NewsQuirks 558

Not All Crooks Are DumbThree men arrived at an Italian post office in Rome with a large package to be mailed. Because the package was too big to fit through the normal package slot, employees unlocked a service door and invited the men to bring in the package, according to Rome police spokesperson Carlo Cerrutti. Once inside the protected area, a fourth man, said to be "about 30 and diminutive in size, like a jockey," jumped out of the parcel, waved a machine gun and shouted, "Hands up, this is a holdup." The four men made off with $75,000.Head GamesJason Duniver, 24, admitted he had been drinking a New Year's Eve party in Sandusky, Ohio, and assumed a nail gun he was playing with was unloaded because he didn't feel anything when he fired it at his head. Witnesses also assumed it was empty because Duniver seemed uninjured, and there was no blood. When he showed up for work the next day, however, his boss noticed a bruise on his head. Duniver went to the hospital, where doctors discovered an inch-and-a-half nail embedded in his skull. "If he survives and comes out of this with everything mentally intact," Martha Stewart, a supervisor at Firelands Community Hospital, said, "he's a very fortunate young man."German businessman Alexander Loschke, 35, insisted the cure for the common cold is copper wire inserted in each nostril. Explaining that the rings help more air get into the nostrils and combat microorganisms, he told Reuters news agency he discovered copper's healing ability when he placed copper rings on his tomato canes, and his plants grew while those of other gardeners rotted. "I thought what did the tomatoes good can't do me any harm," he said, so the next time he had a cold, he pushed small copper rings into his nostrils, and his cold was gone in just 36 hours.Heather Perry, 29, of Gloucester, England, said she cured her chronic fatigue by cutting away a section of her scalp and drilling a two-centimeter hole in her head to allow blood to flow more easily around her brain. Explaining that she suffered from myalgic encephalomyelitis, which causes inflammation of her brain and spinal cord, Perry operated on herself under local anesthetic in front of a mirror and a camera crew. The 20-minute procedure almost went wrong when she drilled too far and penetrated a membrane protecting her brain tissue.Japanese police arrested religious cult leader Koji Takahashi, who claims he can cure illness by patting people on the head, in connection with the death of a 66-year-old follower whose mummified body was found in a hotel room. The man's family insisted he was still alive and that Takahashi was treating him for a brain hemorrhage by patting his head.Finders WeepersAlmost two years after Kathy Fulton found two plastic bags stuffed with $279,000 in her driveway in Ringgold, Ga., U.S. District Court Judge Harold L. Murphy ruled that she and her husband could keep 40 percent of it. But first they have to pay their attorneys a one-third contingency fee, then federal taxes, leaving them with only about $50,000.Coiffed and CuffedWhen Shurwanda Brown tried to board a flight from Jamaica to Orlando, Fla., police became suspicious because she had unusually high hair. A search revealed a package of cocaine wrapped in a stocking stuffed in her hair. The Florida woman explained she had put the package there as a treatment for her hair. At her trial, her lawyer, Earle Wright, insisted that Brown "did not in any way try to deceive this court. Someone tricked her." Magistrate Joyce Bennett decided otherwise, declaring, "She can't say that, Mr. Wright. The police took it from off her head. Twelve months."Three months later, U.S. Customs agents detained two North Carolina women at a Mexican border crossing in Hidalgo, Texas, after finding packages of cocaine hidden under their wigs. "It was their hair," government spokesperson Rick Pauza explained. "Something about it didn't look right."Dueling DoofusesLeonard Oak and Richard Lavoie were playing a game of chicken at Lavoie's home in Johnsbury, Vt., by shooting at each other to see who could come the closest without actually hitting anyone. According to a witness, when one of Lavoie's shots missed Oak's head by barely 6 inches, Oak retaliated by shooting a clock in the home. Lavoie became angry and threatened Oak, who then shot Lavoie.Bobby G. Olson and Arnold Motzko got into an argument at a bar in Breckenridge, Minn., over whose pickup truck was more powerful. They decided to settle the matter by chaining the trucks together and having a tug o'war. Motzko lost when his truck slid into a ditch and rolled over, ejecting Motzko, who was killed when his pickup landed on top of him.Web FeatsA new Internet company in Davis, Calif., is charging people $10.95 to send e-mail messages into outer space. "This is the ultimate expression of free speech," said Greg Snow, co-founder and president of Bentspace.com. "Now anyone with access to the Internet can send a message into the cosmos that will travel for all eternity."In Newton, Mass., Daniel Caine and Wendell Smith have launched Split-Up.com, which offers emotional support, advice and software products for couples looking to end their marriage. Among the products available are a child-support guideline calculator ($39) and a package of five different divorce calculators ($40). "It's just amazing how much money can be saved with proper planning and good advice," Caine said. "This is the kind of thing that people won't know they need until they see it."Brain DrainA study by a Rome sexology clinic that asked people what goes through their mind while making love found that new couples worried about what their partners thought of them, whereas established couples thought about the mortgage and soccer, including the famous scream of joy by national squad member Marco Tardelli when Italy won the World Cup in 1982. A number of men responded that they thought about Italian movie and television star Sabrina Ferilli.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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