NewsQuirks 308

Lasting ImpressionThe Connecticut Food Association sponsored a reception in Hartford this March to give state legislators the opportunity to meet its members and try local food products. After sampling the food, at least eight of the lawmakers and 32 other guests were stricken with diarrhea and stomach cramps.Clip JointBerlin's Kaiserschnitt hair salon is the only place in Europe, and possibly the world, where patrons have their pubic hair styled, according to Independent Magazine. In addition to trims, shaves and colorings, proprietor Felix Vermeulen does pubic-hair weaves and extensions. Customers choose the style they prefer from a photo album.Serving TimeAustralian prison authorities announced in February that they were intensifying efforts against an outbreak of people delivering illegal drugs to inmates by putting the drugs in tennis balls, then hitting the balls over the fence. Because They're ThereIn St. Louis, Union Electric Co. announced that it would pay the World Bird Sanctuary $25,000 for a two-year study on why woodpeckers prefer to live, eat and store their belongings in utility poles.ClippedAuthorities in Cove, Ark., charged Orville Miller, 78, with murdering Mayor Fred Neblick, 58, in his City Hall office, possibly over a $15 to $18 water bill. After asking to see the mayor, Miller waited about 20 minutes, state police spokesperson Wayne Jordan said, then walked in, shot Neblick with a revolver, walked outside and drove off on a riding lawn mower. A court in Haugesund, Norway, convicted a 54-year-old man of drunken driving -- on a lawn mower -- then suspended his sentence because the mower's speed of 6 mph was too slow to be dangerous.Outstanding FeatIn March, Indonesia's Muhamad Ikhlas, 23, set a record for standing on one foot, balancing himself for12 hours, 12 minutes and 12 seconds. In breaking his own 1994 mark of 9 hours, 2 minutes and 50 seconds, Ikhlas defeated 70 contestants from Europe, Asia and Australia, many of whom blamed the tropical heat for their inability to stand on one foot for more than two hours. Get-Poor-Quick SchemesKidnappers who abducted Gildo dos Santos near his factory in a suburb of Sao Paulo, Brazil, demanded $690,000, but Santos escaped. The next day, Santos got a phone call asking for $11,500 to defray the cost of the abduction. After negotiating a discount of 50 percent, Santos called police, who were waiting when Luiz Carlos Valerio showed up to collect payment.Police in Virginia Beach, Va., charged Charles Robertson, 19, with robbing a bank when he bungled his way into their hands. After handing the teller a holdup note, Robertson started to flee but stopped when he realized that he had forgot his note. He dashed back and grabbed the note, but this time he left the keys to his getaway car -- a fact he didn't discover until he reached the vehicle. He managed to elude police, but when he got home he told his roommate, whose car he had borrowed, that it had been stolen. She reported the car missing, and about 20 minutes later Officer Mike Koch spotted it a block from the bank. Playing a hunch, Koch got the keys the robbery suspect had left behind. When they fit the car that had been reported stolen, detectives went to the address the owner had given and found Robertson.Sperm in the NewsThe Straits Times newspaper reported that dwindling stocks at Singapore's National Sperm Bank prompted a publicity campaign to attract donors, especially university students and soldiers. "We want a well-informed and receptive group of people who are also accessible," bank director Noel Long said. Prayers AnsweredBritish clergyman David Guest, 33, announced that he felt "like I have died and gone to heaven" when he passed his driving test in February -- after 632 lessons and 17 years of trying. Noting that he spent $7,800 on lessons, went through eight different instructors and crashed five cars, Guest identified his main problem as mixing up the clutch and the brake.Sour NotesThe government spends $193 million a year on military bands, an amount that Mother Jones magazine noted is $172 million more than tax dollars spent for all arts education from kindergarten through high school. The magazine noted that music budgets for the Coast Guard, Army, Marines and Air Force combined equal $25 million more than the entire budget for the National Endowment for the Arts.A Very Handsome Judge Is HeChief Justice William Rehnquist added four stripes on each sleeve of his robe in January, the first such adornment in Supreme Court history. Rehnquist explained that the idea came to him while watching Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera "Iolanthe." The opera pokes fun at, among other things, British courts. DownfallThe decline of Mayan civilization was the very architectural marvels that marked its zenith, according to research archaeologist Richard Hansen of the University of California at Los Angeles. His attributes the downfall, an enduring archaeological mystery, to the use of stucco to create a smooth veneer on huge limestone palaces, thick floors and bas-reliefs. Converting limestone into lime stucco requires burning "about 20 big trees and all their branches in order to make a little pile of lime about one meter high, so they hacked down forests," Hansen said, noting that the resulting soil erosion made it impossible to grow enough food to sustain people in the more than 200 Mayan cities. Role-Model CitizenIn New York City last August, Supreme Court Judge Shiela Abdus-Salaam asked a prospective juror holding a jury notice for Andrew Levinson if that was his name. No, he answered, he was just saving Levinson's seat. Then he asked permission to use the bathroom, left the courtroom and never returned. The real Levinson, a 35-year-old bond trader, happened to be in Italy on vacation. When he returned, he denied trying to avoid jury duty, explaining that his friend was supposed to request a deferment. Since Levinson already had been granted nine deferments and was specifically warned in his jury notice that it was time to serve, he was charged with criminal contempt.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria, VA 22306.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.