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News Quirks


Published November 5, 2008 at 6:57 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again A robber approached a 36-year-old man in Warren, Mich., and demanded money. After getting $50, the robber tried to flee, but the victim tackled him, put him in a chokehold, and demanded his money back. Police Detective Michael Torey said the robber was so scared that he gave the victim his $50 plus another $30.

Ready for Love A man in a wheelchair entered a 7-Eleven store in Dallas, Texas, carrying a knife and a baseball bat. He rolled himself to the cash register and beat it with the bat until it opened. Instead of taking the cash, however, police said he made off with 10 boxes of condoms and an energy drink.

Wardrobe Malfunction A cross-dressing robber snatched a 74-year-old woman’s purse in St. Lucie West, Fla., but before hopping into a getaway car, reportedly occupied by two other men in drag, one of his fake breasts popped out of his tube top. Police recovered the faux breast — a water-filled condom in a white gym sock. “We’re processing the condom for latent prints,” police Officer Robert Vega told Treasure Coast Newspapers.

Perils of Marital Discord After Victor Papagno Jr., 40, was charged with domestic violence, his wife called the Naval Research Laboratory, where he worked, to come get his work stuff from their home in Calvert County, Md. Having no record of any equipment signed out to Papagno, Navy officials arrived to find 19,709 pieces of computer equipment worth up to $1.6 million that had been stolen from the lab over a 10-year period. Washington’s Examiner newspaper reported Papagno had accumulated so much hardware that some of the boxes had to be stored at neighbors’ homes. Papagno pleaded guilty to stealing the property. Three days after his arrest for domestic violence, Andrea Papagno dropped that charge.

Extreme Side Effects An Australian court ordered an 80-year-old man, who demanded sex with his wife at least three times a day after he began taking Viagra, to pay her $232,000 in compensation. Judge Stephen Walmsley of the New South Wales Court of Appeals found that Svetozar Varmedja subjected his 53-year-old wife to more than 18 months of physical and sexual abuse, which included 60 threats to kill her if she failed to meet his sexual demands. “He was a gentleman and a good man, but then he started taking the tablets,” the wife told the Sunday Telegraph. “Those tablets changed him, and he started to treat me like a slave.” At one point, she said, he cut off her hair, stating, “This is your punishment for not completely satisfying me, and this is what I will always do.”

Second-Amendment Follies Shortly after Cory Davis, 56, finished using newspaper and kindling to stoke a fire in the cast-iron stove at her home in Sekiu, Wash., she was hit in the leg by part of a 22-gauge shotgun shell that had been accidentally placed in the stove. Believing the shell had fallen into some newspaper next to the stove when she spilled a case of ammunition a month earlier, Davis told the Peninsula Daily News, “There’s always that one problem stray.”

Language of Love Britons have been flocking to learn Polish so they can communicate with a wave of Polish immigrants, many of whom they have become romantically involved with. Cardiff University’s center for lifelong learning, for example, started a beginning Polish class three years ago to coincide with the arrival of an estimated one million Polish citizens since 2004, the largest wave of immigration in British history. Since then, the school has started a second class, despite the difficulty of learning the language. “There were lots and lots and lots of men with Polish girlfriends,” observed student Emma Raczka, whose Polish grandfather settled in Wales during World War II.

Cold Butts or Hot Nuts Men whose vehicles have heated seats could hurt their prospects for fatherhood, according to a German study of sperm production. Agence France-Presse reported that researchers fitted sensors to the scrotums of 30 healthy men, who then sat on a heated car seat for 90 minutes. After an hour, their average scrotal temperature had risen 3.5 to 4 degrees F above the optimum temperature for sperm production. By comparison, men who sat on unheated car seats reached an average scrotal temperature within optimum limits.

True Confessions An Australian pastor who inspired hundreds of thousands of people with his fight against terminal cancer admitted he faked his illness to hide a 16-year porn addiction. “It consumes my mind,” Michael Guglielmucci admitted in a TV interview. His deception was so real that his wife quit work to care for him. He also forced himself to vomit regularly at night and even lost his hair to fool his family and the public about the extent of his illness.

Size Matters Three South African men were shot dead and two others critically wounded in a Durban tavern following an argument over genital size. The South African Press Association reported the argument apparently began when a patron of Indian descent pointed out while standing next to a white patron at the tavern’s urinals that his penis was bigger than the white man’s. “The white man left the urinal and told his friends about what had happened, and this is when the argument started,” a police official said, explaining that after vulgarities were exchanged, five Indian men left, returned with weapons, and opened fire.

Attracting Attention Dennis Cullen, 23, and a female companion were arrested having sex in their car in Hellertown, Pa, while in a handicapped parking space outside the police station. The Allentown Morning Call reported the couple told officers they had been drinking at a university function and were unaware where they had parked.

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