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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Convicted murderer Thomas Marston argued in his recent appeal that conflicts of interest were responsible for his 1985 conviction in Mendocino County, California. He submitted evidence that his attorney had fathered the child of the then district attorney, who Marston claimed was hassling the father for support at the time of the trial. Then a witness informed the appeals court that the mother told her the real father was the judge in Marston's case. Both the judge and the mother denied the allegations.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Greyhound Corporation vice president John Munro, despairing of complaints about dirty rest rooms in bus depots, recently began a policy of holding unscheduled formal dinners with regional managers in their depot rest rooms, complete with tablecloth, flowers, and champagne.

In September it was reported that the government of Japan had begun testing silvery, reflective coats and hats for cows, designed by a Tokyo professor to cool them in summer and warm them in winter, making them produce more meat and milk. Australian researcher Dr. Philbert Hausman said earlier this year that milk production could be increased up to 35 percent by playing certain background music while cows are being milked. He especially recommended Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

A 54-year-old Italian schoolteacher was arrested in September for trying to sell nearly 700 homemade videotapes of couples engaged in extramarital sex. The teacher was popular in his small town of Striano for offering his home for trysts; the participants didn't know he was secretly taping the sessions and offering them for sale in Naples.

An inventor seeking to reduce the litter of abandoned golf tees on the nation's courses recently invented a biodegradable tee.

Science Fair

A paper presented by a Vancouver consulting firm at the Indoor Air '90 conference in Toronto in August reported that, because of exposure to household cleaners, housewives have a 55 percent higher risk of cancer than women who work outside the home.

In August in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, plastic surgeon Frank Lomagistro saved the hand of a woman whose fingers were almost severed when her boyfriend accidentally slammed the door on them by attaching 35 leeches to her fingertips to draw blood down into the fingers.

Researchers in Copenhagen recently claimed to have traced a quarter ton of mercury (6 percent of the country's annual airborne total) to dental fillings of dead people who had been cremated. The heat had released mercury gas from the fillings into the air.

The British medical journal Pharos International reported recently that silicone breast implants remain in the ground far longer than the bodies that house them and that the nonbiodegradable implants could pose future water pollution problems.

A recent medical journal article details the case of a 26-year-old man who has suffered delusions for 15 years that he is a cat. At age 17 he confessed to eating small prey, having sex with cats, and falling in love with a zoo tigress and having attempted suicide when the tigress was moved to another zoo. He still dresses in tiger-striped clothes.

More than 40 scientists from a dozen nations met in Washington, D.C., in September for the First World Congress on the Health Significance of Garlic and Garlic Constituents, to discuss the herb's cancer-fighting and cholesterol-lowering qualities.

A study of the safety of a new printing chemical used to foil counterfeiting of $50 bills, released by the Bank of Canada in July, concluded that an ordinary-sized person would have to eat $9.6 million for the chemical to be fatal.

Latest Testosterone Surges

The Reverend James Gearon, of the Ultimate Life Church in Bellevue, Washington (long suspected by police as a front for prostitution), was charged in August with possession of child pornography after a police raid turned up sexually explicit photos of an 11-year-old girl, along with "a Bible, feather dusters, cassette tapes, condoms, rubber chickens, and inflatable lips."

A restaurateur in Livermore, California, lost a judgment for $45,000 last summer to four waitresses who had sued him for sexual harassment, offended that he served hamburgers shaped like male genitalia.

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

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