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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Convicted robber Ferdinand Reynolds, 30, an inmate at the Folsom State Prison in California, wrote Sacramento police in October asking that they charge him with any unsolved crimes still on the books. Wrote Reynolds, "I am trying to be the first man in the history of America to ever get 5,000 years in prison, and I want you to please help me out." He included a description of himself, with the words, "If he [the suspect] looks like me than [sic] charge me for the crime."

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Among the inventions on display at the Monroeville Expo Mart near Pittsburgh last year were golf shoes with technique pointers embroidered across the toes; a preknotted silk tie that slips on and off via a zipper; and, from the Japanese inventor of the digital watch, a seaweed compound labeled "brain food" that supposedly guarantees clear thinking and an engine that runs on tap water and supposedly produces three times the power of a gasoline engine.

An industry analyst said supermarket carts would soon be equipped with six-by-eight-inch video monitors that would sense the customer's location in the store and beam ads for nearby products automatically. Texaco announced last year that it would soon introduce video monitors at gas pumps that would show commercials at a rate of about ten per fill-up.

Young, fashion-conscious Japanese men and women have been wearing replicas of the sheepskin flight jackets worn by U.S. pilots during World War II, some complete with the insignia of the squadron that bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Taking the lead of a 7-Eleven owner in Victoria, British Columbia, several convenience stores in the United States and Canada have tried playing "elevator music" in their stores in an attempt to repel teenagers who hang out there.

In June, the Taiwanese coast guard seized a smuggler's ship filled with 30 tons of contraband rooster testicles and cow innards destined for the country's restaurants, whose owners say legally obtained testicles and innards are too expensive.

Japan's Housing and Urban Development Corporation announced recently that an apartment 819 square feet in area and a minute's walk to a train station 30 minutes from downtown Tokyo had attracted a record 8,265 bids. It was expected to sell for more than $300,000.

Home owners unable to sell their homes in Chicago, Newark, Detroit, New York, San Jose, and other cities have recently turned to Saint Joseph, the patron saint of home and hearth. Religious stores in those cities report unusually high sales of the statuettes, which real estate agents bury upside down in the yard to stimulate sales. Kerry Meluskey, a real estate agent (who is Jewish), said the tactic helped her sell four homes in Philadelphia.

Sports News

The Evergreen Foundation, an organization of "former" homosexuals and their supporters, sponsored a conference last April on "curing" homosexuality through sports. President Alan Seegmiller said participation in "traditional masculine activities" such as basketball and softball would "heal the inner child of the past." Seegmiller said some men, as an alternative, trained as auto mechanics.

Swedish golfer Mikael Krantz, fresh from a drinking binge the night before, teed off in the third round of the Irish Open in June, but his first swing caused him to lose his balance. He pitched forward, dragging his caddy and a tournament official to the ground and stunning spectators. He hit his second shot into an adjacent bay.

Marge Schott, owner of the world champion Cincinnati Reds, said last year that she forces her team's manager, Lou Piniella, to rub her pet Saint Bernard before each home game for good luck and that for road games she sends bags of the dog's hair to Piniella's hotel room.

In a September game in Boston, Oakland A's outfielder Ricky Henderson hit foul balls on two successive pitches right to Ron Vachon, 38, who was sitting in a luxury box seat. Vachon dropped both of them.

Among the participants in October's Asian Games were a 97-pound Chinese woman who can lift more than twice her weight in barbells, a seven-foot-seven North Korean basketball player who has a full-time guide to help prevent him from bumping his head, and six Iranian women who compete in sharpshooting while covered from head to toe in their traditional black robes.

South Korean officials were investigating more than 200 golfers who, during a massive regional cleanup effort after a September flood, defied government admonitions and played golf, sometimes hitting shots while standing alongside cleanup workers.

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

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