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Monty Python in Real Life



Curses, Foiled Again
Two car-theft suspects fleeing police on foot in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ran into an office building, ducked inside a women’s restroom, crouched on toilets in the stalls and tried to convince officers they were women by using falsetto voices. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that officers weren’t fooled and arrested brothers Kendrick Pitts, 20, and Marquise Pitts, 19.

• Police caught up with a suspected drug dealer who led them on a 90 mph chase after he stopped at a Taco Bell parking lot in Decatur, Ind. Fort Wayne police Sgt. Mark Walters told the Journal Gazette that Jermaine Askia Cooper, 36, explained “he knew he was going to jail for a while” and wanted to get one last burrito.

Casting the First Stone
Two months after the Chicago Tribune denounced American International Group Inc. for awarding its top executives $450 million in bonuses while accepting public bailout money, the newspaper’s owner, the Tribune Co., received permission from a Delaware bankruptcy judge to pay some 700 local and corporate managers bonuses totaling $13.3 million. “We need to motivate and incentivize the key people who will implement change,” Tribune Chief Financial Officer Chandler Bigelow III explained to Judge Kevin Carey, who approved the handouts. “They’re the best and the brightest in the company.” The Washington Times reported that the Chicago Tribune’s editorial asked the company executives responsible for AIG’s $40.5 billion in losses last year, “Shouldn’t that kind of ‘performance’ require those employees to return some of their salaries, if not be fired altogether?”

Homeland Insecurity
The Transportation Security Administration admitted its $36 million “puffer” machine airport-screening program was a mistake. USA Today reported the 207 machines, designed to thwart terrorists by firing air blasts at passengers and sniffing for explosives particles dislodged from skin and clothing, were too slow to handle passenger screening. They were also unreliable, becoming confused by humidity and jet fumes and easily clogging, resulting in additional operating costs of $48,000 per machine. The TSA said it is replacing the machines with full-body scanners.

Slightest Provocation
Police arrested Michael Jay Richardson, 48, after a woman told them he threatened her because she forgot to bring home cheddar cheese. According to the police report, when the 29-year-old Myrtle Beach, S.C., woman went to the bathroom after bringing in groceries, Richardson kicked in the door and demanded to know where the cheddar cheese was.

Killer GOP
Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., hinted that former Republican vice-presidential candidate Jack Kemp died of cancer because of the Republican Party agenda. Responding to a question from CBS’s Bob Schieffer over whether he had let down Pennsylvanians who wanted a Republican to represent them, Specter said he was “becoming more comfortable” with the Democrats’ approach and expressed disillusionment with recent changes in the Republicans’ health-care priorities. “If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains,” Specter said. “I think Jack Kemp would be alive today.”

Instant Karma
Police said Brandon Goodson, 23, was killed at a railroad crossing in Burleson, Texas, when he “disregarded the railroad crossing signal lights and bells and drove around another vehicle that was stopped at the crossing arms.” The Jeep Compass that Goodson was driving “rolled multiple times” when the locomotive hit it.

Monty Python in Real Life
A teenager entered a store in Winston-Salem, N.C., and demanded money, claiming he had a gun concealed beneath his shirt. Instead of complying, owner Bobby Ray Mabe told the Winston-Salem Journal, he and a customer jumped the robber and held him. The gun tucked under his shirt turned out to be a banana, which the suspect, John Steven Szwalla, 17, ate while awaiting sheriff’s deputies. He left the peel, however, which deputies photographed as evidence.

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