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News of the Weird

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Lead Stories

As straphanger Joyce M. Judge, 42, stared out the window of a Boston subway car during morning rush hour on July 30, she started dripping profusely, and a minute or so later, a baby fell out from underneath her skirt. According to witnesses (some of whom vomited at the sight), Judge at first acted as if nothing had happened, then picked up her newborn. "I'm fine, I'm fine," she said, declining help from onlookers. Judge left the train at the next station, pausing to collect the placenta and put it in her shoulder bag. Intercepted by police, she was taken to Boston Medical Center and held for psychiatric evaluation. The baby, a boy, was reported to be in good condition.

The Future of War: Although for now India and Pakistan have backed off from the brink of nuclear war over Kashmir, computer-hacking clubs in both countries have escalated their assaults on each other's national computer networks, according to a July Washington Times dispatch. Retaliating for Pakistani hacking that accompanied the suicide attack on India's parliament in 2001, Indian hackers infected Pakistani networks with the destructive Yaha virus, provoking a renewed barrage of counterattacks. Indian hackers are now threatening to retaliate with a more damaging variant of the Yaha virus.

People Different From Us

Houston pamphleteer Hutton Gibson, who considers himself a devout Catholic, maintains that there was no Holocaust and that Pope John Paul II is an imposter plotting to destroy Catholicism from within. A July profile in the Houston Press likened the 84-year-old Gibson to the paranoid character in the movie Conspiracy Theory played by Mel Gibson--who happens to be his son. "Whenever you say 'plot,' people automatically think 'nutcase,'" grumbled Gibson pere.

Can't Possibly Be True

The latest results from America's preeminent lawyer-enrichment program (class-action lawsuits): (1) In a recent settlement between Sears and customers who received improperly executed wheel-balancing service, lawyers get $2.45 million while customers get $2.50 per tire (July). (2) In a $3.7 million settlement between Reverend Jim Bakker's Praise the Lord ministry and 165,000 defrauded Christians, lawyers get $2.5 million while each plaintiff gets $6.54 (July). (3) In a settlement of price-fixing charges against cosmetics manufacturers and retailers, lawyers get $24 million while plaintiffs get free cosmetics (July).

ABC News reported in May that it is not illegal in Massachusetts for a man to surreptitiously take naked pictures of his adult daughter in the family home. The woman in question, a 24-year-old resident of Easthampton, discovered that her father had been using a webcam to photograph her in various states of undress since she was 19. Although state law forbids making audio recordings of someone without his or her knowledge and consent, prosecutors found there was nothing on the books that fit the scenario. Having committed no crime, the dad got to keep the photos.

Inexplicable

In June police responding to an early-morning noise complaint in Woodlawn, Kentucky, inadvertently stumbled upon what appeared to be a marijuana nursery operated by a mother and her two teenage children. The cops said the kids responded eagerly to their questions about a pot plant plainly visible from the front door, then proudly invited them in for a guided tour of the household's elaborate hydroponic system. The mother, 42-year-old Bernadette Dusing, was at home at the time but did not participate in the tour.

Apparently dissatisfied with the many dictionaries on the market, in April Oregon's Republican-controlled house of representatives passed House Bill 2416, whose sole purpose was to define "science" as "the systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about the universe and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories." A commentator for the Oregonian newspaper speculated that the bill's sponsor, Representative Betsy Close, is hoping to use the definition to combat recent gains made by environmental activists.

Least Competent People

A July Associated Press dispatch from Jerusalem reported that a 32-year-old woman accidentally swallowed a cockroach and then, while trying to dislodge the insect from her throat with a fork, swallowed the utensil as well. A surgeon at the Poria Hospital in Tiberias removed both items from her stomach.

In the Last Month

A woman who found her daughter unconscious in a backyard pool revived her using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which she said she couldn't have performed if she hadn't seen it done on Baywatch (Brooklyn, New York)....A 37-year-old man who reported to a hospital emergency room with a knife sticking out of his temple and embedded deep in his brain waited, fully conscious, for six hours while doctors planned the complicated--and ultimately successful--surgery to remove it (Wellington, New Zealand).

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

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