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News Quirks 

Published September 28, 2011 at 7:05 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

When Colby Wade Cardoso, 20, came upon a car crash that killed two people in Hillsborough County, Fla., authorities said he parked his vehicle near the scene and tried to steal a pickup truck belonging to a witness. The truck wouldn’t start, however, so he ran, only to be chased by sheriff’s Deputy Carl Luis, 53, and arrested. (Tampa’s WFLA-AM)

Dionette L. Price, 26, jumped on the hood of a car in Kansas City, Mo., pointed a gun at driver Rayna Garrett and ordered her to “drive, or I will blow your head off,” according to Jackson County prosecutors. She headed to the Kansas City police station, nearly two miles away, and honked to alert officers. The suspect leapt off the hood and fled, but police soon spotted him waiting at a bus stop. (Reuters)

Schlemiel, Shemozzle, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated

After the Australian Defense Force took 12 years to complete the purchase of MU90 anti-submarine torpedoes, ADF officials admitted they have no idea how the European-designed weapons work because secret technical documents pertaining to them are written only in Italian and French. As a result, Australia’s Defense Materiel Organization now has to hire a translator, at a reported cost of $110,000 (US$114,000). “They’ll be having to look for somebody who has the technical ability to translate technical documents, and that is not straightforward,” Andrew Davies, director of operations and capability for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said, adding, “I believe the technical term for this project is a shemozzle.” (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Low-Rise Living

Hindered by the world’s most expensive real estate prices and strict zoning laws that forbid changing the perimeter of a house or adding to its height, well-to-do Londoners eager to enlarge their homes have begun excavating beneath them. Extending as many as four levels, underground expansion includes not just swimming pools, but also home theaters, fitness centers, gyms, wine cellars, bowling alleys, squash courts, climbing walls, servants’ quarters, saunas, waterfalls, Jacuzzis, hair salons and multicar garages with elevators to move vintage car collections to and from the surface. Projects involve hauling away as many as 400 truckloads of dirt. (New York Times)

Rules, Rules, Everywhere a Rule

Mayor Ray Alborn of Ruidoso, N.M., issued an executive order prohibiting anyone from entering a village building with a firearm. When citizens protested that the gun ban is unconstitutional, Alborn refused to change his mind, declaring, “I don’t care where they carry the guns, they just don’t need to carry them in village buildings.” (El Paso’s KVIA-TV)

When Principal Traci Williams banned miniskirts at Piedmont Hills High School in San Jose, Calif., she explained the policy meant cheerleaders would have to cover their newly shortened uniform skirts with sweat pants except at games. Some cheerleaders objected, insisting that not being able to wear their uniforms to classes would dampen school spirit, but Williams defended the dress code, declaring, “Cheeks are hanging out.” (San Jose Mercury News)

The City Council of Gould, Ark., adopted an ordinance making it illegal to form any kind of group without its permission. (New York Times)

Love on a Collision Course

Pilots Kristen Sprague, 26, and her boyfriend, Scott Veal, 24, were talking to each other while flying separate planes, when they collided in midair over Nightmute, Alaska. “They meet up in the air,” National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson said. “The next thing she knows is his airplane strikes her right wing and nearly severs the right wing.” Veal’s Cessna 208 crashed and burned, killing him, while Sprague managed to land her Cessna 207 and escaped injury. (Anchorage Daily News)

Enhancement Follies

After a 26-year-old woman’s silicone breast implant burst when she was shot in the chest by a paintball, UK Paintball, which operates 50 paintball centers, began asking “surgically enhanced female participants” to identify themselves when making reservations so they can sign a disclaimer and be issued extra padding to protect their implants while paintballing. “We want as many people to enjoy paintball as possible, regardless of whether their breasts are fake or real,” a company official said. Noting that paintball bullets travel “at around 190 mph,” the official added, “Part of the fun of paintball is that it hurts a bit when you get shot.” (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Fred Flintstone Wannabe

Police in Roseville, Mich., said a 26-year-old roofer stopped to check his brakes, which apparently had failed, then continued driving, using his feet outside the car door as brakes. He wasn’t able to stop in time to avoid running a red light at an intersection and hit two cars. He drove off, still using his feet as brakes, and hit two more cars at another intersection. He then stopped and was arrested, according to Deputy Chief James Berlin, who said the man would face a judge “to explain his moronic decision making.” (Detroit Free Press)

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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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