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The skinny

16 items to help you forget about the economy

2009 in review

In looking for trends in a year of Skinnys, we weren't surprised to find dumb criminals and the lottery. But Krazy Glue, karaoke and Carty Finkbeiner?

Criminally stupid

• Burglars robbing a house in Bellevue, Wash., left their van running in the driveway. So the homeowner stole it.

• A man was arrested in England for smuggling 52 pounds of cocaine from Venezuela. His explanation: He thought he was smuggling diamonds.

• Two men in Iowa didn't have masks for a robbery. But they had a Sharpie, so they drew masks on their faces. That made them more identifiable.

• In August, a 600-pound suspect in Houston was found to have smuggled a gun into jail between rolls of fat. In December, a convict in Merced, Calif., had to have surgery after he could not retrieve a knife he had hidden in his rear end.


• A survey in Britain ranked karaoke as the most annoying invention ever.

• There was a crackdown on dancing in karaoke bars. Because dancing leads to drug use and prostitution, they say. They are fine with motionless karaoke, though.

• A woman in Connecticut was attacked by six other women who did not care for her rendition of A Dios Le Pido (I Ask God).

• The owner of a Tokyo karaoke bar said he hoped to never hear anyone sing My Way again and imposed a limit of five times a night.


• A lottery consortium from a church in Haslett, Mich., took second place in a Lucky 7 game and won $70,000 for the building and missionary funds.

• An assistant pastor in South Carolina was second in a poker tournament and won $100,000 that went to the church's building fund.

• A 15-member lottery consortium of co-workers in Hungary won a $16 million jackpot and they all quit work. They were the city's police force. The whole police force.

Falling in love

• When Don Walling proposed to Gina Pellicani on the Brooklyn Bridge, it was very romantic until he dropped the ring. It landed on a lower level and they were able to stop traffic and retrieve it.

• Before James Ng proposed to Sonya Bostic in a hot-air balloon over Ohio, he dropped his camera case — which had the ring in it — from about 500 feet up. A week later, he found it with the help of friends.

• After an unnamed man proposed to an unnamed woman at the edge of a cliff in Maryland, he didn't drop the ring. Whew. But she fell over the side. She slipped 10 feet to a ledge, lost consciousness and had to be rescued by helicopter.

Recurring stories

• When four women in Wisconsin tricked a man into a motel room and tied him to the bed to exact their revenge on him for his cheating ways with Krazy Glue, it generated updates for months. Charges against the man's wife were dropped. Two women pleaded no contest and will probably avoid jail time. A trial is scheduled for the fourth woman.

• Carty Finkerbeiner, the mayor of Toledo, Ohio, was easily the most entertaining city official in America. He mowed city parks, ticketed residents for parking in their own driveways and called a kid "Fatso" on YouTube.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at

16 items to help you forget about the economy 12/31/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 31, 2009 1:49am]
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