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Curses, Foiled Again

A woman in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., reported hearing a man outside her bedroom window telling someone on a cellphone, “I’m about to commit a crime.” She awoke her boyfriend, who said he observed the intruder sit down on a nearby deck and continue his call. Later, he heard a glass door breaking. An Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputy who responded followed a trail of blood from the glass door to a nearby intersection, where he found Kevin Wayne Weathersby, 30, sitting on a curb bleeding. (Northwest Florida Daily News)

A worker counting the night’s take at a Burger King in Pine Bluff, Ark., told police a man approached with a gun, threatened to kill her and demanded the cash. When he set the gun down so he could put the money in a bag, the worker grabbed it, shot the robber during a struggle, then put him in a headlock and called police, who arrested Jason Robinson, 22. (Pine Bluff Commercial Appeal)

Volkswagen Commercials Come to Life

An Iowa man was telling a 911 dispatcher that a stranger punched him for no reason at a pedestrian mall in Iowa City when he interrupted himself to tell the dispatcher that a different man had just walked up and punched him. Police said the second man was a friend of the original assailant. (Cedar Rapids’ KCRG-TV News)

Defenders of the Faith

Authorities said Timothy Neal, 44, and his twin 18-year-old sons beat up another man during a drunken brawl at a bonfire in Madison County, Mo., according to sheriff’s Capt. Brad Wells, who explained, “The victim had been talking about religion and demons, when the other three became upset and started whipping up on him.” Wells added he didn’t know what specific religious issue started the argument, but that the demon talk prompted the beating. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Peacock Seeking Pigeons

NBC launched a campaign to enlist social-media users to promote its shows. “A recommendation from a friend is infinitely more powerful than any message we can put out through conventional marketing channels,” said Adam Stotsky, president of NBC Entertainment Marketing. Participants in the network’s “Fan It” initiative sign up on NBC’s website, and then log in to their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or MyNBC accounts to earn points for chatting about series and directing friends to NBC-related links. They can redeem points for sneak previews of NBC shows, NBC merchandise, and a chance to win attendance to the finale of “The Biggest Loser” or a prop from “The Office.” (Associated Press)

Litigation Nation

After Lauren Rosenberg was hit by a car while trying to cross a four-lane highway in Park City, Utah, at night, she sued Google Inc., claiming its online directions were “not reasonably safe for pedestrians.” Although social networks, websites and cable-news networks blasted Rosenberg for ignoring her own safety to blindly follow online directions, her lawyer, Allen Young, insisted that Google Maps “created a trap with walking instructions that people rely on.” Google official Elaine Filadelfo pointed out that every software version of Google Maps warns that walking routes may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths. (Associated Press)

Size Matters

After high school students and college-age adults complained that the 40 million condoms the District of Columbia distributes free each year are poor quality and too small, the city began offering Trojan condoms, including the company’s supersize Magnum variety. Durex condoms are still available, but health officials acknowledged that, although both brands are equally effective in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, Trojan condoms have greater appeal because of the company’s marketing strategy, which includes packaging Magnums in a shiny, gold wrapper that HIV/AIDS Administration representative Michael Kharfen noted “has a little bit of the bling quality.” (The Washington Post)

Spit Happens

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority reported that 51 city bus drivers took an average of two paid months off last year to recover from being spat upon by upset riders. The drivers’ union classifies the indignity as an assault, entitling spitting victims to paid leave. One driver needed 191 days to recover. (Associated Press)

Stop the Presses!

The world’s largest chocolate maker declared that its new formula could fight wrinkles and slow the aging process. Conceding that chocolate “is probably at the bottom of the list when you think about making food healthier,” Barry Callebaut Chief Innovation Officer Hans Vriens said the Swiss company’s studies showed that a daily dose of 0.75 ounces of its specially developed chocolate, fortified with antioxidants and flavanols preserved during the manufacturing process, boosts skin elasticity and improves hydration. (Reuters)

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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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