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Weird and Funny News Stories

Curses, Foiled Again
A masked man tried to rob a convenience store in New Haven, Conn., by pointing a finger at the clerk to “simulate” that he had a gun, police Officer David Hartman reported, noting, “But he didn’t have his hand in his pocket.” The clerk “grabbed the man’s finger and told him he’d break it if he didn’t get out of his shop,” Hartman said after the would-be robber fled. (New Haven Independent)

Second-Amendment Follies
Veronica J. Rutledge, 29, died after her 2-year-old son reached into her purse, grabbed her concealed gun and shot her in the head at a Wal-Mart store in Hayden, Idaho. (Associated Press)

Pass the Peas
An Alabama middle school principal asked students to bring canned food to school to throw at possible intruders. In a letter to parents, Priscilla Holley of W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley said an 8-ounce can of peas or corn “could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive. The canned food item will give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves.” (Associated Press)

Leapin’ Lizards
Workers at a reptile pet shop in Delray Beach, Fla., accused owner Benjamin Siegel, 40, of slapping them with a bearded dragon lizard. The victims said Siegel placed the lizard in his mouth and began hitting them with it. He also threw Gatorade at them, and tossed the large lizard into the air and swung it around. Siegel was arrested on battery and animal cruelty charges. (Broward-Palm Beach New Times)

Fruits of Their Labors
Oklahoma lawmakers are at odds over the state’s produce. Sen. Nathan Dahm introduced a measure to repeal watermelon’s title as Oklahoma’s official vegetable, an honor lawmakers bestowed in 2007. Dahm pointed out watermelon is a fruit, not a vegetable, but the state fruit title isn’t available because it was awarded to the strawberry. Dahm said watermelon could be named the state’s seasonal fruit or the state’s melon, but Rep. Scooter Park denounced such a move, declaring, “We will defend, support and make sure it is upheld as the state vegetable for Oklahoma.” (Tulsa World)

Slippery Slopes
China earmarked nearly $90 million to divert water to make snow in Chongli, a provincial town in an arid region on the edge of the Gobi Desert, in an effort to win its bid for the 2022 winter Olympics. As a result of the government’s recent emphasis on winter sports, the number of skiers in China has risen from 10,000 in 1996 to 20 million, according to the Chinese Ski Association. High water demand for snowmaking by existing ski facilities around Beijing has led to a government crackdown on new golf courses. (The Economist)

Lead Reckoning
Former police officer Darrell Smith, 58, accidentally shot off his finger with a .380 caliber handgun at a gun store in Glasgow, Ky. He asked to see the weapon and was examining it when it fired. Even though Smith didn’t do a safety check on the gun before handling it, he insisted the employee who handed it to him should have, so he’s suing Barren Outdoors for negligence. (Bowling Green’s WBKO-TV)

Can We All Get Along?
Charges of racism were directed at a clothing store that posted a sign banning Chinese customers. The store is located in Beijing. “We didn’t want to hang up the sign in the first place and lead people to think we Chinese look down upon ourselves,” a salesperson at the store on Yabao Road said. “But some Chinese customers are too annoying.” The store sells chiefly to foreigners. (South China Morning Post)

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