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News Quirks (7/16/14)


Published July 16, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

After a 17-year-old babysitter reported a home invasion and robbery, police in Ferndale, Wash., wound up arresting the sitter, her 16-year-old boyfriend and another male suspect because the child being watched contradicted the sitter's story. The sitter said two armed black men broke in, but 4-year-old Abby Dean declared the robbers were white and added, "They told us to get out of the house 'cause they wanted to steal stuff." The sitter confessed. (Fox News)

Michael Shaske tried to turn a $3 winning lottery ticket into a $20,000 winner but his scheme unraveled after two Oklahoma City stores refused to pay on the bogus ticket. Shaske then took it to the Lottery Commission office, where officials immediately recognized it was two cards pasted together and notified police. "Basically with the number of times he tried to pass the ticket, it seemed he was doing everything he could to get himself arrested," police MSgt. Gary Knight said. (Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV)

A Dish Best Served

A teenager bitter at losing to his 17-year-old video-game opponent called 911 to have a SWAT team storm the opponent's home in Long Beach, N.Y., by claiming that the opponent had killed his brother and mother. The 70 emergency responders found only the opponent playing Call of Duty. Investigators were unable to trace the 911 call, according to Long Beach police commissioner Michael Tagney, who identified Swatting as a new game where "you get points for the helicopter, for the police cars, for the SWAT team, for the type of entry. It's very sophisticated. Unfortunately, it's very dangerous." (New York Daily News)

Fowl Fare

Beijing has a new museum devoted exclusively to roast duck. Located in a 10,700-square-foot facility adjacent to the city's most famous roast duck restaurant, 150-year-old Quanjude, the museum boasts more than 500 items, including a golden duck sculpture out front and other sculptures inside showing the different steps in duck-making; a coupon from a duck sale dating back to 1901; and photographs of former Chinese leaders Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai eating duck. (Wall Street Journal)

Unguided Missiles

Mike Aburouman, 44, picked up a firework to light it, but instead of shooting into the air, it blew into his chest. Detroit police said Aburouman died almost instantly. (Detroit Free Press)

Patrick Hughes, 26, was shooting off fireworks with some friends in McClain County, Okla., when he grabbed one of the fireworks and held it above his head. "That's not a good idea," his wife screamed after noticing embers falling from the firework. It then exploded and shot downward, hitting Hughes in the head and killing him. Investigators concluded that a fireworks shell had been put inside the launching tube upside down. Fireworks "are not meant to be held," Sheriff's Detective Dana Guthrie warned. "They need to be placed on solid surfaces." (Oklahoma City's KOTV-TV)

Which Way the Wind Blows

North Korea's Kim Jong Un chastised the country's meteorologists for "too many incorrect" weather forecasts and ordered them to improve their accuracy. While reporting on Kim's tour of meteorological facilities, the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun included photos of a red-faced Kim lecturing cowering forecasters that accurate forecasts are needed to protect life and property from "abnormal climatic phenomenon (sic)." (CNN)

Crime Doesn't Pay

A man believed to be in his 30s and wearing a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap held up five New York City banks in the same day. His 3 1/2-hour spree netted him $449. Three of the banks gave him nothing. The fourth let him have $50. Finally, the fifth bank handed over $399. (New York Daily News)

Keyboard Follies

A British judge in a custody case called a father "insensitive" and ordered him to stop sending emails to his children using capital letters and large fonts because they are "equivalent to him shouting" at them. Mrs. Justice Pauffley told the father, who is banned from seeing his children, aged 13 and 9, and communicates with them by email, that he needs to learn "to make his messages appropriate and child friendly." (Britain's Telegraph)

Contrarian of the Week

Bolivia reversed the clock on the front of the congressional building in La Paz so it runs counter-clockwise. Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca explained that the change was made to inspire Bolivians to treasure their heritage as people who "live in the south, not in the north," and to show them they can question established norms. "Who says that the clock always has to turn one way?" Choquehuanca said, while reassuring those who "want to continue using a clock of the north, you can continue doing so." (BBC News)

Name Blame

Authorities accused Freddie Alexander Smoke III of deliberately starting a wildfire that burned six square miles of forestland in Northern California. (Associated Press)