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 V.17 No.30 | July 24 - 30, 2008 

Odds & Ends

Eric J. Garcia

DATELINE: Taiwan—An amorous couple survived a 150-foot plunge down the face of a cliff after their lovemaking set the car rolling. “They had parked up close to the edge of the mountain and had left the handbrake off," said a police spokesperson. "They were lucky they were not more seriously hurt." Lin Gu, 25, and Lee Shin, 29, suffered only a few broken bones after the incident. The couple managed to climb back up the hill to seek assistance, though Shin pleaded with those who helped her not to reveal the cause of the accident for fear that her husband would seek a divorce.

DATELINE: Scotland—In attempting to use a gas-powered garden tool to burn away weeds alongside his driveway, Professor Robert Gailey, 79, instead set fire to his neighbor’s backyard. According to the Daily Telegraph, Gailey was using a product known as the Weed Wand when sparks escaped from the machine to light the lawn and shrubbery next door. "I may be over 70,” said Gailey, “but I ran to get the hose from my back garden. Unfortunately the flames had taken hold.” Gailey went on to report that he and the neighbors worked out a peaceable solution in paying for damages.

DATELINE: England—A man threatened with eviction is suspected of committing suicide by chainsawing off his own head. David Phyall, 58, had been living in an apartment building slated for demolition since 2006; all 71 other flats in the building had been left and many boarded up. Local housing authorities had offered Phyall alternative living spaces, but he refused such offers and a court case followed. Phyall was found decapitated a few hours after receiving an eviction notice. The local coroner listed Phyall’s possible cause of death as “complete transaction of the neck” and “chainsaw wound to the neck.” Parish Council Chairman Anne Winstanley was quoted in the Daily Mail as stating, “The last I heard they were still negotiating with him to try to provide what he required to move into as an alternative.”

Undercover officers found a stash of 50 pounds of cocaine inside one of their own vehicles.

DATELINE: Tennessee—A man who fell and hit his head in church while experiencing the spirit of God is suing the church for negligence, seeking $2.5 million in damages plus pain and suffering. Matt Lincoln, 57, was attending mass at the Lakewind Church in Knoxville while reportedly praying to God for “a real experience.” Overcome by the force of the spirit, Lincoln fell to the floor and hit his head; fellow parishioners report seeing the fallen man laughing. Today, Lincoln claims that due to trauma suffered to his neck and spine in the fall, he still feels pain in his back and legs despite two surgeries, while the church’s insurance company has denied his claim. Lincoln has reportedly fallen during similar experiences before, but was always caught.

DATELINE: Utah—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has excommunicated Chad Hardy, creator of the popular Men on a Mission calendar that features photos of shirtless Mormon missionaries. After a disciplinary meeting held with a group of 12 local church leaders in Las Vegas, Hardy was essentially told that the “calendar is inappropriate” and “not the image that the church wants to have.” Some of the 12 returned missionaries depicted within the calendar have also faced disciplinary action from the church. The Salt Lake City Tribune reported that Hardy had considered leaving the church, which would have gotten him out of the meeting, but that the sixth-generation Mormon wanted to respect his family. Hardy explained to the Tribune that “The [calendar] is about stepping outside the stereotypes and stepping outside of the image.” The Men on a Mission 2008 calendar has sold nearly 10,000 copies. The 2009 calendar drew 100 inquiries from missionaries willing to pose and will be released in September.

DATELINE: Texas—The Dallas Morning News reported that undercover officers found a stash of 50 pounds of cocaine (estimated street value $400,000) inside one of their own vehicles. Two months after the impounded 2004 Infiniti was put into service by Dallas narcotics enforcement, a routine cleaning revealed the cocaine concealed in secret hydraulically controlled compartments. "These compartments have recently been more and more popular with drug operations," Deputy Chief Julian Bernal, narcotics division commander, explained. "The difficulty with this is that because of the use of hydraulics, you normally don't have any indication that the car has been altered in any way. They use multiple switches and relays, and you have to know the sequence in order to make the panel open." A second car seized in the March operation was auctioned off. Bernal stated that the other car’s new owner would be contacted.

Compiled by Os Davis.

 

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