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News Quirks 

Published October 6, 2010 at 8:02 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Rescue workers who found Sherin Brown, 23, trapped under a steel light pole in New York City said she told them the pole fell on her, causing back and neck injuries. After she was taken to the hospital to be treated, investigators reviewing nearby surveillance videos saw a passing tractor-trailer clip the pole. The footage showed Brown jumping out of the way of the falling pole, then crawling under it just before help arrived. She was charged with falsely reporting an emergency. (New York Daily News)

Authorities said Rashad D. Wilson, 18, entered a convenience store in Mexico, N.Y., wearing a camouflage ski mask and black hooded sweatshirt and demanded cigarettes. The clerk told Wilson to remove his mask first. Wilson then showed a handgun, but the clerk still insisted he take off his mask. Wilson left the store empty-handed and drove off, but Oswego County sheriff’s deputies stopped the car and arrested him. (Syracuse’s Post-Standard)

Homeland Insecurity

Prosecutors in Salisbury, N.H., dropped charges against Walter Scott Jr., 59, after a device in his possession that police initially described as a powerful pipe bomb turned out to be a “tire thumper,” used to check the pressure of truck tires by banging on them. The device, consisting of a piece of PVC pipe with metal weights inside, couldn’t have harmed anyone, according to Scott’s attorney, Ted Barnes, “unless they were hit over the head with it.” (Concord Monitor)

Breaking Non-News

Norwegian radio journalist Pia Beate Pedersen announced to listeners of public broadcast station NRK that she was “quitting and walking away” because station management was putting too much pressure on the staff and that she “wanted to be able to eat properly again and be able to breathe.” Before walking out, she refused to read the scheduled newscast, declaring on air, “Nothing important has happened anyway.” (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Dick Heads of the Week

Australian researchers said female marine snails living off the Perth coast are growing male sex organs on their heads. The condition, called imposex, results from exposure to the chemical tributyltin (TBT), according to associate professor Monique Gagnon of Curtin University’s Department of Environment and Agriculture. TBT is a common ingredient of paint used on boat hulls that prevents barnacles. Gagnon explained that although surveys show TBT contamination declined over the past 10 years at sites visited by recreational boats, the marine snail Thais orbita had a 100 percent rate of imposex at sites where commercial vessels were present. (Australian Associated Press)

Mother of Invention

Responding to the growing popularity of chickens as house pets, Australia’s Ingrid Dimock, 45, who sells and rents chickens in Brisbane and Sydney, introduced a diaper for indoor chickens. Developed in collaboration with a wedding-dress designer, the starry pink and spotty blue elasticized “chicken nappy” joins Dimock’s line of fashionable chicken clothing. Her City Chicks business also sells small walking leads and harnesses for people who take their chickens for walks, stylish wristbands used to identify birds that stray and chandeliers for chicken coops. (Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail)

Eligibility Follies

Police arrested a 21-year-old man who posed as a 14-year-old boy so he could join a youth football league team in Tampa, Fla. Julious Javone Threatts played in one game for the Town ’N Country Packers as Chad Jordan before he was unmasked. Packers coach Ray McCloud said he thinks Threatts “just wanted to play football,” adding, “I don’t think he was good enough to play semipro or anything.” (St. Petersburg Times)

The Bigger They Come

The “Big 10 Inch Team” used a 90-foot compressed air cannon to shoot a 9.5-pound pumpkin more than a mile. The group, comprising members from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, traveled to Moab, Utah, to launch the pumpkin, hoping the thin air would help it travel farther. The Big 10 Inch Team shot a pumpkin near Moab last year that traveled just shy of a mile, setting a Guinness World Record. (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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