News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*Right place, right time: In Pittsburgh, during the Steelers-Ravens football game in September, Allen E. Adams was picked up on a previous arrest warrant when a police officer recognized Adams's name as a winner in the halftime field-goal-kicking promotion. And a few days later, in Victoria, British Columbia, a tax agent heard the announcement of the winner of a radio station's song-identification contest, recognized him as a notorious tax delinquent, and within an hour had the winner's $1000 signed over to the government.

*Within two days of each other in August, in the Kansas towns of Lawrence and Dodge City, runaway tourist-attraction stagecoaches crashed. The Lawrence coach veered into a ditch, injuring one man. A horse in the Dodge City coach slipped on the street, then took off and slammed the coach into a parked car, overturning it and bloodying five elderly passengers.

Cultural Diversity
*A Washington Post story in May on wife abuse in Central and Southern African nations found that among certain ethnic groups only three percent of wives think they should report a beating to the police. Said one social worker: "A lot of men -- and women -- think that beating your wife is something you do if you really care about her." In some groups, said another, if a man's wife dies without his having beat her, he "rehabilitates" his manhood by beating the corpse.

*In August the Far Eastern Economic Review reported on the modernization of the traditional Mongolian meal of boodog, which is goat cooked inside a "bag" (actually the carefully cut and tied skin of the goat): The goat is no longer barbecued over an open fire; it is usually cooked with a blow torch.

*In September Peggy-Sue Khumalo, age 23, the recently crowned Miss South Africa, said she would soon sacrifice a goat to her ancestors in gratitude for her success. She also said that if she won the Miss World title in India this month, she would manifest her thanks by slaughtering a cow and ten oxen.

*By custom, in the mountain region of northern Albania, a teenage daughter whose father passes away may make a lifetime commitment to dress, behave, and conduct business as a male so as to assure that her family, in the absence of a man, is not left unprotected.

Latest Surges of Testosterone
*In August prosecutors in Tennessee could charge an Eagleville man only with indecent exposure because the state has no law against what police really believe he did: have sexual intercourse with a miniature horse. And on September 30, Florida corrected an oversight when its first-ever anti-necrophilia law took effect.

*Physicians writing in the February 1996 issue of the Journal of Genitourinary Medicine reported prescribing surgery for a man with genital pain. The man reluctantly admitted that about twelve years before, during sex, his wife had inserted a mascara brush into his urethral opening and the tip of the brush broke off. Doctors discovered that fibrous tissue had covered the brush piece.

Workplace Tragedies
*A 28-year-old expert mountain climber fell to his death near Redding, California, in September as he was demonstrating safety techniques to a group of teenagers. He had severed his main line to demonstrate the security of the second line, which then failed. And two race horses with eight victories between them died at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, in August, when they crashed into each other head-on during a morning workout.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd