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News of the Weird

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Lead Sory

Police in Taylorsville, North Carolina, arrested three women for a one-night shoplifting binge on August 13. One woman was charged with smuggling a VCR out of a Western Auto store in the waistband of her shorts, and another was accused of walking out of a different store with 57 packs of cigarettes stuffed into her bra.

Notable Names

Science fiction author Lester del Rey passed away in New York City in May at age 77. His obituary gave his real name as Ramon Felipe San Juan Mario Silvio Enrico Smith Heathcourt-Brace Sierra y Alvarez del Rey y de los Uerdes.

In January a woman named Rose Shot to Pieces was convicted of illegally selling alcohol on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota. And in October Kendall "Face" Pitts was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Durham, North Carolina, for a drug-related shooting.

The body of a woman who died in a fire in Nashville in August was sent to her hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky, where burial arrangements were made by the Burnom and Son Funeral Home.

In July a car smashed into a bus-stop shelter; one of the survivors in the shelter was a one-year-old girl named Special Lemons.

In September Miami police stopped a man for speeding and found $4,440 stuffed into one of his socks. A records check revealed that the man--named Promise, Marion Promise--owed more than that in child support; a judge ordered the $4,440 turned over to the child's mother.

Salem, Ohio, police arrested a 49-year-old man for trespassing after they found him yelling at a restaurant's patrons. Despite the man's protests, he was identified as James L. Copley on the arrest record; he'd recently legally changed his name to Jim Crazy-for-Caring.

In the Nichirei International women's tennis tournament in September in Tokyo, third-seeded Kimiko Date of Japan defeated Taiwan's Shi-Ting Wang.

In August Oh Man, vice chairman of the association that supplies interpreters for court proceedings in Japan, announced that his organization would begin upgrading its training manuals.

From recent obituaries: Mr. Orange Dickie, 90, passed away in Touro, Louisiana. The man who choked to death on food at the K&W Cafeteria in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in June was 45-year-old Fleetus Lee Gobble. And in October in Petersburg, Ontario, John Deadman, 53, was killed when he became entangled in heavy equipment while loading a silo.

In October the New York Times reported a new trend in Hong Kong: Chinese people giving their children Western names. Among the first names mentioned were Cinderella, Onion, Creamy, Jackal, Civic, Scholastica, Egmont, and Open. A woman named Neon Chang said some Chinese had complained about her name--not because it was too Western, but because they thought Neon was a boy's name.

Well Put

Coach Phil Padilla of South Harrison High School in Bethany, Missouri, was asked at his August sexual-abuse trial (he was later acquitted) whether he'd ever had an extramarital affair. He replied, "Not that I'm aware of."

Eddie Robertson Jr. had just been sentenced to life in prison without parole in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for rape, when the judge imposed a $50 assessment for a victim-compensation fund. "Fifty dollars for what?" said Robertson. "I got life without parole, and I got to pay $50?"

Darcie McNeill, 14, who was leading a student rally in Victoria, British Columbia, against logging practices on Vancouver Island, urged school principals to permit students to attend the October rally: "Any principals who would not let kids come today are fascist pigs who can rot in hell."

Former Oklahoma representative Kenneth Converse testified in July that he'd witnessed Governor David Walters, when Walters was a candidate for governor in 1990, promise a state job to someone in exchange for a $5,000 contribution. Converse told reporters he'd told the grand jury that what Walters did was "highly unethical. Usually you have someone else to do it [for you]."

Least Competent Criminal

Michael Norton, 37, was arrested in June, shortly after he allegedly stole two video cameras from a Citibank in Brooklyn, New York. Norton had jumped up on a counter to unscrew the cameras from the wall and in the process presented his face to the cameras. He apparently assumed the camera was a self-contained unit. But the part he unscrewed contained only the lens; the recording unit was in another part of the building.

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

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