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News Quirks 

Published July 9, 2008 at 7:05 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again Police said the father-and-son burglary team of Randall Popkes, 41, and Joshua Williams, 22, broke into Iowa's Des Moines Golf and Country Club and used a reciprocating saw to cut into the safe. When they couldn't get it open, they left a note that read, "(Expletive) you and your safe."

"Apparently, they were upset that they couldn't gain access to the safe," West Des Moines Police Lt. Jeff Miller said. He added the burglars settled for tennis rackets and shoes. As they sped away, however, some of the gear fell from their vehicle, attracting the attention of a security guard, who jotted down the license number, which led to their identification and arrest.

Homeland Insecurity Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, acknowledged the military is reviewing soldiers' complaints that their ammunition is inadequate for the type of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Current and former soldiers interviewed by the Associated Press said the military's M855 rifle rounds, which were designed decades ago to puncture the steel helmets of Soviet soldiers from hundreds of yards away, aren't powerful enough for close-in fighting in cities and towns.

The Department of Homeland Security has awarded $381,948 in anti-terrorism grants to a private Colorado Springs shuttle-bus service that transports gamblers to casinos in three Colorado mountain towns. A Federal Emergency Management Agency official told the Colorado Springs Gazette the most recent grant of $184,415 to Ramblin Express is to provide vehicle security and GPS systems.

Peek-a-Boo David Joe Limones, 27, cut a hole in a woman's couch and hid in the carved-out space until she came home, according to police in Newburgh, N.Y., who said the woman sat on the couch and felt a bump in the cushions move. She jumped up, and Limones emerged from his hiding place, knocking a cellphone from her hand. The woman had been talking to a friend, who called police.

Identity Crises Czech Republic soccer federation official Vaclav Tichy resigned and his deputy was fired after a match in Prague at which the Latvian flag and a photo of the Latvian national soccer team were featured in the game program and the Latvian national anthem was played. The Czech team's opponent was Lithuania.

A man police chased and arrested for trying to grope a woman in Lowell, Mass., gave his name as Martin Walsh, who is the state representative from Dorchester. He told the officers they were ruining his life. "I can't believe this is happening," he said, according to the police report. "She was flirting with me, I was flirting with her."

The man later revealed he was state Sen. J. James Marzilli Jr., 50, and "began to cry," prosecutor Richard M. Mucci read from the police report at Marzilli's arraignment. "He said they could not arrest him, that his life was over."

Pump Runs Dry Nevada brothels began offering gas cards and other incentives to stem the decline in business by long-haul truckers, who Geoffrey Arnold, president of the Nevada Brothel Owners' Association, said account for 75 percent of the revenue at the state's 16 rural brothels, located along Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 95. Arnold said business at his two I-80 brothels has dropped 19 percent this year. Meanwhile, the state's 12 other legal brothels, which are closer to Reno and Las Vegas and rely more on tourists and conventioneers, reported this year's business is up.

Un Ami de Dick Cheney Sixteen people, including children, were wounded while watching a military shooting demonstration in southeastern France when one of the soldiers opened fire with real bullets instead of blanks. A Defense Ministry official said the incident at the Laperrine military barracks occurred during a demonstration of hostage-freeing techniques and that the soldier who fired the shots has been detained.

Neck Chops Rabbinical authorities in Israel declared that giraffes are kosher. According to the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, veterinarians treating an adult female giraffe at the Safari Park in Ramat Gan noticed its milk clotted in the way required for kosher certification and submitted a sample for verification. Noting that the giraffe is a grazing animal with cloven hooves and chews its cud, Rabbi Shlomo Mahfoud said, "The giraffe has all the signs of a ritually pure animal, and the milk that forms curds strengthened that."

Excrement Adventure Rescuers responding to reports of a man stuck in a portable toilet in Lebanon, Pa., found Shannon P. Hunter, 31, drunk, naked and wedged up to his waist. Deputy Fire Commissioner Chris Miller told the Lebanon Daily News Hunter had been trapped for about 30 minutes and suffered scrapes and abrasions around his hips. "I'm not sure what exactly was taking place inside the port-o-pot," Miller said. "He would only say he needed to use the bathroom, and he claimed he fell in the toilet. When I asked him why he was naked, he just shrugged his shoulders."

Stretched to the Limit A South African man claimed to have made the world's first bungee jump using an elastic rope made from condoms. Jumpmaster Carl Dionisio, 37, who plunged 100 feet at the Wavehouse at Gateway, said he and his assistant, Michael "Sniper" Xaba, worked on the idea of the condom rope for more than a year. Making the rope took four months and 18,500 condoms. "It was difficult as the condoms are slippery," Dionisio said. "When we tied knots they would just slip out." He then cut the tips off the condoms and made loops.

Dionisio said he was never concerned that the rope would be strong enough. "Latex is latex," he explained.

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Roland Sweet

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


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