NewsQuirks 427

Timely PassingWhen Briton Malcolm Eccles, 50, died of bowel cancer, his family turned him into a kitchen aid. In accordance with his wishes, they keep his ashes in a specially crafted glass egg timer. "I can't boil a soft egg to save my life," widow Brenda Eccles said. "He knew that and said I should turn some of his ashes into an egg-timer. Then he could help me and it would be a nice way of remembering him."Dead GiveawaysJohn William Howard, 45, fled Maryland, where he was wanted on sexual assault charges, and headed for Arizona. Passing through Brookshire, Texas, low on gas and cash, he tried to sell his spare tire to raise some money. A local merchant informed him about a police loan program for just such predicaments, so Howard went to the police station to apply. A routine check turned up his fugitive status, according to police Chief Joe Garcia, who called Howard "one of the world's dumbest criminals." Robbery suspect Denis Jesper, 20, was arrested at Florida's Miami Shores Country Club, where he had been hiding from police in a ficus tree next to the golf course. He revealed himself by calling out to a golfer who hit into the rough, "Hey, hey, your ball is over there." In Canandaigua, N.Y., Frances L. Colvin, 57, was charged with trying to pass counterfeit money when she presented 12 bogus $100 bills to Ontario County sheriff's deputies to post bail for her son. In Massachusetts, Brian Bavaro and Maria DiGiulio were arrested for the robbery of the Everett Co-op Bank. "When I was booking this woman," police Lt. Robert Bontempo said, "I was asking her all the routine questions, you know: height, weight, age. For occupation, she put 'bank robber.'" A man who tried to steal two cases of beer from a Davenport, Iowa, convenience store made a clean getaway -- but forgot his car, which he left in an alley beside the store. A short while later, Chad Ramsden, 18, called the police to say his car, the one the robber left behind, had been stolen. Officers persuaded Ramsden to come to the store to clear up the matter. When he showed up, witnesses identified him as the thief. Police Lt. David Struckman said Ramsden didn't help his case by trying to convince police that he shouldn't be charged because he didn't actually take anything. Bankruptcy Is Just a DelusionAfter the Bank of Thailand decided to suspend 42 cash-strapped finance companies, sending shock waves through the Thai financial sector and triggering public runs on deposits at sound financial institutions, Deputy Public Health Minister Sorahart Klinprathum advised Thais to relieve their anxiety with medical help, not street demonstrations. "People who feel the stress from the IMF (International Monetary Fund)-advised suspension of finance firms should visit psychiatrists," he said. "They should relax with psychiatrists rather than taking to the streets. Don't fear you would be seen as insane." Sorahart also called on fortune tellers to help cheer up depressed Thais, who normally seek their advice during important occasions of their lives.Courtroom FolliesAccused of robbing an adult theater and shooting at police officers in Tucson, Ariz., Ricky Wassenaar, 34, decided to act as his own attorney. As his defense, he claimed he was framed by a guy named "Jim" who put a "date-rape pill" in his drink. As a result, Wassenaar said, he became confused, put on a bullet-proof vest, grabbed a gun and a ski mask from his own vehicle and committed the robbery. Wassenaar also insisted that he wasn't leading police on a car chase, merely trying to get out of their way, and denied shooting at officers, calling himself a "fool" for being tricked by "Jim." The jury found him guilty.Rules of the GameAfghanistan's fundamentalist Islamic religious police, formally known as the Department for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice, this summer decreed that women can't visit male patients in hospital wards that contain non-family members and must "refrain from hitting their shoes on the ground, which makes noises."As part of China's intensified campaign against unorthodox music and drama, the State Council approved new regulations banning profit-making performances from showing sex or violence or encouraging superstition. In addition, singers, actors and actresses who perform for profit without the approval of authorities can be fined up to $1,200.Not-So-Grand LarcenyHong Kong janitor Kung Man-wah, 33, was sentenced to 30 months in jail after being arrested in the women's changing room at the Kwai Chung police station, wearing ladies' underwear. The New Evening Post reported the man admitted stealing the garments, as well as other bras and panties, from the same police station the day before.Sculptor Anthony-Noel Kelly, 41, was arrested after police raids turned up 30 human body parts at his London studio and his country home. Authorities said Kelly stole the parts, helped by a former employee of the Royal College of Surgeons, to use in his art. His molds of heads, feet and torsos have been acclaimed. A former butcher, Kelly has said he finds beauty in death. LitigationitisA 32-year-old Sacramento woman announced she is suing a local hospital for $100,000 because for the past 19 years she couldn't perform oral sex as well as she should. The woman accused the hospital of leaving a piece of tubing in her throat after an operation in 1978. She coughed it up three days later but now insists that as a result of the incident, she has a "feeling" that something is caught in her throat and "is not able to give her partner the joy and pleasure that she thinks is his due." Italian Sebastiano Intili, 43, who broke the tail off a dragon in the famous Bernini fountain in Rome's Piazza Navona while diving from the 17th-century sculpture, argued that the city should pay him damages instead. Attorney Aldo Ceccarelli said his client hurt his foot during the incident because of the city council's negligence, charging, "The fountain was decrepit. It could even have killed someone."Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.


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