News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*Michael Anthony Horne filed a lawsuit against the City of San Antonio in May for a wrongful arrest last year that cost him the ashes of his grandmother. When he pulled off the road to nap, a suspicious patrolman searched Horne's car and found the ashes. He did a field test that detected methamphetamines. Horne was in jail for 30 days before he made bail; the case has cost him his job, his car, his apartment, and his military status. Two later tests, which consumed almost all of the ashes, were negative for drugs.

*In May the Food and Drug Administration voted five to four to continue approval of the human skin replacement patches made by Organogenesis, Inc., of Canton, Massachusetts. The company cultivates and harvests the fastest-growing source of raw material: circumcision residue. One snipped foreskin can eventually produce 200,000 three-inch disks of skin. The Economist magazine called this use of foreskin "the most profitable ... since David presented Saul with a sackload" to gain the throne of Israel.

*Cradle of democracy: In May, Philippine actor and proud philanderer Jose Estrada was elected president in one of the nation's quietest elections ever -- "only" 45 people were killed in campaign-related incidents. Former first lady Imelda Marcos dropped out of the race in April but got back in, she said, to prevent the suicides of several of her supporters. Among the presidential losers was Mario Lagazpi, who stayed in character as God, claiming he had taken a leave of absence from Heaven to help the country.

Dangerous Workplaces
*In May soup cook Jose Grimal, age 46, of the San Francisco Hilton Hotel, was charged with biting off the end of a supervisor's finger during a fight over access to a storeroom. And Durham, North Carolina, waiter Joseph Drummond, age 27, was charged with assault in April for allegedly stabbing a fellow waiter who had taken a hot potato off one of Drummond's trays instead of waiting until the chef gave him his own potato. And Harold Jack Sutton, age 70, was finally arrested in Knoxville, Tennessee, in April after eluding police for 22 years on a Delaware murder charge for allegedly killing a fellow cook in a predawn carving-knife duel in a parking lot.

At Least He's Not Making Regulations
*Recently Washington, D.C., TV station WJLA aired a story about Government Printing Office bureaucrat J. Emory Crandall's complaint that his bosses had refused to give him more than three days' work in the last eight years; he earns $90,000 per year anyway. The station videotaped Crandall at work, reading, napping, and playing computer games. In May U.S. Rep. Scott Klug of Wisconsin, who was a reporter at the station before being elected to Congress, demanded an explanation from the GPO.

Questionable Judgments
*In April Darren Kennedy, age 30, pleaded no contest in Denver to several misdemeanors for streaking across Coors Field during a Colorado Rockies baseball game. Kennedy told the judge he thought it would be a good way to meet women.

*In December Rev. Joyce Mines of St. Stephen's Pentecostal Church in York, Virginia, distributed leaflets in a townhouse community, hoping to save souls and increase her church's membership. She said the leaflets were aimed at girls and young women. Sample questions: "Did your grandma have ways like a whore?" "Do you have ways like a whore?" "Are you now raising a whore?" Mines said she intended no offense.

-- By Chuck Shepherd


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