NewsQuirks 472

Curses, Foiled Again Christopher Bryant, 20, was arrested for robbing a pizza shop in Doylestown, Pa., after he locked the lone worker in a bathroom but didn't take her purse. The worker used a cellular phone in the purse to call the police. "I really don't know what was going through my mind," Bryant said after pleading guilty. One Pill Makes You Larger Viagra may be responsible for as many as 30 men's deaths in its first three months on the market, according to reports received by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through mid-June. The Wall Street Journal said most of the men who died were elderly with other health problems. In addition to the deaths, the reports show seven men had heart attacks, eight had strokes, four blacked out and six had vision problems.At least three of the deaths were men in their 20s and 30s who combined Viagra with "poppers," a kind of inhalant stimulant popular among homosexuals. "They have Viagra parties," said Kathy Watt, executive director of the Los Angeles-area Van Ness Recovery House, who noted the pills have become popular among club-goers. "People will pass out cards with the little blue pill at the top, just like other party drugs."Viagra is credited with increasing business at some Nevada brothels. Joe Richards, owner of the Cherry Patch and Mabel's, reported in June that his business had risen some 10 percent since the pill went on the market in March. "We have a lot of guys who used to come up here but stopped, and now they're back," he said. "The girls say they're on the pill." He added: "I wish we could sell Viagra. If we could advertise it and have it on the premises, we'd be in good shape." Larry Demorest, 89, was charged with attempted murder in Orlando, Fla., after the victim told sheriff's deputies that Demorest popped a Viagra, then tried to kill her after she refused to perform sex for money. Demorest admitted his doctor prescribed the Viagra but denied the charge, explaining that a recent case of shingles has reined in his libido. "I might look good, but I'm still pushing 100," he said. Roberta Burke, 63, filed a $2-million palimony suit in New York State Supreme Court in Mineola against her common-law husband, Francis Bernardo, 70, claiming that he left her for another woman after Viagra cured his impotence. Burke's suit said that an hour after Bernardo took the little blue pill, they had sex for the first time in four years. Two days later, he left, telling her, "It's time for me to be a stud again."After reading that some insurance companies and state health programs have refused to cover Viagra, Alan "Ace" Greenberg, head of the investment firm Bear, Stearns and Co., announced that he is giving $1 million to New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery to buy the pill, which sells for $8 to $10, for men who cannot afford it. "I made the money," Greenberg said, "and I'm going to give it away any way I want to."Elcio Berti, the mayor of Bocaiuva do Sul, Brazil, announced that he would hand out 4,000 free samples of Viagra to "those in need" in an effort to boost the town's population. He explained that unless the town's population rises from 10,000 to 12,000, federal aid would fall from $110,000 to $70,000 a year. "Expenses are going up, and revenue is falling," said Berti, whose attempt last year to outlaw condoms was ruled unconstitutional. "There is nothing else I can do." Until their own government approves the sale of Viagra, Canadians are stocking up in the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal. Alfonse Muto, owner of Pine Pharmacy in Niagara Falls, reported that he fills about 20 prescriptions a day for Canadian customers. In Vermont, doctors and pharmacists also said much of their business is coming from Canada. "Patients are lining up," Dr. Richard Grunert of Green Mountain Urology in Colchester said. "You could call it Vermont's number-one export." In Italy, meanwhile, where Viagra is not yet available, a bar near Genoa began selling a bright blue ice cream named for the drug, and a grocer near Lake Como introduced a soft Viagra cheese. The sellers make no claims that their products overcome erectile dysfunction. A United Arab Emirates national with 46 children advised his countrymen to forget about Viagra and eat plenty of fish instead. According to the Emirates News, Ahmed Rashid bin Aboud, 48, who lives in the emirate of Fujairah on the UAE's east coast, said he had 23 sons and 23 daughters from eight wives, one of whom had given birth to 17 children. "Eat fish, and more fish," Aboud told the paper. "I spend $54 every day on fish." Risky Business Albanian officials blamed the popularity of bingo for ending many marriages. The daily paper Gazeta Shqiptare listed bingo and drinking as the causes of half of all divorce cases in courts from April through June, pushing the traditional causes, adultery and violence, to under one-third of all complaints. Thomas Stanley Huntington, 52, was charged with defrauding at least a dozen people, who paid him $15,000 to buy "California Red Superworms." Huntington's brochure promised "Easiest job ever!" and claimed the worms ate nuclear waste and could be used as breeding stock to supply the federal government's as-yet-unopened nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad, N.M. Real-Life Paradox H. Richard Borer Jr., the mayor of West Haven, Conn., ordered town workers to pull the plug on a sign that warned people headed for the beach to keep quiet. The sign was too loud. Borer explained that the portable generator used to power the flashing sign made enough noise to defeat the sign's purpose.

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