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News of the Weird

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Steven Walter Henderson, 21, of Saint Charles County, Missouri, drove into the back of a police car in July. He said he lost control of his car as he was applying Vaseline to the tail of his pet bulldog, which had just had tail-trim surgery.

Too Much Time on Their Hands

Fran Trutt, 33, pleaded no contest in April to charges that she attempted to kill the president of a medical-supply firm that uses live, anesthetized dogs to train surgeons in new procedures. She expressed hope that her own pet dog would be allowed to visit her in prison.

Joseph and Dottie Hardy of Farmington, Pennsylvania, recently spent about $187,000 at a London auction to acquire an estate and titles in Warwickshire. Said Joseph: "Lord and lady are sort of a big thing here. It's a mini, mini, mini thing of the whole country, you know, Queen Elizabeth."

Responding to the New York law banning dwarf-tossing contests, promoter Baird Jones complained, "We're being lumped with bar sports. This is not someone promoting Jell-O wrestling. It's performance art designed to satirize the values of mainstream America."

In May 200 people participated in the third annual Hill Country Machine Gun Shoot near Helotes, Texas, firing rounds from more than 100 automatic weapons, shredding washing machines, refrigerators, and other targets. Said one participant: "Can you think of a better way to spend the holiday weekend? Soldiers died so we'd have the right to shoot all we want."

A London TV executive (who preferred anonymity) purchased the rights to a personalized license plate at a government auction in July for about $54,000. The plate he wanted says "FAX IT."

Birmingham, Alabama, talk show host Tim Lennox was suspended in July after announcing on the air that, for a segment on crime, he wanted to hear only from white callers.

Questionable Judgments

Robert C. Jackson, 21, was arrested in Silver Spring, Maryland, in July for carrying a handgun. During a body search, police found in Jackson's rectum a brown paper bag with 78 plastic packets of rock cocaine and a razor blade. A police sergeant told reporters, "That's a pretty large amount [to be inside a rectum]."

Blumita Singer of Brazil was invited, as one of 52 finalists, to perform at the International Violin Competition in Indianapolis in September as the result of an audition tape she submitted. However, when she started to perform, she played so poorly it became apparent that she could not have been the person on the audition tape, and some of the judges walked out while others began giggling. Singer offered no explanation.

Workers at a Ford plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, staged a "nude-in" in July to protest layoffs.

When police arrested Thomas "Tommy Karate" Pitera in June for several Mafia-related murders in New York City, they found that his well-stocked library included such books as The Hitman's Handbook, Kill or Be Killed, and Torture, Interrogation and Execution.

Denver police announced in June that they could not arrest the man who occasionally stood in the doorway of his apartment wearing only a diaper and calling to neighbors, "Hi, I'm wearing a diaper," because he was on his own property at the time.

Animal trainer Arian Seidon, 60, who kidnapped two elephants five and a half years ago to protect them from abuse by their owners, was finally arrested in April. Seidon was apparently hard for police to track despite the fact that he supposedly had to procure 600 pounds of food per day and dispose of 500 pounds of droppings.

Darlene Brown's house in Lusby, Maryland, was destroyed by fire in May after a neighbor tried to help her get rid of a nonpoisonous black snake. The neighbor ignited the snake outside a bedroom window, ten feet from a furnace pilot light. Thirty-five fire fighters were called and damage was reported at $50,000, but the snake was killed.

The school board in Arlington County, Virginia, announced last spring that it was cutting some sex-education classes, including one that featured the popular game "Pin the Organ on the Body."

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

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