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The skinny

Published May 1, 2007


GPS, minus 500 years

First American map is now in American hands

America finally has an original copy of its birth certificate. A 500-year-old map that was the first to identify this brave new world as "America" was officially turned over to the United States on Monday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The map was drawn by German-born cartographer Martin Waldseemueller in 1507, and he named the land mass to honor Amerigo Vespucci, who is credited with being the first explorer to realize he wasn't in Asia. (Sorry, Christopher Columbus.) A German prince sold the map to the United States in 2001 for $10-million, but official transfer was delayed by the fact that it was on Germany's national culture list.

The BLotto BLotter

Clerk, 70, can keep up with bad guy

How he thought he was going to make it out of the liquor store with no one noticing the half-gallon of whiskey under his jacket is the first point on which to question the intelligence of an alleged teenage shoplifter in Wolfeboro, N.H. The second is how he thought he was going to get away from the store's clerk, Judy Brenner. Brenner, 70, saw him leave and followed him. He started walking faster. She kept up. "I wasn't going to let him go, " Brenner said. What the young suspect didn't know is that he was being followed by a marathon runner who just finished sixth in her age division at the Boston Marathon last month. With Brenner's help, he's in custody.

Gotcha again

Donald Bryant's plan for revenge took an unfortunate turn when the man he is accused of hiring to kill an informant who sent him to jail turned out to be the informant himself, according to the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union. Needless to say, the informant did not go through with it. He was working with the police, and he informed them of Bryant's misdeeds ... again. Bryant now faces eight to 16 more years on top of the six he got on the original cocaine conviction.

Psychic shutdown

In a move they really should have seen coming, more than a dozen psychics, astrologers and tarot-card readers were closed down in Philadelphia when city officials found a law that had been on the books for more than 30 years that said they could. The law makes fortune-telling "for gain or lucre" a third-degree misdemeanor.

He wore shoes

A man walked into a vacant medical building in McMinnville, Ore., wearing high heels, causing county police to lock down the building. They probably wouldn't have felt the need to lock down the building except for the fact that the high heels were all he was wearing. Police surrounded the building, but couldn't find him. He was described as being 40 to 50 years old, bald or short white hair, thin-to-medium build and, well, that's probably all you want to know about the man's description.

Compiled from Times wires and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster.

[Last modified May 1, 2007, 00:34:22]

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