Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
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Dateline: Sweden—Bored with books? Last weekend, the Malmoe Library in southern Sweden initiated the Living Library project. The project enables people to “check out” a real live human being and is designed so that people can confront their prejudices. Nine people, including a homosexual, an imam, a journalist, a Muslim woman and a gypsy were all available for members of the public to “borrow” for a 45-minute conversation in the library's outdoor café. “Maybe not all journalists are know-it-all and sensationalist, just unafraid and curious. Maybe not all animal rights activists are angry and intolerant, but intelligent and committed,” librarian Ulla Brohed told the AFP news organization. The Living Library project only lasted through the weekend, but officials are considering running it again later this year.

Dateline: New Jersey—Good Samaritan and avowed animal lover Stephen Sodones stopped along the edge of Route 23 in Jefferson when he saw a snake attempting to slither across the highway. Naturally, the 62-year-old picked up the snake, hoping to carry it to safety. Naturally, the grateful snake, a venomous copperhead, bit Mr. Sodones. Three times. Sodones remained hospitalized last week in the intensive care unit at Chilton Memorial Hospital in Pompton Plains. His condition was listed as critical but improving. According to his friend and neighbor John Bross, Sodones likes to feed bears and stop traffic so ducks can walk across the road. Not long ago, he tried to revive a bumblebee, keeping it in the palm of his hand with some water until it buzzed away two hours later. “One time, I stepped on a spider and he wouldn't talk to me for two days,” Bross told the Star Ledger. “Steve's got a problem with animals. He loves them too much.”

Dateline: Arkansas—Two men in Port Smith are under arrest after allegedly robbing a cable access show host live on the air. Viewers of last Thursday night's “Shopping Mania Auction Show” were surprised when they saw a man come in and demand host Gary Spirito's car keys. “There's a guy robbing us,” Spirito told his viewers. “Somebody call the police. He came in with a gun. Somebody call police, there's a guy in here trying to rob us.” Spirito explained to reporters, “I looked up at him and said, ’We're doing a live show here and there are probably hundreds of people out there right now calling the police to come down on this building, just so you know.'” The suspects eventually escaped with nothing, but thanks to the 911 calls made by viewers, Fort Smith police were able to catch two male suspects early Friday morning. Eddie Crisp, 23, and Timothy Suggs, 22, are accused of robbing Keith Cox, owner of Legacy Motor Co., at 11 p.m. Thursday. About an hour later, police say the suspects robbed Spirito. The men face two counts of aggravated robbery and probation violations.

Dateline: New York—Further proof that maybe you are wasting your time playing video games: A suspect who led police on a high-speed chase through several towns told investigators he was convinced he could outrun them because of his skill at video games. Tyrone D. McMillian, 33, of Troy was driving his girlfriend's 11-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old cousin to cheerleading practice shortly after 6 p.m. last Wednesday when police attempted to stop him for violating parole on a drug conviction. “I was crazy. I've been playing a lot of ’Grand Theft Auto' and ’NASCAR' on Playstation,” McMillain allegedly told Troy Police Sgt. Joseph Centanni. “I thought I could get away.” Police said McMillain slammed the Ford Explorer into the patrol car driven by Officer Russell M. Coonradt, who reportedly suffered severe pain in the neck, lower back and ribs and was treated at nearby Samaritan Hospital. McMillain then drove onto Interstate 787 and got off at the 23rd Street exit. When the car slowed down, the two young girls jumped out of the vehicle. “Before we could get away from the truck, the truck started moving,” the 11-year-old told police. “The rear wheel was spinning out of control, I landed on the gravel near the rear wheel. I still had a hand grip on the door. When the car started moving, it began to drag me.” An unconcerned McMillian later said in a statement, “I knew the police would pick them up.” After fleeing through not less than eight towns, McMillian struck another officer's vehicle and was disabled. The video game-trained driver was charged with three counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, one count of second-degree criminal mischief, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of resisting arrest.

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

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