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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz gave himself five inch-long welts in March when he tried to iron his polo shirt while wearing it. "I've ironed that way five or six times," he said, "and never had that happen."

Oops!

A correction in the "Ask Beth" advice column in the April 13 Boston Globe told readers to disregard her statement the day before that women are "least likely" to get pregnant halfway between the beginnings of successive periods. It's "most likely."

Dave Ten Eyck of Anniston, Alabama, was injured recently after he attempted to replace a fuse in his Chevy pickup with a .22-caliber rifle bullet because it was a perfect fit.) When electricity heated the bullet, it went off and shot Ten Eyck in the knee.

Astrophysicist John Middleditch told an American Association for the Advancement of Science audience in February that a signal thought a year ago to be the fastest-spinning object in the universe (and thus the subject of many scientific papers) was just reception from a TV monitor in the Chilean observatory where the "spinning object" had been discovered. Someone had forgotten to turn it off.

Police Blotter

In April Nelson Echazabal, 25, and Claude Cherubin, 22, were arrested in Miami for burglary. They had met two days before and formed a partnership after Cherubin broke into Echazabal's home to burglarize it and the two struck up a conversation.

Nairobi police arrested a Greek nun named Sister Irene in January and charged her with smuggling 6,000 bees into Kenya under her habit. She told the Kenya Times that she wanted to use the bees' wax to make candles.

The January 8 crime column in the Wisconsin State Journal reports that a Madison police officer was called to an apartment to settle a dispute between two women over ownership of three pairs of underpants that did not seem to be either woman's size. The smaller woman said she bought larger because she expects to get pregnant; the larger woman said she normally wears a larger size but would put these on for the officer to show that she could fit into them. The officer confiscated the underpants.

The victim of an at-home robbery in Dallas in February told police that the robber took $8 from the victim's pants and wallet and started for the door but then turned and threw the money on the floor, declaring, "This house is not worth robbing."

Police in Vallejo, California, arrested Jeffrey L. Flournoy, 27, for bank robbery in March after a teller gave him $105 based on Flournoy's note that he had a bomb. The teller said that at first Flournoy's cane and dark glasses looked like a disguise, but that when Flournoy asked for directions to the front door, the teller realized he was blind and apprehended him. Flournoy said he was trying to publicize the plight of the disabled.

Court Reporter

A jury in Gwinnet County, Georgia, found 24-year-old Herbert Freels guilty of rape in November, despite his having produced a note signed by the victim, stating, "I was not raped. I did it under my own free will." Freels was distraught after the verdict and claimed that he "always" has his sexual partners write such notes.

Singer Johnny Paycheck asked the Ohio Supreme Court in December to reduce the nine-year sentence he is serving for a 1985 shooting. The story goes that the shooting victim asked Paycheck if he wanted to eat deer meat and turtle soup, and Paycheck responded by shooting him in the head yelling, "What do you think I am, a country hick?"

Charles Erickson, 65, won $95,000 in a March trial in La Crosse, Wisconsin, after a six-inch clamp was left inside his body during a lung operation. Erickson said he had not planned to sue, but then Lutheran Hospital sent him a bill for the subsequent operation, which was solely to remove the clamp.

In January 39-year-old Alphonso Calhoun was convicted in Cleveland of raping a 27-year-old woman who said Calhoun forced her to perform fellatio four times in exchange for drugs. Calhoun was convicted despite the fact that, after the fourth incident, the woman bit Calhoun's testicles off after he passed and walked off with his drugs and money. Testified Calhoun in his own behalf: "I looked down [after being jarred awake]. The pouch [of drugs and money] was gone. My scrotum was gone."

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

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