News Quirks | News Quirks | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published April 22, 2009 at 7:30 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again When Derek Shaun Clark, 26, kicked in the back door of a home in Evansville, Ind., entered with a drawn handgun and announced he was the police, homeowner Derrick Murray was skeptical because Clark and his accomplices “were talking in street slang.” Murray told WFIE-TV he ran and got his rifle from the bedroom and fired at Clark, who police said stumbled out of the house and attempted to get in his get-away car. “The white car was parked in front of my house,” neighbor Katherine Vessels said, “and they backed up and ran over him, and then he backed up, and then they backed up into the alley and into him again. Then they took off.” Clark ended up in intensive care.

• Two robbers leaving a Milwaukee jewelry store with cash and gems were accosted by another group of thieves, who robbed them. Police Lt. Thomas Welch told the Associated Press that after a brief fight, a car chase ensued. Police officers pulled over both vehicles and arrested the original two robbers, ages 31 and 40, and two men from the second group, ages 22 and 27.

They All Say D’Oh Ecuadorian fighter pilot Rafael Durango survived the crash of his jet into a dense jungle near the Colombian border but plunged to his death while being rescued after a cord broke as he and a rescuer were being pulled up to a helicopter.

• Craig Aylesworth, 51, threw a Molotov cocktail on his neighbor’s mobile home in Bithlo, Fla., only to have the wind blow the flames back and set his own trailer on fire.

Tool Time A 27-year-old Maryland woman was airlifted to the hospital after being injured by a sex toy attached to a saber saw blade. reported that a man called 911 about the incident and admitted attaching the sex toy to the saw and then using the high-powered, homemade device on his partner. The saw cut through the plastic toy and wounded the woman. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s office said no charges would be filed because the woman told investigators the injuries occurred during a consensual act after she and her partner decided to try something new.

When Guns Are Outlawed When Talon LaClaire, 20, pointed two knives at a 71-year-old man who was scraping ice off his windshield in Rapid City, S.D., the victim turned the tables by using his ice scraper to fend off the would-be robber. The Rapid City Journal reported that LaClaire retreated into a nearby home, where police arrested him.

Homeland Insecurity The government has begun investigating whether body odor can indicate when people are lying. According to a federal procurement document posted on the Internet, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is collecting human body odor samples to use in research it hopes will enable it to determine if “human odor signatures can serve as an indicator of deception” and whether “an individual can be identified by that individual’s odor signature.” According to the notice, “This research has the potential for enhancing our ability to detect individuals with harmful intent.”

In reporting on the government project, United Press International noted that research published by the Royal Society in London in 2006 found “a substantial number of marker compounds [in human sweat] that can potentially differentiate individuals or groups.” The researchers cautioned, however, that about a quarter of the 44 distinctive marker compounds they identified appeared to be artificial contaminants, ranging from skin care and perfume products to tobacco smoke and other substances present in a person’s environment.

Avoirdupois Follies A British family of four with a combined weight of 1162 pounds told Closer magazine they are “too fat to work” and claimed that the unemployment and disability benefits they receive are inadequate. The family from Blackburn receives $32,965 a year in benefits. “We deserve more,” Philip Chawner, 53 and 336 pounds, said, insisting, “It’s not our fault we can’t work.”

The Chawners, who haven’t worked in 11 years, blame their weight on a hereditary condition, even though they each consume 3000 calories a day. “We have cereal for breakfast, bacon butties [sandwiches] for lunch and microwave pies with mashed potatoes or chips for dinner,” Audrey Chawner, 57 and also 336 pounds, said. “All that healthy food, like fruit and veg, is too expensive.” Daughter Emma, 19 and 234 pounds, said, “I’m a student and don’t have time to exercise. We all want to lose weight to stop the abuse we get in the street, but we don’t know how.”

Nearer My God An Italian court convicted Tunisian pilot Chefik Gharbi of manslaughter for praying while his plane crash-landed instead of taking emergency measures to reach a nearby airport. Sixteen people aboard the ATR-72 turboprop aircraft died when the plane ran out of fuel and plummeted into the sea off Sicily.

Can’t Get No Satisfaction A German woman divorced her husband of 15 years because she finally had enough of his constant cleaning. Reuters reported the wife put up with the man’s fastidiousness but ran out of patience when he knocked down and rebuilt a wall at their home after it got dirty. “I’d never had anyone seek a divorce for this,” Christian Kropp, court judge in Sondershausen, said.

• A woman in Haltom City, Texas, called 911 to report she didn’t get enough shrimp in her fried rice at a restaurant. Restaurant workers told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the woman left with her order, then returned to complain about the lack of shrimp but was denied a refund. In the taped emergency call, the customer tells the dispatcher “to get a police officer up here, what has to happen?” When an officer did arrive, the woman had left.