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Curses, Foiled Again John Maculloch, 23, showed his driver’s license as proof of age when he was buying a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store in Schuylkill County, Pa., then pulled out a knife and demanded money, according to West Penn Township police Officer Melissa Johnson. The clerk refused, telling Maculloch, “I cannot give you money without a sale.” Apparently confused, Maculloch pushed the cigarettes back across the counter and walked away, leaving behind his driver’s license.

• After receiving reports that stolen credit cards were being used at several locations in Iowa City, Iowa, police identified Kody David Merrival, 21, as their suspect after he used one of the cards to buy a carton of cigarettes but signed the receipt with his real name.

Litigation Nation Ronald Watkins, 64, sued Manuel Casiano because he said the Maryland doctor stapled his butt shut, preventing him from defecating for 17 days. Watkins stated in his federal suit that Casiano was supposed to remove a rectal polyp, but during an examination and exploratory surgery several days later, Watkins was notified Casiano had stapled his rectum shut. Watkins then complained of increasing rectal pressure and an inability to pass gas. His attorney, Julia A. Lodowski, said the botched surgery permanently impaired his bowel functions and had a negative impact on his marriage.

At the trial in Baltimore, Casiano’s lawyer, Conrad W. Varner, said Watkinsí bowels merely became swollen shut, in part, because of medical problems of his own doing, including his two-pack-a-day smoking habit. The jury decided in favor of the doctor.

Can You Hear Me Now? Having reached the top of California’s Mount Whitney, a 28-year-old hiker was descending in the dark, when he began talking on his cell phone and fell 25 feet off a small cliff. Rescuers found the man and carried him to the trailhead on a wheeled litter.

Second-Amendment Follies New York City police arrested Larry Smith, 58, after he accidentally shot his girlfriend while she slept beside him. “He heard a noise, and he got up to get his gun, which is not registered,” a police official told the New York Post. “He takes it back to bed with him, and it goes off and hits his girlfriend in her left side.” Police suspect Smith might have been cleaning the weapon when it discharged.

Weapons of Grass Destruction When a farmer requested paperwork that would let him keep more than 100 cattle in Wilmington, Mass., local public health director Gregory Erickson pointed out Homeland Security regulations restrict disclosure of the exact count of livestock.

Land of the Setting Sun Targeting Japanís booming 65-and-older population, Tokyo-based Prop introduced a wearable airbag designed to protect the head and hips of people who fall. The device, which sells for $1685 and looks like a fanny pack, contains two airbags that inflate in one-tenth of a second when sensors detect the wearer has tumbled.

• A Tokyo fashion show spotlighted diapers for adults: diapers for the bedridden that can be wrapped around the middle of the body, pants-like slip-on diapers for active oldsters, loose-fitting diapers for day wear and thicker-padded diapers for night. Sales of adult diapers have more than doubled over the past decade, according to Japan’s business newspaper The Nikkei, reaching $500 million this year. Before diaper-wearing models took to the runway, actors performed skits to help the audience tell when elderly loved ones need diapers, how to convince them to wear them and how to use them properly.

Mr. Unlucky Robert “Ice Man” Evans, 46, was riding his bike in Boulder, Colo., when a car hit him at about 10 p.m. Injured but not seriously, he rode his bike to the hospital. After his knee and arm were bandaged, Evans drank some whiskey and beer for the pain. Shortly after 4 a.m., he was walking his bike across a narrow railroad trestle when an empty freight train approached him head-on. “I seen it coming quite a ways,” Evans told the Denver Post. “I thought I could beat it.” He didn’t. The train hit him, knocking him 20 feet into the air. Taken to the hospital with cracked ribs, Evans received a ticket for trespassing on the privately owned railroad tracks.

The Post reported Evans earned his nickname two years ago when he was ice fishing, and his two six-packs of beer exploded, soaking his pants, which stuck to the ice because he refused to move until he caught a bigger fish. Firefighters had to pour buckets of hot water on the ice to free him.

Proofreading Follies A Swedish food magazine recalled its latest issue after a mistake in a cake recipe poisoned several people. “Instead of calling for two pinches of nutmeg, it said 20 nutmeg nuts were needed,” Matmagasinet’s chief editor Ulla Cocke told Agence France-Presse. The magazine alerted its 50,000 subscribers of the mistake by mail and placed a leaflet inside newsstand copies. “At first, we thought this would be enough because we didn’t really think anyone would bake or eat this cake, since so much nutmeg would give it a horrible, bitter taste and because it is simply not that easy to get hold of that much nutmeg,” Cocke said. After learning that at least four people had been poisoned from eating the cake, however, the magazine rounded up its 10,000 newsstand copies.

Devotion to Duty Suspended Beaumont, Texas, police Officer Keith Breiner admitted having sex with two prostitutes during an undercover sting operation, but insisted he was merely doing his duty. “If you are asking if I had an orgasm, yes,” he testified at his reinstatement hearing. “It was a job, sir.”

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Roland Sweet

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

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