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News » News Quirks

Getting to Be a Habit



Curses, Foiled Again
Police in Bloomsburg, Pa., arrested Jacob Close, 25, for jumping bail after he took part in the local newspaper's "Your Opinion" feature and allowed his photo to be published. An officer noticed Close's photo and tracked him down. (Associated Press)

• After Quamier Claiborne, 20, asked a passerby for a coat hanger, explaining that he was locked out of his car in Linden, N.J., the passerby notified police. Officers found Claiborne standing near a 2009 Volkswagen Passat that he claimed he'd borrowed from his aunt. A check found the vehicle had been reported stolen, and he was arrested. (Newark's The Star-Ledger)

Getting to Be a Habit
Engine trouble forced the pilot of a small plane to make an emergency landing on a highway near East Moriches, N.Y. A week later, he made another emergency landing on the same highway. "It wasn't one of my better landings," Frank Fierro, 75, said, adding, "My wife is going to kill me." (New York's WCBS-TV)

Facebook Follies
Oscar Otero Aguilar, 21, whom Mexican authorities described as obsessed with taking impressive photos of himself to post on social media, borrowed a gun and was waving it around while he took pictures with his cellphone when he accidentally shot himself in the head. (Britain's Mirror)

How the Great Unwashed Live
New York City's Department of Housing Preservation & Development approved a proposed apartment building with separate entrances for rich and poor residents. The 33-story complex will have 219 luxury units overlooking the Hudson River and 55 units facing the street for low-income families. Including affordable housing nets Extell Development Company a tax break and the right to erect a larger building than would normally be allowed. As for what critics call the "poor door," fellow developer David Von Spreckelsen of Toll Brothers explained, "I think it's unfair to expect very high-income homeowners who paid a fortune to live in their building to have to be in the same boat as low-income renters, who are very fortunate to live in a new building in a great neighborhood." (New York Post and Britain's Daily Mail)

• A San Francisco nonprofit group equipped a former public transit bus to offer free showers to homeless people. The Lava Mae mobile shower bus features two full private bathrooms with clean toilets, shampoo, soap and towels. Founder Doniece Sandoval explained that the bus can reach homeless people scattered throughout the city, plus it avoids high rents that a fixed location would entail. (Associated Press)

Mother of the Year
Florida authorities who charged Kayla R. Oxenham, 23, with intentionally branding her two children, ages 5 and 7, said she told the children that she burned them with a hot stick so she could identify them as hers. The Port Charlotte woman added that she "forgot how much she loved fire." (Fort Myers's WBBH-TV)

Second-Amendment Follies
Heath Vanek, 35, the firearms instructor for the Hewitt, Texas, Police Department, accidentally shot himself in the hand while using his personal 9mm semi-automatic pistol to teach his family to shoot. (Waco Tribune-Herald)

• A 37-year-old New York man was shot by another man during an argument while filming a rap video. "They were fighting over who's the star, who's better," said witness Ali Abdul. "They were drunk. They spit at each other, then one guy pulled out a gun and shot the other guy five times." Police said the victim was critically injured, and the shooter fled. (New York Daily News)

• Alaska authorities said Carl Timothy Forester, 50, tried to commit suicide at his Skagway home by putting his shotgun in his mouth. His girlfriend tried to stop him by hitting him in the head with the butt of another gun, but the blow caused him to involuntarily squeeze the trigger of his gun and shoot her in the upper chest, permanently disfiguring her. (Juneau Empire)

• IRS special agents fire their guns accidentally more than they fire them intentionally, according to an investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Between 2009 and 2011, the report found, "there were a total of eight firearm discharges classified as intentional use of force incidents and 11 discharges classified as accidental." (

Shocking Discovery
People would rather be doing something, even if it's hurting themselves, than doing nothing or being alone with their thoughts, according to researchers at the University of Virginia. When they gave 18 men a 15-minute "thinking" session, with the option of administering a mild electric shock, 12 of them gave themselves at least one electric shock. By comparison, six of 24 women shocked themselves. Prior to the sessions, all of the participants had received a sample of the shock and indicated they would pay not to be shocked again. "Simply being alone with their own thoughts for 15 minutes," the investigators reported in the journal Science, "was apparently so aversive that it drove many participants to self-administer an electric shock that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid." (University of Virginia press release)

Victim of the Week
British authorities reported that a 54-year-old man was trying to force open a toilet door on a train in Essex when the door opened and six women in miniskirts emerged, shouting. Police Sgt. Emma Weir said one of the women punched and kicked him onto the station platform, where he fell on another woman, who accused him of trying to steal her purse and punched him in the face. The man suffered a broken nose and two black eyes, according to Weir, who offered no explanation why six women were in the same toilet. (BBC News)

Cheater, Cheater
Karen Trant, 51, received disability benefits totaling 130,000 pounds ($218,100) for 13 years by claiming she was too scared to leave her house, but a British court sentenced her to two years in prison after an investigation found that she used the money to vacation for up to five months a year in Goa and for a string of cosmetic procedures. (Britain's The Telegraph)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.