News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*An April Associated Press report from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, described recent intense competition for dead bodies. The government has been offering $100 to any family that will relocate deceased relatives' bodies from a certain graveyard to another, to make way for a new road. Families that declined, however, soon learned they must stand guard over their relatives' graves every night lest robbers move the bodies. The AP story reported on one woman who guarded a grave every night for weeks but became ill in mid-April and missed one night, allowing robbers to remove her sister's body.

*In May a jury in Birmingham, Alabama, ruled in favor of Barbara Carlisle and her parents in their lawsuit against two companies responsible for charging them eighteen months of additional payments for two satellite dishes, a total overcharge of $1224. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $581 million.

Lessons from the Business World
*The Asian Wall Street Journal reported in April that a Muslim organization in Jakarta, Indonesia, has established a formal recruiting and registration office for suicide bombers, complete with brochures and promises of training. "We got 600 applicants in two days," the office director said. And in March, according to authorities investigating suspected kidnapper and sexual abuser David Parker Ray in Elephant Butte, New Mexico, Ray had prepared an "orientation" videotape that he played for his victims to let them know what they could expect while in captivity.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit
*Recent Inventions (Unmentionables): The spokesman for an elite unit at the Canadian defense department's headquarters told reporters in March that his office could soon develop the world's first "combat bra," which would combine the strength and durability needed for military operations while also being comfortable enough to wear for several days at a time if conditions warranted. And a company called Wisdom Marketing in Bangkok, Thailand, announced in March it would soon start selling chastity belt underwear for women, for rape-prevention purposes, complete with a small combination lock similar to those found on luggage, for about $40.

*Ronnie Brock's Alibi Agency opened in March in Blackpool, England, to help clients produce fake receipts, invitations, telephone calls, et cetera, to cover up illicit liaisons. Brock is certain his agency supplies a social benefit, because in "99 percent" of affairs, the participants return to their original partners provided the tryst has remained secret.

Latest Rights
*Human Rights Stretches: In February legislatures in Maine and Arizona voted down proposals to prohibit discrimination against motorcyclists, but a similar effort continues in Pennsylvania. (Last year the Minnesota legislature passed an obscure provision in a finance bill barring anti-biker discrimination by restaurants and bars.) And a legislative proposal in California pending from last year, the Open Waves Act, would guarantee that local surfers had no greater right to a wave than visiting surfers. (At times in California, surfers brawl over waves, using their boards as clubs.)

*In March an Ontario provincial court upheld the right of convicted public masturbator Marvin Mezquita-Duenas not to stand in front of city hall holding a sign that revealed his crime. The trial judge had sentenced him to eighteen months' probation and five days of openly admitting his perversion.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd