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Better Dead Than Red



Curses, Foiled Again
Juan Aguirre, 21, broke into Cirilla’s sex shop in Salina, Kan., and made off with six X-rated DVDs—or so he believed. Police who stopped him for questioning said his backpack contained a sledgehammer head attached to a rope that he used to shatter Cirilla’s door glass. The six DVD cases turned out to be empty. The store had removed the discs to use the cases for a display. (The Smoking Gun)

• After his ex-girlfriend kicked him out of her house in Malone, N.Y., Clyde Gardner, 57, decided the best revenge was to kill a bear, skin it, don the pelt and use the claws to maul the woman when she took out the garbage. He abandoned that plan, according to Franklin County prosecutor Elizabeth Crawford, and instead hired a friend to kill her in a car crash. The friend promptly notified police, and Gardner wound up taking a plea deal to serve 5 to 15 years in prison. (Associated Press)

Better Dead Than Red
The world’s largest sperm bank no longer welcomes donors with red hair. “There are too many redheads in relation to demand,” said Ole Schou, director of Denmark’s Cryos, which sends its semen to more than 65 countries worldwide. The only place where sperm from red-haired donors is in demand, Schou said, is Ireland, where it sells “like hot cakes.” (Britain’s The Telegraph)

Road Hazards
Tall corn is the latest risk of driving on rural roads, particularly in the Midwest, because it blocks views from vehicles at unmarked intersections. Iowa and Nebraska officials attributed as many as 52 deaths since 2001 to obstructed vision at intersections. The danger increased this year because corn’s higher prices prompted farmers to plant corn right up to the shoulders of roads adjacent to their fields. “Those corners used to all be open when prices were terrible, but they’re worse now with corn prices being good,” said Chad Siebert, whose brother was killed in September when a pickup truck slammed into his four-wheeler outside Henderson, Neb. York County Sheriff Dale Radcliff blamed tall corn for blocking the victim’s view, pointing out, “You wouldn’t be able to see him coming.” (Associated Press)

Chewing Gum Blues
Alberta’s Elsie C. Pawlow is seeking CA$100,000 in damages because she “suffered depression for approximately 10 minutes” when her chewing gum stuck to her dentures. In her suit against the maker of Stride gum, the Edmonton resident stated the gum “falls apart into little pieces and sticks to the dentures.” Her claim describes having to “dig out” the pieces of gum from her dentures, a procedure she termed “disgusting.” (Canada’s QMI Agency)

Further Hazards of Smoking
Sandra Gawlik, 44, was taken to the hospital with shoulder and head injuries she received when she walked into the side of a moving train in Needham, Mass., while trying to light her cigarette. (Boston Globe)

Tales of Waste Management
Exploding toilets seriously injured two government employees at General Services Administration headquarters in Washington, D.C. GSA official Emily Barocas explained that a water storage tank’s control system failed, allowing air to seep into pipes, where it compressed and, when the toilets were flushed, triggered the explosions, which blew the fixtures into tiny shards of porcelain. (The Washington Post)

• After Gordon Flavia, 56, crashed his Jeep into a carport while speeding backwards at his condominium building in Longview, Wash., he fled on foot. Police responding to the hit-and-run discovered Flavia hiding in a nearby portable toilet, covered with liquid human waste. “We didn’t know exactly what it was, but it smelled bad,” Sgt. Doug Kazensky said, adding that Flavia explained he’d splashed himself with the contents of a bucket outside the port-a-potty “because he thought the [police] dogs were coming, and he was trying to throw them off the scent.” (Longview’s The Daily News)

• See-through toilets could solve San Francisco’s public-urination problem, according to Brent Bucknum, founder of Oakland’s Hyphae Design Laboratory. He proposed replacing some street parking spaces with public restrooms that don’t flush or connect to the sewer system but instead collect and compost human waste. Bucknum, who is developing a prototype for testing, said the toilets might include ultraviolet lights to destroy germs and act as “lanterns” to signal their location. To thwart vandalism, drug use and prostitution, the washing facilities would be outside the structure, and its walls would be translucent, casting abstract silhouettes of occupants so police might observe any illegal activity. Bucknum said the toilets would cost $40,000 to $50,000 each. (San Francisco’s The Bay Citizen)

• The Sodaville, Ore., City Council voted unanimously to oust two-term Mayor Brady Harrington, 35, for missing three of its monthly meetings in a row and three budget-committee meetings. “In all fairness to Brady, he was out fighting fires during this time,” said council President Nick Heineck, who replaced Harrington as mayor. “He’s also been in school.” Although Sodaville’s population is only 297, Heineck explained council members hadn’t seen or been able to get in touch with Harrington. When Heineck finally did reach him by phone, Harrington informed him he couldn’t make the next few meetings either. He declined to resign, however, prompting the council’s vote to vacate the office. (The Albany Democrat-Herald)

Adding Insult to Insult
After law enforcement agents in Las Cruces, N.M., ordered a forcible body-cavity search of a woman they suspected of concealing up to an ounce of heroin, but who turned out not to possess any illegal substances, the hospital that performed the search billed the woman $1,122 for the procedure. (Las Cruces Sun-News)

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