Monday 5/19/08

Human Interest News   —   Posted on May 19, 2008

by The Editors of

Price check
One could perhaps almost admire Reginald Newman’s moxie if not his motive. The Kirksville, Mo., resident allegedly attempted to bilk Wal-Mart of a brand-new flat-panel LCD television by switching the price tag on the more than $500 television set with a UPC tag from a $3.17 water bottle. But Newman’s attempted scam was easily foiled by a cashier who grew suspicious of the low, low price on the 27-inch television. A grand jury indicted Newman on April 21 with attempted stealing by deceit-a charge that carries up to seven years of prison time with a fine up to $5,000.

Adding to Scripture
When talking about the environment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., likes to add in a spiritual twist: “The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, ‘To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.'” It’s a nice sounding line, but it’s not in the Bible. Nor does it really paraphrase any other passage, says Claude Mariottini, professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. “It is not in the Bible. There is nothing that even approximates that.”

Model response
How much difference does one letter make? For Tony Hawks, one letter is the difference between his image as a middle-aged male model in the United Kingdom and being confused with famed skateboarding champion Tony Hawk. Instead of growing weary of misaddressed correspondence from teenage skater kids, Hawks opened up a separate page on his website devoted to the misconception. Included: Email from confused fans, and his cheeky replies. “[H]ey d00d u r the coolest sk8R ever! (sic),” one fan wrote. “Can you sent me a new deck?” Hawks’ response: “What kind of deck do you want. Teak or mahogany?”

Steep hill to climb
For a time, Dan Hill, 32, wished he had kept his $160,000-a-year job as an investment banker. The London resident quit his job with UBS to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a carpenter, only to develop a debilitating wood allergy. “All my friends thought I was mad giving up my city job and I felt really silly,” Hill told the BBC. “After all I had given up everything to become a carpenter I find out I’m allergic to wood.” His discovery came on his first piece, a workbench for his own use made from African hardwood. But after a period of lament, the Wales native discovered one type of wood his allergies could accept: Welsh oak.

User errors
Teachers certainly aren’t ROFL-ing. According to a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, two-thirds of teens admit to accidentally including emoticons and abbreviations popularized by the internet and text messaging in formal school writing. About half admitted the techno-shorthand has caused them to make mistakes in capitalization and punctuation on written assignments.