in front of her. "The irony is the individual thought the family was Muslim," Officer Simon Drobik said, "and they're actually refugees from Iraq who are Catholic" and fled that country because terrorists there attacked them for their religion. (Albuquerque's KRQE-TV)

Three former employers of a business in Syosset, N.Y., complained that they were forced to quit because they refused to take part in religious rites that included praying, thanking God for their jobs and saying "I love you" to management and co-workers. According to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on their behalf, United Health Programs of America and its parent company, Cost Containment Group, "required employees to engage in practices pursuant to a belief system called 'Harnessing Happiness,' or more commonly, 'Onionhead.'" The suit claims that one of the ex-employees who spoke out against Onionhead was removed from her office and replaced with a large statue of Buddha. (New York Daily News)

What Could Go Wrong?

Intending to help students relax and de-stress before final exams at St. Louis's Washington University, a petting zoo brought several animals, including a two-month-old bear cub, to campus for students to cuddle. The cub promptly bit and scratched at least 18 students. University officials then informed the injured students that they would need rabies shots. Ultimately, health officials determined the bear didn't have rabies, sparing the students the painful shots. (Reuters)

Electrifying Testimony

Testifying against dairy farmers claiming that "stray" electrical currents from a Utah power plant are harming their cattle, expert witness Athanasios Meliopoulos stated that a person couldn't feel a 1.5-volt current. Attorney Don Howarth, representing the farmers, then handed Meliopoulos a child's gag pen, told him it contained a 1.5-volt AAA battery and challenged him to "push the back of the pen and tell the jury whether you feel it or not." When he did, he "received a strong electric shock, which caused his body to jerk and to drop the pen," according to Judge James Brady, because the pen also contained a transformer that boosted the battery to 750 volts. Brady fined Howarth $3,000 for conduct amounting to "battery of a witness." (Salt Lake Tribune)

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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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