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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

News Quirks

Roland Sweet
Published Thursday January 22, 05:17 pm
A Darwin Awards report on the sexes has bad news for dudes

Photo Credit: Illustration by Myron Campbell

“Men are idiots, and idiots do stupid things,” concludes a British study that surveyed winners of the Darwin Awards ( over the past 20 years. It found 88.7 per cent were male. To win an award, individuals “must eliminate themselves from the gene pool in such an idiotic manner that their action ensures one less idiot will survive.” Examples cited by the five researchers, all men, include a thief trying to steal an elevator cable by unbolting it while standing in the elevator, causing his death when it plummeted to the ground; a man who hitched a shopping cart to the back of a train trying to get a free ride home and was dragged two miles to his death; and the terrorist who mailed a letter bomb and when it was returned for insufficient postage, opened it. The study suggests drinking is often a contributing factor, supporting “the hypothesis that alcohol makes men feel bulletproof.” (British Medical Journal)


Say That Again, But Slower

A witness in the London trial of African preacher Gilbert Deya testified for more than an hour before anyone realized the Sierra Leone native wasn’t speaking English. During the 38-year-old woman’s testimony, lawyers blamed the courtroom’s poor acoustics for their inability to understand her, and repeatedly told her to speak more slowly and stand back from the microphone. Finally, court clerk Christiana Kyemenu-Caiquo, also from Sierra Leone, informed Judge Nicholas Madge that the witness was speaking a native Creole dialect. Kyemenu-Caiquo was sworn in to translate the testimony, which consisted of “I can’t remember” to every question. (London Evening Standard)


Drinking-Class Heroes: Flat

Police arrested Richard Curzon, 57, in Omaha, Nebraska, after observing him straddling the centerline while driving with four flat tires and a deployed airbag. An officer tried to stop Curzon, but he refused to pull over and led the officer on a brief, low-speed chase. Blood-alcohol level: 0.253. (Omaha World-Herald)


Too Much Vine

Vines are proliferating, thanks to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that allow them to hog more light and water than the slower-growing trees they twine around, according to Australian biologist William Laurance. Noting that up to half of all plant species in a typical rainforest are vines, he warned that vines are advancing not only in rainforests fragmented by agriculture and logging, but even in undisturbed forests. (Sierra)


New and Improved

New York officials selected a consortium of advertising, technology and telecom companies to install thousands of pay phones throughout the city. The new versions will offer 24-hour free Wi-Fi connections; touchscreen displays with direct access to city services, maps and directions; and charging stations for cellphones and other mobile devices. Sophisticated digital advertising is expected to fund the system, to the tune of $500 million over the next 12 years, providers said. The City expects additional revenue to come from auctioning off some of the 6,500 old-style pay phones that the 10,000 new machines will replace. (The Washington Post)


Drinking-Class Heroes: Trucked

Vermont State Police said Dwayne Fenlason, 48, was drunk when he drove his pickup off the road in Pomfret, when he went home and got a second truck to pull out the first truck, and when he drove the second truck off the road. He went home again and got his all-terrain vehicle to pull out both trucks — but this time was arrested for drunk driving. Blood-alcohol level: 0.30. (Burlington’s WCAX-TV)


Can We All Get Along?

Charges of racism were directed at a clothing store that posted a sign banning Chinese customers. The store is located in Beijing. “We didn’t want to hang up the sign in the first place and lead people to think we Chinese look down upon ourselves,” a salesperson at the store on Yabao Road said. “But some Chinese customers are too annoying.” Most of the store’s customers are foreigners. (South China Morning Post)


Leaf Those Alone

British social media accused London authorities of wasting money by paying workers to climb ladders and pull leaves from 145 trees in autumn at sites around the Houses of Parliament instead of letting nature take its course. “If we waited for the leaves to fall off, it would waste a lot of time raking them up,” a House of Commons official explained. “It is more efficient.” (Britain’s The Express)


Altercation At Boardwalk And Park Place

Police arrested Alyssa Ferraro, 21, for assaulting her boyfriend in Hooksett, New Hampshire, during an argument over a game of Monopoly. (New Hampshire Union Leader)


Drinking-Class Heroes: Wrong Bars

Authorities arrested a 39-year-old woman for drunken driving in Paw Paw (“located in the heart of Michigan’s wine country,” the village website proclaims) after she pulled into the parking lot of the Van Buren County Jail and told the sheriff’s deputy who confronted her that she believed it was a bar. Blood-alcohol level: 0.17. (Kalamazoo Gazette)


When Windshield Wipers Aren’t Enough

Authorities said Marcos Ortega, 33, struck a 66-year-old pedestrian in Ocean County, New Jersey, and then drove about a mile with the victim stuck in his windshield until an officer pulled him over. (Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV)


Drinking-Class Heroes: Trombone

Responding to a complaint that a man was shooting a gun at a can in the street in Blair Township, Michigan, while he was “wearing camo pants and a clown mask and at one point was playing a trombone,” sheriff’s deputies found the 54-year-old man aiming at surrounding houses, determined he was drunk and arrested him. (Michigan’s


Straight To The Point

A 48-year-old man attacked a 44-year-old man with a sword, according to Cleveland police, after they accused each other of having homosexual tendencies. (Northeast Ohio Media Group)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet 

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