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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

A new 900 telephone service advertises that "Women in Jail" are seeking boyfriends and husbands: "They're young and attractive. They're sorry for what they've done. And they haven't been with a man in a long, long time. $2 a minute.

Makes Sense to Me

Roseann Greco, sentenced in March for murdering her husband in 1985 by running over him in the family car, said that she did it because Mickey Mouse had taken over his body and that she believes it was only Mickey she flattened.

Red Cross officials in Oakland, California issued a public warning in April about the fund-raising activities of George Cox, who planned to induce Red Cross givers to pay a $158 fee by promising to award the top giver $17.5 million. Cox told the Oakland Tribune that his plan was not a pyramid scheme: "In pyramids, a lot of people are making money. Here, only one person will make money."

Adelheid Streidel, accused of stabbing Oskar Lafontaine, the Social Democratic candidate for chancellor of West Germany, told the prosecutor in April that he did it "so that I would have to go to court and then I'd get in the news."

Demetrio B. Lakas, president of Panama in the 1970s, testifying at his son's trial in Lubbock, Texas, said his son's threats on President Bush's life should not be taken seriously. Although a pawnbroker had testified that the younger Lakas picked up a gun and said, "Bush is coming to Lubbock, and I will blow his fucking head off," the father said that presidential death threats are "they way we express ourselves" in Panama.

Give Me a Break

In 1989 Craig McCaw, chairman of McCaw Cellular Communications, was awarded a bonus of $53.6 million and two subordinates shared $92.7 million in bonuses despite the fact that the firm has never shown a profit, lost $289 million last year, and in some years has lost over $1 billion.

Edwin Meese, who in a 1988 book contract promised May 1989 delivery on his memoirs as attorney general and who told a reporter in June 1989 that he had already completed "a thousand pages," failed to deliver a single page by April 1990 and had the contract canceled by the publisher.

Tom Cruise, trying on Earth Day to reconcile his request that people turn off lights and use recycled paper with his ecologically extravagant hobby of race car driving: "The thing is, not many people are going to be able to drive race cars, OK? It's important to point out the things you can do to make a difference." TV actor Harry Anderson, also an Earth Day speaker: "We have a Volvo, a pickup truck, and a Mustang convertible. But I don't drive [the Mustang] much."

In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

Police officer Angus Perkins of Roseville, Minnesota, arrested a 23-year-old Saint Paul woman at a bar when she tried to pass forged checks (belonging to her "boyfriend") with Angus Perkins's name printed on them (stolen from him the week before).

Anibal Aba Ad, 20, was arrested in in the Bronx for shooting Howard Felix, 20. Ad was apprehended when he was brought into the emergency room, himself a shooting victim, and placed by chance next to Felix's bed. As Felix was answering police officers' questions about his shooting, he looked over and identified Ad.

A police sergeant in Washington, D.C., shot and wounded Carmelo Gomez, 33, in November because Gomez would not drop the gun he was holding. Gomez had just saved himself by wrestling the gun away from a mugger, but he did not understand English.

A man from Kennewick, Washington, survived even after his boat capsized on the Columbia River during the torrential west-coast storms in May. However, after swimming ashore he tried to flag down a train, which slammed into him and killed him.

In March a Kenyan who had just attempted a rape in Nairobi fled an angry mob by crossing the narrow Nairobi River, but froze in his tracks as he encountered a giant monitor lizard. Though monitor lizards are seldom aggressive, the crowd convinced the man that he was about to be attacked and he retreated back across the river, where the mob beat him up and took him to the police station.

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

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