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News of the Weird

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The epicenter of the January California earthquake is five miles from this country's largest egg farm. In the hours before the quake hens had produced their usual one million eggs, yet damage to the farm amounted to one snapped water line, some toppled empty egg pallets, and one broken egg. Manager Robert Wagner told his employees, "We had a 6.6 earthquake that broke less eggs than you guys do when we're working."

Last Days of the Planet

In a report in a recent issue of Audubon magazine, Ursula Garza de Garza of the border town of Matamoros, Mexico, mentioned that her dogs no longer have a flea problem. "We grab the dogs and stick them in the canal [that connects several Matamoros chemical companies], and the fleas are gone. All the hair falls off, too, but gradually it comes back."

The Washington Times, citing a Federal Protective Service report, revealed in May that staff and volunteers at the 1993 Clinton inaugural stole $154,000 worth of electronic equipment used for the festivities.

In January an investigation by a British network TV news program revealed that the late Ferdinand Marcos stashed away a gold fortune totaling 1,200 tons--the equivalent of 15 percent of the contents of Fort Knox and about 1 percent of all the gold ever mined in the world.

A London veterinarian said in January that Eileen Wilson's pet bird Peter died of lung cancer from Wilson's smoking. Wilson disputed the diagnosis, claiming that her previous bird had lived 12 years despite her smoking and that Peter had only begun to cough during his last days.

To protect its town Christmas tree from thieves and vandals this winter the city of Moncton, New Brunswick, put its 20-foot tree inside a 10-foot chain-link pen for the duration of the holidays.

According to a newspaper feature called "Earth Week," Russia recently fed rats samples of Chinese potatoes coming across the border to test their edibility.

In January five guards at the maximum security prison in Boise, Idaho, were accused of taunting death-row inmates by playing the 1971 Neil Young song "The Needle and the Damage Done" during a scheduled execution-by-injection.

Bat Conservation International recently proposed that the former Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire convert 15 vacant nuclear-missile bunkers into bat caves. The bunkers apparently have just the temperature, humidity, and air circulation that bats like.

Fetishes on Parade

In November Sharon Ryan, a former patient and employee of renowned diet doctor Walter Kempner, filed a lawsuit against him in Durham, North Carolina, alleging that they had had a long-term affair during which he physically and emotionally abused her. She accused him of, among other things, hitting her bare buttocks with a riding crop. In December Kempner, 91, said he once hit Ryan with a riding crop at her request because she said she needed punishment for failing to stick to the diet he'd prescribed.

The London Independent's weekly magazine reported in November on the Hush-a-Bye Baby Club in southern England, whose adult male members dress as female infants and refer to themselves as "Baby Michelle," "Baby Cathy," etc. "Mummy Clare" runs the club, charging about $110 a night ($140 for nonmembers), which includes baby food, bottled milk, and diaper service. Spanking is about $7 more.

In December in East Bernstadt, Kentucky, Jimmy Humfleet, 33, was charged with the murder of his uncle, Samuel Humfleet. According to the local sheriff, Jimmy said he did it because he caught Samuel having sex with one of two pit bulls belonging to the owner of the trailer where he and his uncle had been partying. Jimmy had called 911 twice that evening to report that his uncle was molesting the dog, and a deputy shot and killed the dog later that evening because it was foaming at the mouth and attacked him. However, an autopsy on Samuel turned up no dog hairs or other evidence that he'd had sex with the dog.

In August the Economic Evening News of Taiyuan, China, reported that a woman in her 30s, unidentified in the story, had eaten more than 800 rubber nipples from baby bottles in the last three years. A health official said all the family members apparently like the smell of rubber.

The Weirdo-American Community

Dr. Walter H. Kaye reported in a recent medical journal that female bulimics retain around 1,200 calories of food after they purge--no matter how much food they've taken in or what their regurgitation rate is. Kaye and his colleagues came to this conclusion by carefully studying the content of their subjects' "vomitus."

Least Competent Customers

In January and February Oklahoma City police turned up several motorists who'd purchased automobile liability insurance coverage from a company offering "God's Insurance Policy." Salesmen had convinced the customers that the $285 policy met the standards of Oklahoma's mandatory-insurance law, even though it contained mostly text from the Bible, stated that it was "issued by the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost," and pointed out that since "fear" caused accidents the policy would protect its purchasers even better than commercial insurance.

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

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