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News and Blues

(NEWS AND BLUES) Your weekly re-cap of weird and funny news from around the nation.

Curses, Foiled Again
British police arrested a 30-year-old man they said broke into a hotel in Gloucester but fell off the roof while making his getaway. He tumbled 40 feet and had to call emergency services to rescue him. He had a broken pelvis, leg and nose, a police official said, adding, “Suspected stolen lead piping and music equipment were discovered nearby.” (Gloucester Citizen)

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)

Sound Barriers
Organizers of the Australian Grand Prix have threatened legal action against Formula One management because the racecars’ new engines aren’t noisy enough. Besides switching from high-pitched 2.4 liter, V-8 engines to fuel-efficient, 1.6-liter, turbocharged V-6 hybrid power plants, Formula One management introduced an energy recovery system that transforms exhaust fumes into extra engine power but with less noise. Addressing fan criticism of this year’s race, Andrew Westacott, head of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, explained that the lack of noise has reduced the spectacle of the event by taking away a visceral element of the fan experience. (Business Insider Australia)

When Guns Are Outlawed
pitchforkPolice accused Jeffrey Willard Wooten, 50, of robbing a Waffle House restaurant in Norcross, Ga., with a pitchfork, which he used to force workers into the back of the restaurant while he grabbed the cash register and ran. “It wouldn’t be an offensive weapon in your garden,” police Chief Warren Summers said, “but it was in a Waffle House.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Tangled Web
A 30-year-old employee at Japan’s biggest travel agency forgot to order 11 buses for a high school outing, so the day before the trip he wrote a note purporting to be from a student threatening suicide unless the trip was canceled. He gave the note to the principal, who decided to go ahead with the excursion as planned. After no buses arrived the next morning, regulators from the Japan Tourism Agency raided the offices of JTB Corp, which promised to punish the worker. The school, meanwhile, rescheduled its trip with a different agency. (Agence France-Presse)

Sounds of Silence
Sales of gun silencers are booming, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which noted the market soared 37 percent in 2013, resulting in a nine-month backlog for ATF approval of registrations. Silencers, which sell for between $750 and $1,300, are just one way gun owners are accessorizing their firearms purchases, according to gun-industry analyst Ben Shim of CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Conn. Other popular add-ons are flashlights, laser scopes, stock, pistol grips and rail systems for attaching even more accessories. (CNN)

Furniture in the News
western-wooden-chairAfter a police officer stopped a man who was riding a bicycle with a dining chair strapped to his back in Oklahoma City, a car slammed into the back of his patrol car and then took off. The officer checked that the bicyclist wasn’t injured, then chased the car to a gas station, where the occupants ran away. Authorities caught several juveniles but gave no explanation why the bicyclist had a chair strapped to his back. (Oklahoma City’s KFOR-TV)

Life’s Ironies
Former Illinois state Rep. Keith Farnham, 66, who twice sponsored bills calling for tougher penalties for child pornography, was charged with possession of child porn. In addition, authorities linked Farnham‘s email account to an online forum where users chat about their sexual preference. “12 is about as old as I can handle,” Farnham reportedly said in one chat. “I love them at 6 7 8.” In another, he declared, “I wish I had access to all the vids and pics ever made.” (Chicago Tribune)

Sounds of Silence
A new anti-noise law aimed at late-night revelers in Arlington County, Va., bans “wailing” after 2 a.m., also yelling, shouting and screaming. The County Board pointed out it’s the first in metro Washington, D.C., to target “over-conversation,” or the human voice. “We’re not Mayberry RFD,” board member John Vihstadt said, “but we’re not Manhattan on the Potomac either.” (The Washington Post)

Furniture in the News
French lawmakers on the National Assembly legal committee voted to alter the country’s 210-year-old civil code to upgrade the status of pets, which currently is “no different to a chair or a table,” according to Reha Hutin, president of the animal-rights group Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis (30 Millions Friends Foundation). If the full assembly approves the measure, cats and dogs will go from “personal property” to “sentient living being.” (France’s The Local)

Slightest Provocation
Three parents beat up a school bus driver in West Palm Beach, Fla., because he didn’t let children off fast enough to suit them. Driver Joseph Beauzile, 40, kept the door closed while he made the elementary school students form a line. Police said Shacaurra Burns, 25, forced her way onto the bus, and Ryan Beckford, 33, ripped the door open and began punching Beauzile while Jean Bertrand, 33, held him down. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

On Second Thought
When Christopher Lewis refilled his 89-cent drink without paying at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Charleston, S.C., a federal police office issued him a ticket and banned him from the hospital. Facing a $525 fine, Lewis explained that he told the officer he hadn’t seen the sign saying no free refills and was willing to pay the 89 cents. Hospital officials who reviewed the incident decided a warning was sufficient. (Associated Press)

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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