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Unclear on the Concept



Curses, Foiled Again
Denver police arrested four burglary suspects who tried to sell stolen goods back to their victim. Lacinda Robinson, 24, said that after discovering the crime, she went to a nearby McDonald’s parking lot, where two young men offered her a PlayStation 3 video game similar to the one she lost. She declined, but when another youth approached her wearing a distinctive Washington Redskins jacket “that I believe belonged to me” she realized the men were selling her stuff. She reported the incident to two off-duty police. (Denver’s KMGH-TV)

• A man aroused suspicion by repeatedly calling a post office in Nashville, Tenn., asking if a package had arrived. When it did show up, postal workers inspected it and found it reeked of marijuana. They alerted police, who arrested Terrell Mills, 24, when he came to claim the package, which contained 10 pounds of pot. (Nashville’s WSMV-TV)

The Next Winter Olympics Event
Quebec inventor Yvon Martel unveiled an electric-powered sled. Dubbed the MTT-136, it weighs about 280 pounds and can haul a person or cargo for 130 miles on an eight-hour charge. (Popular Science)

When Guns Are Outlawed
Ken Birdsill, 56, reported that he was beaten and robbed by a man armed with an icicle. The victim said two men came to his house in Windsor, N.Y., demanding drugs and money. One man punched Birdsill in the face when he opened the door; the other hit him on the head with the icicle. (Binghamton’s WBNG-TV)

Hard News
The federal government overpaid by $86.4 million to provide penis pumps to Medicare patients at twice the price private providers charge, according to the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general. The IG report noted that the vacuum erection systems cost taxpayers nearly $175 million during the years 2006 to 2011 and that reducing the Medicare payment for the devices to the level of non-Medicare payers could save the federal government about $18 million a year. (The Washington Times)

Extreme Makeover
Hoping to distance aspiring middle-class Kazakhstan from its low-class neighbors, President Nursultan Nazarbayev suggested eliminating “stan” from its name. The word means “place” in Persian, but Nazarbayev said that it causes foreigners to lump the country with its economically less developed or more politically volatile neighbors. He suggested the name “Kazakh Yeli,” or “Land of the Kazakhs,” and invited public discussion of his proposal. (The Economist)

Unclear on the Concept
Authorities in Mount Vernon, Ill., charged Sammy Kehrer, 47, with stabbing a 37-year-old man to death at a gun club. (Associated Press)

Rocket Surgery
Two boys working on a school science project involving model rocketry caused an explosion so powerful that it blew out several windows of their Seattle home, blasted open the back door and propelled debris into the backyard. After the boys were hospitalized, one of the fathers said the boys had tried to start a fire in the fireplace and may have used some of the rocket fuel to get it going. (CNN)

• After students at Reed College in Portland, Ore., rolled a 900-pound snowball, a pair of math majors seized it and started shoving it toward a city street. They miscalculated its trajectory, however, and it ended up plowing into a dorm and ripping apart a room’s wall. Maintenance workers spent 45 minutes cutting through the 40-inch thick icy globe. (Portland’s The Oregonian)

Write About What You Know
Alaric Hunt, 44, won a $10,000 literary prize from Minotaur Books and the Private Eye Writers of America for his crime novel Cuts Through Bone. The award includes a publishing contract for the author, a convicted murderer who has been in a South Carolina prison since 1988. Hunt said he assembled his view of the outside world for the novel from books he read and from episodes of television’s Law and Order. (The New York Times)

Slightest Provocation
James Jugo, 52, admitted beating his roommate to death in Tampa, Fla., after the two argued about a chicken foot. Roommate Benjamin Calderon, 52, objected when Jugo took the chicken foot from a skillet while Calderon was cooking it. (Tampa Bay Times)

• Travis Schelling, 35, assaulted his girlfriend, police in Phoenix, Ariz., said, because he didn’t understand how Facebook works. According to investigators, whenever one of her friend’s posts appeared on her news feed, Schelling thought other men were sending messages directly to her. Every time Schelling read a post, he would hit her. The attacks, which lasted nearly four hours, included sexual assault, punching, slapping and pulling out clumps of hair. (Phoenix’s The Arizona Republic)

Overnight Success
When Google announced it was buying Nest, a high-tech thermostat and smoke-detector company, for $3.2 billion, investors rushed to buy stock. The flurry caused the stock of Nestor Inc., which sells automated traffic enforcement systems to local governments and trades under the ticket symbol NEST, to surge 1,900 percent. Prior to the deal, Nestor was trading for less than a penny. After reaching as much as 10 cents, the price fell back to 3 cents. (Business Insider)

Coals to Newcastle
Thanks to a new restaurant in Shanghai, Americans living in the Chinese city of 24 million people can enjoy previously unavailable ethnic cuisine: Chinese food. That is, Chinese food as served in the United States. Fortune Cookie is the brainchild of American entrepreneurs Fung Lam, 31, who grew up in New Jersey, and David Rossi, whom Lam met in a master’s program in hospitality management at Cornell University. The restaurant targets nostalgic Americans by offering General Tso’s chicken and other Chinese-American dishes, made with such staples as Skippy peanut butter, Mott’s applesauce, Heinz ketchup and Philadelphia cream cheese. “A lot of people called us crazy and were banking on us closing after six months,” Lam says, noting that February marked the restaurant’s eighth month. “It’s kind of embarrassing that you’re in China eating American-Chinese food, but it was spot on,” customer Megan Emery-Moore, who teaches art at Shanghai American School, said, noting the food makes her feel “calm,” “relaxed” and “like I’m at home.” (NPR)

Immigration Reform
Thomas J. Donahue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, declared that the United States needs more low-skill immigrants because U.S. workers aren’t “qualified” or “willing” to do such jobs. (The Weekly Standard)

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

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