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UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

March 3, 2011 at 5:00 PM   |   Comments

Man arrested for making 'cat bombs'

HEDGESVILLE, Md., March 3 (UPI) -- Authorities in West Virginia said a man arrested on an explosives charge was making "cat bombs" to scare felines away from his yard.

West Virginia State Police said Brian Michael Bailey, 42, of Hedgesville, was arrested Monday after several complaints were lodged about him setting off some manner of explosive devices at his home, The (Hagerstown, Md.) Herald-Mail, reported Thursday.

Bailey told troopers he had been making "cat bombs" from combining aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner in empty plastic soda bottles and throwing them into his yard, frightening away roaming cats with the resulting explosion. Troopers said they found three exploded bottles at Bailey's home and two bottles of The Works toilet bowl cleaner.

Bailey was charged with a felony count of illegal possession of destructive devices, explosive material or incendiary devices.


Duck crashes into conference room

FORT MYERS, Fla., March 3 (UPI) -- A Florida man said his work day was interrupted when a large duck crashed through a conference room window and landed in the chair next to him.

Todd Griffith said he was working at a computer Tuesday in the conference room at Matern Professional Engineering in south Fort Myers when he was startled by a loud noise, the Fort Myers News-Press reported Thursday.

"I heard a loud boom, and I looked to my left and there was a duck sitting next to me," he said. "It looked at me like, 'what are you doing here?'"

Griffith said the duck wandered the room for a few minutes before he and other workers were able to coax it back outside through a sliding door.

Workers at the firm said the duck appeared uninjured except for a cut on its wing and was back to swimming Wednesday in the drainage ditch behind the business.


Professor defends sex toy demonstration

EVANSTON, Ill., March 3 (UPI) -- A professor at Illinois' Northwestern University said a controversial after-class sex toy demonstration had educational value.

Professor John Michael Bailey issued a statement Wednesday saying the Feb. 21 presentation, which he said took place after class and was optional for the 600 students in his Human Sexuality class, was relevant to the subject he was teaching, The Daily Northwestern reported Thursday.

"After all, those still there had stayed for an optional demonstration/lecture about kinky sex and were told explicitly what they were about to see," the statement reads. "The demonstration, which included a woman who enjoyed providing a sexually explicit demonstration using a machine, surely counts as kinky, and hence as relevant."

"I expect many people to disagree with me. Thoughtful discussion of controversial topics is a cornerstone of learning," Bailey said.

Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro released a statement Thursday saying he was "troubled and disappointed by what occurred."

"Although the incident took place in an after-class session that students were not required to attend and students were advised in advance, several times, of the explicit nature of the activity, I feel it represented extremely poor judgment on the part of our faculty member. I simply do not believe this was appropriate, necessary or in keeping with Northwestern University's academic mission," Schapiro said.

He said the incident is being investigated by the school.


Letter delivered with 1944 postmark

SAN MIGUEL, Calif., March 3 (UPI) -- A California man who received a letter from Alabama postmarked Aug. 9, 1944, said he is hoping to track down the rightful owner.

Gary McMaster, volunteer curator for the Camp Roberts Historical Museum, said a letter arrived in the mail last week with the 1944 postmark and addressed to "Miss R.T. Fletcher, American Red Cross Station Hospital, Camp Roberts, California," the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser reported Thursday.

McMaster said the postmark listed Montgomery as the letter's place of origin, but the corner with the return address had been torn from the envelope.

"Most letters come from family or good friends, so we're thinking that this lady was from Montgomery and that the letter came from a friend or relative," McMaster said.

Joseph Breckenridge, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman in Atlanta, said the whereabouts of the letter for the past 66 years is "a guessing game."

He said the letter could not have been in postal service custody for all that time because "no equipment, or transportation, or storage stuff is still in service from 66 years ago."

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