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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Ned Stacey, owner of a Tallahassee, Florida, comic-book store, announced in January that the store's cash-register-receipt ink would be composed partly of his own blood.

Court Reporter

Gary Duvall filed a lawsuit in Baltimore in November against Smiley the Clown, who failed to honor his contract and show up at Duvall's daughter's fourth birthday party because he was overbooked. Duvall claimed the absence "greatly distressed" the child, to the tune of $52,000.

Charles K. Falterman, 27, sued singer Rod Stewart and several promoters of a 1989 concert in Lafayette, Louisiana, at which he suffered a permanent knee injury because of the boisterousness of the crowd. The crowd was provoked, said Falterman, by the "erotic and hedonistic" music, designed to "stimulate the base nature of the fans and to provoke and excite a gross sense of abandon."

The Ohio Supreme Court allowed to go to trial a lawsuit by a husband against his wife's lover, whose venereal disease the husband contracted from his wife. The court ruled in December that the lover had a legal duty to warn the husband.

As a condition of probation for Ronald P. Edwards, who in February pleaded guilty to battery in Hahnville, Louisiana, Judge Joel Chaisson ordered Edwards to remove the curse Edwards had placed on him at the time of his arrest.

The Virginia Supreme Court in March reinstated a jury verdict awarding Martha J. Love $150,000 for back injuries she suffered when she fell off a loose toilet seat in a Richmond office building. The court said the woman was not at fault for sitting on a loose toilet seat, especially when it "appeared to be positioned properly on the toilet."

A San Francisco woman was awarded $350,000 in city money by a jury in February for injuries sustained when she fell in a public park. She had been drinking and was taking a taxi home when the driver stopped en route so she could answer a call of nature in a clump of bushes at the edge of the park. She lost her balance and tumbled down a hill that was obscured by the bushes, suffering major injuries.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

An FBI investigation into interstate trafficking by diaper fetishists resulted in the arrests of five men belonging to the Diaper Pail Foundation, which publishes a newsletter and information exchange for members. One of the men, arrested in Madison, Wisconsin, in April for possession of child pornography, was found inside a van taking pictures of a child who was defecating into diapers. The man had offered himself to the child's parents as a toilet trainer and had convinced them the child needed to be away from the parents to help him relax.

Freddie R. Roberts and Robert W. Lancette of Clarksville, Tennessee, were granted a patent in November for a toilet-training device, to be placed inside the toilet, that rewards successful users by sight and sound signals via infrared sensors that are triggered whenever "liquid or solid excrement" enters the device.

Nippon Housing Loan Company of Japan has begun offering 100-year mortgages. Currently, a $500,000 loan for 100 years would cost $4.2 million. (The reason such extended terms: the high price of real estate in downtown Tokyo, where the land area of a telephone booth costs $230,000.)

Ed Fitzgerald of Bigfork, Montana, recently produced the first issue of NADDUM (National Association of Dumpster Divers and Urban Miners) News, aimed at people who like to scrounge around in trash piles. Fitzgerald himself claims to save $2,000 a year by scrounging.

Bill R. Clark, 61, of Jonesboro, Arkansas, has been issued a patent for an invention that embosses numbers on the heels of socks to help identify them when they come out of the dryer, saving the owner time matching them up.

Tom Stimus, a Bradenton, Florida, car dealer whose loud, brash TV ads are well known in Florida and Georgia, is readying "StimusVision", an around-the-clock cable-TV channel featuring mostly car ads.

Chicago inventors Bart and Earl Kitover are trying to market a hand-held bidet. Their sales pitch, positioned against the Japanese paperless toilets, compares the Japanese models to Soviet ICBMs (full firepower but no accuracy) and their own to U.S. Stinger missiles (high accuracy, ease of storage).

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

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