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 V.15 No.26 | June 29 - July 5, 2006 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: UgandaPolice in the Ugandan city of Kampala have figured out a novel way of cutting the crime rate--by banning the playing of pool during the day. The game is very popular in the east African nation, where pool tables sit under canopies outside thousands of small bars. The game is a hit with bar owners, because it earns income and does not require electricity, which has become something of a luxury in the power-strapped country. Police, however, believe the game encourages crime, as it is often played by youths who drink illegal spirits and smoke drugs. “They also use this as a meeting place to make plans of robbing people of their property at night,” Kampala police Chief Grace Turyagumanawe warned the Daily Monitor newspaper. Turyagumanawe insisted he was not banning the sport, merely preventing its playing during daytime hours.

Dateline: GermanyA 70-year-old shoplifter who tried to bite his way out of police custody might have had more success if he had remembered his dentures. Police showed up at the man’s home in the western German town of Braunschweig after he failed to pay a fine for shoplifting. The elderly man tried to flee out the back door but was nabbed by police. “It looks like he forgot to put his teeth in,” said a police spokesperson. “One of our officers got bitten several times, but the man didn’t leave anything but a wet patch.”

Dateline: GermanyA thief thought he had scored when he stole a woman’s purse and found a World Cup ticket inside. Eva Standmann, 42, was making her way to the Munich stadium to watch the Brazil-Australia game last weekend when she was robbed by an unnamed 34-year-old man. The soccer-loving scoundrel made his way to the stadium with the ticket and took the woman’s seat. Unfortunately for him, the man sitting in the next seat just happened to be Standmann’s husband. Berndt Standmann immediately called security and the purse-snatcher was arrested.

Dateline: GeorgiaOf course, Germany has no monopoly on stupid criminals. Jody Brian McRae was busy getting “extraordinarily intoxicated” at Dingus McGee’s bar in Statesboro, Ga., when he decided to pay off his bar tab with a checkbook that he just happened to find lying on the bartop. Unfortunately for McRae, the checkbook belonged to bartender Hubble Beasley who was working behind the bar at the time. Needless to say, Beasley did not fall for the scam. Minor was arrested on theft and forgery charges and was later released on bond. According to local police, Minor’s father paid his delinquent bar tab of $129.

Dateline: GeorgiaA 79-year-old woman accused of fatally shooting her 85-year-old ex-boyfriend is being deprived of her constitutional right to a fair trial, according to her lawyer, because there aren’t enough potential jurors old enough for her to be judged by “a jury of her peers.” Attorney Deborah Poole is trying to have charges dismissed against her client, Lena Sims Driskell. In 2005, Driskell shot Winslow four times in the head at their senior citizens home while a security guard looked on. “I did it, and I’d do it again!” Driskell was quoted as yelling to police officers who found her waving the gun when they arrived. In Georgia, any person 70 or older may be exempted from jury duty with the submission of an age affidavit. “How does one have a trial when you’re are not able to include a whole class of people in the jury?” Poole asked in court last Monday.

Dateline: MassachusettsRather than bothering with petty concerns like health care or minimum wage, the Massachusetts Legislature is currently embroiled in a knockdown, drag-out battle over Fluffernutters. Democratic Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios kicked off the furor recently by proposing an amendment to the state’s pending junk-food ban in public schools. Barrios’ addition would limit the serving of Marshmallow Fluff to once a week in school cafeterias statewide. Barrios apparently came up with the amendment after finding out his son was being served Fluffernutters--peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff sandwiches--at his Cambridge elementary school lunchroom. State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein, also a Democrat, became outraged by Barrios’ amendment. Marshmallow Fluff was, after all, invented by a Massachusetts man and is still manufactured in Lynn, part of Reinstein’s district. “I’m protective of Fluff. I grew up on it,” Reinstein told the Boston Globe. Reinstein is not only opposing Barrios’ amendment but has also drafted her own bill making the Fluffernutter the state’s official sandwich--ensuring that schoolkids will be served plenty of whipped corn syrup sandwiches for generations to come in Massachusetts.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

 
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