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News Quirks


Published February 2, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

When a woman reported that a man exposed himself to her and her children, police in Mesa, Ariz., knocked on the apartment door of upstairs neighbor Michael Polley, 55. He answered with his pants still around his ankles. Court records noted he became “immediately angry” at being interrupted and began cursing at the officers, who arrested him. (Phoenix’s Arizona Republic)

Police said Jerome Taylor, 20, entered a restaurant in Hartford, Conn., wearing a mask, pulled what looked like a gun on the cooks and demanded money. The cooks refused and grabbed their knives. Taylor promptly apologized and insisted it was all just a joke, and anyway, the “gun” was only an iPhone. (Hartford’s WVIT-TV)

Police alerted to the theft of a 50-inch television off a delivery truck in Auburn, Wash., arrested Johnathon Barnes, 22, whom they spotted right outside the police station pushing a shopping cart containing the stolen set. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Melodious Mutants

Japanese scientists started breeding mice that sing like birds. The researchers at the University of Osaka genetically engineered the mice as part of their “Evolved Mouse Project,” which accelerates mutations to see what develops. “We checked the newly born mice one by one,” lead researcher Arikuni Uchimura said. “One day we found a mouse that was singing like a bird.” He explained the “singing mouse” was a random mutation, but that the trait has been used to breed 100 of them so far and will be used to breed more like it. “I was surprised because I had been expecting mice that are different in physical shape,” Uchimura said, adding that the project had also produced “a mouse with short limbs and a tail like a dachshund.” (Agence France-Presse)

Drinking-Class Heroes

Defense attorney Tom Hudson helped his client beat DUI charges after the prosecution presented law enforcement video of Ronald Deveau at a DUI stop in Sarasota, Fla. Hudson hired a private investigator to videotape on-duty law enforcement officers making the same driving mistakes that officers cite as reasons for suspicion: wide turns, crossing double yellow lines and riding on lane markers. After comparing videos, Judge David Denkin declared that Deveau’s drifting was insufficient evidence of impaired driving and dismissed the charges. (Sarasota’s Herald-Tribune)

A Ukrainian entertainment firm in Dneprodzerzhinsk now offers drinking buddies for hire. “It is a pleasant companion who can enliven a boring evening,” says Yulia Peyeva, head of Kind Fairy, which also organizes weddings and birthdays. “Virtually all of our people are talented. They can play guitar, sing or recite poetry. Today you may want to talk about art and tomorrow to read Faust.” (Agence France-Presse)

Reasonable Explanations

When police accused Michael Elias, 28, of half a dozen home burglaries in San Antonio, Texas, he explained he had to keep committing the burglaries so he could afford to pay his attorney $150 a week to keep him out of jail. (San Antonio’s KSAT-TV)

Police who arrested William Liston, 33, in suburban Cleveland on suspicion of driving drunk said he explained, “Ozzy Osbourne and his music made me do it.” (Cleveland’s WJW-TV)

All Runways Lead to Russia

Earth’s magnetic north pole is moving toward Russia at the rate of nearly 40 miles a year. Scientists attribute the shift to magnetic changes in the planet’s core. One consequence of the shift was the closing of Florida’s Tampa International Airport for one week to renumber its main north-south runway to reflect its new magnetic alignment. (The Tampa Tribune)

Bottom-Line Justice

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour freed sisters Gladys and Jamie Scott, who had served 16 years of their life sentences for armed robbery, on the condition that Gladys, 36, donate a kidney to Jamie, 38, who requires dialysis. Barbour explained he decided to order their release so the state wouldn’t have to pay for Jamie Scott’s treatment. (Reuters)

The Eyes Have It

Prince Frederic Von Anhalt, 68, the husband of celebrity Zsa Zsa Gabor, glued an eye shut when he accidentally grabbed his wife’s nail glue instead of eye drops. “It was stupid,” Von Anhalt said after a doctor at an eye clinic in Beverly Hills, Calif., repaired the damage. Gabor, 93, suffered a similar eye injury years ago, according to her daughter, Francesca Hilton, when she mistakenly used “crazy glue” on her eyelashes. (CNN)

Price of Denial

A military jury at Fort Meade, Md., sentenced Lt. Col. Terrance Lakin to six months in military prison and dismissal from the Army after he disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he doubts whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States and therefore questions his eligibility to be commander in chief. He said he would have gladly deployed if Obama’s original birth certificate were released and proved authentic. (Associated Press)

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