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Stranger Than Fiction



Curses, foiled again

Calvin Robinson, 19, was caught counterfeiting in the family bathroom of a shopping mall in Spokane, Wash., after he spent $100 on a color copier to make enough bogus $10 bills to buy $90 worth of marijuana. The Spokesman-Review reported that sheriff's deputies who arrested Robinson said he explained he was homeless and used the bathroom because he needed an electrical outlet and a locking door and had no place else to go. "I don't believe he's going to be recruited by NASA," sheriff's Sgt. Dave Reagan said.

Thieves who broke into a theater in Lexington, Ky., used a heavy hammer or mallet to break open a Plexiglas donation box that appeared to contain $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills. All they got, however, was a few fake bills glued to the plastic case that resembled real ones but were black and white and didn't have serial numbers. Steve Brown, president of the fundraising group using the box, told the Lexington Herald-Leader, "It's sad when idiots can't tell fake money from the real thing."

It's in print

The U.S. government based its post-Sept. 11 interrogations of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay on "coercive management techniques" copied verbatim from a 1957 study of Chinese Communist methods used to brainwash captured pilots during the Korean War. The United States condemned the methods as torture when the Chinese used them. The New York Times reported that a chart outlining the methods, originally titled "Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions from Air Force Prisoners of War," was among the documents made public at a Senate hearing in June. "What makes this document doubly stunning," Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said, "is that these were techniques to get false confessions."

Fetishes on parade

Martin Turner, 39, pleaded guilty in a British court to sexually harassing construction workers by obtaining their phone numbers at random and then bombarding them with calls, asking what kind of boots they had on and requesting they stand on his fingers, face and genitals with their boots. Defense attorney Michael Ball told the court his client "has something of a thing for men who work in the construction industry, and it seems work boots feature large in this fantasy."

A Canadian man almost died during a rough-sex encounter when he asked his 25-year-old lover to carve a heart-shaped symbol on his chest. She accidentally pressed too hard and punctured his heart. The Winnipeg Free Press reported the 24-year-old man was initially given little chance of survival but made a full recovery and is backing the woman's story that the carving was consensual.

Good hands?

When Midwest flooding caused Wisconsin's Lake Delton to breach its banks and spill into the Wisconsin River, lakefront resort owners Walter and Bertha Bochenczak filed an insurance claim for "loss of income" because the empty lake caused 80 percent of their expected customers to cancel reservations. The insurance company, Wilson Mutual, denied the claim, explaining that the loss was due to a flood, and the resort didn't have flood insurance. "But the lake emptied," Walter Bochenczak told the Madison Capital Times. "There was no flood." Wilson Mutual also denied a claim by another resort owner, Linda Allessi, who said, "They told me, "Well, you didn't insure the lake.'"

Animal planet

Ayveq, the walrus whose masturbation rituals made him a star attraction at the New York Aquarium, died of a massive bacterial infection at age 14. Though well liked long before he discovered the habit that brought him fame, Ayveq's frequent public self-gratification elevated him to the Coney Island institution's foremost attraction. "We are all still in shock about it," Aquarium Director Jon Forrest Dohlin told the Brooklyn Paper. "He was an absolute delight. He had a magnetism and a charm that was totally his own. He loved people and he knew how to work a crowd and entertain guests."

When Moe, a 42-year-old chimpanzee who is toilet-trained and can eat with a knife and fork, escaped from his state-of-the-art cage in Southern California, LaDonna and St. James Davis, who raised Moe in their suburban Los Angeles home until authorities confiscated him in 1999, hired a helicopter to fly over San Bernadino National Forest looking for him. "He meant the world to us," St. James Davis told reporters. "He was the best man at my wedding."

The sky is falling

Russian air force planes seeding clouds to prevent rain from spoiling a holiday celebration accidentally dropped a 55-pound sack of cement on a suburban Moscow home. The air force typically dispatches planes carrying silver iodide, liquid nitrogen and cement powder to empty the skies of moisture before major public events. In this case, on the eve of Russia Day, the cement "failed to pulverize completely at high altitude and fell on the roof of a house, making a hole about 80 to 100 centimeters," police in Naro-Fominsk told the news agency RIA-Novosti.

"Good Christians'

Sheriff's deputies in Kitsap County, Wash., arrested a 28-year-old woman who fought with her 24-year-old husband after she woke him to have sex, only to have him announce they had just three hours to quit smoking, drinking, swearing and engaging in some sex acts because they "were going to be good Christians now," the woman said, adding that she became disappointed and angry. The Kitsap Sun reported that when deputies responded to the ensuing fracas, the woman complained how unhappy she was with her sex life. Later, the woman picked up the family's 20-pound dog and threw it at a deputy, who added that when he drove the woman to jail, she questioned his manhood, asked God to forgive him because "he knows not what he does" and "donkey-kicked" him in the shin while he was walking her from his patrol car to the jail.

True confessions

Duke University did better in court than on the gridiron after the University of Louisville filed a breach of contract suit against the North Carolina school for opting out of three scheduled football games. The contract stipulated a penalty of $150,000 per game if a date with a "team of similar stature" could not be scheduled. Duke's lawyers argued in Franklin County (Ky.) Circuit Court that the Blue Devils, 13-90 since 1999, were so bad any Division I team could've replaced them on the Cardinals' schedule. Judge Phillip J. Shepherd agreed and dismissed the suit.

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