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Curses, Foiled Again

Tita Nyambi, 25, tried to withdraw $700 from his mother’s bank account by dressing in the woman’s clothes and speaking in a high-pitched voice, according to authorities in Somerset County, N.J., who added that he also presented her driver’s license and forged her signature on a bank form at the bank’s drive-through teller. Newark’s Star-Ledger said bank personnel immediately saw through the deception and called police, who responded while Nyambi was waiting for the money.

Central Unintelligence Agency

Dennis Montgomery, head of a small software company in Reno, Nev., duped the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security into believing he could decode secret messages from Al-Qaeda to its operatives sent via television. Playboy magazine, citing former CIA officials, reported that the Bush administration raised the terrorism alert level and canceled several transatlantic flights in December 2003 after Montgomery claimed bar codes on Al Jazeera TV contained targeting information for Al-Qaeda attacks. The CIA eventually concluded there were no secret messages after French intelligence convinced the agency that the bar codes were bogus.

Guilt-Free Pleasures

An Irish company introduced the world’s first “green technology sex toy.” Janice O’Connor, the co-founder of Caden Enterprises, described the 8-inch Earth Angel as a wind-up vibrator with a handle built into the bottom. “You just flip out the handle, grab a hold of it there, and you just wind it,” O’Connor told Agence France-Presse. “So for four minutes of doing that, you should generate enough power to give you 30 minutes of full-on, right-to-the-top vibrations.” Besides needing no batteries, Earth Angel, which sells for $100, is made from 100 percent recyclable materials.

Chris O’Connor, Janice’s husband, said he developed Earth Angel’s power-storing technology more out of concern for climate change than for “sustainable pleasure.” Ireland’s prevailing Catholic morality forced the couple to turn to a British-based company to make the device, but he believes God would bless it as “something that’s green and that doesn’t do any damage to the environment.”

A British company introduced a kitchen appliance that kills lobsters with electricity. Inventor Simon Buckhaven told the Times of London that his CrustaStun system is a humane alternative to boiling lobsters that spares the crustaceans “pain or distress.” The microwave-size device costs about $3500. A Canadian manufacturer is developing an industrial version that will sell for $100,000 or more.

The animal rights group PETA bought two CrustaStuns and paid for Buckhaven and his wife to fly to Tucson, Ariz., for a demonstration at a fundraising lobster dinner for the Family Resource Center. The courier service lost the two machines, however, and volunteers had to kill hundreds of lobsters in boiling water to serve the center’s hungry supporters.

God Helps Them Who Help Themselves

Preaching to his congregation in North Yorkshire, England, the Rev. Tim Jones, 42, announced that the commandment “Thou shalt not steal” isn’t carved in stone. He explained that shoplifting is acceptable as long as the shoplifters are desperate and that they steal from large national chain stores rather than small, family businesses.

Photoshop Politics

For a photo contest held in conjunction with December’s Copenhagen climate talks, Canada’s opposition Liberal Party posted on its website a submission showing a doctored photo of Lee Harvey Oswald being shot in which Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s face was substituted for Oswald’s. Another posting showed Harper with his fist in a cow’s rectum, which the site presented as one of the “best seven” depicting where Harper would rather be than in Copenhagen. Reuters reported the postings were quickly removed and an apology issued by party official Mario Lague.

The year before, Harper was forced to apologize after the Conservative website featured an animated video showing a puffin pooping on then-Liberal leader Stephane Dion.

Clumsy Is as Clumsy Does

New York City police investigating a triple murder at an Upper West Side apartment said gunman Hector Quinones, 44, tried to shoot a fourth person, who escaped because Quinones tripped over his baggy pants while chasing her. The Daily News reported that when police arrived on the scene, Quinones tried to flee by jumping out a third-floor kitchen window onto the fire escape, but he lost his balance and plunged to the alley below, where he died from a broken neck with his droopy pants around his ankles.

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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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