Slightest Provocations | News Quirks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » News Quirks

Slightest Provocations



Curses, Foiled Again
Two car thieves being chased by police holed up in a house in New Haven, Conn., while a dozen officers surrounded the building. When hostage negotiators threatened to unleash canine units, the suspects heard barking and surrendered. There were no dogs, however, only officers pretending to bark like dogs. “These cops were trained to do stuff like that,” witness Gideon Gurley said after Kwame Wells-Jordan, 20, and Norman Boone, 23, were taken into custody. (New Haven’s WFSB-TV)

When a security guard at a supermarket in Sarasota, Fla., confronted Christopher Frazier Seiler, 45, after store employees spotted him putting 10 cans of deodorant in his pants, Seiler tried to escape on a bicycle. The bicycle chain broke, however, and Seiler fell to the ground, losing most of the deodorant. Police who arrested Seiler said he admitted taking the items. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Culture in Other Lands
Twenty percent of Norway’s population viewed a 12-hour television program by state broadcaster NRK called National Firewood Night. It featured four hours of people chopping wood and talking about it, and then eight hours of a fireplace in a Bergen farmhouse. NRK photographer Ingrid Tangstad Hatlevoll added fresh wood throughout the night, aided by viewers who sent advice via Facebook on where to place it. “I couldn’t go to bed because I was so excited,” one viewer posted on the newspaper Dagbladet’s website. “When will they add new logs?” The program was not without controversy. “We received about 60 text messages from people complaining about the stacking in the program,” said Lars Mytting, whose best-selling book, Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying & Stacking Wood—& the Soul of Wood-Burning,” inspired the program. “Fifty percent complained that the bark was facing up, and the rest complained that the bark was facing down. One thing that really divides Norway is bark.” (The New York Times)

After news reports that a man attending a popular exhibit at Vienna’s Leopold Museum titled Nude Men from 1800 to Today stripped to view the paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures, museum official Klaus Pokorny said other men contacted the museum asking if they could visit the exhibition naked. As a result, the museum held a special after-hours showing that attracted more than 60 art-loving men wearing only socks and sneakers. One woman, computer engineer Irina Wolf, joined the men, explaining, “I want to see how I relate to such a group.” (Associated Press)

No.1 News
Peter Tomlinson spent 100,000 pounds ($154,570) to convert a Victorian-era men’s public toilet into a fashionable London cafe that serves gourmet sandwiches created by a Michelin-star chef. The Attendant Café retains the original cast-iron street entrance and porcelain urinals, which have been turned into booths for diners. Tomlinson told the BBC that the entire facility was pressure-washed and “smells beautiful down here now.” (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Target changed the name of some shoes advertised on the store’s website after learning that it could be misinterpreted. Target official Jessica DeeDe said the shoes were named “orina,” based on the Russian translation for the word, which means “peace” or “peaceful.” In Spanish, however, the word means “urine.” (The Huffington Post)

Define Free
After a security guard stopped retiree Erwin Lingitz leaving a supermarket in White Bear Township, Minn., with two produce bags full of free samples, including 1.4 pounds of deli meat, Mike Siemienas of Supervalu Inc., which owns the store, acknowledged the unattended samples “were placed on a display case for customers to try.” But, he declared, Lingitz “violated societal norms and common customer understanding regarding free-sample practices.” Lingitz explained in his subsequent lawsuit that he helped himself to the samples for himself and his wife, who was waiting in the car while he filled a prescription. The security guard who confronted Lingitz suspected him of shoplifting and found him “uncooperative,” Siemienas said, and sheriff’s deputies were summoned to improve his cooperation. Photos submitted with Lingitz’s suit taken before he was booked into jail show him with two black eyes, a laceration across the bridge of his nose and cuts and bruises. Misdemeanor shoplifting and disorderly conduct charges were later dismissed. Asked about Supervalu’s policy limiting how many free samples a customer can take, Siemienas replied, “We go with the common-sense rule.” Lingitz’s wife, Frankie Lingitz, stated her husband’s position: “Something is either free or it isn’t. You can’t be arrested for thievery if it’s free.” (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

Silver Lining
U.S. border inspectors announced that between February and April, they seized some 500 fish bladders being smuggled into the country. The dried bladders, measuring up to 3 feet each, come from the endangered totoaba fish, which live exclusively in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. They sell for as much as $1,800 each. John Reed, a group supervisor for Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit, said investigators believe U.S. citizens are transporting the bladders to Los Angeles then to China, where they’re in demand to make fish maw soup. Reed also pointed out that the increase in bladder smuggling suggests that the totoaba fish population could be making a comeback. (Associated Press)

Slightest Provocations
A 15-year-old boy fired a gun at his parents in Columbus, Ga., because they insisted he do his chores instead of taking time to look up a Bible verse for a female friend seeking salvation. Police said the teenager took a 9mm pistol from his parents’ nightstand and then shot his mother in the wrist and abdomen and his father in the hip. (Columbus’ Ledger-Enquirer)

Pennsylvania State Police charged Robert D. Haberstumpf, 50, with threatening to shoot his neighbor and two workers in Lower Macungie Township after she knocked on his door to see if he wanted to move his car while she had their shared driveway sealed. She said he responded by waving a silver handgun and cursed at her from his second-floor window, then said, “I am going to plow all three of you. I am going to get my AK [AK-47] next.” (Allentown’s The Morning Call)

Trade-in of the Week
After Jamie Jeanette Craft, 29, crashed her 2001 Pontiac Grand Am into a mobile home in Jonesboro, Ark., she hopped in a child’s battery-operated Power Wheels truck to flee the scene. A witness told sheriff’s deputies he observed the half-naked woman sitting in the toy truck “trying to drive it.” Craft was charged with DWI. (Jonesboro’s KAIT-TV)