News and Blues
by Roland Sweet - Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Your weekly re-cap of weird and funny news from around the nation.

Curses, Foiled Again
4.1.1Michael Briggs, 38, was convicted of murdering an 82-year-old retired nun in Albany, N.Y., based on fingerprints found at the scene after police Sgt. Darryl Mallard noticed the toilet seat had been left up in the bathroom. Since the victim lived alone, Mallard guessed the killer was a man who had used the toilet. Fingerprints from the toilet’s handle matched those of Briggs, who was on parole for robbery. (Albany’s Times Union)

When Guns Are Outlawed
On trial in Salt Lake City, Utah, for robbery and assault, Siale Angilau, 25, objected to the testimony of one witness by grabbing a pen, rushing the witness and lunging at him. A U.S. marshal at the federal courthouse opened fire, shooting Angilau in the chest several times. He died at a hospital. (Associated Press)

Supply-and-Demand Follies
CondomsHoping to resolve a nationwide condom shortage, Cuban health officials approved the sale of more than a million condoms that are past their expiration dates and ordered pharmacy workers to explain to buyers that the condoms are good and simply have the wrong expiration dates. The Communist Party newspaper Vanguardia reported that officials noticed erroneous expiration dates on the prophylactics imported from China and ordered them repackaged with the correct dates. But the state-run enterprise in charge of repackaging doesn’t have enough workers to handle the job, so the Public Health Ministry authorized their sale as is, noting the shelf life of condoms is very long. (Miami Herald)

Capitalizing on Disaster
Protesting Beijing’s choking air pollution, artist Liang Kegang returned from a business trip to France with a glass jar of clean, mountain air, which he auctioned off for 5,250 yuan ($860). The month before, tourism officials in smog-free Guizhou province announced plans to sell canned air as souvenirs. Tourism authorities in Henan province distributed bags of air from a mountain resort in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital, to attract visitors. Finally, recycling tycoon Chen Guangbiao began selling fresh air in cans online for $3 each. (Associated Press)

Slightest Provocation
A woman celebrating her 30th birthday at a bar in Madison, Wis., attacked a disc jockey and broke his computer, headphones and microphone because she disliked his choice of songs. “Partygoers were able to pull her away from the DJ’s table after the equipment was damaged, but she broke free and rushed the DJ, punching and scratching him on the face,” police official Joel DeSpain said, adding that the woman fled with her uncut birthday cake before police arrived. (United Press International)

Anti-Social Media
ShakespeareWhen British graphic designer Edd Joseph bought a video game console online but the seller failed to deliver it, Joseph copied the entire works of William Shakespeare and texted them to the seller. Although he sent them as one text, without paying extra because his calling plan allows unlimited texting, the seller can receive them only in 160-character chunks, meaning the 37 works arrive successively in 29,305 individual messages. Despite receiving abusive replies from the seller, who still hasn’t refunded his money, Joseph said he’d continue sending the texts. “I’m not a literary student, and I’m not an avid fan of Shakespeare,” he pointed out, “but I’ve got a new appreciation you could say, especially for the long ones.” (Britain’s The Bristol Post)

Celebrity Second-Amendment Follies
Tourist Judith Fleissig drove around southern Florida for two days before she happened to look in the trunk of her rental car and found an AR-15 assault rifle the previous renter had left behind. Hillsboro Beach police traced the weapon to model Lauren Tannehill, 26, the wife of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Broward sheriff’s official Keyla Concepción explained that Tannehill owned the gun legally and “simply forgot it.” (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Ewe Be the Judge
Customs veterinarians examining a flock of a thousand rams being shipped from Sudan to Saudi Arabia to be sold noticed one of the sheep assume a female position for urination. They investigated and found more than 70 of them were ewes, whose export is restricted. “The smugglers used fine thread to sew male organs onto the female sheep,” the report said, noting that Sudanese officials seized the entire flock. (BBC News)

News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland Sweet in care of the Syracuse New Times.

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