News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*In July British Labor Party politician Ken Brookman, age 54, was fined $1500 for picking a fight with a man on a train near Cardiff, Wales, and biting off part of his ear. And a week later in St. Mary's, West Virginia, county judge Joseph Troisi, who had just been insulted by defendant Bill Witten, came down from the bench and allegedly bit Witten on the nose. (A special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate Troisi, who said he is reflecting on the incident and trying to achieve "character growth and spiritual assessment.")

*Reuters News Service reported in April that Chinese families along the border with North Korea are often refusing to bury their recently dead relatives until the bodies have seriously decomposed. The families fear that famine-plagued North Koreans who cross the border foraging for food will dig up fresh bodies and eat them.

*Bennie Casson filed a $100,000 lawsuit in Belleville, Illinois, in July against a club in nearby Sauget for its negligence in allowing a stripper to "slam" her breasts into his "neck and head region" without consent. Dancer Susan Sykes (a.k.a. "Busty Heart") claims to possess show business's biggest chest (88 inches), which Casson said was responsible for his "bruised, contused, lacerated" neck.

Latest Religious Messages
*In March the First Baptist Church of Berryville, Arkansas, closed its day-care center, declaring its purpose inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible. (Working mothers wouldn't have to work, said the church, if they did without "big TVs, a microwave, new clothes, eating out, and nice vacations.") And in May the chief of the Ekhupeleni area in northern Swaziland banned the use of condoms, citing the teachings of the Bible on the waste of reproductive fluids. (He said contraceptive pills are okay.)

*In an Amarillo, Texas, Globe-News story in March, service technician Eddie Golden, age 28, attributed his recovery from brain surgery to divine intervention. In October 1996 Golden accidentally shot himself above the ear with a nail gun, avoiding death by about an eighth of an inch. After a doctor pulled out the nail, he suggested an MRI to determine if there was further damage. The MRI revealed a brain tumor, which has now been treated. Said Golden, "God's got a reason ... or he wouldn't have put that nail in there."

*Driver Anthony Lowe, age sixteen, allegedly rammed a Winston-Salem, North Carolina, utility pole in February, cutting it in half and knocking out power to 7000 customers, including an old-folks' home, just as a sleet storm began. News photos at the scene revealed a clearly pleased-with-himself Lowe, who suggested a headline for a reporter ("Anthony 1, Telephone Pole 0"). Lowe had had his driver's license for less than three weeks and told police he "wasn't really paying attention" as he drove. When informed of the power failures, Lowe and his passenger allegedly responded in unison: "Cool!"

Capital of Domestic Violence
*One day apart in June in Stafford County, Virginia, two husbands were charged with beating their wives during channel-changing disputes. Joseph W. During, age twenty, was charged with assault after he punched his wife for changing radio stations in the car, and Edgar D. Colvin, age 49, was charged with assault for roughing up his wife, who had commandeered the remote control and changed channels with two minutes left during game five of the NBA championship.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd