Sideswipe: Friday

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Serena Yen, a member of the 24 Hour Fitness gym in Houston, Texas, complained to KTRK-TV that she had been inadvertently shut inside about midnight while using an upstairs exercise machine, when employees locked up for the night. A spokesman at the company's headquarters said that "24 Hour" does not refer to the hours of operation.

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Daniel Horne was on his way home from a night out with friends in Wales when their car broke down. They decided to walk to the nearest town to get help, but someone thought they were dumping the car and called police. A police cruiser responding to the call jumped the curb and ran up on to the pavement, knocking Horne down and crushing his foot beneath one of the wheels. After finding out they had committed no crime, the police allowed Horne to be driven to a local hospital. Then a police officer gave Horne an £80 fine for denting the police car.

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Early one Sunday afternoon recently, while travelling north on the Southern Motorway, my car broke down. I was unsuccessful at getting hold of the AA on my mobile, so I just stood there with the bonnet up and hazard lights on. Eventually a young man in a silver BMW pulled up and offered to help. Turned out I needed water, so he popped my friend in his car and went to a petrol station to get a bottle.

When we realised it wasn't going to fix the problem, he took my friend and I to his car and used his mobile to call the AA. After arranging the breakdown service to come out to us, he walked us back to my car. The name of our good Samaritan? Marc Ellis. Thank you to Marc for ensuring the safety of two older ladies.

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A man in Oregon nearly died after a pet rattlesnake that he put in his mouth while drinking with some friends bit him inside his throat. Matt Wilkinson said when he put his eastern diamondback rattlesnake down his throat, he immediately noticed a shot-like sensation. "Me, being me, I put his head in my mouth," Wilkinson said. "At first, it felt like someone had given me a shot in the mouth." His throat began to swell and close as poison rushed through his body. Doctors stuck a breathing tube down his throat, injected several rounds of anti-venom and then put him in a medical coma for three days.
Wilkinson, who nearly died from the incident, is still recovering from the bite. "They said I had enough venom in me to kill between 12 and 15 people," Wilkinson said. (Source:

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A family from Te Atatu South have a question: "We always feed the birds that visit the garden, and the birds come here in daily groups. Some, like white-eyes, pick bugs, and others, like starlings, thrushes, sparrows, finches, yellowhammers, all pass through for an hour or two visiting different plants or the feeder. About three weeks ago they all stopped coming. We get the occasional visitor, but that's all. Where have they gone? The neighbour's hungry cats?"

Today's Video Webpick:A sequel to a hugely popular clip showing what business meetings would be like if people behaved as they do when commenting online. Watch it here. These are the very best online videos from Ana's online magazine Spare Room.

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