NewsQuirks 502

Curses, Foiled AgainPolice investigating a bank robbery in Wilmington, Del., arrested Cawayne Brown after he waved to a police officer he knew. The officer noticed Brown's hands were the same fluorescent orange color as the dye pack that exploded in the stolen money. "If he would have gone about his business," Lt. Sean Finerty noted, "the cop car would have gone right past him."Police investigating a series of house burglaries in Loudon County, Va., identified Michael Anthony Silver, 34, as their prime suspect after one of the victims reported that his phone bill showed a $250 charge to a psychic hotline, which was made while he was out of town. Authorities said they linked Silver to the call because he made the mistake of giving the psychic his real name.When someone stole a Jeep Cherokee in the District of Columbia, the owner called her car cell phone to demand the vehicle's return. The thief didn't answer because at the time the call came through, he was being questioned by police. After the driver ignored the ringing phone, a suspicious detective answered, spoke with the victim and arrested the teenage suspect.Fair-Weather FriendDuring a late-summer heat wave, Florida's Hillsborough County received $453,244 from the federal government to distribute air conditioners to the poor. By December, officials reported that the air conditioners were turning up in pawn shops.Accident ProneAvner Igaeli, a former Israeli sharpshooter, filed a $1-million lawsuit against a New York company, claiming that its shoddy packaging ended his career as a military sniper. The suit charged that when Igaeli tried to lift a parcel sent by AIL Systems, metal in the handle ripped and impaled itself in his trigger finger, causing permanent loss of its use and forcing him into early retirement.Steve Beyer, 22, shot himself in the eye with a gas-powered potato gun while looking down the barrel. "He wanted to see the spark at the bottom," explained Gretchen Lacharite of the Fairfax County, Va., police. "He did not know there was any potato still within the firing chamber."At least seven hunters were accidentally hurt during the opening weekend of Maryland's deer season. Six fell from or were shot in tree stands. The seventh shot himself in the foot.Filling a NeedWhen Delia Smith, Britain's leading television chef, instructed her viewers how to boil an egg, her rivals criticized her back-to-basics approach as insulting to people's intelligence. A month later, however, egg producers reported that since the broadcast, egg sales had increased 10 percent.Quick-Change ArtistsLori Greene, 36, and Myra Strom, 54, pleaded guilty to stealing $209,000 -- all in quarters -- over the past three years from Extra Effort Payphones in Houston. Company owner Michael Huracek supplied the evidence against the women after wondering why the business never turned a profit. He set up a surveillance camera, which showed Greene, his bookkeeper, and Strom, a former employee, leaving the building with three 55-pound bags of quarters.Paul Santoro, 39, the chief financial officer of the town of Darien, Conn., was charged with embezzling at least $10,000 in quarters from parking meter receipts. State police said their suspicions were confirmed after witnessing Santoro turning in large amounts of change at a casino.Lose-Lose SituationSome Prozac users experience a mental state dubbed "uplift anxiety," according to the New York Times. The condition is characterized by unsettled feelings brought about by the absence of depression and grieving for their former unhappy selves.Spelling CountsA 14-page brochure advising young people about educational programs and facilities in Houston had to be thrown out after officials discovered it was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. Among the words misspelled were "library," "teaches" and "national." Donald Hollingsworth, an aide to Mayor Lee Brown, said the mayor's $67,000-a-year director for youth services, who wrote the booklet, faced disciplinary action.When Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge sent a letter congratulating the volunteer fire department of the city of DuBois, it was addressed to the "Dubious Volunteer Fire Department." The word "dubious" means doubtful. Aide Jerry Feaser blamed the mistake on a computer spell-check program.When the Bureau for At-Risk Youth of Plainview, N.Y., ordered pencils carrying the slogan "Too Cool to Do Drugs," Kodi Mosier, 10, of Ticonderoga Elementary School pointed out that when the pencils are sharpened, the message becomes "Cool to Do Drugs" and eventually "Do Drugs." The pencils were recalled and a new batch issued with the slogan printed in the opposite direction.Fringe BenefitsItaly's high court ruled that a wife isn't justified in cheating on her husband just because he spends long hours at the office.After French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin announced a 3-percent hike in unemployment benefits in December, thousands of jobless protested in 60 cities, demanding an even higher increase, as well as a Christmas bonus.Fur Fights BackWhen Egyptian workers arrived to demolish the abandoned San Stefano hotel in Alexandria, the newspaper Al-Akhbar reported they were attacked by hundreds of huge rats who had lived in the former luxury hotel for years. The workers fled, leaving city health authorities to figure out how to remove the rats.Onward, Christian SoldiersLast year, Kentucky lawmakers approved a measure allowing members of the clergy to bear arms. This year, Arkansas state Rep. Stephen Simon introduced a bill that would let worshippers carry guns. Simon said his constituents want to bring guns with them because they sometimes go straight from work to weeknight church services and don't have time to go home first to drop off their guns. Simon's bill would also relax the state's concealed-weapons ban in parks, bars and at sporting events.There Is JusticeEven though Donald Hieronimus, 46, was convicted of attacking and choking a man, the judge in Kitchener, Ontario, handed him a suspended sentence because the victim was Hieronimus's lawyer.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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