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News Quirks 03.16.05


Published March 16, 2005 at 5:00 p.m.

Curses, Foiled Again Police in Martinsburg, West Virginia, reported that a man broke into a home, took some guns from an upstairs bedroom and went downstairs, where he confronted homeowners Everett and Annie Laura Fogle with a gun in one hand and a hatchet in the other. He demanded money, but after Mrs. Fogle gave him $540, he failed to leave. Instead, the suspect told Mr. Fogle to play the piano while he sang along. After asking the couple if they wanted him to order pizza, he began playing with his gun but accidentally shot himself in the leg. The Fogles called police, who arrested Paul Kelvin Hardy, 40.

- After Floyd Elliott, 22, of Indepen-dence, Missouri, reported that two men attacked him in the parking lot of his apartment complex, cut him in the stomach, branded him with a hot knife and tried to carve the word "Fag" on his forehead, police charged him with filing a false report about a hate crime. Investigators became suspicious when they noticed that the head carving was backwards, as if done while looking into a mirror.

Living in the Post-Low-Carb World A new Berlin restaurant caters to people with eating disorders. Katja Eichbaum, the owner of Sehnsucht ("Nostalgia") and a recovering bulimic, said that she opened the restaurant so that other bulimics and anorexics, who are mostly women, could eat without feeling stigmatized. "What is important is that the girls take the first step, that they at least have a taste," Eichbaum said. "They can also ask for small portions."

- People who sleep less than other people tend to be fatter, according to researchers at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk. Their study of 1000 people found that fatter subjects in general slept about 1.8 hours a week less than those with normal weights. The study concluded, "An extra 20 minutes of sleep per night seems to be associated with a lower body mass index." Commenting on the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Northwestern University physicians Fred Turek and Joseph Bass called insufficient sleep "a new and unexpected 'obesity villain'" and said it's time to learn if more sleep will fight obesity.

When Guns Are Outlawed After Billy Joe Compton, 40, was fired from a restaurant in Gonzales, Lousiana, police said that he stole a car by holding a dinner fork to the driver's neck. Police apprehended Compton after the car ran out of gas at a nearby shopping mall.

Farty Feet Goosebumps Products Inc., a shoemaker in Orlando, Florida, sued a supplier of a chemical for its insole gel after it had to throw away 35,000 pairs of its insoles because customers complained that their shoes sounded like someone passing gas. The suit accuses Bell Chem Corp. of delivering a low-grade glycerin, which caused air bubbles to form inside the insoles, resulting in a "a flatulence-like noise" when wearers stepped down on them. "They were whoopie cushions for the feet," Goosebumps official Bryan Thomas said.

Next Step: Tupperware Coffins The coroner's office in Thurston County, Washington, announced it is seeking bids to build a machine able to shrink-wrap human remains. The machine, which would be paid for with a Homeland Security grant, will enable emergency workers responding to a large-scale disaster to avoid dealing with numerous limp and hard-to-carry body bags, according to county Coroner Judy Arnold, who told the Olympian newspaper that the shrink-wrapped bodies could be moved with forklifts.

Most-Competent Criminals Three months after closing their mountain cabin for the winter, a Norwegian family returned to find that thieves had stolen their swimming pool. All that remained was a big hole where the 16-foot diameter in-ground pool had been for the past 20 years. "It must have been a terrible job to disassemble such a big pool," Brit Nicolaysen, who owns the cabin with her husband, told state radio network NRK. "There is a steel lining all the way around, plus there is a plastic liner and then there was a skimming system, a filter system and a lot of big hoses and pipes."

Potty Party Malaysia's Kelantan state announced that it will build public toilets that are "guaranteed to make users happy," according to the national news agency Bernama. Public administration official Takiyuddin Hassan said that the "Happy and Healthy Toilets" would be stocked with newspapers so that "users can keep up with current issues while performing their business, while being entertained by music." People will need to wear special slippers provided in the toilets to maintain hygiene.

Missing the Point Minutes after a judge in Melbourne, Florida, revoked Joshua Gowins' driver's license for fleeing from police, Gowins left the courthouse and drove off. Officers pulled him over for speeding, but he sped away from police, lost control and hit another car, landing his vehicle in a ditch.

Multimillion-Dollar Baby A year after making headlines by claiming that she lost a winning lottery ticket worth $162 million, only to be discredited and convicted of filing a false police report when the real winner turned up, Elecia Battle, 41, said she is embarking on a career as a professional boxer. "I can knock out a 20-year-old," the Cleveland resident insisted. "I'm in great shape."

Hot Dogs Keith Powell of Winches-ter, Kentucky, called for the fire department after his dog apparently jumped on the stove to eat food left in a skillet and in doing so turned on a burner, which started a fire. The blaze was confined to the kitchen, but the entire house received smoke damage.