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News Quirks 

Published November 4, 2009 at 9:22 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

A man told police he was eating hot dogs in a park in Worcester, Mass., when another man approached, lifted up his shirt to show what appeared to be a handgun, grabbed one of the hot dogs, and began eating it. “In doing so,” police Officer Joseph Francese noted in his report, “mustard spilled onto the suspect’s shirt.” According to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, police identified Antonio J. Judd, 35, as their suspect after spotting him wearing the shirt with the telltale mustard stain. Judd pleaded guilty to larceny.

Welsh police said Dean Gardener, 19, and Jason Fender, 22, attacked two men walking along a Swansea street in wigs, short skirts and high heels. The victims turned out to be cage fighters, who promptly punched their attackers to the ground and walked off. The Daily Mail said police identified Gardener and Fender from closed-circuit television footage of the incident. “You know it cannot have been a good night,” defense attorney Mark Davies told the newspaper, “when you get into a fight with two cross-dressing men.”

Issuing a Challenge to Bioengineers

Growing demand for chicken wings has given rise to “boneless wings,” fashioned from skinless boneless chicken breasts, which are now cheaper than wings. As recently as May 2008, skinless boneless breasts sold for 57 cents more than wings, but in seven of the past 11 months, wholesale wing prices have topped breast prices, according to the Agriculture Department. The New York Times reported that most experts expect wing prices to continue to rise at least until the Super Bowl in February. Noting the days of cheap wings might be gone forever, Adam J. Scott, a founder of the Atlanta-based chain Wing Zone, told the Times, “If they can figure out how to grow chicken with four wings, we’d be in really great shape.”

Torture Rock

The government used rock music to torment terror suspects and coerce confessions at the U.S. Naval base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to recently declassified documents obtained by the National Security Archives, a research division of George Washington University. Among the artists whose music was played at ear-splitting levels to “create futility” with uncooperative detainees are AC/DC, Marilyn Manson, Neil Diamond, Tupac Shakur, Limp Bizkit, Christine Aguilera, the Bee Gees, Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine. Also included was Barney the Dinosaur’s theme song. The Washington Times reported that some of the musicians are banding together with the National Campaign to Close Guantanamo to protest the use of their songs to torture detainees, expressing outrage that the music was used without their knowledge.

Smart Phone, Dumb Owner

Aaron R. Klein, 24, couldn’t pay his $57.75 tab at a bar in Brookfield, Wis., so he left his cellphone as collateral and said he’d come back the next day to settle up. After Klein left, according to a criminal complaint filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court, a bartender searching the phone for Klein’s name or number found seven pornographic images of children that had been downloaded to the phone. He called police, who arrested Klein when he returned to the bar. They searched his home computer and found between 300 and 400 child pornography images, leading to felony charges.

Backseat Driver

When sheriff’s Deputy Kristin Rozycki stopped a vehicle for speeding in Erie County, N.Y., she found Michael G. Spagnola, 38, sitting in the back seat insisting that he had not been driving. Suspicious because he was the only occupant, Rozycki determined that Spagnola was the driver and had climbed into the back seat to avoid a ticket, a conclusion that Spagnola later confirmed, leading to a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Not-So-Funny Money

Federal authorities charged Rickey A. Kempter, 50, with counterfeiting money they said he intended to use to pay an exotic dancer for a private session at a motel in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Court documents show Kempter and the dancer took a taxi to the motel, where Kempter asked the driver to hold a roll of $50 bills. The driver “noticed the money was ‘funny looking’ and that several of the $50 Federal Reserve notes were not cut evenly” and “had the same serial numbers.” The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported that when investigators questioned Kempter, he admitted making the 24 bills on a printer at his home and explained he wanted to “front like the money was there” to pay for the dance.


Paul Romero and Brandy Romero pleaded guilty in October in Evangeline Parish, La., to trading their cockatoo and $175 to Donna Greenwell for two children she was caring for. Authorities suspended the couple’s five-year prison sentences in exchange for their testimony against Greenwell, who prosecutors said “instigated” the transfer in February when she responded to the Romeros’ advertisement to sell the bird.

Dennis LeRoy Anderson, 62, pleaded guilty in October to DWI charges resulting from hitting a parked vehicle last August in Proctor, Minn., while driving a motorized La-Z-Boy chair. Anderson claimed he was driving the chair without incident until a woman jumped on it and knocked it off course. The Duluth News Tribune reported that Anderson had to forfeit the chair — powered by a converted lawnmower with a Briggs & Stratton engine, and equipped with a stereo, cup holders and other custom options —to Proctor police, who plan to auction it with other forfeited items.

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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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