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News of the Weird



Lead Story

Chester Noland, a police officer in Sunrise, Florida, was disciplined in March for an October incident in which he overreacted in corralling 14 teenage skateboarders who were making too much noise. Noland reportedly lined the boys up and hit them between their legs with his nightstick while singing variations of the theme song from The Brady Bunch. One boy's re-creation of the song: "There's a story / of a man named Brady / who has 14 juveniles of his own / All of them had skateboards /and little dicks."

Seeds of Our Destruction

The National Center for Policy Analysis, a think tank in Austin, Texas reported in March that statistics show that in Texas, the benefits of crime outweigh the costs: the average time behind bars for murder is two years, and for rape 5.3 months.

A 34-year-old Navy petty officer was given a 25-year prison sentence in Orlando for raping his eight-year-old daughter every time she brought home a bad report card. In one note he threatened to do it "400 times" for a particularly bad report card.

Abortion protesters in Saint Louis marched last fall in support of U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf. Marcher Peggy Barker told the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, "Eighteen years ago [after the Roe v. Wade decision], we began killing off the people [fetuses] who could be defending us right now."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said last fall that more than 200 birds were deliberately killed by researchers to gather evidence against Exxon in ongoing lawsuits stemming from the Alaska oil spill. (Barely 800 birds were cleaned and freed as part of the rescue effort.)

The Mexican Ecologist Movement announced plans last winter to open sidewalk oxygen booths in smog-dense Mexico City where residents can breathe unpolluted air for one minute for about the same cost as two packs of cigarettes.

A recent trend in San Francisco and Los Angeles is body piercing--poking needles through lips, nose, tongue, genitals, breasts, and belly buttons for beauty and erotic sensation. According to the owner of a piercing parlor called the Gauntlet, "A little piece of metal through strategic parts of the body, when manipulated, can be extremely pleasurable." According to an employee there: "Those people who liked sushi and quiche five years ago are getting pierced today."

Wonder Weaver, a tailoring business near West Palm Beach, Florida, has begun soliciting business to mend bullet holes in clothing. In December owner Bernice Penn showed a reporter a three-piece suit that came to her with ten bullet holes in the lapels, vest, and pants, and said it was none of her business how the holes got there. (She said she had a "tame" mending business in Massachusetts but has adapted to the South Florida market.)

Court Reporter

A judge in Paducah, Kentucky, dismissed a lawsuit last July by Candy Varble, who complained that she was bitten by Ronnie Watson's pit bull. The judge said he had no authority to order Watson to pay Varble's medical bills, and that Varble had won the fight with the dog anyway when she disabled him by "severely" yanking his testicles.

A medical journal report reprinted in the Tampa Tribune in March told of one Robert Martinique, who had accused surgeon Ran Abrehemy of improperly installing a nine-inch penile implant, causing his penis to be bent and sex and urination to be painful. A urologist he consulted said the implant would have "exploded" if not immediately removed. Martinique's subsequent implant was an inch shorter and reportedly feels fine.

A General Motors assembly line worker in Oshawa, Canada, won an award from the Workers Compensation Appeals Tribunal in February for job stress after his foreman told him that he had bad body odor and the man subsequently suffered, he claimed, from loss of appetite, lack of sleep, and sexual dysfunctions. He'll receive about $3,000 in benefits.

In November in Miami, Jacqueline Calise, injured by an auto driven by Efram Summerset, who had stolen the car from David Gonshak, sued Gonshak. Calise said that if Gonshak had protected the car better, Summerset never would have been able to steal it. Gonshak had left the keys in the car at a dealership's service entrance when Summerset stole it.

In December a Soviet tribunal finally awarded Larisa Savitska, sole survivor of a 1981 Aeroflot crash that left her disabled, a total of about $50 compensation (for her luggage, which was lost).

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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