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News Quirks 07.20.05 

Published July 20, 2005 at 4:00 p.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Three hours after Harold Whitton was robbed of money and his car at a coin laundry in Nashville, Tenn., police spotted a 34-year-old man fitting the robber's description at a nearby "Night Out Against Crime" block party waiting in line for free food.

Sporting Chance

A German city is installing drive-in wooden "sex garages" in time for next year's Soccer World Cup and an expected boom in the local sex trade, a city official said. Dortmund, one of 12 cities to host World Cup matches, hopes to keep prostitutes and their clients off the streets by providing them with discreet places to do business. Experts anticipate that as many as 40,000 prostitutes may travel to Germany to offer their services to fans during the tournament. "The World Cup has put us under added time pressure, as we don't want a situation where prostitutes and their clients disturb residential areas," the official said.

Dortmund plans to arrange the Dutch-designed huts, which have been introduced in the city of Cologne, another World Cup venue, in an area with condom machines and snack bar. "Men have to get used to them, of course, but a high percentage accept them because they can protect their anonymity," the official said. "That said, there will always be those who want to go behind a bush, under a bridge or into the woods."

God Bless America, But Hurry

Town officials in East Nassau, N.Y., decided to forgo reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before board meetings because some of them thought the 31-word oath took too long. "We are not a bunch of godless communists," Mayor Robert Henrickson said. "We just want to get some work done."

Show Biz

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the First Amendment does not protect a penis that tells jokes on television. Timothy Huffman, 47, claimed that his three-minute public access TV segment, "Dick Smart," was an expression of free speech and not obscene. The appeals court disagreed, confirming the indecent exposure conviction of the show's producer and host. Huffman was convicted after the penis episode aired twice on the Grand Rapids public access cable channel GRTV. "I'm truly trying to stand up for the Constitution," the unemployed musician-cook declared. "It's a matter of principle."

Little Things Mean a Lot

A Russian surgeon successfully lengthened the penis of a 28-year-old man in a two-stage operation. According to London's Daily Telegraph, Mikhail Sokolshchik of Russia's National Medical Surgical Center first removed the tip of the dysfunctionally small organ and stitched it onto the patient's forearm so that he could graft more tissue onto it from elsewhere on the arm. After the tip lengthened, Sokolshchik reattached it to the shaft of the penis. After the operation, he expressed optimism that all functions will be restored, although he noted that the penis will probably be permanently semi-erect.

Undercover Maneuvers

Britain's Ministry of Defense ordered servicemen and women to remember to put underwear on when getting measured for new uniforms to avoid embarrassing their tailors. "Some of the contractors complained about the embarrassment that causes, not surprisingly, so instructions were issued to all three services just reminding personnel to dress appropriately and modestly," a ministry official told Agence France-Presse, noting that since the directive, "we are not aware of any further complaints."

Must Be an eyeMac

Police in Kaiserslautern, Germany, reported that a man returned a computer he had just bought, insisting that when he got it home he found that it was packed with small potatoes instead of computer parts. The store replaced the computer free of charge but became suspicious when the man returned awhile later with another potato-filled computer casing, said he didn't need a computer anymore and asked for his money back in cash.

Small-Minded Side Effects

Thailand's health ministry warned size-obsessed men to avoid trying to enlarge their penises with liquid injections, saying that doing so could cause deformities. The warning followed media reports that male teenagers in central Thailand had rushed to have their penises injected with olive oil and other liquids. "Injecting olive oil or any liquid into penises is extremely risky," Chatri Banchuin, chief of the Department of Medical Services, told Reuters news agency after his office issued the public warning. "By the time they know what actually happened, it is too late."

There'll Always Be an England (Maybe)

The British government announced that an eight-year survey for the Department of Education and Skills found that 12 percent of English teenagers would rather use the Internet to research homework than watch readily available porn.

Saving Face

After a guest on Oprah Winfrey's television show raved about using Premarin vaginal cream and Preparation H hemorrhoid medication on her face to smooth out wrinkles, Baltimore television station WBAL did a local follow-up with doctors, who generally agreed that the products' ingredients might work but were nonetheless harmful to facial skin. "Personally," Maryland gynecologist Terry Hoffman told the station, "if something is meant for my 'hu-ha,' I don't think I'm going to put it on my eyes."


A police officer responding to a holdup in Cordoba, Argentina, spotted the two robbers fleeing on foot while holding hands. On apprehending them, he found that one of the suspects was blind.

Hallmark Moment

A Maryland woman has introduced a line of greeting cards for people having extramarital affairs. ("As we each celebrate with our families, I will be thinking of you," reads a sample holiday card from the Secret Lover Collection) "People who are involved in affairs are not bad people," Cathy Gallagher said, since "a lot of people meet the right person at the wrong time."

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet was the author of a syndicated column called "News Quirks," which appeared weekly in Seven Days.


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