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News Quirks 

Published October 14, 2009 at 9:05 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

While responding to a domestic disturbance call in Carter County, Tenn., sheriff’s Deputy Richard Barnett drove to the wrong address. Daniel Hubert Taylor Jr., 33, met Barnett at the door, invited him inside, placed his hands behind his back and said he was ready to go to jail. The Johnson City Press reported that when Barnett asked why, Taylor said he assumed the deputy had come to arrest him for outstanding warrants. Barnett called headquarters, verified that Taylor was wanted, and took him into custody.

Faith-Based Follies

Atheists are offering to look after the cats and dogs of Christian believers after the Rapture. For $110, Eternal Earth-Bound Pets promises lifetime care for pets whose owners are transported to heaven within the next 10 years. “Each of our representatives has stated to us in writing that they are atheists, do not believe in God/Jesus, and that they have blasphemed in accordance with Mark 3:29, negating any chance of salvation,” says the group’s website, which advises subscribers who lose their faith or are not taken to heaven in the next 10 years that the fee is nonrefundable.

After being rescued from a stalled elevator in Vienna, Austria, Gunther Link, 45, went to church to give thanks, only to be crushed to death when the 860-pound stone altar fell on him. “He seems to have embraced a stone pillar on which the stone altar was perched, and it fell on him, killing him instantly,” police official Roman Hahslinger told Britain’s Daily Telegraph, adding, “He was a very religious man.”

Hall of Shame

A tell-all book by a former employee of Alcor, the Arizona company that froze the remains of baseball great Ted Williams, accuses the cryogenics lab of mistreating Williams’ severed head. In Frozen: My Journey into the World of Cryonics, author Larry Johnson discloses that an Alcor official swung a monkey wrench at the frozen head to remove a tuna can stuck to it. The first swing missed the can and struck the head. The second swing knocked the can loose. Johnson said Alcor used such cans, left over from feeding a cat that lived at the lab, as pedestals for its heads. Alcor Life Extension Foundation denied the book’s account and vowed on its website that litigation would be forthcoming “to the maximum extent of the law.”

Coitus Interruptus

A man and a woman, both 44, crawled into a dumpster in Wichita, Kan., and were having what police described as “an intimate moment,” when two men robbed them. The Wichita Eagle reported the robbers, one of whom was armed with a pocketknife, took the couple’s shoes, jewelry and the man’s wallet. Police found the suspects, ages 64 and 59, with the stolen property a short time later.

Walk, Don’t Run

The mayor of Wellford, S.C., banned the town’s police officers from chasing suspects on foot. Sallie Peake told WSPA-TV she issued the order because the city had to pay for an officer who missed work after chasing a “guy who had a piece of crack on him.” She said a drug-possession charge wasn’t worth the cost to taxpayers, although her written order said she did “not want anyone chasing any suspects whatsoever.”

Know Your Rights

Japan’s largest organized crime outfit, the Yamaguchi-gumi, is requiring gang members to take a test in order to reduce costly lawsuits, according to police, who noted that the revised Anti-Organized Crime Law allows higher-ranking gang members to be sued for the actions of their subordinates. The Mainichi Daily News reported that police learned of the 12-question “gangster exam” while investigating a member of the gang’s affiliate in Shiga Prefecture. A sample question was, “What kind of activities are banned?” The answer: “dumping industrial waste, bootlegging fuel, theft of construction vehicles and other expensive items, phone fraud scams” and other crimes.

When Harassing Phone Calls Aren’t Enough

After a security screener detected Marcellus Arellano, 68, trying to enter a federal building in Portland, Ore., with three knives, Arellano, who claims the Internal Revenue Service owes him $12,000, told Federal Protective Service agent Micah Coring that he brought the knives to scare IRS workers into releasing his money.

Dental-Vision Health Plan Combo

Sharron “Kay” Thornton, 60, who lost her vision nine years ago, regained her sight after surgeons removed one of her teeth, drilled a hole in it, inserted a plastic lens into the hole and implanted the tooth-lens combination into her left eye. McClatchy Newspapers reported the operation, the first of its kind in the United States, left Thornton with 20/70 vision. The tooth used was a canine, sometimes called an eyetooth.

Deflated Ego

A judge in Charles County, Md., admitted letting the air out of the tire of an illegally parked car belonging to a woman who works as a part-time cleaning worker at the courthouse. Circuit Court Judge Robert C. Nalley, 65, resigned as chief administrator of the Circuit Court but will remain on the bench. The Washington Post reported that two county sheriff’s jail officers witnessed the incident, which Nalley said he didn’t think was a big deal. He told the Maryland Independent newspaper he actually did the woman a favor by letting the air out of her tire rather than having the car towed or ticketed.

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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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