NewsQuirks 438

Curses, Foiled AgainAfter robbing a bank in downtown Philadelphia, Derrick Thomas, 27, picked the wrong route for his getaway. He ran into a parking garage underneath the building across the street from the bank, which turned out to be the federal courthouse. Court security officer Albert Revel, who was stationed at the garage entrance, saw Thomas run by, drew his gun and ordered him to stop. Authorities said Thomas attacked Revel, but during the struggle, a dye pack placed in the money bag exploded, spraying bills and red dye everywhere. Thomas fled, only to run into police Officer Gary Decker, who patrols the courthouse perimeter. Decker and Revel subdued Thomas. Baby DriversAn 11-year-old boy who took his parents' car and led police on a two-state chase at speeds up to 110 mph was arrested in Kennett, Mo., after officers finally stopped the car by placing spikes on the highway and puncturing its tires. The boy was operating the vehicle while wearing in-line roller skates. Authorities charged a 27-year-old Milwaukee man with turning the wheel of his car over to his 8-year-old daughter because he was too drunk to drive. Police said the girl lost control of the car at an intersection and hit two cars, then the father grabbed the wheel and hit four more. Virtual AddictionThe American Psychological Association officially recognized Internet addiction as a new clinical disorder at its annual meeting in August. Internet addicts spend an average of 38 hours a week online, often donning personas different from their everyday lives, according to University of Pittsburgh psychologist Kimberly Young, who said the disorder, dubbed Pathological Internet Use, afflicts fewer than 10 percent of web users. Only 8 percent of the addicts identified by Young's research work in high-tech jobs. More than 40 percent surveyed said they had no permanent jobs, and 39 percent identified themselves as secretaries, teachers, bank tellers and journalists. "Those who suffer from low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy or frequent disapproval from others are at the highest risk" of becoming Web addicts, Young said.Spending too much time on the Internet cost Pam Albridge custody of her children, ages 7 and 8. A judge in Umatilla, Fla., awarded custody of the children to their father after declaring that the mother was addicted to the Web.CoincidenceA gunman robbed Darlene Cusanza, the executive director of Crimestoppers for the New Orleans metropolitan area, outside the group's suburban office, making off with $1,200 in checks that had been donated to the group, which pays for tips that help solve crimes. "We moved the offices to Metairie to be safer," Cusanza said. "That's what's so ironic." Sing a Happy SongDutch authorities sentenced Wim de Nijs to four months in jail this summer for singing the theme to "The Flintstones" over his small plane's radio. Prosecutors said the pilot's prank tied up a radio frequency for 20 minutes, preventing air traffic controllers at the Groningen airport from communicating with other aircraft.In Khampeng Phet, Thailand, police said escaped murder suspects Sompong Boonprasert and Ketsara Saiabyud avoided detection while sawing through metal bars of a jail window by singing loudly. Remain CalmA strain of bacteria that causes thousands of often deadly infections a year among hospital patients is becoming resistant to medicine's last-resort drug, and health experts said in another two to three years it might become fully resistant. The resistance of the new strain of staphylococcus aureus bacteria to the potent drug vancomycin is attributed to the overuse of antibiotics that enables staph bacteria to infect 2 million hospital patients in this country a year, of whom 60,000 to 80,000 die. "The strain is marching up the ladder of resistance," Dr. Fred Tenover of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted. "It is not a cause for panic, but it is a cause for concern."Resistible UrgeThe fabled French sex drive is waning, according to a survey for the magazine L'Evenement du Jeudi, which found that 38 percent of those polled make love less frequently than they used to. Only 9 percent said they have more sex than before. Forty-nine percent said they often or sometimes have no desire to make love; what's more, 52 percent said they would not be bothered by going without sex for long periods.In another survey by the British condom maker Durex, 57 percent of the American women responding and 42 percent of the men said that an unlimited shopping spree on someone else's gold credit card appealed to them more than sex.Just a DreamA common disorder called sleep paralysis may be the simple explanation for tales of abductions by extraterrestrials and visitations by vampires, goblins and ghosts, according to Dr. Stan Rehm, a lung and breathing specialist at the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Hospital and Washington University. The condition is relatively harmless and fairly common, although Rehm said people don't usually talk about it because "they are afraid they'll be thought to be crazy." While dropping off to sleep or awakening, the muscles are paralyzed for 30 seconds or more, but during this time, "you can't move, you cannot speak, you cannot do anything except, perhaps, groan." Sufferers feel a heavy weight on their chest, often like suffocating or strangling, and experience hallucinations that make some believe that they've nearly died or been visited by something evil or alien.Faux FoesAntique collectors are asking the government to require labels on reproductions so people can tell the fakes from the genuine article. Insisting that the problem of copies being passed as originals "has reached epidemic proportions," antiques writer Harry Rinker said some unscrupulous dealers deliberately misrepresent copies as originals, while others say nothing, leaving it up to the buyer to determine authenticity. Concerned antique dealers and collectors started a letter-writing campaign this summer urging Congress to broaden the 1973 Hobby Protection Act, which requires copies of political memorabilia and coins to be prominently labeled, to include other collectibles, ranging from Victorian glassware to baseball trading cards.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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