Mar 31 - Apr 6, 2011 
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Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O’Leary

Dateline: Qatar—Scientists in the tiny Middle Eastern nation of Qatar have come up with a novel solution to beat the heat at the 2022 World Cup—fake clouds. Qatar has been slated as the host country of the worldwide soccer tournament in 11 years. That gives scientists more than a decade to create the “artificial clouds” that Qatar University has proposed. Summer temperatures can reach 104 degrees in Qatar, and the helium-filled, carbon-fiber clouds would be positioned via four solar-powered engines to float directly above outdoor stadiums and provide shade. Dr. Saud Abdul Ghani, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering department at the university, said the initial model will cost about $500,000 to produce. He plans to work with the Qatar Science and Technology Park to produce a working model.

Dateline: England—A British man with an unusual fetish for cow manure has been sentenced to two years in jail after he was caught pleasuring himself while covered in dung on a family farm in southwestern England. According to the U.K.’s Metro, 41-year-old David Truscott was caught more or less naked—he was wearing a single sock—by farmer Clive Roth’s 16-year-old son in February on Woodbury House Farm in Cornwall. When the police arrived, Truscott was covered in a large amount of slurry and mud and was “surrounded by tissues.” It wasn’t the first time, either. February’s arrest was the third for Truscott, who had previously been sent to jail for offenses related to cow manure and public masturbation. Judge Christopher Elwen rejected defense calls for a suspended sentence at a hearing at Truro Crown Court in late March. Truscott pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to breaching a restraining order and causing harassment. Judge Elwen said the offender needed to be jailed for his “bizarre and perverted activities” and sentenced him to two years. Truscott’s own lawyer called him “sad, socially inadequate and vulnerable.” A different defense lawyer at a 2005 trial on similar circumstances at the same farm called Truscott a “sad, isolated, peculiar man with peculiar habits.”

Dateline: Texas—A robbery at a Dallas bank didn’t go so well for 49-year-old Nathan Wayne Pugh, who tried to use a fake “bom,” handed over two forms of ID and then fell down on his way out. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay sentenced Pugh to 102 months in prison for the July robbery attempt. At the time of the bungled bank job, Pugh was on parole for two other slightly more successful robberies. Judge Lindsay ordered Pugh’s 102-month sentence to run consecutively with the 25-year-sentence doled out for those previous robberies. According to reports in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Pugh walked into a Wells Fargo in Dallas in July 2010 holding a paper bag from a fast-food restaurant. Pugh handed the teller a note reading, “Look if you don't want to die then you should do as this note says. This is not a bag of food. This is a bom, so just put money in an envelope and do not make any move till after I have left for ten mintis.” The quick-thinking teller told Pugh she couldn’t process his request without two forms of identification. Pugh obligingly handed over his Wells Fargo debit card and a Texas ID card with his name on it. On the way out of the bank with his loot, Pugh spotted several Dallas police officers at the front door. He tried to grab a female customer with a child in her arms as a hostage, but he fell to the floor during a struggle and was arrested by the officers.

Dateline: Texas—A drive-through customer at a Taco Bell in San Antonio fired a BB gun at the store’s manager, displayed an assault rifle and pistol in the parking lot, fled from police, pointed weapons at officers, barricaded himself in a hotel room, and engaged SWAT negotiators in a three-hour standoff—all because the price of a Beefy Crunch Burrito went up from 99 cents to $1.49. According to the San Antonio Express, 37-year-old Ricardo Jones ordered seven of the Flamin’ Hot Frito-filled gut bombs at a Taco Bell on Rigsby Road, but became livid when he realized he’d have to cough up another $3.50. “They did use to be 99 cents,” acknowledged the restaurant’s manager Brian Tillerson. “But that was just a promotion.” After displaying and firing multiple weapons—all of which eventually proved to be air-powered BB guns—Jones barricaded himself inside a room at the Rodeway Inn and refused to come out. Police eventually used tear gas to force him from the motel room and arrested him on two felony counts of aggravated assault against a public servant. Jones is now being held in Bexar County Jail on $50,000 bail.

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