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News of the Weird

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In New York City Donna Goldberg recently opened Organized Student, a consulting service that advises children and teenagers (for $85 to $125 per hour) on how to clean up their rooms. Said a ninth-grade client interviewed by the New York Times, "I try to keep going by myself, but I can't do it."

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

A company in Gierloz, Poland, earlier this year opened a resort on the grounds of Wolf's Lair, which was Adolf Hitler's Nazi headquarters from 1942 to 1945. The company's president said, "Let the historians ponder [the irony]." A German newspaper called the resort, which attracts as many as 5,000 tourists a day, a "Nazi Disneyland."

To meet a new fashion demand, the Los Angeles company Rusk recently introduced a product that gives clean hair the look and feel of hair that "hasn't been washed in three days."

The New York Post reported in June that Manhattan gang leaders were selling drug dealers exclusive rights to certain street corners in Harlem for as much as $1 million.

The authors of the recent book Crossing Antarctica report that many of the 5,000 tourists who fly in annually purchase as souvenirs of their visit articles that arrived on the same flight they did.

In October the Swallows Hotel in Gateshead, England, offered 11 chronic snorers a free night's stay so that it could test the rooms' soundproofing. The hotel staff tape-recorded the sounds coming from the rooms and awarded the loudest snorer a prize.

Recent new products include sake with the consistency of a 7-Eleven Slurpee; Ren and Stimpy dolls, which break wind when their stomachs are squeezed; frozen microwave dinners (including baked lamb) for dogs; and trading cards imprinted with the actual, but inactive, DNA of famous people sealed inside a hologram (from StarGene of San Rafael, California).

Eww, Gross!

After police pulled over Kevin Temple, 35, in a routine traffic stop in Bronson, Florida, in October, a police dog sniffing the trunk became agitated. In the trunk and backseat officers found 48 rattlesnakes, 45 nonpoisonous snakes, 67 scorpions, several tarantulas and small lizards, a Gila monster, and a parrot. Temple said they were just pets.

A South Korean professor and a Buddhist monk made arrangements in September to repatriate the noses of 2,000 Koreans slain by invading Japanese soldiers in the 17th century. The noses had been taken to Japan as proof of their victory and preserved in a tomb.

In September the body of a man shot to death and tied to a heavy beam was pulled from a river near Topeka, Kansas. Investigators believe the murderer intended to hamper identification efforts by removing most of the tattoos and pulling all the teeth from the victim's body.

In October biologists at China's Northwest University in Xi'an reported finding a 77-pound slime ball floating on a river in Shaanxi province. According to the scientists, the pure white fungus gained 22 pounds in the first three days the scientists observed it and has the ability to move across the ground on its own.

Three maintenance workers in Alexandria, Indiana, fixed a massive street-flooding problem in October when they pulled a 200-pound hair ball from a manhole. Said one of the men, "We thought we had a goat."

Inexplicable

Among the topics addressed by the sheriff's department etiquette book for deputies in San Bernardino County, California, are the proper procedure for eating a banana (break it into pieces and eat it with a salad fork), buffet etiquette (don't load your plate and don't put food back after you take it), and fashion tips (no cowboy hats, white sport coats, or safari jackets).

Least Competent Person

A 38-year-old man was hospitalized in Princeton, West Virginia, in October with gunshot wounds. He had been drinking beer and shot himself three times--as he attempted to clean each of his three guns. He said the first shot didn't hurt, the second "stung a little," and the third "really hurt," prompting him to call an ambulance.

Undignified Deaths

In September David Wayne Godin, 22, drowned near Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, when his vehicle plunged into a lake as he was returning from his bachelor party. Attached to Godin's leg, courtesy of friends at the party, was an authentic ball and chain.

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

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