News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*World's greatest athletes: According to Pacific Dunlop, the company supplying condoms for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Olympic officials have requested 51 condoms per participant for the seventeen-day event. Said one athlete interviewed by the London Daily Telegraph: "Three per day sounds too many."

*Five people were indicted in Brenham, Texas, in August for a scheme to kidnap a pig that had just lost a livestock show in Houston and to spirit it away to another show in San Angelo (where, by the way, it won first place: $4000). The pig belonged to one of the five people accused, but under the rules of the Houston contest, all losing pigs automatically become the property of a slaughterhouse.

No Spin Doctors in Alberta
*In May a judge in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, sentenced Nelson Dicks, age 32, to 21 days in jail for making a false claim on an unemployment insurance form. Jail time is not usually given for first offenses, but Dicks got in additional trouble by volunteering that life was tough for him and that he might be forced to apply for benefits again even though he was working. The judge asked him: "So you'll lie again?" Responded Dicks: "You're damn right."

More Punishment Needed
*In August Douglas Illingsworth, age 83, had his driver's license suspended for a year by a court in Barnsley, England, after several incidents in which he tied up traffic by driving less than fifteen mph on thoroughfares. And in Dale City, Virginia, in June, a 30-year-old motorist was beaten with a steering-wheel-locking device (apparently the closest available weapon) at a traffic light by a 33-year-old woman who was incensed that he had been driving too slowly.

Weird Science
*Nissan's quality-assurance director at its plant in Sunderland, England, announced in July that the company has developed a substance based on the most destructive forms of bird poop found throughout the world; it will be used to test the automobiles' paint jobs. Added the director, John Burke: "It looks like the real thing. It's white, it's viscous, and it smells horrible."

*In July in the remote Australian town of Ravensthorpe, newly arrived family doctor Steve Hindley saved the life of 23-year-old football player Hayden McGlinn, who suffered a hemorrhaging head injury and would not have survived an airlift to surgery. Dr. Hindley cleaned off a rusting brace-and-bit drill from a woodshed and made a hole in McGlinn's temple to relieve the life-threatening pressure, which allowed time for him to be sent to a hospital in Perth.

*Mrs. Xian's delight: In March China's official Xinhua news agency reported that surgeons at a military hospital in Chongqing had successfully removed two of the three tongues of farmer Xian Shihua, age 32, enabling him to eat and speak comfortably for the first time in twenty years. His birth tongue, thirteen inches long, remains; the other two (about three inches each) grew during adolescence.

Thinning the Herd
*In September at a bar in Porto Heli, Greece, British vacationer Daniel Littlewood, age 23, died while showing a female companion that he was impervious to pain. He told her to press a Swiss Army knife against his abdomen while he leaned into it with great force, but he misjudged.

-- By Chuck Shepherd