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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

According to a London Times columnist writing in April, the National Health Service office in Dundee, Scotland, has released a four-page leaflet designed to instruct the populace--a third of whom, the NHS says, suffer from bowel or bladder dysfunction--about proper form on the toilet. Titled "Good Defecation Dynamics," the document stresses the importance of posture and support for the feet (a "small footstool" may be useful) as well as providing such specific performance tips as "Keep your mouth open as you widen and bulge."

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Tamara Tootle, formerly a phys ed teacher at Ernest Ward Middle School in Pensacola, Florida, was arrested on bribery charges in April; according to authorities, in 2004 and 2005 she'd offered her students a deal in which anyone who didn't want to participate in gym class could pay her a dollar a day and receive a perfect grade without ever suiting up, and about 150 kids took her up on it. Tootle's name came up while police were investigating Terence Braxton, another gym teacher at Ward who in May pleaded guilty to bribery for independently operating a nearly identical scheme.

Reuters reported in March on Isdaan, a restaurant in Gerona, the Philippines, where customers can pay to vent their frustrations by smashing things--dishes, old TVs--against the "wall of fury." And in May BBC News reported on David Lucas, a farmer in Suffolk, England, who in July will be forced by a new European Commission regulation to give up his lucrative sideline: building gallows for sale to Zimbabwe and other countries that still use them. A single Lucas gallows sells for roughly $23,000, while a trailer-mounted "multi-hanging execution system" is $188,000.

Awesome!

A team of surgeons at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London performed a groundbreaking operation in February on Hannah Clark, a 12-year-old girl whose body had rejected the donor heart she'd been living with for ten years. At the time of her heart transplant, doctors had taken the unusual step of leaving Hannah's original, severely enlarged heart in her chest cavity, with the idea that it might heal over time. In the February procedure, the surgeons removed the transplanted heart, reconnected the dormant original, and restarted it; as of April Hannah was recovering well.

People Different From Us

In April 45-year-old Michael Theleman of Bray, Oklahoma (population 1,035), put up a sign in his front yard offering to pay $1,000 for a virgin bride between the ages of 12 and 24. According to a report by KOCO TV, Theleman said he didn't understand why his neighbors had a problem with the age range: "I just set it at 12 to 24. I'm just waiting to see what God comes up with, but 12 is an option." After a few days of complaints Theleman replaced the sign; the new one mentioned no ages but specified that he didn't want a "pig-worshipping, heathen, white-supremacist wife."

Recurring Themes

News of the Weird reported in 2001 that a bulimic woman from Toyoda, Japan, had been arrested for illegally dumping plastic bags of her vomit in remote locations--about 60 pounds a week for over a year. In 2003 another bulimic woman was caught discarding vomit near Madison, Wisconsin (a medical expert suggested to reporters that removing the evidence of bulimia can assist in denial). This April sheriff's deputies in Henry County, Iowa, told the Associated Press they were trying to track down whoever had been leaving bags of vomit near the city of Mount Pleasant for the past three years, but they had no leads.

Least Competent People

In Chesterton, Indiana, in May 17-year-old Michael Morris was hospitalized with a broken arm and leg and 18-year-old Stephen Domonkos was arrested for felony criminal recklessness after Domonkos, at Morris's request, hit Morris with his car. Domonkos told police they'd done this before, but that night Morris, who "gets off on this kind of thing," had asked him to drive a little faster than usual. He said he first drove some distance away so he could pick up more speed on the approach and was going about 25 miles per hour at impact; Morris flew into the windshield, rolled off the hood, and began screaming. After confirming that the whole thing was consensual, Morris told the Times of Northwest Indiana, "I won't do this no more."

The Classic Middle Name (All New)

Arrested recently and charged with murder: Bruce Wayne Potts, 34 (DeSoto, Texas, February); Oral Wayne Nobles, 71 (Kingman, Arizona, April); Ronald Wayne Spencer Jr., 19 (Dallas, Texas, April). Arrested with body in car trunk and suspected of murder: Darrell Wayne Lewis, 33 (Tempe, Arizona, March). Sentenced after pleading guilty to murder: David Wayne Hickman, no age given (McKinney, Texas, May); Anthony Wayne Welch, 27 (Viera, Florida, March). Committed suicide while serving life in prison for murder: John Wayne Glover, 72 (Lithgow, Australia, September).

God's Will

In Santa Maria del Rio, Mexico, in April five people were killed when the large metal cross they were praying at was struck by lightning.

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

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