*Vincent Morrissey's police brutality lawsuit went to trial in New Haven, Connecticut, in December. Ofcr. Ralph Angelo took the witness stand and claimed that Morrissey had provoked the encounter by swinging at him. Morrissey's attorney, skeptical of the testimony, asked Angelo to demonstrate to the jury how hard Morrissey had swung. Before the lawyer could clarify what he meant by "demonstrate," Angelo popped the lawyer on the chin, forcing an immediate recess.
*The show business newspaper Daily Variety reported in December that John Kricfalusi, creator of TV's The Ren & Stimpy Show, was threatening legal action against the producers of the Comedy Central show South Park for ripping off a cartoon character. According to Kricfalusi, his character "Nutty the Friendly Dump," an animated piece of excrement, must have been the basis for South Park's "Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo," a singing and dancing piece of excrement.
Not My Fault
*Dallas Monsignor Robert Rehkemper resigned in August after a $120 million jury award against the diocese for the apparently serial acts of pedophilia committed by one of its priests. Rehkemper still thinks the incidents weren't entirely the fault of the priest or the diocese: "I don't want to judge [the parents] one way or another, but it doesn't appear they were very concerned about their kids." He also opined that once a boy reaches age six or seven, he should know that sex with a priest is wrong and should report such offenses.
*TV personality Jenny McCarthy, on how her nude photos as a Playboy Playmate were made: She was walking around Chicago, she told reporters in August, intending to be a model. "And I went, 'Jenny, no, no.' All of a sudden my body started walking there [to Playboy]. That's exactly what happened. A larger force, and I call it destiny, brought me in the door, moved my mouth, took the robe off, and did it."
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*To help the government's case against him, accused bus firebomber Saber Abu el-Ulla played himself in a prosecutor's video re-enactment of the crime in Cairo in September. A jovial el-Ulla acted out all the sequences, including firing at the passengers and hurling three Molotov cocktails down the aisle of the bus. Said a clearly pleased el-Ulla: "I have always wanted to be an actor."
*Welsh welfare couple Shaun and Julie Doran complained to reporters in November that the free house built for them by the government was "too white" and therefore too difficult to keep clean. The Dorans and their nine children were given the $200,000 house near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, plus about $450 a week in welfare benefits. Mrs. Doran complained, "White everything. It's driving me mad."
No Longer Weird
*Adding to the stories that were formerly weird but that now occur with such frequency that they must be retired from circulation: (23) the emphysema patient who just can't stop smoking even though hooked up to an oxygen tank, with predictable results, as happened to Robert Auger of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in November; and (24) the gasoline thieves working in the dark who believe the best way to illuminate an area is with a match or lighter, with similarly predictable results, as happened to Timothy D. Compton, age eighteen, in Glenoma, Washington, in November.
-- By Chuck Shepherd