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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

A Nebraska physician wrote in a recent medical journal that a 49-year-old former truck driver who had AIDS probably acquired the virus from one of his "hundreds" of violent gay-bashing episodes during the 1980s in New York City. The man had many lacerations on his hands from times he had beaten gay men, so severely that their blood had probably mixed with his own.

The Continuing Crisis

The IRS has reported the "disappearance" of more than eight million American children during the late 1980s due to tax reform legislation. That number is the total of all children claimed as dependents or beneficiaries of child-care tax credits before 1987 but no longer claimed once the IRS started requiring proof that such children existed.

Plant City, Florida, police arrested a 17-year-old free-lance "police officer" in January and charged him with stopping motorists and "scolding" them for minor traffic infractions.

On Valentine's Day in Toledo, a 32-year-old man, upset at the breakup of his marriage and his inability to convince his wife to reconcile, shot himself to death with a crossbow. The man's name was Jeffrey Valentine.

Recently human sperm was temporarily classified as a taxable good in Canada, requiring women who undergo donor insemination to pay the national sales tax of about $7 per procedure. After a brief uproar, the classification was rescinded.

When a Waunakee, Wisconsin, woman and her husband spoke out in opposition to a Christian nativity scene on display in the city park last Christmas, saying it infringed on their freedom, they received (and recorded) several telephone calls from local Christians: "I want you to keep the hell out of this nativity thing, you fucking bitch"; "Fuck you, you sleazy cunt, we'll get you"; "If you don't quit fucking with the town of Waunakee, someone's going to be fucking with you."

Ophilia Yip, 34, drove the family van with her four children in it off a pier into the harbor in Los Angeles in January. Her husband said she had been depressed about how her children would turn out if they had had to grow up in LA.

A new Italian magazine, Hooligans, says it is dedicated to "soccer fans and skinheads" who don't "love" violence "but who don't fear it, either." The first issue, which sold out, included an editorial praising violent British soccer fans. "Violent and aggressive, the English football fan does not limit himself to self-defense as the Anglo-Saxon culture dictates, but actively seeks provocation and clashes."

About a dozen allergy-ridden families moved recently to the Texas hill country town of Wimberly to establish a chemical-free environment. They live outdoors on cotton mats and indoors in rooms lined with porcelain or aluminum foil. They hang their mail in the breeze before opening it and avoid newspapers unless each page is wrapped in cellophane.

Vanity Fair reports that Manuel Noriega always offers visitors to his prison cell Oreo cookies. Said Noriega's lawyer, "He may no longer be the ruler of his nation, but psychologically he still has this need to offer you hospitality."

Compelling Explanations

Brian Kernodle, 21, walked into a Key West hospital emergency room in January with two hand grenades strapped to his body and demanded medical care. After being promised care, he disarmed himself, explaining that he thought his approach was the best way to assure that he would get attended to in the busy hospital.

Bruno Basic, 46, of Cambridge, Ontario, was convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol in February despite his explanation of why his blood-alcohol reading was so high. Basic said he was perfectly sober at the time of the crash but that a good samaritan bearing liquor just happened to be at the scene of the accident and gave Basic several drinks to calm him down before police arrived.

Eleven police officers in National City, California, were caught cheating on an oral promotion exam last May but were let off with no action against them because they had not been specifically instructed not to cheat.

A 48-year-old man was found not guilty of indecent exposure by a judge in Gastonia, North Carolina, in December. A woman said she had seen the man masturbating in his car in a parking lot, but the man persuaded the judge that a bee had flown up his shorts and that he had pulled down his pants to kill it. The man's wife took the stand and testified that her husband definitely appeared to have been stung.

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

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