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

Published May 26, 2010 at 6:56 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

A sheriff’s deputy in Okaloosa County, Fla., arrested a 27-year-old driver after pulling her over for an improper taillight because she couldn’t spell her name. She said she was Coronica Jackson, but spelled it C-o-r-i-c-a. Her passenger nudged her, and she respelled it C-o-r-n-a-i-c-a. Then the passenger told the deputy it was C-o-r-o-n-i-c-a. He checked the name in his computer, but the photo didn’t match that of the driver, so he asked her to sign her name. She wrote “Coninani Junise,” which was nowhere close to that in the computer system. (Northwest Florida’s Daily News)

Police investigating a burglary at a drugstore in Tulsa, Okla., said a surveillance video showed the suspect moving a ladder around inside trying to get out. Each time he climbed into the ceiling, however, he fell though. He climbed the ladder and fell through the ceiling six times before making his getaway on the seventh try. (KOTV News)

Privatization Follies

Italian contractors helping train Afghan police recruits solved the mystery of why the trainees couldn’t shoot straight while being taught by U.S. government contractors. The Italians noticed the Americans, who were paid $6 billion to train the Afghans, had never adjusted the sights on their AK-47s and M-16s. During the eight years contractors from DynCorp International were allegedly training recruits, the death rate for Afghan police officers rose from about two dozen a month to around 125. “We’re paying somebody to teach these people to shoot these weapons, and nobody ever bothered to check their sights?” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), who chaired the Senate committee investigating contractor oversights. “It is an unbelievable, incompetent story.” (McClatchy Newspapers)

Bum Bomb

A California Highway Patrol officer who questioned Steven Ferrini, 60, for parking illegally at 4:30 a.m. found drugs and arrested him. A subsequent search found “a suspicious wire, with an on-off switch” in the man’s front pocket leading to his anal cavity, according to a police report. When “the subject began to explain his knowledge of explosives and bomb making,” officers called the El Dorado County Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team and evacuated the South Lake Tahoe office. The bomb squad determined the device was not a bomb but an anal vibrator. (Tahoe Daily Tribune)

Problem Solved

The Japanese automation firm Super Faiths has developed recycling machines that turn used diapers, mostly those used by incontinent adults, into fuel for biomass boilers and stoves. The SFD Recycle System machines can handle up to 1102 pounds of diapers a day. They automatically shred, dry and sterilize used disposable diapers and turn them into bacteria-free material for making fuel pellets, which can be used to help heat roads, homes or water. (CNET)

Obvious Choice

Authorities said the executive director of the Chicago area’s commuter rail service committed suicide by stepping in front of one of his agency’s trains. Phil Pagano, 60, who headed Metra for 20 years, was on paid administrative leave at the time because of allegations he received an unapproved $56,000 bonus. McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren said a train engineer saw Pagano on the tracks facing the train and applied the emergency brakes but wasn’t able to stop in time. (Associated Press)

Rule Britannia

The coastguard had to rescue a man intending to sail along the coast of southern England after his motorboat ran out of fuel. He was well short of his goal, having spent eight days circling a 36-square-mile island a short distance from where he set off. The man, who had no nautical charts and only a roadmap, told authorities he was trying to navigate by keeping the coastline on his right, but he “somehow lost his bearings and ended up traveling around the Isle of Sheppey,” said Robin Castle, a member of the lifeboat rescue station. (Reuters)

Blessing of the Week

A Louisiana House committee approved a bill allowing concealed weapons to be carried in churches and temples, but the measure fell short of passage in the full House by eight votes. Rep. Harry Burns, who introduced the bill, said he would reintroduce it. Rep. Walker Hines, who amended the bill to prohibit the carrying of a firearm at a church on a school campus, said he would not want to see Burns’ bill apply to “cults and fringe groups.” (New Orleans’s Times Picayune)

Little Things Mean a Lot

Authorities in Indonesia’s Papua announced that applicants to join the police or military would be rejected if they’ve had their organs artificially enhanced. Papua police chief Bekto Suprapto said that unnaturally large penises cause “hindrance during training.” A sexologist quoted by the Jakarta Globe said Papuans often wrap their penis with leaves from the gatal-gatal (itchy) tree so that it swells up “like it has been stung by a bee.” (Reuters)