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News Quirks 

Published March 11, 2009 at 10:18 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again Alejandro Melendez, 20, called 911 to report that two men with guns were watching him, but then hung up. When the dispatcher called back, police records show he asked the dispatcher to hang on a moment. The dispatcher then overheard Melendez making a drug deal and called police, who arrested him after finding cocaine in his pants.

Happy Days Are Here Again Japan has discovered there’s more gold in sewage than in some of the world’s best mines. Reuters reported that the Suwa sewage treatment facility in Nagano prefecture recorded finding 1890 grams of gold per ton of ash from incinerated sludge. The official noted that Japan’s Hishikari Mine, one of the world’s most productive, yields 20 to 40 grams of gold per ton of ore. Speculating that the facility’s gold is the result of precision-equipment manufacturers in the vicinity that use the metal, the official said the prefecture expects to earn more than $167,000 for its gold this fiscal year.

Drinking-Class Heroes Spirit Airlines began requiring flight attendants to wear aprons with a Bud Light beer logo on the front. When the cabin workers objected, the airline, which touts itself as “the ultra-low cost” carrier, said it wouldn’t pull the logo. Instead, Spirit official Misty Pinson told the St. Petersburg Times, the South Florida-based airline should “be commended” for finding innovative ways to reduce operating costs and for keeping passenger fares low. Spirit was the first airline to charge for checking a single bag.

Where’s Prawo? After Irish police were unable to locate Polish traffic offender Prawo Jazdy, who has been issued more than 50 tickets, all for different addresses, investigators learned that officers who stopped visiting Poles for violations had been using “Prawo Jazdy” as the violators’ name because it’s printed in the top right corner of the driving license. “Prawo Jazdy is actually the Polish for ‘driving license’ and not the first and surname on the license,” an internal police memo revealed. “It is quite embarrassing to see that the system has created Prawo Jazdy as a person with over 50 identities.”

Beauty’s Only Skin Deep Investigators in Tampa, Fla., announced that Sharhonda L. Lindsay, 32, was wanted for practicing medicine without a license after she gave two women cosmetic injections to boost their buttocks. Hillsborough sheriff’s official J.D. Callaway told the St. Petersburg Times the victims paid Lindsay, whom they were referred to by word of mouth, a total of $750 for 60 injections but then experienced pain and discomfort and were hospitalized with internal injuries.

• After Sheyla Hershey, 28, was turned down for trying to get her ninth silicone injection to enlarge her 34FFF breasts because the State of Texas has limits on the amount of silicone that can be injected into implants, the Houston woman traveled to Brazil and boosted her figure to a 38KKK. Britain’s Daily Star reported that even though doctors have warned that her breasts, containing more than a gallon of silicone, are in danger of exploding, Hershey said, “To me, big is beautiful. I don’t think I have anything to worry about.”

Fruits of Research Keeping too tight a grip on gaming consoles and furiously pushing the buttons can cause a newly identified skin disorder marked by painful lumps on the palms, according to Swiss scientists, who labeled the affliction “PlayStation palmar hidradentitus.” Their finding, reported in the British Journal of Dermatology, was based on the case of a 12-year-old girl who showed up at a Geneva hospital with the painful lesions, which disappeared after doctors recommended the girl stop using her PlayStation.

• Children who talk on their cellphones while crossing streets are 43 percent more likely to be hit by a car than when their phones are turned off, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The study, reported in the journal Pediatrics, also found that the 77 children ages 10 and 11 taking part in the study took about 20 percent longer to begin crossing the street and also forgot to look both ways in about 20 percent of the crossings.

Slightest Provocations Carlos Navarro, 38, beat another man with a golf club, according to police in Falmouth, Mass., who reported that the 50-year-old victim held the door open for Navarro, who failed to thank the man. When the older man uttered a sarcastic “thank you,” Navarro told police he felt disrespected. The two argued until Navarro went to his car, selected a driver from his golf bag and bashed the victim several times in the stomach and legs.

• Calvin Edwards, 48, pulled a pocket knife on his brother while the two were “scuffling over chicken wings” at their home in Fort Pierce, Fla. According to the police report, Edwards said he was looking in the oven for a wing and planned to take out a tray of wings, when his brother told him to get another tray. He explained he pulled the knife because his mother and brother started yelling at him, and he “needed to defend himself.”

Strange Bedfellows A record 43 political parties registered for Israel’s Feb. 10 elections, but only 33 fielded candidates, among them an alliance of elderly Holocaust survivors and pot lovers. Campaigning under the banner of “The Moral Choice,” the “Holocaust Survivors and Grown-Up Green Leaf” party advocated improving social conditions for the country’s 250,000 Holocaust survivors and for the legalization of cannabis. Despite hoping the merger would win public attention, the party registered 0 percent of the total vote, well below the 2 percent threshold required to win a seat in parliament.

Nature’s Revenge A Sumatran tiger mauled two illegal loggers to death in Indonesia while they slept next to a pile of stolen wood in a protected forest, according to Didy Wurdjanto of the state conservation agency. The victims were the fourth and fifth deaths by the critically endangered cats on Sumatra island, Wurdjanto said, pointing out, “This time it was the loggers’ fault.”

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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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