News of the Weird | News of the Weird | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » News of the Weird

News of the Weird

by

comment

Lead Story

After a bus fell into a ditch in April outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, injured passengers were left moaning for hours because potential rescuers were too frightened to approach the bus. Baskets containing six cobras had come open in the crash and their caretaker had been killed. Several hours later, a snake charmer arrived from a nearby village, caught three of the snakes, and assured rescuers that the other snakes were dead, allowing rescue operations to proceed.

The Continuing Crisis

Police in San Jose, California, failed to locate the person they believe responsible for at least 59 tire slashings last fall. They believe a door-to-door canvasser enlisting supporters for a state referendum advocating insurance rate rollbacks slashed the tires of people who wouldn't contribute money to the campaign.

The University of Washington chapter of Theta Xi fraternity was expelled from campus and suspended by the national office in January for hazing. Police found pledges with white grease and peanut butter on their bodies wearing only underwear in the proximity of stolen sheep that were, according to police, "overheated and agitated."

In a standardized math test last year, U.S. 13-year-olds finished last among six countries (the others were Spain, England, Ireland, Canada, and South Korea) but scored highest (68 percent) in a survey of how many agreed with the statement, "I am good at mathematics."

Officials at San Quentin prison announced in January that they were considering changing the traditional hour of execution, 10 AM (in effect for 97 years), so as not to contribute to morning-rush-hour traffic jams by visitors.

In Glenwood, Iowa, 39-year-old Marsha Clay Dorsch filed for divorce in January from 17-year-old Eric Dorsch after two years' marriage because he was "causing too much trouble around here. He was getting to be a pest."

The Young Communist League of the Soviet Union, reported to have lost ten million members since perestroika began, started in January to sell condoms (which are scarce in the USSR) at rallies in the Ukraine as a means of increasing attendance.

Jennifer Connor, 18, a New York woman with a high hairdo, was diagnosed in November with hearing loss and a serious ear infection. Her physician said her ears were clogged with hair spray.

Foul-weather deaths of animals in the San Diego Zoo are down in 1990 from a high of 35 last year. The leading cause of death for both years was sexual accidents.

Police called this year's five-day Carnival in Rio de Janeiro in February the most peaceful in ten years. There were 72 homicides and 92 other deaths.

According to Olga Lipovskaya, a feminist editor in Leningrad, who has had two children and seven abortions (both figures half the national average), the most popular contraceptive methods in the Soviet Union are douching with lemon juice after sex and jumping off a refrigerator if a period is three days late.

The U.S. Census Bureau office in Pembroke Pines, Florida, received a call this year from a woman uncertain whether to list as a third resident of her house the woman who had run off with her husband and later came back with him, and who was now living in the couple's house.

Joel Brand, a candidate this year for the school board in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, was arrested in May and charged with assault. Brand, a member of "Minnesotans for Improved Juvenile Justice" and a behavior specialist for the public school system, was accused of slugging his 18-year-old foster son (who was asleep on a couch) for having consumed alcohol.

A 24-year-old woman in Langeboom, the Netherlands, was hospitalized in May after doctors discovered that she had been living for four years wrapped in a plastic sheet and eating only canned food, having taken those "precautions" as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear-plant accident in 1986. She had not left her sofa except to use the bathroom and had not bathed in four years.

In May, six homeless men broke up a social activists' rally (those present included members of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless) in a Denver park, with one man telling the gathering to "get out of our park" and "go sit on your portable lounges and watch your big-screen televisions." The 40 activists left after a short verbal skirmish.

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

Add a comment