Weird News...

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Mon, 17 Mar 1997 22:44:59 +0000

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  ------- Forwarded foolishness follows -------

WEIRDNUZ.470 (News of the Weird, February 7, 1997) 
by Chuck Shepherd
* An ancient fear of penis-shrinking sorcery periodically surfaces in
Ghana, the latest instance in December.  Mobs beat seven men to death in
Accra and injured others in Tema, all on rumors that the  men had the
power to make others' genitals disappear by a mere touch.  Police said
the rumors were spread by criminal operatives so that crowds of
hysterical men would gather, making it easier for the criminals to
pickpocket wallets.
* Japanese researchers at Tokyo University and Tsukuba University said
they will begin in February testing a project to surgically implant
microprocessors and electrode sets, and eventually microcameras, into
American cockroaches for a variety of possible missions, including
espionage surveillance and searching for victims in earthquake rubble.
The equipment, which can also receive remote-control signals to command
the cockroach's movements, weighs a tenth of an ounce, twice a typical
roach's weight but still only a tenth of what it potentially can carry.
* In December, the Idaho High School Activities Association rejected a
proposal by the superintendent of public instruction for extracurricular
firearms competition in junior high schools.  But in January in
neighboring Wyoming, a House committee approved a bill that would lower
the minimum age for big-game hunters to 12.
* The New York Times reported in January that the Taliban movement in
Afghanistan is presiding over such a bankrupt economy that a viable
career field now has men (women are forbidden to work at all) raiding
cemeteries of human bones, which are then sold to dealers in Pakistan as
animal bones to be fashioned into cooking oil, soap, chicken feed, and
buttons.  Skulls must first be broken up to preserve the ruse that only
animal bones are involved.
* Recent Inappropriate Nudity:  In September, dozens of schoolteachers
from the state of Bihar stripped in front of the Indian parliament to
protest low wages.  And the Defense Intelligence Agency, in a memo
disclosed by the Washington Post in October, reported the emergence of a
Liberian leader known as "General 'Butt Naked,'" "from his propensity
for fighting naked," which he "probably believes terrorizes the enemy
and brings good luck."  And Meaux, France, high school philosophy
teacher Bernard Defrance was suspended in January for his pedagogical
game in which he removes an article of clothing each time a student
stumps him with a riddle (sometimes losing everything).
* In a July soccer game in Tripoli, Libya, a team sponsored by the
eldest son of Muammar Qaddafi suffered a questionable referee's call and
began beating the official and the other team. After spectators jeered,
Qaddafi and his bodyguards opened fire on them, and some spectators shot
back.  The death toll was somewhere between eight and fifty, including
the referee, and Muammar Qaddafi declared a period of mourning, the
hallmark of which was that Libyan TV was to be in black and white only.
* Role Model Gains:  In October, Marcia Fann, 37, won the prestigious
Bass'n Gal Classic Star XX bass-fishing tournament in Athens, Tex.  Fann
cheerfully discloses that she was formerly a man, having been surgically
changed sometime in the 1980s.
* In December, the entire 300-man paramilitary police force of the 83-
island South Pacific nation of Vanuatu was arrested for kidnaping a
visiting Australian official in order to increase its leverage in an
overtime-pay dispute with the government.  The force had been suspended
in November for kidnaping Vanautu's deputy prime minister for the same
purpose, and in October, several members of the force had kidnaped
Vanautu's president and held him for almost a day before releasing him
because of the populace's seeming indifference.
* A July Wall Street Journal story reported that the city jail (capacity
134) in the Seattle suburb of Kent, Wash., does a brisk business
charging petty criminals from around the state $64 a day to serve their
sentences of up to 40 days in comfortable settings. Reservations are
recommended, and the policy is cash only.
* A United Nations spokesman in Sarajevo disclosed in November a recent
marital quarrel that escalated out of control "in classic Bosnian style"
and reflected the war-saturated quality of life.  During an argument,
the wife of Pero Toljij fled to a neighbor's home, but Toljij chased her
with a bazooka he happened to have on hand, fired at her, missed, and
hit the couple's own house.  He was arrested.
* In October in Massapequa Park, N. Y., four men, ages 19-21, intending
to follow a recipe in the Underground Steroid Handbook, failed to wait
patiently until the Drano-like concoction had reached a satisfactory pH
level to make it milder. The four were hospitalized with bad internal
burns, and the concoction also burned rescuing police officers when the
four men vomited on them.
* In November in Santa Maria, Tex., Luis Martinez, Jr., 25, was stabbed
in the neck with a broken bottle by his uncle, allegedly to punish
Martinez for not sharing his bag of Frito's.  In October a 20-year-old
man was hospitalized in Guthrie, Okla., after encouraging his friend
Jason Heck to kill a millipede with a .22-caliber rifle; after two
ricochets, Heck's  bullet hit the man just above his right eye,
fracturing his skull.
* Phillip Johnson, 32, was hospitalized in Prestonburg, Ky., in December
with a gunshot wound just above his left nipple, which he inflicted upon
himself because, as he told paramedics, he wanted to see what it felt
like.  When the paramedics arrived, said the sheriff, they found him
"screaming about the pain, over and over."
* David S. Peterson filed a lawsuit against New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson
in August for racketeering, seeking three times the sum of money that
Peterson had given his girlfriend to buy him clothes but which she had
lost gambling at an Indian tribal casino.  Peterson said Gov. Johnson
was so much a supporter of the Indian gaming industry that it was his
fault Peterson was out the money.
* Adding to the list of stories that were formerly weird but which now
occur with such frequency that they must be retired from circulation:
(15) The burglar with poor planning skills who attempts to enter a
building after hours through a chimney or vent and gets stuck, as
Baltimore, Md., police say Dwayne Terry, 33, did at a convenience store
on Christmas morning.  And (16) certainly the thousands of times a year
(about 50 the past year in Fremont, Calif., alone) that trial-bound
defendants and others cheerfully place their belongings on the X-ray
machines at the entrances of courthouses, only to have their illegal
drugs detected.