News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*Denny Constantine revealed to the San Jose Mercury News in October that he was part of a team that almost got the go-ahead to drop flying-bat bombs on Japan in World War II. The plan: Tiny incendiary devices would be attached to millions of bats, which would be put into egg-cartonlike trays in a bombshell. When the bats were released, they would roost in Japan's wood-and-paper buildings, and fires would start all over the country. That would "frighten, demoralize, and excite the prejudices" of the Japanese, according to team member Jack Couffer. President Roosevelt was said to have really liked the idea, but he apparently liked the atom bomb even better.

*For the last year, Allen Fahden has operated the READundant bookstore in Nicollet mall in Minneapolis, which is set up like a traditional bookstore (sections on sports, religion, history, et cetera), except its 5000-book inventory consists of only one title -- Fahden's own management book, Innovation on Demand. Fahden said his store is based on one of his management principles: the use of opposites to generate creative thoughts. The store's in-house best-seller list shows Innovation on Demand occupying each of the ten slots.

Can't Possibly Be True
*The Washington Post reported in September that several self-described members of the Moorish Science Temple in Washington, D.C., had smuggled cocaine and prostitutes into the District's Lorton Correctional Complex and at one point made a ten-minute video of prisoners having sex with the women in the prison chapel. The temple members had taken advantage of Lorton's lax procedures for religious visitors.

*A Spanish man visiting Stockholm on business stood to inherit about a million dollars, according to an October newspaper account in Germany's daily Bild. Eduardo Perez had stopped off to pray at a Roman Catholic church and signed the guest book of a man whose body lay there in a coffin. Perez was later notified that the deceased, real estate developer Jens Svenson, had died without heirs and had specified that "whoever prays for my soul gets all my belongings."

Not My Fault
*Burglary suspect Wesley Shaffer, age 57, said in November that he was temporarily insane the night he allegedly hit a home in West Palm Beach, because he had just eaten too much cotton candy.

First Things First
*In July the New York Post reported that Vivid Video, which produces pornographic movies and which had just signed actor Steven St. Croix to an unprecedented 33-picture deal, became so concerned when St. Croix bought a motorcycle that it purchased a $1 million Lloyd's of London policy insuring St. Croix's genitals. Said a Vivid spokeswoman, "He's an incredible talent and we don't want to lose him -- or any part of him."

Undignified Deaths
*On the nights of September 12 in St. Louis, Missouri, and November 3 in Minneola, Florida, women were accidently run over by friends and killed as they urinated by the side of the road. Driver Randy G. Phillips said he was merely moving his pickup truck to try to shield his companion from passing traffic. Florida driver Chad Eric Willis said he was playfully trying to discourage his companion from squatting in front of his tractor-trailer instead of at the side.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd