Big Brother Is Back | News Quirks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » News Quirks

Big Brother Is Back



Curses, Foiled Again
Police arrested Steven Long, 23, in South Daytona, Fla., after he aroused their suspicion by riding past on a bicycle with a 59-inch television wedged between his lap and the handlebars. When spotted, Long ditched the bike and the TV, which was indeed stolen, but was caught while fleeing on foot. (Orlando Sentinel)

• Neo-Nazi Daren C. Abbey, 28, threatened to stab Marlon L. Baker, a 46-year-old black man, after telling him “blacks are not welcome here” in Bayview, Wash. When Abbey persisted with threats and racial slurs, Baker knocked him down with one punch to the face, breaking his nose. Police who charged Abbey with battery and malicious harassment noted the back of Baker’s shirt read, “Spokane Boxing Club “If he had been able to read that,” Lt. Stu Miller said, “maybe he wouldn’t have done that.” (Spokane’s KREM-TV)

Big Brother Is Back
Russia’s largest retail bank has begun using automated teller machines with built-in lie detectors. Speech Technology Center developed the voice-analysis system for Sberbank to prevent consumer credit fraud by interrogating customers applying for credit at the ATMs. Software detects nervousness or emotional distress, possibly indicating the credit applicant is lying or has something to hide when asked questions like, “Are you employed?” and, “At this moment, do you have any other outstanding loans?” Speech Technology Center’s other big client is the Federal Security Service, the Russian domestic intelligence agency that evolved from the Soviet KGB. (The New York Times)

Love Hurts
The Florida Highway Patrol reported that Joel Santos, 25, tried to stop his girlfriend from leaving after an argument in Orange County by lying on the ground in front of her car. She promptly ran over him, sending him to the hospital in critical condition, according to FHP Sgt Kim Montes. (Orlando Sentinel)

Not a Square to Spare
New York City’s Parks Department began rationing toilet paper in women’s restrooms along the Coney Island boardwalk. Despite assurances by department official Meghan Lalor that “our budget for these supplies is consistent” and “there’s no need to ration,” bathroom attendants insisted stocks were so low that they’ve stopped refilling toilet paper dispensers and started making beachgoers form “ration lines” in bathrooms to be issued single-ply toilet paper squares. Toilet paper isn’t being rationed in the men’s rooms because there isn’t any to ration. (New York Post)

Medical Plan Follies
When Virginia Graham, 85, complained that her new dentures were scraping her gums raw, Deltona, Fla., dentist Michael G. Hammonds, 57, began adjusting them. Graham screamed in pain, witnesses told Volusia County sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Haught, who reported, “She yanked them out and flung them at Hammonds, demanding a refund.” When Hammonds refused, Graham tried to grab the $900 partial plate, and the two got into a tug-of-war. It ended when Graham used the false teeth she was holding to bite Hammonds’s hand so he’d let go. When he did, she tried to run out the door, but he pushed it shut. Graham climbed on a receptionist’s desk hoping to escape through a window. At this point, two deputies arrived and arrested Hammonds on four felony charges, including false imprisonment. (The Daytona Beach News-Journal)

Irony of the Week
While protesting New York State’s helmet laws, Parish motorcyclist Philip A. Contos, 55, suddenly spun out of control, flipped over his bike’s handlebars and hit his head on the pavement. He wasn’t wearing a helmet and died. (Associated Press)

Church of the Iniquity
Pope Benedict XVI shut down a famous monastery in Rome for a lack of liturgical, financial and moral discipline. The Santa Croce in Gerusalemme church had been run by former fashion designer Simone Fioraso, who renovated the church’s crumbling interior when he became abbot, and opened a hotel. Before he was removed two years ago, he held regular concerts, a televised Bible-reading marathon and attracted celebrity visitors. One of the monastery’s nuns, former lap dancer Anna Nobili, performed with other dancing nuns during religious ceremonies. Noting that an inquiry by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life found evidence of “lifestyles that were probably not in keeping with that of a monk,” Vatican official Father Ciro Benedettini said the monastery’s few remaining Cistercian monks would be reassigned to various Italian communities. (BBC News)

Weekend at Bernie’s, Part IV
A court in Cyprus convicted three men of digging up the body of President Tassos Papadopoulos and hiding it for three months. It turned up in another cemetery in suburban Nicosia after one of the corpse-nappers told Papadopoulos’s family its location and said he wanted money to start a new life abroad. He got no money, just 18 months in jail. The other two defendants were brothers, one of whom asked the other to dig up the remains so he could negotiate his release from prison, where he’s serving two life sentences for murder. They each got 20 months. (Reuters)

Enabling Architectural
A foyer of light and glass highlight Ohio’s new $105 million Franklin County Common Pleas Courthouse, which turns out to have one design flaw: a long staircase that extends from the first floor to the second. Its thin concrete panels form the steps, but glass panels cover the vertical gaps between them, allowing people below to see up skirts. “If you wear dresses, you’re on notice that you might want to take the elevator, as I will be doing,” Judge Julie M. Lynch said. While the county seeks a solution, director of public facilities management Jim Goodenow said security guards have been told to be alert for people on the busy walkway beneath the stairs craning their necks for a better view above. (The Columbus Dispatch)

Police responding to a call of an infant child in the back seat of a hot car parked outside a strip club in Louisville, Ky., found both parents inside the club and arrested them. The father, Thomas W. Lee, 28, was wearing an ankle bracelet that was supposed to ensure he stayed at home as a condition of his probation. Police said that while being taken to jail, Lee complained about the heat in the back of the police car. (Louisville’s WDRB-TV)

Guilty, with an Explanation
Accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on a Kansas City sidewalk in broad daylight, Melvin L. Jackson, 48, told police who found him walking down the street with his pants unzipped, “I thought that lady was dead.” (The Kansas City Star)

Compiled from the press reports by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.