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News Quirks 

Published October 23, 2013 at 9:03 a.m.

Never Forget

NBC Sports Network canceled “Under Wild Skies,” a hunting show funded by the National Rifle Association, after animal rights groups criticized host Tony Makris for shooting a wild elephant in the face in Botswana from a can’t-miss distance of 20 feet. While stalking the elephant with a .577 rifle, Makris declared the weapon was “made to shoot ivory.” He responded to his critics by accusing them of “animal racism” because they didn’t object to his shooting birds but protested that elephants are different because “they’re so big and special and they’re smarter,” he told NRA News. “And I went, you know, Hitler would have said the same thing.” (Britain’s Guardian)

Second-Amendment Follies

Police investigating the shooting death of Amanda Mosley, 24, concluded that she died while embracing her 18-year-old boyfriend in Phoenix, Ariz. “We understand that she wanted to hug the 18-year-old,” Sgt. Steve Martos said. “He had a gun in his waistband. It caused some discomfort while they were hugging. They started to remove the handgun, and that’s when it accidentally went off.” (Phoenix’s KTVK-TV)

First-Amendment Follies

Popular Science announced a ban on online comments on articles in the magazine. “Comments can be bad for science,” an editor explained in a website post, which stated that vicious, insulting or ignorant comments can pollute otherwise intelligent online discussions, as well as undermine public understanding and appreciation of science itself. (New York Times)

The Los Angeles Times said it would no longer publish letters to the editor that deny the existence of man-made climate change. Pointing out that many letter writers insist “climate change is a hoax, a scheme by liberals to curtail personal freedom,” letters editor Paul Thornton said, “Saying there’s no sign humans have caused climate change is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.” (Washington Times)

It Happens

A commercial for Poo-Pourri air freshener had more than 12 million views on YouTube in its first month and so many orders that shipments were delayed up to two weeks, according to the company, Poo-Pourri Scentsible of Addison, Texas. Marketed to women, Poo-Pourri is designed to be sprayed into toilet bowls before sitting down. It leaves a protective film on top of the water that traps odors below and, with each deposit, releases “a refreshing bouquet of essential oils, ” the video promises, declaring, “Our business is to make it smell like your business never even happened.” (ABC News)

We Hardly Knew Ye

Kentucky wildlife officials have documented the first free-ranging wolf in the state since the mid-1800s — after a hunter shot and killed the 73-pound endangered gray wolf. The Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources isn’t filing charges against James Troyer, 31, because he had no reason to expect a wolf to be in the state and thought it was a coyote. (Louisville Courtier-Journal)

When Gerbils on Treadmills Aren’t Enough

Retired ExxonMobil vice president Ben Markham has figured out how to provide electricity to remote parts of Africa by harnessing children’s youthful energy. Markham, who runs the renewable-energy nonprofit Empower Playgrounds, is installing merry-go-rounds in villages. Children playing on them generate energy that can be stored in battery packs, which the children can take home to power lamps so they can read. Each system costs $10,000 to install, and one lantern charge will last 50 hours. (Mother Nature Network)

Paying the Price

Rogelio Andaverde, 34, and his wife were at home in Edinburg, Texas, when two armed men wearing masks forced their way inside and made off with Andaverde. Maria Hernandez immediately reported her husband’s abduction, and authorities launched “an all-out manhunt,” Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said. Lacking any leads or a ransom call, deputies called off the search after a few hours. The next morning, Andaverde returned home and told his wife he’d been released. When deputies interviewed him for details, he admitted he staged the kidnapping so he could “spend time with his friends and party,” Treviño said, adding, “Well, he’s going to party in jail now.” (San Antonio Express-News and McAllen’s Monitor)

Mother of the Year

Authorities accused Quacheena Juett, 33, of ordering her 12-year-old daughter to beat a driver pumping gas at a station in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who was taking up too much room at a gas pump, preventing Juett from getting gas. According to the police report, after Randa St. Cyr told Juett to wait until she finished, the mother told her daughter to “take care of it,” and the girl punched the victim in the face. Juett and her daughter then hopped into St. Cyr’s car, grabbed St. Cyr’s iPhone and took off. Authorities used the gas station’s surveillance system and the phone’s GPS to locate Juett. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

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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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