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News Quirks 

Published September 10, 2008 at 5:41 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again Authorities identified a wanted man because he had his name tattooed on the side of his head. Federal task force officers investigating an unrelated incident at a shelter in Billings, Mont., said they recognized Sterling F. Wolfname, 26, from a Wyoming police description, but he denied he was the suspect until they noticed the tattoo that said "Wolfname."

* Police chasing a group of boys who stole the donation box from a charity group that cleans portable toilets used by the aged and disabled during this summer's annual Musikfest in Allentown, Pa., managed to nab all but one. The 14-year-old boy escaped by running into the woods, but police caught up to him after he fell into an open-pit toilet dug by homeless people.

* Benjamin Baker, 27, pleaded guilty to stalking a woman in Victoria, Australia, after he sent her cell phone a video of himself masturbating. The woman received the video while she was at the police station making a complaint against him and showed it to the officer taking her statement.

Spelling Counts For the second time in 17 months, a dissatisfied customer filed a negligence suit against Chicago's Jade Dragon Tattoo and Body Piercing for misspelling a word. Last year, a customer complained his tattoo read "CHI-TONW" instead of "CHI-TOWN." In the latest suit, Alfonse Wingfield, 30, said he wants $30,000 in damages because he paid $250 for a tattoo that turned out "Tommorow Never Promised Today." Artist Mike Edrington insisted he spelled "tomorrow" the way Wingfield had written it.

* In its July 21 edition, the New Hampshire Valley News misspelled its name on the front-page masthead: "Valley Newss." The paper acknowledged the error the next day, saying, "We sure feel silly."

Too Much Fun A police officer driving through a residential neighborhood in Fort Wayne, Ind., reported seeing a man standing naked in the window of his home. Noting the man's genitals were clearly visible to those on the street, the officer and another responding officer walked up to the home and found the naked man, Ronald Miller, had moved to the couch and was conducting a lewd act with a claw hammer, plastic bag and motor oil.

Second-Amendment Follies

* Retired police officer Robert Myers, 57, told police in Fort Pierce, Fla., he was installing an optical sight on his AR-15 rifle when he inserted what he thought was an empty magazine. Instead, it contained 10 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition. He accidentally fired one round, which struck the water line for fire sprinklers and flooded his apartment with 3 to 4 inches of water.

* Randall Turner, 52, objected to a county worker mowing the ditch at the edge of his property in Lockbourne, Ohio, "so," he said, "I shot the tractor." The Columbus Dispatch reported Turner fired five rounds, all of which hit the tractor, but one bullet ricocheted off it and hit Turner, grazing his scalp. He was bleeding from the head when Pickaway County sheriff's deputies took him into custody.

* Authorities in Jefferson Parish, La., reported that during an argument over $10, Judon McCann, 17, pulled a revolver out of his pants pocket and fired one shot, which missed the intended victim, who fled. As McCann was putting the gun back into his pocket, it accidentally fired, striking him in the left thigh.

Helping Hand An American porn star visiting Australia to promote her career urged Pope Benedict XVI to let priests watch pornography. Declaring "church clergy are at a crisis," Belladonna, 27, told the press the Catholic church's sex-abuse problems would continue unless the Pope "addresses the sexual needs and desires of clergy." To help the cause, Belladonna donated 300 of her own X-rated films to the Catholic church in Australia and offered to help set up a "meaningful set of exercises for priests to help them deal with sexual tension and stress."

Reality TV Maryland's Court of Appeals used an episode of "Seinfeld" to explain legal reasoning in a contract dispute between author Tom Clancy and his ex-wife, Wanda King. A lower court ruled that Clancy violated his financial responsibility to King by removing his name from a book series that the two entered into. The appeals court decided that the contract couldn't be harmed out of spite stemming from their separation and eventual divorce and cited dialogue from "The Wig Master," where Jerry Seinfeld returns a jacket to the store because, he says, "I don't care for the salesman that sold it to me." The store manager tells him he can't return an item "based purely on spite."

"In attempting to exercise his contractual discretion out of 'spite,' Jerry breached his duty to act in good faith towards the other party of the contract," the court wrote.

"Obviously," said King's attorney, Sheila K. Sachs, "the fact that the Court of Appeals cited 'Seinfeld' certainly makes the state's highest court a force in the modern legal world."

Animal House Rodney Scott McLagan, 48, admitted downloading images of an octopus having sex, as well as dogs, ponies, snakes, tigers and children, after authorities found 31,000 sex-related images and video files on his computer. His lawyer, David Barclay, said McLagan wasn't searching for the child exploitation material, which turned up in his search for bestiality images because he downloaded the files in bulk. Insisting that McLagan "only looked at 20 percent" of the child pornography, Barclay explained his client was drawn to the bestiality images because he suffers from such low self-esteem that he identifies himself as being "some sort of beast."

Land of the Setting Sun Some scientists are blaming the rapid decline in Japan's population on excessive masturbation, driven by fetish pornography, sex toys and other aids. Researchers have found these sex substitutes are turning men off to sex with women and causing sexual dysfunction, including failure to ejaculate or premature ejaculation. The website reported men are turning to everything from robots of Japanese women to realistic moldings of female genitalia as alternatives to human sex and relationships that offer unconventional ways to gratify their desires.

Democracy in Action Angela Tuttle was elected constable in Hancock County, Tenn., by one vote - her own. She told the Morristown Citizen Tribune no one was on the ballot for the county post, so she wrote in her name and won because no one else voted in the race.

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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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