News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (Alberta, Canada) announced in November that this year's single permit to hunt an Alberta big-horn sheep was won by Sherwin Scott of Phoenix, Arizona with a high bid of $405,000 (U.S.). The foundation will use the money for conservation. Scott said he was elated at his victory, but regarding the amount, he said, "You can't make sense out of this."

*In October a California appeals court reinstated the 1997 jury verdict for Robert Cunningham against his Orange County homeowners' association for meddling. For two years the association had ordered Cunningham to clean an outside patio and the inside of his unit, claiming that he had too many books and newspapers lying around, that his bed was messy, and that piles of old clothing should be given to charity.

*In November Ten's World Class Cabaret (a strip joint) asked New York Supreme Court Justice Stephen Crane for exemption from New York City anti-nudity rules because it had begun to admit children to the premises and thus was no longer an "adult" establishment. Shortly afterward Crane ruled in favor of Ten's, which at press time had admitted children (accompanied by a parent, of course) at least twice.

Multiculturalism in Sports
*According to a November New York Times report, Chinese soccer fans harass opposing teams by using a word that is street slang for female genitalia. And in Lagos, Nigeria, in November, the star soccer player on the Cameroon female team, Gwimotoh Lilian, was disqualified from the championship series because, according to officials, "all" of her physical features are "male" (except for her female genitalia).

Number 1 in the News
*A twelve-year-old boy was let off with six months' probation in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan, in October after he admitted urinating in his teacher's water bottle. Although she went to the hospital with nausea and stomach cramps, the boy's lawyer said, "The bottom line is urine is not harmful to drink." Ten days later in Tucson, Arizona, Caroline Gomez Maldonado, age 42, was arrested and charged with chasing an eight-year-old child down the street while trying to convince him to urinate into a cup so Maldonado could use it for a test as part of her probation on drug charges.

Grownups Who Take Things Literally
*Five-year-old Jordan Locke was suspended from school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in October when he showed up in his Halloween firefighter costume, which included a five-inch plastic hatchet that the school calls a "weapon." In November a Canoga Park, California, ad agency was forced to pull ads for legal Alterna Hemp Shampoo from 106 bus-stop benches because of complaints by an anti-drug group

Family Values
*Baltimore police dispatcher Harry Gilmore Watts, age 32, was arrested in August and charged with chauffeuring his son and a friend, both 15 years old, to rob a Peoples Bank. On the same day in Medford, Oregon, Cynthia Alice Lockinger, age 40, pleaded guilty to robbing two banks while her three daughters waited in the getaway car.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd