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News Quirks 

Published July 17, 2013 at 9:57 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Boston police accused Zachary Tentoni, 26, of snatching a woman’s purse because when he grabbed the purse, he dropped two bags he was holding and fled without them. One bag contained his birth certificate; the other, a letter from his mother. Officers stopped a man fitting the robber’s description and learned that he was Tentoni. (Boston Globe)

Judge Not

When Circuit Judge Michael N. Cook, 43, appeared on the other side of the bar in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Ill., to answer federal charges of using cocaine while carrying a firearm and possessing heroin, he wore cut-off jeans and a blue T-shirt declaring, “Bad is my middle name.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Bad in a Crisis

A woman crossing railroad tracks in Roy, Utah, stopped on the tracks when the crossing arms lowered. Believing herself trapped, she got out of her vehicle to get help raising the crossing arms, leaving her 6-month-old grandchild in the back seat. The train ripped off the front of the vehicle, but neither person was hurt. Police Chief Greg Whinham pointed out that the woman could’ve avoided any damage by simply driving forward or backward through the crossing arms, which are “actually designed to break away with very little pressure.” (Salt Lake City’s KSL-TV)

What’s in a Name?

Liberals and conservatives favor different names for their children, according to three University of Chicago political scientists. Names with the soft consonant l or that end in a long a are more likely to be found in Democratic neighborhoods, while names beginning with hard sounds, such as k, g or b, are more popular in Republican communities. Also, according to the study, “Liberellas versus Konservatives: Social Status, Ideology and Birth Names in the United States,” high-status liberal mothers more often choose uncommon, culturally obscure birth names, whereas conservative parents rely on popular or traditional names. (Washington Times)

Prostitutional Paradox

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes told New York City police to “immediately cease” seizing condoms from prostitutes in the borough to use as evidence against them so the prostitutes won’t be discouraged from using the condoms, which the city Health Department hands out by the millions to stem the spread of deadly diseases. Police official Paul J. Browne acknowledged the directive but pointed out condoms still have “evidentiary value when going after pimps and sex traffickers,” such as when officers find “a bowlful of condoms in a massage parlor.” (New York Times)

Claw-Licking Good

A man who came across a bear while eating lunch at Alaska’s Eklutna Lake Campground threw it a piece of barbecued meat. The bear ate the meat, but when the man threw the bear a second piece, “it kind of went ballistic,” Alaska State Troopers official Beth Ipsen said, explaining the bear attacked the man, puncturing skin along his jaw and scratching his back. Park rangers who found the man concluded the bear “was pretty much goaded into this,” and Ipsen noted the unidentified victim “had been drinking.” (Anchorage Daily News)

Out of Control

Darrell Moore, 53, walked into police headquarters in Omaha, Neb., and announced that he’d just witnessed a murder. When asked for details, Moore dropped his pants and began masturbating. He spit on one officer who tried to stop him and attempted to punch another. (Omaha’s WOWT-TV)

Foul Is Fair

Chinese students taking their university entrance exams rioted because they weren’t allowed to cheat. The outbreak occurred in Zhongxiang, a small city in Hubei province, which places a disproportionately high number of students in China’s most elite universities and has aroused the suspicions of education officials. This year, when some 800 students showed up to take the exam, they found the proctors weren’t their own teachers but 54 outside ones, who confiscated mobile phones, secret transmitters and other devices used to improve test scores. When the exams ended, an angry mob swarmed inside the building and trapped the examiners in an office area, then went on a rampage. Outside, 2000 students gathered to vent their rage, throwing rocks through the school’s windows and waving signs declaring, “We want fairness. There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat.” (Britain’s Telegraph)

Irony of the Week

CIA director John Brennan announced a new campaign to “reinforce our corporate culture of secrecy” aimed at stopping leaks to the media, according to a secret memo leaked to the media. (Associated 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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