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News of the Weird



Lead Story

The Chaska Herald of Chaska, Minnesota, reported in August on resident Brett Holm and his invention for hunters, to be marketed as Season Shot. Unlike conventional shotgun shells, which contain lead pellets that have to be laboriously removed from game meat, Season Shot shells carry pellets that after killing the animal dissolve in its flesh and season it for cooking. Holm said he hoped to have the ammunition on shelves by next fall in flavors including Creole, Mexican, mesquite, and lemon pepper.

Medical Marvels

In an October article in European Urology, a team of surgeons in Guangzhou, China, claimed to have performed the first-ever successful penis transplant, grafting an organ donated by the parents of a brain-dead young man onto a 44-year-old who'd lost his penis eight months before in an accident. However, the doctors reported, due to a "severe psychological problem" encountered by the recipient and his wife, the new penis "regretfully had to be cut off" just two weeks later.

Police in Madison, Wisconsin,

said that following his arrest in September 48-year-old Milo G. Chamberlain remained lively despite a blood alcohol concentration of .425 percent, a level often associated with coma or death. Responding to a disturbance complaint, officers found Chamberlain being restrained by passersby as he allegedly attempted to attack a gas pump; earlier he'd been seen outside a bar trying to smoke a dollar bill. When repeatedly asked his name, police said, he responded only with apparently random strings of numbers.

The Global Economy

According to an August article in Germany's Der Spiegel, an estimated 60 percent of the world's cheap oil paintings--about five million a year--are produced by hand in the art factories of Dafen, a suburb of Shenzhen in southern China. One of the thousands of laborers told the reporter that he completes 20 to 30 paintings a day, earning about 40 cents for each; when particularly large orders come in, he said, he may have to paint the same thing 1,000 times.

Fetishes on Parade

Alfred Steven, 69, was arrested in September after being found naked by police late one night in an animal enclosure at La Purisima Mission State Park in Lompoc, California. According to the police report, Steven denied having sex with the sheep and horses there (officers said they weren't convinced) but acknowledged that he had covered his body with olive oil and oats and let the animals lick it off him.

Least Competent Perverts

In September police in Long Beach, California, wrapped up a sting operation in which volunteers posed online as children to arrange meetings with sexual predators, who later found officers and a Dateline NBC camera crew waiting for them when they showed up for their dates. Among the 38 men arrested was one who had been caught in a Dateline sting several months earlier.

Least Competent People

Richard Brooks, 50, was injured in a September incident when according to police he inexplicably became enraged at a group of bikers riding ahead of him on Highway 4 near Pittsburg, California. Waving a pool cue out the window of his car, Brooks allegedly accelerated into the middle of the group, forcing them to swerve out of his way. When he saw that two of them had stopped on the side of the road, he pulled over, got out, and advanced toward them with the cue but was knocked into traffic by his car, which he'd left in reverse; the bikers pulled him to safety.

Fine Points of the Law

In August the district attorney's office of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, agreed to let Derek Pittman, 26, participate in rehab and thus avoid a possible criminal record for an incident last winter. When a state trooper pulled over a car Pittman was riding in, he found the driver holding a large sandwich in both hands; Pittman, in the passenger seat, told the officer he'd caused the car to swerve when he momentarily held the wheel while his friend took a bite. The driver passed a breath test, but Pittman scored a .237 on his and was charged with DUI. And in the same month a superior court judge in Reading, Pennsylvania, reinstated charges against a 44-year-old man accused of buying a case of Miller Genuine Draft for a 17-year-old boy.

A lower court had dismissed the case, ruling that since prosecutors didn't provide an official liquor board list of beers, they had failed to prove that that's what MGD was.

Recurring Themes

News of the Weird reported in March on a man in the Bay Area who had started a hotel fire while trying to extract the meth residue in his urine for reuse; authorities said the chemistry made sense but a single bladderful wasn't nearly enough to produce another dose. In September deputies in Vista, California, arrested 38-year-old Ambrose Myers on suspicion of running a meth lab in his parents' house; among the evidence seized were a number of jars of urine, allegedly containing meth remnants and saved by Myers for future processing.

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

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