In this weeks roundup of odd news happenings: Whale sperm and pickles declared essential goods in Venezuela, and UNC researchers say bacon and eggs may help baby's brains develop.
Curses, Foiled Again
Two burglary suspects fleeing Sacramento County, Calif., sheriff’s deputies headed for a high school football field, where they ran into players practicing for the upcoming Pig Bowl, an annual contest between firefighters and law enforcement. The latter team, comprising mostly deputies, was working out and quickly tackled suspects James Hill Jr., 19, and a 17-year-old boy. (Sacramento Bee)
Two gunmen tied up the staff at a Chicago scrap-metal plant and then tried to steal an automated teller machine the company keeps on hand to pay customers. They gave up, however, after the 250-pound machine proved too heavy for them to lift onto their Jeep Cherokee. (Chicago Sun-Times)
New Year’s Resolution Follies
When some 20 Swedish dieters showed up at a Weight Watchers clinic in Vaxjo to see how much weight they’d lost, the floor collapsed. “We suddenly heard a huge thud,” one of the participants told the Smalandsposten newspaper. “We almost thought it was an earthquake, and everything flew up in the air. The floor collapsed in one corner of the room and along the walls.” Eventually, the whole floor gave way. (Sweden’s The Local)
Homeowners in a Knoxville, Tenn., community banded together to tell the Metropolitan Planning Commission they oppose a plan by resident David Perkins to turn his single-family house into a duplex and use one of the units to operate a combination music studio and Jewish sperm bank. Perkins, a musician who specializes in Klezmer music and Dixieland jazz, said he wants to give music lessons at the address, not performances, and insisted neighbors won’t notice the activities he proposes because he’s been doing most of them for two years without any complaints. He already operates a sperm bank, to which, according to his web site (jewishspermdonor.net), he appears to be the only donor. (Knoxnews.com)
When Guns Are Outlawed
Oklahoma City police arrested Chad Anthony Logan, 25, after they said he broke into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, fought with her current boyfriend and used his buttocks to smash her 72-inch television screen. (The Oklahoman)
Police in Buffalo, N.Y., said Julious Jones, 25, tried to kill himself by sitting naked in a bathtub holding a clock radio, two electric clippers, a curling iron and a clothes iron. Alerted by the man’s landlady, Officer James Hosking thwarted the suicide attempt by reaching into the bathroom and unplugging the electrical cords. (The Buffalo News)
A hooded man walked into a crafts boutique in Dallas, Texas, pointed a gun at owner Marian Chadwick, 57, and demanded money. According to a security tape of the incident, when she told the gunman she had none, he pounded the gun twice on the counter. “I got mad,” Chadwick said. “So I pointed my finger and said, ‘In the name of Jesus, you get out of my store. I bind you by the power of the Holy Spirit.’” The gunman took a step back and told a customer to drop to the floor. After she refused, Chadwick pointed her finger at the man and continued to chastise him until he walked out, cursing but empty-handed. (The Dallas Morning News)
It’s Really the Real Thing
Bolivian President Evo Morales endorsed a proposal by coca growers to boost coca production by introducing a soft drink made from the plant. An official with the Ministry of Coca and Integral Development said the drink would be called “Coca Colla” and packaging would feature a black swoosh and red label similar to Coca-Cola’s. Coca is already being used in tea, flour, toothpaste and liquor produced in Bolivia, the world’s third-largest producer of the plant. (Britain’s The Daily Telegraph)
Next Time, a Bazooka
When Donald Koranek, 80, tried to enter the Hillsborough County (Fla.) Courthouse with a pocketknife, a security guard told him to take the knife to his car. He returned with a gun. After a security guard spotted the loaded pistol in his belt, Koranek explained that he had a concealed weapons permit. Deputies detained him and seized the weapon. (St. Petersburg Times)
Is There Anything Bacon Can’t Do?
Pregnant women could boost their baby’s intelligence by eating bacon and eggs, according to University of North Carolina researchers. They found that pork products and eggs contain a micronutrient, called choline, which helps babies’ growing brains develop in the womb, particularly in the areas linked to memory and recall. The findings were reported in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, whose editor-in-chief, Dr. Gerald Weissmann, said, “We may never be able to call bacon a health food with a straight face, but [similar studies] are already making us rethink what we consider healthy and unhealthy.” (Britain’s The Daily Mail)
Is There Anything Guns Can’t Do?
Authorities said a 28-year-old security guard at a Northern California casino drove off the road when his hands-free cell phone device activated and startled him. The sport utility vehicle plunged into a creek in Roseville and began sinking, but the driver escaped by blasting out the window with his handgun. He flagged down a passerby and reported the incident. (Associated Press)
First Things First
Venezuela’s new currency structure, set by President Hugo Chavez, lists whale sperm, ham and pickles as essential goods, entitling importers to a preferential exchange rate. Electricity, which has to be imported because a drought has halted a hydroelectric plant that supplied 73 percent of the country’s power, is considered nonessential, along with racehorses, rabbit meat, ketchup and video games. (Business Week)
Recidivist of the Week (Tie)
Las Vegas police arrested Mark Hoffman, 47, for killing another man during a welcome-home party celebrating Hoffman’s release from jail. According to a witness, Hoffman beat the victim to death with a steel pipe, which he called his “personal home security device,” after learning the victim had an affair with his girlfriend while Hoffman was behind bars. Police found Hoffman near the scene hiding in a Port-a-Potty. (KVVU-TV News)
On her first day out of prison, Theresa Jones, 49, was arrested in Pasco County, Fla., accused of stealing a car on her first day out of prison. Authorities said Jones had just completed a two-year, eight-month sentence when she met a pen pal, and they drove to a New Port Richey hotel. Jones borrowed the man’s car, saying she was going to buy beer. She didn’t return. When authorities located her the next day, she explained that she stole the car so she could get drugs. (St. Petersburg Times)