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News » News Quirks

Geek of the Week



Curses, Foiled
Again A robber who entered a business in Fox Point, Wis., was rummaging through an office closet when owner David Kang, a Tae Kwon Do master who was giving a private lesson at his martial-arts studio, discovered the unidentified intruder and held him by the neck until police arrived.

• Police pursuing a bank robber said they caught up to the suspect after he made a wrong turn and wound up in a police station parking lot in Southfield, Mich. WXYZ News reported the 24-year-old Detroit man gave himself away by drawing a mustache and beard on his face with a Sharpie marker to disguise himself.

Geek of the Week
When a State Patrol trooper stopped a car on Washington’s Mercer Island after clocking it going 110 mph, the driver, James Garrett, told the trooper he had to get home to bid on an item he wanted on eBay before the auction closed. Garrett “didn’t say what he was bidding on,” Trooper Dan McDonald told The Seattle Times, “but the trooper said his car was filled with Star Wars stuff.”

Force Play
Nicole Mary Scarpone, 26, beat down the door of an apartment in Gaston, N.C., and demanded the three men inside pay her $10 to have sex, The Gaston Gazette reported, indicating Scarpone’s “aggressive prostitution” led to a burglary charge. “Defendant stated that she was dropped off over there and had been there before and performed sexual acts,” Officer B.H. Carr wrote in his warrant affidavit, “but stated that she was not invited over there tonight and indicated she just showed up to make some quick money.”

• Two girls, 12 and 14, tried to force their mother to take them for ice cream by jumping on her car in Schenectady, N.Y. Instead, police Sgt. Eric Clifford said, LaTasha Daniels, 38, who was on her way to buy milk, backed up, causing the 12-year-old girl, who was on the trunk, to jump off. Daniels then drove forward, slammed on the brakes and knocked the 14-year-old girl off. The older girl, who had been on the roof of the car, was hospitalized in critical condition. Neighbor David Roman told the Schenectady Daily Gazette one of the girls “was screaming the whole time,” and the mother, who wound up facing multiple felony charges, “was screaming, too.”

Paper Chase
An Ohio judge said Morrow County Municipal Court would stop taking new cases unless filers provided their own paper. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Judge Lee W. McClelland issued a memo noting the court—which handles civil, small claims, criminal and traffic cases—has just enough paper to handle pending cases and no money to buy more.

Changing Times
Twittering celebrities are using people other than themselves to post their 140-character-or-fewer, what-am-Idoing-now comments for their fans, according to The New York Times. Noting that “someone has to do all that writing, even if each entry is barely a sentence long,” the paper reported, “In many cases, celebrities and their handlers have turned to outside writers—ghost Twitterers, if you will—who keep fans updated on the latest twists and turns, often in the star’s own voice.”

Disclosing, for example, that rapper 50 Cent “doesn’t actually use Twitter,” Chris Romero, director of the rapper’s Web empire, told the Times he writes Twitters on his client’s behalf. But, he explained, “the energy of it is all him.” Then there are Twitter impostors. “Thanks to the democratizing powers of the Web and the rapid rise in popularity of Twitter,” The Washington Post reported the day after the Times story, “the very famous and the only slightly famous are finding themselves with virtual doppelgangers.”

Not all imposters on the social networking sites are targeting celebrities. Steven Livingstone, the founder of, which investigates whether famous Twitterers are really who they say they are, told the Post he spends equal time verifying the online identities of people who are experts in their fields but hardly household names.

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.