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

Published March 12, 2014 at 4:00 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Sheriff's investigators concluded that a burglar who broke into a fishing store in Rochester, Minn., was driven off by a motion-activated singing novelty fish near the door. Sgt. Tom Claymon said the would-be thief fled empty-handed after he knocked the Big Mouth Bill Bass onto the floor, and it began singing "Take Me to the River." (Minneapolis's Star-Tribune)


Hoping to reduce the estimated 50 tons of litter left by people climbing Mount Everest, Nepal ordered everyone descending to carry out 18 pounds of trash. The debris ranges from empty oxygen bottles, torn tents, discarded food containers and the bodies of climbers who died on the mountain. (New York Times)

Problem Solved

Chinese officials are considering using giant vacuum cleaners to improve air quality in polluted cities. The device, which resembles a giant hula-hoop, uses an electrified wire to attract smog particles. "It's not going to cure smog on a large scale," Dutch inventor Daan Roosegaarde explained, "but at least we can remind people what clean air looks like." A separate report noted that in 1970, oil-rich Beverly Hillbilly Jed Clampett considered investing in a scheme to drill a tunnel through the San Bernadino Mountains, stick in a huge fan and suck all the smog out of Los Angeles. (Washington Post)

How Inconvenient

Dr. Daniel Ubani admitted killing an English patient by overprescribing drugs but moved to Germany, made a plea deal to pay a fine for "gross negligence" and continued practicing. While Ubani was delivering a presentation at a conference in Lindau, Germany, the victim's two sons interrupted him and called him a "charlatan and killer," Ubani sued the sons, demanding they pay him £2,800 ($4,690) because their disruption caused him to miss a post-conference dinner for which he had already paid. (Britain's Express)

Dead-Beat Dining

A child-nutrition manager dispatched to a Salt Lake City elementary school to investigate reports of parents owing money to the school lunch program ordered cafeteria workers to seize lunches from as many as 40 students. District official Jason Olsen said officials tried to alert parents with overdue balances that the child-nutrition manager was coming but couldn't reach everyone in time. The students had already received their lunches before they were singled out, leaving workers no choice but to throw out the uneaten food because school rules forbid serving already served food to other students. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Social Media Follies

Shawn Stillinger, 15, responded to a YouTube challenge to try a homemade blow dart experiment but wound up swallowing the dart. "I tilted it up to shoot it out at a tree, and it fell back out of the straw that I had it in, and it went into my throat," Stillinger explained. After two hospitals were unable to remove the dart from Stillinger's windpipe, otolaryngologist Dr. David Gudis of the Medical University of South Carolina was able to access his airway through his mouth and operate endoscopically instead of having to cut open his throat. (Charleston's WCSC-TV)

Patrick Snay received $80,000 to settle his age-discrimination suit against Miami's Gulliver Preparatory School, but the agreement included a stipulation forbidding disclosure of settlement details. The Snays' daughter promptly notified her 1,200 Facebook friends: "Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT." A judge voided the settlement. (CNN)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Police arrested Cara Claffy, 35, after her mother, Sheryl Claffy, 60, reported that she was watching television in their Albuquerque, N.M., home when the two got into an argument. At one point, the daughter "grabbed an electric vibrator" and struck her on the head with it. (The Smoking Gun)

Ottawa police reported that a masked man entered a downtown store brandishing a hockey stick and demanded cash. The suspect fled empty-handed after the store's owner grabbed the hockey stick out of his hands. (CBC News)

Police arrested Christine O'Keefe, 53, after her daughter, Jessica Caldwell, 25, reported that the mother smacked her in the face with "a used diaper." (The Smoking Gun)

Things That Go Boom

Iraqi authorities reported that a terrorist commander training suicide bombers in a secluded camp north of Baghdad was demonstrating with a belt packed with live explosives, which he accidentally triggered, killing himself and 21 other members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Fifteen others were wounded. An Iraqi Army officer described the militant commander as a prolific recruiter who promised martyrdom as a sure ticket to heaven. (New York Times)