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Lead Story

In July film director David Lynch announced that he was starting a foundation to achieve world peace through transcendental meditation and planned to raise $7 billion, in part to fund "peace-creating super groups of 8,000 meditators" each all over the world. It's unclear how inflation has affected the cost of housing and feeding meditators: in 1993 Dr. John Hagelin needed $6 million to bring 5,000 TMers to Washington, D.C., over an eight-week period to reduce crime there; in 2002 Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called for $1 billion to sustain permanently 40,000 meditators who would calm the world in the wake of 9/11.

Trends

In separate incidents on Tuesday, July 26, mothers in Virginia and Florida punished their young sons (ages four and seven respectively) by making them get out of the car on busy thoroughfares, then driving away. According to Virginia state troopers, Channoah Green, 22, abandoned her son on the Capital Beltway near Falls Church because he wouldn't stay in his seat. And police in Zephyrhills, Florida, said that following a dispute over McDonald's Happy Meals, Lori Heine, 46, left her son on State Road 54 and told him she was never coming back.

In incidents two weeks apart in July, 43-year-old men arrived for trysts arranged online with "teenage girls" (in reality police officers operating stings) even though they apparently had been unable to find babysitters. Alan Schaefer, a schoolteacher from Queens, New York, was arrested at the Greenwich Village rendezvous site he and the "13-year-old" had agreed on; police said he had grabbed a very young-looking female undercover officer by the hand and was carrying his 14-month-old son in his other arm. And in Trenton, Ohio, Columbus-area politician Hank Hill was arrested when he showed up to meet a "14-year-old girl"; according to WEWS TV, he had with him in his truck condoms, Viagra, lubricant, and his 22-month-old son.

In Brentwood, New Hampshire, on July 30, police responded to an emergency call to find an intoxicated 39-year-old man with a padlock around his scrotum; he said a friend had apparently fastened it there, then left, while he was passed out two weeks earlier. The day before in Worcester, England, Geoffrey Hughes, 51, was issued a two-year restraining order following a series of incidents that had disturbed his neighbors, including an appearance in public wearing only a padlock and a hat.

Life Imitates Dickens

Reuters reported in July that a court in Macerata, Italy, had scheduled the next hearing in Amalia Cuccioletti's property-rights lawsuit for 9:30 AM on March 25, 2010. Cuccioletti, who initiated the suit in 1997, is 98 years old. And in London in May, lawyer Nicholas Stadlen finally came to the end of his opening remarks for the defense in a $1.5 billion lawsuit filed against the Bank of England by creditors of a bank that collapsed in 1991. Referring to roughly 40,000 documents, Stadlen spoke for 119 days, making the longest speech in British legal history; the old record of 80 days was set last year by plaintiffs' counsel in the same case.

Least Competent People

Adam Tyson, 18, Jason Krueger, 20, and two younger friends suffered multiple bee stings after an incident of alleged vandalism in Lake County, Florida, in July. They'd deliberately backed their truck into a yard of beehives, but then got stuck in the sand just as the hundreds of thousands of bees they'd agitated began to swarm. Also in July in Sparta, Wisconsin, 43-year-old Darkalena Large told police that she and her car were fine, but they arrested her anyway on suspicion of drunk driving: the car was stuck on a curb with its right front tire missing and the wheel's rim badly mangled; witnesses had seen flames coming from the wheel as she drove by, and a jagged chunk of it (still too hot to touch 20 minutes later) had broken off and hurtled through a nearby second-story bedroom window.

Recurring Themes

The Saudi Press Association reported in January that doctors at King Abdul Aziz Hospital in Taif had removed a toothbrush from the stomach of a 70-year-old man; it was believed he'd accidentally swallowed it 22 years before. And in July the Associated Press reported from Taipei, Taiwan, that a surgeon had removed a denture, comprising eight false teeth, from the bronchial tube of a 45-year-old man. The man said he'd looked everywhere for the denture since losing it in a fall three years earlier.

Least Justifiable Homicides

Erik Kurtis Low, 37, was convicted of manslaughter in Salt Lake City in June for fatally shooting a friend who had just given him a wedgie. Apparently the jury agreed with a county attorney's contention that "receiving a wedgie is not a reason to kill."

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

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