News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*At a May hearing, the Ohio state medical board began considering whether to discipline Toledo pediatrician Gary F. Gladieux, age 43, who was accused of having sex with three women during their visits to his office. The board cited a 1991 American Medical Association ruling that physician-patient sex is unethical, but Gladieux says the ruling doesn't apply to him because he had sex not with his patients but with their mothers, who had brought the children in for appointments.

*Brothers Geoffrey and Aaron Kuffner were arrested in New Orleans in June and charged with terrorism for recently mailing or hand-delivering suspicious packages to local government and news offices. The packages contained innocuous items (which nonetheless were frightening enough that two offices called for evacuations) and a four-page manifesto vowing that "violent acts of consciousness have only begun." According to police, the men's goal was to call attention to public ignorance of poetry; among their demands was that all inaugural speeches be written in iambic pentameter.

*Latest highway truck spills: a load of French fries in Prince Edward Island, Canada, in April; fortune cookies and duck sauce on State Road 20 outside Charlottesville, Virginia, in April; five tons of chicken innards on Interstate 64 in Hampton, Virginia, in June; twenty tons of canned Campbell's soup on Interstate 5 in San Diego in February; 200 gallons of human waste on Interstate 270 in Columbus, Ohio, in April; and the next month also in Columbus -- and a little too late -- 22 tons of plastic garbage bags.

*Phillip Michael was acquitted of a murder charge in Edmonton, Alberta, in May, despite a damaging jailhouse letter he had written to a friend explicitly orchestrating the testimony he needed to beat the rap. The letter was never received by the friend, however; according to the prosecutor, Michael missed the friend's street address by one digit, and the letter was returned to the jail, where it was lawfully opened and used in court.

*Dental patient Nelson Berrios, age 48, suffered a minor back injury in New York City in April when he improvidently bolted from the chair and jumped out a second-story window after police came rushing into his dentist's office. (They were after the dentist.) And in March seven people jumped out of a second-story window in New York City after they mistakenly thought a police drug raid next door was aimed at them. (Police arrested the seven anyway after they found a bound, kidnapped woman in the apartment from which they jumped.)

Medical Milestones
*In an April Times of London report about his forthcoming book Why Is Sex Fun? UCLA physiology professor Jared Diamond claims that technology will soon permit men to breastfeed their children, although psychological barriers will remain (that is, the men will be ridiculed). Diamond says men have an undeveloped ability to produce milk and that there are thousands of instances on record in which hormonal imbalances have caused male lactation.

*Bogota, Colombia's, leading newspaper El Tiempo reported in May that doctors had spotted a pair of surgical tweezers on a stomach x-ray of Silvio Jimenez, age 67. They were mistakenly left there during an operation in 1950, but Jimenez said that only in recent months had he felt abdominal pain.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd