News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*An official at a community health clinic in Rimouski, Quebec, issued a warning in July about the growing numbers of local teenagers who are getting high by injecting beer directly into their veins, a practice that gives a faster rush than drinking and leaves very little odor.

*The news service Agence France Presse reported in June that the Lebanese Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah had begun to embrace temporary "pleasure marriages" because poverty and a shortage of men have made regular marriage difficult. The temporary marriage (mutaa), based on the Koran, is a contract for a specific time (from days to years) during which an unmarried woman takes on the role of wife in exchange for money. According to Hezbollah, the mutaa grants a religious-based right to sexual pleasure that is not permitted in many other religions.

Can't Possibly Be True
*Franklin James, age 23, was charged with aggravated assault in Newport, Tennessee, in June after putting Super Glue on his wife's genitals as punishment for an alleged affair. She obtained a restraining order against him, but according to an August news report, the couple was living together again.

*Goeran Rudolfsson, recovering from brain-tumor surgery in a hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, had been complaining about nasal congestion; when he blew his nose he felt a something flapping inside his nostril. After tugging for a bit, he extracted a 31-inch-long cloth accidentally left inside during his June operation.

*In June a Scripps-Howard News Service reporter examined Consumer Product Safety Commission records recently made public and found that 1823 serious injuries caused by "electronic air-fresheners" had been recorded by the agency. They included 50 cases of amputation, 46 burns, 48 scaldings, 68 poisonings, 56 "foreign body" penetrations, and 69 drownings.

Courtroom Follies
*The Michigan Court of Appeals in April ruled in favor of a prison inmate who had tossed a cup of liquefied feces in the face of a guard. Alphonso Gaines, age 34, already serving time for assault, could not be punished further, said the court, because the prosecutors forgot to prove that Gaines was "lawfully incarcerated" in an Ionia facility at the time he threw the feces. Prosecutor Gail Hitchcock was incensed: "Did they think we were charging someone who had sneaked into prison?"

*In June Jerrick Michael Snell violated the cardinal rule of sentencing in a Dothan, Alabama, court, after Judge Lawson Little had given him twenty years for cocaine possession. A few minutes later, as the judge passed Snell in a courthouse holding pen, Snell said in no uncertain terms that the judge should perform oral sex on him, at which point Little ordered him back into the courtroom and changed the sentence to life.

*On February 14, in Fresno, California, defendant Alphonse Lee Woods stood with his lawyer before Judge Stephen Kane in superior court to answer charges of drug possession, trespass, and obstruction of justice. Because Woods had not yet posted bail, he was dressed in the traditional inmate's orange jumpsuit, and he was handcuffed. His attorney Frank Dornay was also handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit. He had missed a mandatory drug test imposed as a condition for his probation on drug charges.

-- By Chuck Shepherd