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News of the Weird



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On February 5 police in Tallahassee, Florida, charged Sean David McDonald and Kristen Elizabeth Tice, both 20, with disorderly conduct after they spotted the couple engaged in sexual intercourse while dancing at a nightclub. Police said McDonald had his pants down and that about 100 patrons were watching. McDonald told police he did not know the woman's name but had merely asked her to dance. And one week earlier police in Calgary, Alberta, were called to a shopping mall at 4 PM to disentangle a couple copulating in front of Norm's Ski Hut.

Cliches Come to Life

In Saint Louis lawyer Richard Jacobs argued after he was convicted of stealing court documents that he was a victim of prejudice because the judge had allowed the jury to learn his occupation.

In January Mission Control in Cape Canaveral, responding to a sensor alarm, reminded the Endeavor astronauts to please put the toilet seat down.

One teenager was killed and four were wounded in an explosion at a Chevron oil storage facility in Sherman, Texas, in September. The boys had trespassed onto the top of a large tank, removed a manhole-type cover, peered inside and, when they couldn't see anything in the darkness, lit a match.

Citing a need for "caseworkers" and "staff analysts" in the city government, New York City announced in December that anyone with a college degree (the minimum requirement for either job) would automatically get 70 bonus points on the written civil service exam and that anyone with experience in such jobs would automatically get 30 more. The best possible score on the exam is 100 and 70 is passing.

In November the city council of Salem, New Hampshire, reluctantly renewed the contract of city manager Barry Brenner for 1993, provided that he cleans off his desk. According to one council member, Brenner had such huge piles of papers on his desk that he refused to let people see his office, and early last year he misplaced town check vouchers and could not find them for six months.

In September, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville, electrician Charles Bobst suffered electrical burns while performing routine maintenance on the electric chair.

People With Too Much Time on Their Hands

Last summer the cable television company that serves Columbia, South Carolina, aimed a camera full time at an aquarium to occupy a vacant channel that was awaiting the September start-up of the Sci-Fi Channel. When Sci-Fi replaced the "fish channel" so many people complained that the company was forced to put the aquarium on another channel, which now runs 14 hours per day, sharing time with Bravo.

Last fall country and western singer Sammy Kershaw introduced a private-label perfume, Starclone, to be sold at his concerts and record stores. The perfume features as a special ingredient Kershaw's own perspiration.

Compton, California, mayor Walter R. Tucker III proposed last fall that a local apartment house in which George and Barbara Bush lived for six months in 1949 receive national landmark status. At the time of the mayor's proposal it was a crack house.

In Omaha, Nebraska, Michael and Brian McCormack celebrated the 20th anniversary of their World Hello Day on November 21. They commemorate the occasion by sending letters to celebrities and heads of state and publicizing their thesis that people would be happier if they just said hello to ten people a day.

The Weirdo-American Community

A Tulsa, Oklahoma, physician, writing in a 1992 issue of the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, reported on a 32-year-old woman whose neighbors had installed a large satellite dish in their yard. The woman became convinced that she was being wooed by Donald Duck and that the dish had been placed there to facilitate his communication with her. She spent lots of time "hovering" around the dish and eventually undressed and climbed into it, where she later said she had consummated her marriage to Mr. Duck.

Undignified Deaths

In September a 22-year-old lifeguard in Towson, Maryland, drowned, apparently while trying to match a friend's feat of swimming two laps underwater on one breath of air.

Christopher Scott Carver, 27, died just outside of a dentist's office in Raleigh, North Carolina, in February. He was found with a plastic bag over his head and had apparently overdosed on laughing gas. Police theorized he had broken into the office to steal the gas.

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

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