A Diary Of All Things Stupid

A judge admonished the Radnor, Pennsylvania, police for pretending that a Xerox copy machine was a lie detector. Officers had placed a metal colander on the head of a suspect and attached the colander to the copier with metal wires. In the copy machine was a typewritten message which read: "He's lying." According to UPI, "Each time investigators received answers they did not fancy, they pushed the copy button. Out came the message 'He's lying.'" Apparently convinced the machine was accurate, the suspect confessed.

Thirty-year-old Jorge Gonzalez was taken to an interrogation room in a Miami, Florida, police station for questioning. But detectives couldn't decide who would take him home. They told Gonzalez to wait, that they would be right back. Then they forgot about him. "He stayed in the interview room for five days without food or water," said police spokesman Richard Roundtree, "and without coming out to tell anybody about it." Chicago Tribune

Defending himself in an Oklahoma City court against armed robbery charges, Dennis Newton leaped to his feet when a witness identified him as the man who had robbed a convenience store. Newton screamed that the woman was a liar and that he should have blown her head off. "If I had been the one who was there," he added after a moment's pause. It took the jury thirty minutes to bring in a guilty verdict. Lima (Ohio) News

This story datelined Baton Rouge, Louisiana, appeared in the Arizona Republic: "A man described by a federal judge as the 'most inept counterfeiter l ever heard of' was sentenced to five years' probation for cutting the corners off twenty dollar bills and pasting them on a one dollar bill. "U.S. District Judge John Parker said he saw no sense in mutilating a genuine twenty dollar bill to make a bogus one. "Parker sentenced James E. Sanders after noting that the defendant had a drinking and drug problem that probably contributed to the counterfeiting charge and seven previous burglary arrests. "Defense lawyer Richard Randolph told the judge that Sanders is not criminally inclined but has a 'weekend-frolic temperament.'

The Alabama Department of Forensic Science could not determine in June the origin of the 50 pounds of a meat-like mass found in the grease trap of a McDonald's restauant in Alabama. It was determined to be cellulose, in skin-like strips, highly absorbent, that "had the color and feeling of an old bacon strip," and when dried became translucent like onion skin. The state said only that it was "plant-derivative." And the restaurant owner was certain that it came from the outside.

A Canadian man, who has multiple sclerosis, was convicted in February of sexual assault. A woman had testified that while she was in his apartment, he pinned her to the wall with his motorized scooter and forced her to take off her clothes and perform oral sex on him.

In March, Britain's Independent Television Commission denied permission to air a 12 minute documentary titled "Dick," which is composed of 1,000 shots of flaccid penises from various camera angles, with a female voiceover.

Among the prostitution clients turned up in a Wisconsin investigation in April: a 98 year old man who had spent $7,000 over two years with three women. Witnesses said the man had sex at least once with more than one woman at a time. The man denied the charge, claiming that, if he had had that kind of money, he would have invested it in bonds.

In April, eight male inmates of a county jail in Michigan, arranged a liaison with eight females housed on one floor below by pounding on the pipes in code, and then broke into the women's section for consensual sex. The men were discovered when they did not make it back in time for a bed check.

A Nevada brothel reported in April that more than 100 unmarried Persian Gulf military men had taken advantage of its welcome home offer of one night on the house (carry out only). The management waved its fee but still paid the hostess. One woman said that she felt good about the money and that it was patriotic.

A California man, set for sentencing last summer for driving a school bus while drunk, showed up in court staggering, shouting obscenities, gesturing wildly, and with alcohol on his breath. Asked if he were drunk, he replied, "Noway. No way, Jose."

A Louisiana judge awarded a man custody of his 6 year old son last September despite the man having kidnapped the boy five years before (for which he was currently on probation); being currently on probation on a separate federal fraud charge; having been on a court-ordered substance abuse and mental-health counseling; having been married to two women at the same time; and having falsely told the son that his mother was deceased.

Two Washington state men, attempting to break out of jail in October by chipping through concrete walls with small pieces of metal, made so much noise that the alienated fellow inmates turned them in.

A Baltimore man was arrested in January after putting up a large sign on the side of a newspaper box, announcing the sale of $10 bags of marijuana. Two plainclothes officers happened to see the sign and asked him if it was his. He said that it was and that it was the only way he could get people to stop.

A Minnesota man robbed a credit union in April, according to police, but made his getaway by commandeering a school bus conveniently parked outside. Police tracked the bus rather easily. (The driver was not harmed.)

A Missouri man was arrested in June and charged with stealing about $300 worth of human hair from a company specializing in Afro style hair pieces. He had worked as a painter for the company and said that he had in mind lining his dog house floor with the hair.

A Massachusetts newspaper announced last summer that it would continue to the names of prostitution customers who had been arrested despite a 47 year old man's recent suicide as a result of having been named. (The paper did not print the man's name upon his death because it has a policy of protecting identities in private suicides.)

Last September, Wisconsin police took a 16 month old child into protective custody after his parents left him alone while they went bar hopping. (A family friend reported the baby had been left alone.) Though police had taken the child before the parents returned home, they did not report the child missing until the next afternoon, following the conclusion of the Packers game on tv.

In June, a lawyer won a $3,000 settlement against the J.C. Penney store in Newport, Oregon over an underwear purchase. The man claimed that, after he wore the shorts for a first time, a tag, "inspected by No. 12" stuck to his penis so firmly that he could not remove it. After soapy water and rubbing alcohol failed, he went to a doctor, who removed the sticker with an adhesive dissolver. However, that caused a rash, and when it disappeared, if left a scar in the shape of the sticker. The settlement compensated him for lost time at work and marital strife.

A Missouri woman admitted in court last year that she had abandoned her 3 month old son by leaving him on the hood of the car in a parking lot at the Who Cares? So What? Bar. (A witness accused her of trying to sell the baby for $20 worth of crack)

Honolulu Taxi driver Gil Gilbertson paid $340.00 for a newspaper ad to celebrate his sixty-fifth birthday on December First. The ad read: "By God, I made it!" Mr. Gilbertson never saw his ad, however, because he died of a heart attack a week before it ran. (New York Times)

In Chesterfield, England, a ten-year-old girl died from eating her own hair. (New York Daily News)

A seventy-two-year-old South African man bled to death after he was cut by the shattered porcelain of a toilet bowl that collapsed beneath his weight in a Cape Town hotel. (Montreal Gazette)

New Hampshire attorney David Case, who often reenacted events to help him prepare cases, apparently attempted to reenact the death of a former client who had hanged himself in his jail cell. In the process, Case accidentally hanged himself to death. (AP)

Roy Cleveland Sullivan, Seventy-one, a former Shenandoah National Park Ranger, died recently in his Waynesboro, Virginia home. Sullivan, who made the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS for having survived seven separate strikes by lightning between 1942 and 1976, shot himself to death. (New York Post)

Some Thirty-six people died at a month-long religious rally on the Philippine island of Mindanao. Twenty-six of the victims succumbed to gastroenteritis brought on by unsanitary conditions at the rally site. The other ten were reportedly hacked to death by fellow worshipers for lack of faith in their leader's healing powers. The rally was staged by a sect called the Philippine Benevolent Christian Missionaries Association of Mercy. (San Francisco Chronicle)

According to the Drug-Industry publication 'APHARMACY WEEKLY', a federal appeals court ordered the FDA to determine whether drugs proposed for use in Lethal-Injection executions are "safe and effective."

Twenty-two-year-old John J. Thorson, one of two gang members stabbed in a Chicago park, crawled to a nearby house and bled to death while banging on the door for help. The house's owner was deaf. (Fresno Bee)

While riding in a pickup truck, Refugio Tarin, thirty-three, and Jesus Carrasco, thirty-six, shot and killed each other, wounding a third man, fifty-four- year-old Manuel Carrasco. "It was just the three of them in the pickup and they started arguing," said Sheriff Rick Thompson of Presidio County, Texas. "The poor guy in the middle didn't have anyplace to go." (Kansas City Star)

Exterminators Phillip and Robert Gleich were sent to a Detroit home, where Phillip accidentally shot Robert with a .25-caliber pistol while trying to kill a squirrel in the basement. The brothers worked for Hit Man's Exterminating Company. (Detroit Free Press)

Lawyers in Kuwait are searching for legal precedents to help them settle the case of an Arab man who wants the kidney he donated to his brother returned. The kidney donor filed suit claiming his brother "turned out to be unworthy of the sacrifice." (Minneapolis Star)

After losing his right testicle to cancer and learning that his mother had taken the ill-fated drug DES while pregnant with him in the 1950s, San Francisco attorney Craig Diamond sued Upjohn Company and E.R. Squib and Sons, producers of the drug. Prior to his troubles, Diamond had been on the team of lawyers defending Upjohn and Squibb in DES litigation. (Los Angeles Times)

Alexandre Smith sued the Place Ville Marie office tower in downtown Montreal, Quebec, for $115,000 after being burned by a sudden surge of "very hot water" while sitting on one of the building's toilet bowls. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Louis Block of Golden, Colorado, sued his former wife for $800,000, claiming she hit him over the head with a bowling ball while he napped. In addition to a skull fracture and a cut over his left eye, Block sought damages for "mental anguish." (St. Louis Globe Democrat)

Jose' Yera of Los Angeles sued Sam Cook Uniforms and Point Blank Body Armor because a bulletproof vest they sold him "failed to protect him when he stabbed a knife into his stomach while testing the garment." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Linda Bryant of Bunker Hill, Illinois, sued the Mogen David Corporation, charging that a bottle of the company's wine caused her husband, Donald, to rape a neighbor. (Edwardsville Intelligencer)

Mark Hagen, a Seattle business student, sued two-year-old Nelson Moore for $200, claiming the boy backed a tricycle into his 1976 Porche. (Arizona Republic)

Paul Crawford of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, a carpenter and poet, sued city authorities on behalf of mosquitoes killed by a spraying program there. (Toronto Sun)

In a California court, Stephen C. Sayre sued the Continental Baking Company, makers of Hostess products, for $100 million, charging that their television ads for "fresh" and "wholesome" foods were "blatant and criminal fraud." Sayre claimed to have been addicted to such Hostess baked goods as Donut Gems, Choco-Diles, Sno Balls, Suzy Q's, and Honey Buns. (Sacramento Bee)

An Oakland, California, family sued the Sunrise Memorial Cemetery in Vallejo, California, for trying to mash a coffin into an undersized grave. The suit contends that cemetery workers tried to lower the coffin on its side but were stopped by mourners. Then they allegedly "battered and pounded the coffin" and finally jumped up and down on it, "causing the coffin to break." The family sought $500,000 in damages. (Indianapolis News)

A Brownville, Texas, family filed suit against the Trevino Funeral Home for dropping the casket of a stillborn infant and allowing the body to roll across the floor to the feet of the grieving family. (Houston Post)

Relatives of Susan Kay Luth sued the Botimer Family Mortuary for $2.5 million because Luth's body was green when it arrived in Colorado for burial. Funeral-home owner Jack W. Botimer said the body was in that condition when it was turned over to him by the county medical examiner's office, but he admitted the body was still "a pretty shade of green" when it left Phoenix. (Arizona Republic)

A jury in Dublin, Georgia, awarded $161,500 to John McKevitt, who suffered burns of the face and hands after he deliberately set his jail-cell bed on fire. (Tennessean)

Dr. Dudley Scott was ordered to pay for his estranged wife's support despite the fact that she had hired two men to assault and rob him. "I guess I'd better stick to medicine, because I sure don't understand the judicial system," said Scott. (Student Lawyer)

The family of Martha Dunham was awarded $187,000 by a Pontiac, Michigan, jury. The seventy-five-year-old woman died two weeks after being hit in the neck by a box of sandwich bags which fell from a supermarket display. The box weighed eight ounces. (Toronto Star)

Lucy Amil Harris of Ashland, Virginia, filed a Federal suit against the Pink Panther. In her complaint, Miss Harris alleged that the cartoon character, owned by United Artists, was being used for various unclear and unlawful purposes. She asked that the Pink Panther be removed from movies, greeting cards, coloring books, jigsaw puzzles, and magazines. (Richmond News Leader)

After an eleven-year court battle, the Aetna Insurance Company reimbursed the Wackenhut Security Service $230,000 that Wackenhut was forced to pay to a man whose colon was damaged by a Wackenhut security guard. The guard, a Cuban refugee who spoke no English, was working at an Eagle Family Discount Store in Miami, Florida, in 1972 when he noticed a bulge under a shopper's shirt. Despite the shopper's desperate protests, the guard reached inside the man's shirt and pulled out his colostomy bag. (St. Petersburg Times)

A video clip that refers to foreign pickup trucks by a term of contempt for homosexuals will be deleted from a product exhibit for Chevrolet dealers, General Motors Corp. said. The video presentation, composed of clips from 90 hours of taped interviews with 500 Chevrolet owners, contains one from a farmer who says he prefers full-size pickups. "There isn't no foreign company that makes any decent working pickup. It's either going to be big, or some little faggot truck," the farmer said. Chevrolet executive Bob Bierly said an outside production company shot the videotape, adding: "There's probably no reason for us to offend any person or group." He said the clip will be deleted when an edited version of the exhibit is used for training or auto shows.

LIZ RANDOLPH, the former morning-news anchor for WBZZ-FM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, filed a suit against the station claiming that morning air personalities Jim Quinn and Donald "Banana Don" Jefferson had defamed her. In court papers, Randolph's lawyer said that WBZZ's morning team suggested that Randolph "has engaged in indiscriminate oral sex with large numbers of persons . . . and has sexually transmittable diseases." The suit arose after Randolph walked off the set in protest over a particular remark. Station officials said she was fired for abandoning her post. The walkout took place after the morning team told listeners that Randolph enjoyed oral sex so much she wore a tattoo on her forehead which read; "Don't pull on my ears, I know what I'm doing."

EMORY UNIVERSITY re-searchers, writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, reported that a Georgia man with heart disease noticed that nitrate skin patches worn on his chest to suppress heart pain also caused headaches - a common side effect of the treatment. But headaches did not occur if he wore the patches on his leg. Intrigued, the man rubbed a used nitrate patch on his penis, became aroused, and had sex with his wife. "Several minutes later," wrote the researchers, "she wondered why she had the worst headache she ever had in her life." Science News

John Clark and Gary Kumba, both eighteen, were taken into custody by police in Ocean Beach, New York, for eating pizza on the street. (UPI)

In Portland, Oregon, the Bonfire Restaurant was gutted by fire, while the Smoke Shop next door suffered smoke damage. (Buffalo Evening News)

Officials at the Houston, Texas, zoo have admitted that their coral snake is a rubber imitation. "We had live snakes in the exibit, but they didn't do well. They tend to die," said curator John Donaho. (Hackensack, New Jersey, Herald)

Fifty-four-year-old John Schepel, demanding the return of his Chevrolet van in a bitter divorce battle, took his wife's dentures from the family home in Buena Park, California, and held them hostage. (Vancouver Sun)

A Chicago Municipal Court judge decided to make an example of one man, the worst-looking in a group of "ruffians" hauled before him after a gambling raid. "You, you with the red suspenders," the judge said. "I'd hate to meet you in a dark alley." The man in the dock didn't reply. "Raise your hands," ordered the judge. The man did. "Just as I thought. Soft and pudgy. Never did an honest day's work. What do you do for a living?" "I'm the officer who made the arrest," he said. (American Bar Association Journal)

The chairman of the Osceola, Florida, County Commision asked the county sheriff to find the person who wrote and distributed a bogus press release on official stationary of the town of St. Cloud. The release read: "Question: What's a seven-course meal in St. Cloud, Florida?" "Answer: A possum and a six-pack." (AP)

Bob Gant, rural Chanute, told Allen County sheriff's officers that a deer stand he had erected in a tree near Petrolia was stolen. Officers said they found deer tracks near the tree. (The Iola Register)

A twenty-two year old man with a hole in his forehead walked into the Lindon, Ohio, police headquarters and requested an X-ray in order to locate his brain. The unidentified man had inserted six inches of wire through a hole into his skull in an attempt to find his brain, but had failed. He told police that he made the hole with a power drill. (Columbus Dispatch)

The Denver Fire dept. called out a Hazardous-materials team to clean up the blood of an AIDS victim injured in a car crash. (Orlando Sentinal)

A University of Texas Study concluded that one in five adult Texans is illiterate, and an even larger number are unable to count change of a twenty dollar bill. According to literacy expert Lois DeBakey of the Baylor College of Medicine, the situation is a result of "low teachers' salaries, undisciplined students, drug abuse, deterioration of the family, and country music lyrics." (Seattle Times)

Eighty-Three year old Henry Schecker of Miami, Florida, made a wrong turn on his way to the North Dade Regional Library and accidently drove onto Interstate 95. Schecker caused a jam in the heavy traffic, since five miles per hour was as fast as his battery-powered wheelchair could go. (New York Times)

A new law in Zimbabwe makes it an offense to engender "Feelings of hostility" toward or "Cause hatred, contempt, or ridicule" of the nations's head of state. Prior to the new law, public ridicule had been a problem for leader of the Zimbabwe, President Colomo Banana. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Seventy-Six-Year-Old Russell Berkley of Hazel Park, California, sued for injuries sustained when his testicles were sucked into the drain of a hospital whirlpool bath. (Oakland Press)

After the Soviets shot down one of its 747 airliners, Korean Airlines quickly dropped a magazine advertisement touting its direct service to Korea from various American cities. "Our flights not only seem shorter," said the ad headline, "they are shorter." (Los Angeles Times)

When a British Airways Boeing 737 airliner in Sydney, Australia, failed to start, mechanics has to dismantle the starter assembly. Inside they found a pair of frilly woman's panties. "We don't know whose panties they were," said an airlines spokesman, "but we do know it cost 20,000 pounds to fix." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Tom Gribble, Sixty-two, of Bristol, England, has stipulated in his will that he be cremated after death and his ashes placed in an egg timer. "Because of my bad legs I cannot work," said the unemployed Gribble, "but one day I shall be of some use again." (Toronto Star)

Dockworker John Kelly tried to fly across the River Boyne in County Louth, Ireland, by jumping from a high ramp with two turkeys strapped to his arms. After falling into the river, Kelly said he would try again using four turkeys. (CP)

While swimming in the midst of dense fog recently, one thousand ducks were swept over Niagara Falls. (New York Times)

In a crackdown on misbehavior, Arthur Jefferson, superintendent of Detroit's public schools, has forbidden students to carry guns. (Detroit Free Press)

Supplied with two pounds of cocaine for a sting operation, undercover police in Pompano Beach, Florida, arranged a sale with buyers who turned out to be undercover officers from the Fort Lauderdale police. (Boston Globe)

Robert E. Schloneger, thirty-four, was hired as a control panel operator at an Illinois nuclear plant after tests showed him to be "mentally sound," according to the power company. Schloneger resigned, however, after he was quoted in a local newspaper as saying "The bombs have to fall in 1984. If they don't, within ten years I'm going to take a gun and start shooting people." Schloneger, who is an arch dragon in the Lake County Order of the Fiery Cross, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, could not be reached for comment. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Nancy Appling Proctor, a forty-six-year-old accountant, threw a tantrum in which she set fire to her office, then got in her 1973 Oldsmobile and rammed a gas pump. After that, according to UPI, "she smashed windows at a Howard Johnson's, a department store, and a machine shop, struck another car, crashed into an ice machine, drove into a bank window, and ran over a fence." "Before her capture, she also hit a bread factory, a ceramic studio, a portable sign at a pharmacy, a vehicle in a automobile leasing lot, the glass front of a liquor store, and an appliance store."

Priests at St. Benedict's Roman Catholic Church in Newark, New Jersey, planned a mock baptism for about thirty-five little girls and their dolls to "bring them closer to Almighty God." But more than a hundred Cabbage Patch doll owners showed up at the church, while hundreds more called from out of town wishing to have their adopted dolls baptized. When New York television stations called for directions, St. Benedict's decided to cancel the baptism. "It just sort of got out of hand," one priest explained. (Bergen Record)

Joseph Begley saved 2,000 cigarette coupons and mailed them in to a British cigarette company in order to get a watch. When the watch didn't arrive he wrote and asked why. Back came three watches. Mr. Begley only wanted one so he mailed back the other two. The next day 10 parcels arrived from the cigarette company. The following day 18 parcels arrived. The day after that 10 more parcels came. All were trade-in gifts given by the cigarette company in exchange for coupons Mr. Begley never had. Among the gifts were three tape recorders, a doll, a golf bag, two electric blankets, a cot, saucepans, a pressure cooker, and long-playing records. Mr. Begley wrote a long, pleading letter to the company asking them to stop. In the return mail came a reply saying: "It was a computer error." The company gave Mr. Begley 10,000 coupons in compensation for his troubles. With these Mr. Begley ordered some tools and a beadspread. He received a plant stand and two stepladders.

Social Security officals sent a letter to a Fort Lauderdale woman who died in December, asking her to appear at the local agency office to present proof of her death. Jon Shamres, an assistant attorney general counsel for Broward County, opened the envelope addressed to his late mother. It contained a form letter with a handwritten note attached that said: "We've received a report that you may be deceased. Please come in with proof of identity."

Scene: A court room in Oklahoma where a person is on trial for murder. There is strong evidence indicating guilt; however, there is no corpse. In the defense's closing statement the lawyer, knowing that his client is guilty and that it looks like he'll probably be convicted, resorts to a clever trick. 'Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all,' the lawyer says as he looks at his watch. 'Within 1 minute, the person presummed dead in this case will walk into this court room,' he says and he looks toward the courtroom door. The jury, somewhat stunned, all look on eagerly. A minute passes. Nothing happens. Finally the lawyer says: 'Actually, I made up the previous statement. But you all looked on with anticipation. I, therefore, put it to you that there is reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed and insist that you return a verdict of not guilty.' The jury, clearly confused, retires to deliberate. A very few minutes later, the jury returns and a representative pronounces a verdict of guilty. 'But how?' inquires the lawyer. 'You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door.' Answers the representative: 'Oh, we did look. But your client didn't.'

ROCKFORD, ILL. --When temperatures plunged to minus 26, the Rockford Register asked its readers to finsh the sentence, "It was so cold that----". Here are some of the responses: Our snowman beged us not to leave him out another night. Even my soft water was hard Even the world leaders couldn't get into a heated arguement When I went out, my shadow froze to the sidewalk You could freeze and egg on the sidewalk I saw a fish jump in the river and the splash froze I had to go up and break the smoke off the chimney The altar boys had to jump-start the candles My false teeth chattered--and they weren't even in my mouth I looked out the window and saw a cottontail pushing a jackrabbit to get him started The snow is turning blue I put the meat in the freezer to defrost I saw a 32nd degree Mason, and he was down to 15.

Well, there was this cement factory that a company [who shall remain nameless], I used to work for built an 8080 based distributed control system for (at the time this was state-of-the-art in process control). The plant crushed boulders into sand before mixing with other things to make cement. The conveyors to the rock crusher (and the crusher itself) were controlled by the 8080s. A batch of defective MOSTEK ram chips used in the processor had a habit of dropping bits (no parity or ECC), causing at one point the 2nd of a series of 3 conveyors to switch off. This caused a large pile of boulders (about 6-8 feet in diameter) to pile up on top of the conveyor (about 80 feet up), eventually falling off and crushing several cars on the parking lot, and damaging a building. We noticed the problem when we couldn't explain the dull thuds we were hearing in the control room and looked out the window... PS: I became a convert to error correcting memories (which were quite expensive at the time, this was 1975), immediately. PPS: Everyone I know in industrial process control has a dozen of these type stories (all true) to tell. Its just amazing what happens when you let computers control BIG things.

In 1987 California Highway Patrol officer Dave Guild stopped a car traveling 50mph on the San Diego Freeway because its hood was open and a man was under it working on the engine. The men said that they had been having trouble with the gas pedal and that the man under the hood was keeping the engine running by working the carburetor linkage. Neither could understand why they were pulled over.

In 1988 Britain's Pauline Shaw, 46, claimed that her body was so full of electricity that her mere touch could damage household appliances. She was reported to have destroyed 25 irons, 18 toasters, 15 kettles, 6 tumble dryers, 10 washing machines, 12 television sets, 12 radios, 3 VCRs, and at least 250 lightbulbs. She said that she once damaged her bank's computer by leaning on the terminal. Doctors who examined Shaw theorized that an allergy or stress might have somehow been responsible for her condition. "It's not a party trick, something I do at will. It comes suddenly, by itself," said Shaw.

A wind profiler in OAR's Wind Profiler Demonstration Network (WPDN) was severely damaged by several shot-gun blasts late last week. On March 28, just before sunrise, two men and one woman were pheasant hunting in southern Nebraska [and] came across the McCook wind profiler and mistook it for an alien spacecraft. Frightened, they fired a number of shots damaging the profiler antenna and the electronics shed. Furthermore, a Forecast Systems Lab (FSL) technician who was in the shed conducting routine system checks was taken hostage by the hunters. After being held captive for nearly two hours, the technician's partner arrived and explained to the hunters what the profiler really was. The hunters then fled and so far, they have not been apprehended by law enforcement officials. Profiler damage is estimated at $150,000.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (UPI) -- Fifteen trees in a city park have been fitted out mysteriously with doorknobs and police are coming unhinged trying to figure out why. The used doorknobs were carefully attached, along with their locking mechanisms, apparently sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning, said Sgt. Steve Feldmann. "People walk their dogs in this park and someone called this morning and told us about it," Feldmann said. He said a white ribbon was tied to each of the trees about seven feet off the ground. And, on each, about three feet off the ground, doorknobs were installed on opposite sides, as if to suggest a stroller could open a door on one side, walk through, and exit through a door on the other. Police checked with experts on the occult and satanism but were told there is no known mystic symbolism involving doorknobs. As a result, they are considering the event a prank or an artistic statement unless, as one police officer speculated, "It's an ambitious squirrel." Since the trees are owned by the city, the event is being investigated as a case of criminal mischief, Feldmann said. He said city workers will remove the doorknobs "and plug the trees so all the sap doesn't run out."

In 1989 Pope John Paul II announced two new sins: bad driving and speeding. He told Italian auto club members who attended his weekly audience that reckless drivers will have to answer to God "not only for hazardous actions that endanger one's own and other people's lives, but also for ignoring road security regulations."

After cleaning streets for twelve straight hours, a Chicago snowplow operator stopped for dinner and a few drinks, then climbed aboard his plow and went on a rampage. After striking parked cars for several blocks, he drove onto an expressway and began hitting moving vehicles. When traffic in front of him stopped, he backed up over a Cadillac, crushing one of the occupants to death. Several other people were injured, none seriously. "I hate my job," Thomas Blair shouted after he was pulled from the plow. "I want to see my kids. I hate my job." As many as 100 people complained to police that the plow had struck their cars. Police discounted many of the claims saying the plow had struck only 31 vehicles.

In Lusk, Wyoming, a 76-year-old woman whose license expired in December 1982 was arrested five times in the following five for driving without a license. She had failed the eye exam required for renewal, which officials said she could have passed by wearing corretive lenses. She refused insisting that eyeglasses were "a communist plot. Commies will land here someday and control everybody by taking away our glasses."

At a pretrial hearing in Mexico City for two bus drivers charged with deliberately backing over and killing a woman and a girl they had injured, Judge Jaime Gallegos pointed out that many bus companies tell their drivers to make sure they kill any pedestrians they hit because it is easier to defend charges filed by police than by surviving victims.

When New Jersey Transit bus driver James Coley stopped to adjust his mirror in East Rutherford, Lisa Askins pulled her Sansoria Transportation Services bus alongside and accused him of cutting in front of her. Coley denied it and continued on his route. According to riders, Askins followed and tried to force Coley off the road while the loaded buses were going about 40 mph. When Coley, 54, finally stopped to pick up a passanger, Askins, 24, pulled in front of him, blocking his bus and three lanes of morning rush-hour traffic. She got on his bus and the two brawled until police, attracted by the traffic jam, arrived.

A 1986 study by Florida's Department of Transportation, noting that fatalities involving drunken bicycle riders had doubled since 1981, traced the increase to drivers who had lost their licences under the state's tough drunken driving law and taken to riding bicycles.

George North of Cupertino, California, was celebrating a San Francisco 49er's victory by riding a trash bin with rollers down an exit ramp at Candlestick Park when the bin crashed into a cement retaining wall, flipping the 39-year-old fan off an upper level of the ballpark. He fell 42 feet to his death.

In Los Angeles, 48-year-old Giuseppe Logreco drove his car into a dentist's office, pinning a patient against the receptionist's desk. Logreco told police he was upset because he had been trying for a month to get an appointment.

A Polish bus driver supposed to be carrying American journalists from Warsaw to Vinius in Soviet-occupied Luthuania headed instead for the Ukraine. The driver explained it was the only region for which he had a road map.

WICHITA (UPI) -- It was a Valentine's Day to remember for a Wichita man who spent more than 12 hours with a 7 1/2 pound barbell weight stuck on his erect penis. Fire department officials Friday were reluctant to talk about the incident for fear of embarrassing the man, and refused to release his name. A fire department report said the man showed up at St. Francis Regional Medical Center about 5p.m. Feb. 14 "distressed and desperate." The man told hospital workers he had decided early that morning to see if he would fit into the center hole of a barbell weight. He did, initially, but when he became erect, the man could not remove his penis. A doctor worked with the man for more than a hour, eventually calling for a fire department rescue squad and a medical officer. They arrived, and according to the incident reports, decided to try using bolt cutters to remove the weight. They succeeded in cutting a large chunk of the cast-iron weight away, but could not get through a center retaining ring to free the man. The firefighters had decided to get a heavier cutting tool to finish the job, but the physician intervened. Instead, a urologist made an incision, allowing the man's penis to drain and go limp, and removed the weight. The man was released from the hospital a short time later, and has not been heard from since.

Dr. Peter Crowcroft of the department of zoology at the University of Texas is a former director of zoos. In a UBC lecture earlier sponsored by the Vancouver Institute earlier this year, he said: "You cannot overestimate the ignorance of the average person. We once did a very interesting experiment. We had an empty pen with a barn at the back. We left the barn door open and put up a sign that read: 'UNICORN. EXTINCT DUE TO EDUCATION. FEEDS ON FLOWER PETALS. ATTRACTED TO VIRGINS.' Most people that came along tried to peer in the open door, convinced that the unicorn was hiding somewhere in the barn. Except for one little boy who said to his father, 'But Daddy! There's no such thing.' To which Daddy replied, 'Don't be stupid. Can't you read the sign?'"

From the Winston-Salem JOURNAL, 6 April 1992: Man Survives 2 Attempts At Suicide in Same Day A man who leapt from a fourth-story window and survived by landing on a car, rode an elevator back up and repeated his suicide attempt -- jumping from the same window and landing on the same car. The man, 30, survived both 40-foot leaps and was in fair condition yesterday at a hospital in Buffalo, police said. "That's a total of eight floors and, other than a broken wrist and a broken ankle, he's in as good shape as you or I," police Capt. Emil Palombo said. In his first attempt Saturday morning, the man "had to take a running leap because those windows don't open," Palombo said. He dove through a double-pane window, landing on the car, buckling the roof and doors, and smashing its rear windows, Palombo said. Although dazed and bleeding from facial cuts, the man got up and walked to the building's elevator, a witness told police. "He was cut up -- there was a trail of blood going into the hall, up the elevator and into the room," Palombo said. Police Lt. Ronald Sardina arrived at the six-story building in time to see the man make his second jump onto the crumpled car. "I saw a sneaker, some blood and a lot of glass," said Sardina, who spotted the car. "I looked up, and he appeared at the broken window and just kept coming." Palombo said police believe that the man suffered his most serious injuries in the second fall, when the car no longer absorbed the impact and "kind of flattened out like a Dumpster." The man lived in the building last year, moved out, then moved back in last week, neighbors said. Police found nothing in the apartment to indicate that the man was suicidal. Palombo said that people who attempt suicide often try again "but not in the time span of two-three minutes." "God bless him, he's alive," Palombo said. "Whatever help he needs, he's going to get it."

Would-be burglar Steven Little, thirty-two, had drunk thirty-five dollars' worth of beer before his attempt to break into a boot store in Longmont, Colorado, so it wasn't until he began trying to pry open the front door with a crowbar that he realized the shop was still open and people were staring at him from inside. Little made off empty-handed, but was later found by police asleep in his van. Rocky Mountain News

Is there justice in this world? Well, in Jacksonville, Fla., an Internal Revenue Service car parked outside the federal courthouse was "booted" for unpaid parking tickets, forcing tax collectors to fork over $122.50 to set it free. The IRS had to pay $95 for five tickets, a $25 removal fee plus $2.50 for processing to get the boot taken off, said Gertrude Bradley, clerical supervisor for the city parking division. With the tax-filing deadline closing in, courthouse employees were chuckling about the IRS' misfortune. But the agency was not amused. "We're not pleased with it," said spokesman Holger Euringer. Yeah, we're all really upset.

Canadian prison inmate Robert Walters, halfway through a 24-year sentence for robbery, was allowed out of Collins Bay penitentiary for six hours on a "resocializing program" on the condition that his guard keep him in sight at all times. After the two got drunk at a bar, Walters excused himself and popped across the street to rob a bank.

When a man pulled two guns on convenience store clerk Wazir Jiwi and demanded money, Jiwi asked how much he wanted for one of the guns. He said $100, which Jiwi paid him. Then Jiwi offered to buy the second gun. The robber handed it over, grabbed the cash and headed for the exit. But Jiwi had pushed a button under the counter that automatically locked the door. "He turned to me and asked what was going on," Jiwi says. "I told him to bring the money back and I would let him go. He brought the money back, and I opened the door."

Doctors at University Hospital in Amsterdam, Holland, are piping disco music into incubators to improve the breathing rhythm of premature babies. The doctors say they started the technique with Perry Como records, but found infant breathing was too slow and unable to keep a beat, so they switched to disco.

Police had no trouble solving the robbery of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, even though suspect Eugene "Butch" Flenough Jr. disguised himself by wearing a motorcycle helmet. It had "Butch" and "Eugene Flenough Jr." printed on it.

The FBI has begun advertising in a Russian-language newspaper in New York City for information from recent Soviet emigres about the KGB. The ads, costing $300 each, promise "replies will be kept in the strictest confidence."

Police in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, raided their own Christmas party for not having a liquor licence.

Jim Berkland, chief geologist for Santa Clara County, thinks he can predict earthquakes by watching the Lost and Found classifieds in the newspapers. He contends that when the number of ads for lost cats goes up sharply, it means an earthquake is imminent. Evidently cats can sense the preliminary stirrings, or something, and they light out. Berkland uses the state's three largest newspapers for this science, including The Times, so you can check The Times Lost and Found yourself if you want to know whether a quake is coming. Marsha Adams, a research consultant and former biologist at the Stanford Institute, made a study of Berkland's theory and reported that, statistically, it seemed to work. However, she noted, the earthquake usually occurred on the same day the lost cats ads reached a peak -- too late to serve as a warning. She suggested that people who see their cats acting funny ought to have a "cat hot line" so they could warn the populace earlier. It takes a day or two for an ad to appear in the newspapers.

Yokohoma Rubber Company of Tokyo is planning to recall a line of its automobile tires after receiving protests from Islamic groups (Washington Post, 7-25-92). Apparently, upon close observation, the tread pattern of the tires resembles the Arabic word for Allah. A company spokesman said they plan to stop producing the tires and will recall or replace them free of charge in Islamic countries. He also apologized for the company's ignorance of Islam and said the treads "were designed by computer to maximize driving safety and were not meant to blaspheme Allah."

The only son of Academy Award-winning actor Ray Milland was found dead in his West Los Angeles apartment with a gunshot wound in the head and a rifle by his side, police said today. "It's apparently an undetermined cause of death right now," Detective Sgt. Glenn Varner said this morning. "We don't like to jump into conclusions."

An enthusiastic Blue Cross computer sent George and Mary Blagmon 2,500 bills for the same $183.03 charge 2,499 more bills than they should have gotten. "When they first started coming, I thought it was a joke, you know. But then every day, stacks and stacks of bills would arrive," Blagmon said a yesteray(sic). The bills, all for $183.03, began arriving April 8, with payment due at the end of the month. "I called Blue Cross and told them what was happening, but at first they didn't understand," she said. "We had never had anything like this happen before," said a spokesman for the health insurance plan. He said the bill-typing machine operates at 6,000 characters a second.

Bruce Mackenzie-Low and Steve Roberts are determined to get their quarter's worth out of a space-age war of man against computer. At last check, the computer was fast approaching battle fatigue. Mackenzie-Low, 21, and Roberts, 19, stopped by a 7-Eleven convenience store here around 1:30 a.m. Thursday to play the electronic game Asteroids. "We're not trying to kill off the machine; we're trying to prove a point - that you can get to a point where you're virtuous enough to get your money's worth," said Mackenzie-Low. Spending 25 cents - the cost of their initial game - they had amassed 7 million points by Thursday afternoon and, according to Mackenzie-Low, were ''going strong. We've got it technically down to where every 10,000 points the machine throws in an extra ship.'' He said they wanted to better the 17 million mark, which they claim would tie any known world record for the game. The two Tucson steak-house employees play the game ''quite a bit, but it's not like we are fanatics,'' Mackenzie-Low said, taking a break while Roberts, also known as ''Cozmic,'' manned the space guns. "It's kind of like the battle of the galaxies. We're going to see who dies first - us or the machine. I think the machine is weakening," Roberts said. "We'll beat it by tomorrow, God willing and 7-Eleven willing."

Bobby Joe Reid died in December in Taylors, S.C., of a seizure and cerebral hemorrhage while having sex with his married girlfriend, on the floor of her living room. The frightened woman dragged Reid into her backyard, then called police to report a prowler. Reid still had his pants around his ankles when police arrived.

James Patrick Summerville, 33, was arrested in Anne Arundel County, Md., in November after he chased and rammed a garbage truck with his car and fired two shots at it at 5:45 a.m. The truck's driver had declined to wait for Summerville, who was carrying trash that he had forgotten to put out that morning.

Huntington Beach, Calif., police Lt. Patrick Gidea reported in November that officers conducting an undercover drug purchase sting continued to make arrests of eager would-be customers even after large orange "police" signs were placed in the area. Said Gildea, "We actually had people coming up and getting in line (to buy cocaine) when we had people (under arrest and handcuffed lying) on the gound."

Michael Stohr, 26, was arrested for counterfeiting in Madison, Wis., in September after clerks at a printing supply store tipped off federal investigators about a man who had been browsing around. Clerks said the man lingered in the store holding dollar bills up to a color chart and finally placing an order for a particular shade of green ink.

Prison escapee James Sanders was captured by federal agents at his home in Stinnett, Texas, in January after 17 years on the lam, during which he had established a new life, married and fathered a daughter. Agents were tipped off when Sanders, out of curiosity, telephoned the FBI to ask whether they were still pursuing James Sanders.

As public television viewers in 12 cities sat glued to their sets while doctors in Philadelphia reconstructed 15-month-old Michele Miller's skull during a two-hour operation broadcast live, the girl's parents, Lynn and Paul Miller of Princeton, N.J., opted to watch "The Wizard of Oz" instead

The odds of winnning the California lottery by matching all six numbers are 14 times greater than the odds of being struck by lightening, according to Lottery magazine. the figure drops to nine times greater in New Jersey, six times greater in Pennsylvania, and four times greater in Connecticut.

In Atlanta, U.S. District Judge Charles Moye overturned a death sentence for a murderer because the jury that convicted him 10 years ago had asked for a Bible during deliberations.

When the Sudanese government showed an interest in buying two Russian transport planes to ferry supplies to famine-ridden ares in the south, the acting Soviet ambassador allowed the Sudanese to test-fly the aircraft. They flew to rebel-held Yirol and bombed the city, pushing bombs out of the cargo doors.

The Niagara County, N.Y., sheriff's office reported in March that a 38-year-old man from Wheatfield, N.Y., had been taken to DeGraff memorial hospital suffering from the effects of a do-it-yourself castration performed with clamps, a scalpel and a local anesthetic. He said he needed to reduce his sex drive.

A physician at Johns Hopkins medical school reported in April that a 21-year-old college student suffers from a condition ("phantosmia") that causes her to emit a foul odor so overpowering that she cannot eat or engage in ordinary school activities because she cannot concentrate.

Thedford Browning, 20, filling out identification papers in a Springfield, Mass., courtroom in October in an attempt to be released from jail without a money bond after his arrest on a crack cocaine charge, listed his occupation as "drug dealer." The judge denied the request and imposed a $20,000 bond.

In May, the Maui County (Hawaii) Council tabled an ordinance that would ban the backyard killing of dogs because of opposition by some groups that such a ban would be discriminatory based on their religious tradition of eating dogs.

Dietrick Mitchell, 16, was charged with the vehicular murder of pedestrian Daniel Goetsch, 16, near Aurora, Colo., last October. According to a passenger in Mitchell's car, Mitchell had aimed for Goetsch, whom he did not know, on the street and announced "three points" for hitting him.

Criminal justice professor Michael Petrik, 30, who taught the "alternatives to prison" course at Nassau County (N.Y.) Community College, was arrested in May for helping two inmates escape from a correctional facility in Warwick, N.Y. Said a former student, "He made class interesting. I guess everybody has their own little secrets."

A 15-year-old boy was arrested for suspicion of murder in March after a 5-year-old boy a half-mile away, in Carson, was hit by a flying bullet seconds after the older boy fired his gun almost straight up into the air while showing off for friends.

In June, a 29-year-old man from Moab, Utah, fell to his death off the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. He had backed up while having his picture taken.

Sheriff Bill Wiester announced in Moses Lake, Wash., in March that he had arrested a man sitting in a car bobbing his head and who thus looked like he was doing drugs. On closer inspection, however, no drugs were found; the man had a straw in his mouth and was blowing bubbles into a fishbowl he was holding in his lap, aerating the water for his pet piranha.

Robby Doyle Calhoun, 30, was arrested for stabbing letter carrier Raymond Bell, 35, in Dallas in April. Apparently, Calhoun was upset about receiving bills. A police detective said that Calhoun had told a maintenance man the day before that he was "going to get the mailman."

In February, Roman Catholic parishioners in Sluis, The Netherlands, disturbed by loud noises that interrupted their worshipping, opened the curtains of a confessional to find a man and woman having sex inside. (The parish priest was out of town at the time and thus could not grant the couple absolution for the incident.)

In July, the Iowa Board of Dental Examiners charged dentist Vincent P. Graettinger, whose license had already been suspended in May, with another incident in June. The board said Graettinger locked a female patient in a room by herself and forced her to watch a film on proper dental care. Graettinger denied the charge and accused the board of "nitpicking."

Cozette Wright, 35, was charged in May with stabbing her daughter, Dennisha, 20, on Mother's Day in Omaga, Neb., after an argument over who was the better mother.

Among award-winning stories at the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Association awards was one from the Austin American-Statesman, reporting a plan by city officials of Rollingwood. Officials planned to spray-paint all loose dogs in the city so owners would call up to complain and could then be cited for violating a law prohibiting dogs from roaming free.

An former governor of New Mexico got sent an IRS form having to do with the witholding of interest from foreign nationals if they haven't resided in the US in the past year. He ignored it until they actually witheld money, at which point he started complaining. I believe he had to get to the under secretary of the Treasury before they caught on to the fact that New Mexico was not part of Mexico. Something about Sen. Pete Domenici (R, N.M. ) being the chairman of an IRS oversight committee tipped them off, I think.

In April, Velma Ann Wantlin, 28, was given a citation by police in Houma, La., for improper use of the 911 (emergency) line after she called to report that her husband was preventing her from watching the season finale of "Knots Landing."

Toronto- A woman drugged her unfaithful husband and cut off part of his penis whle he slept to stop him "from being with the bitch," court heard Monday. The 48-year old woman told police that the wound was "just a little cut" to stop her husbands affair after 16 years of marriage and two children, assistance Crown attorney Michael Cantlon said in his opening address to the jury. She is charged with aggravated assault and administering an overpowering drug. Her name is being withheld to protect the identity of her husband. Cantlon told the general division of Ontario Court the husband began a sexual relationship with a woman in the summer of 1990, and his wife soon found about it. In Febuary 1991, during a visit by several business friends, the wife served her husband a cup of coffee with a dozen sleeping pills in it. He soon went to bed in their suburban home because he couldn't keep his eyes open, court heard. The 43-year-old husband, a bricklayer, testified he awoke when he felt the cut on his penis. "All I see is blood all over my legs. After that I don't remember anything else," he said. Showing the jury a scar on his inner forearm where a patch of skin was removed to graft to his penis, the man said he has undergone five operations and faces more surgery to repair the damage.

Between 1950 and 1952, a bored weatherman, stationed north of Hudson Bay, left a monument that neither government nor time can eradicate. Using a bulldozer abandoned by the Air Force, he spent two years and great effort pushing boulders into a single word, FUCK. It can be seen from 10,000 feet, silhouetted against the snow. Government officials exchanged memos full of circumlocutions (no Latin equivalent exists) but failed to word an appropriation bill for the destruction of this cairn, that wouldn't alert the press and embarrass both Parliament and Party. It stands today, a monument to human spirit. If life exists on other planets, this may be the first message received from us. - The Realist, November, 1964.

A Disc Jockey on radio station KLOS in Los Angeles made this memorable statement after a Februrary earthquake. "The telephone company is urging people to please not use the phone lines unless it is absolutely necessary, in order to keep the lines open for emergency personnel. We'll be right back after this break to give away a pair of Phil Collins tickets to caller number 95."

A Mexican newspaper reports that bored Royal Air Force pilots stationed on the Falkland Islands have devised what they consider a marvelous new game. Noting that the local penguins are fascinated by airplanes, the pilots search out a beach where the birds are gathered and fly slowly along it at the water's edge. Perhaps ten thousand penguins turn their heads in unison watching the planes go by, and when the pilots turn around and fly back, the birds turn their heads in the opposite direction, like spectators at a slow-motion tennis match. Then, the paper reports, "The pilots fly out to sea and directly to the penguin colony and overfly it. Heads go up, up, up, and ten thousand penguins fall over gently onto their backs. -- Audobon Society Magazine

Investigating why no Hartford residents have been called for federal grand jury duties for three years, the answer was that a computer thought they were all dead. The city's name was in the wrong place in computer records, so when the name was called up, the "d" at the end of "Hartford" was actually showing up as a "d" meaning the citizen was "d" or dead.

Chris Rodgers, 26, of Leadville, Colorado attempted to rid himself of head lice by shampooing his scalp with gasoline. Before he could judge the effectivness of the treatment, however, the gas fumes were ignited by nearby wall heating pilot light and exploded. He survived.

Defying a local law prohibiting building of more than 19 floors, contractors on the east side of Manhattan went ahead and built 31 floors. The top 12 floors ultimitely had to be removed.

A Democratic candidate for the Flordia State House of Represenatitives is under arrest for the shooting of the wife of his rival. Eric Kaplan, 28, fired a single shot into the house of Rep. Robert Starks, striking his wife Judith in the leg. According to the county sherriff, "We believe Kaplan wanted to win in the worst way." Kaplan remained on the ballot but lost.

A recent fall visitors guide to Virginia features a tranquil shot of a location in Vermont.

Excerpts from the Federal Register as originally presented in the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Newsletter. 17 January 1992, Bureaucratic Grasp of the Situation Profound Statement #1 "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a Federal Register notice denying a petition, stated "Detachment of any of the four wheels adversely affects vehicle stability..."" 17 January 1992, Bureaucratic Grasp of the Situation Profound Statement #2 "A National Transportation Safety Board official, investigating a lost engine incident involving a Boeing 737, which is designed to safely shed a mal-functioning engine, stated "But we do know that this engine was not designed to fall off under normal circumstances.""

Switzerland, known for its neutrality over the centuries, briefly invaded neighboring Liechtenstein this past Tuesday. Troops on maneuvers received orders to set up a camp in Triesenberg but, according to Liechtenstein officials, the Swiss "overlooked that Triesenberg is not located on Swiss territory." Switzerland's neighbors include Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Liechtenstein; of these countries, only Liechtenstein can boast that it has no army, its population is less than 30,000, and it is smaller than Washington, D.C. (The New York Times, October 18, 1992.)

In December, as France was on the verge of formally repealing its 88-year-old system of local funeral-service monopolies, Michel Leclerc was speeding up the process by opening his latest funeral-service "supermarket" in Creteil. "Here, people can take a cart and do their shopping," Leclerc todl the Associated Press. Consumers wander down length aisles and satisfy their funeral needs at "sale prices." Leclerc offers many models of caskets, headstones, plastic flowers and other accessories and consumers make their selections to upbeat background music from a local radio station.

James "Scott" Hooper, a student at Oklahoma State University, had his lawsuit against Pizza Shuttle tossed out by a Stillwater Okalhoma court in October. He had sued for $7 because his pizza contained the wrong toppings, which he mistakenly ate part of. Hooper said he turned down an out-of-court settlement of a $4-off coupon.

In October, a federal appeals court upheld a $325,000 jury award to Robert Fischer, who had claimed that an electrical shock he received from a Pepsi-Cola machine in Omaha, Nebraska in 1987 had left him impotent. Fischer's wife was also awared $35,000 for loss of services.

In 1989, a Union Bridge Maryland high school permitted a female student, Tawana Hammond, 17, to try out for its football team under the pressure of a federal statue that bars school discrimination on the basis of gender. On her first scrimmage, Tawana, a running back, was tackled and suffered massive internal injuries. In October, 1992, she filed a $1.5 millon lawsuit against the county board of education for its alleged failure to inform here of how dangerous football is.

Escondido, California attorney Ben Escheverria filed a $2 millon lawsuit in August 1992 against Texaco, Inc. and a local gas station manager because attendants were pumping gas for women at self-service pumps but not for men. The station almost immediately stopped its practice and forced women to start pumping for themselvs.

France's tourism minister, Olivier Stirn, resigned in July after his plan to increase attendance at a conference back-fired. When only 37 people showed up (out of 5,000 invitees), Stirn hurriedly called a local actors' union and offered about $50 each for 200 actors to sit in the audience to make it respectable in size (Featured speakers were 12 government ministers and two former prime minsiters). However, the actors thought their gig expired at 6:15 PM (while Defense Minister Jean Pierre Chevenement was speaking), and they walked out en masse.

Here in the Portland Oregon area, when Exxon spilled their goo all over the Alaska coast, a local student spent his life savings, $5,000, to take out a full-page ad in the newspaper, urging people to boycott Exxon gas stations. He proudly showed the ad to a friend, who pointed out that Exxon has no gas stations in Oregon.

A man who popped his hood when his car wouldn't steer right found a stubborn 6-foot Asian water monitor lizard wrapped around the engine. "I poked at it with a broomstick and it moved," Chris Hernendez said Monday. "Then I knew it was more than a little iguana. But I didn't realize the size of it until I got underneath the car and saw its claws it looked like a crocodile." The animal had somehow knocked off the car's alternator belt and was blocking the steering column, said Hernandez, 28, a sales manager for a cruise line. The stubborn lizard refused to come out, and state game authorities called in Todd Hardwick, an animal dealer who specializes in trapping exotic animals as well as native species in the back-yard wilds of suburban Miami. "We squirted it with Joy detergent to make it slippery, then sedated it," he said. "Then we had to take the engine apart." Hardwick, who routinely catches giant boa constrictors, wild monkeys and other animals, said "it was one of our roughest extractions." The animal dealer said water monitor lizards, native to Southeast Asia, can reach 10 feet or more and weigh 100 pounds. He speculated that the lizard was bought as a small pet, and either escaped or was released years ago in a swampy area adjacent to the new housing development where Hernandez lives. "This thing grew to be monstrous eating Muscovy ducks and fish," Hardwick said. "This guy could have been lurking out there in the swamp for years." It was probably attracted to the warmth of the engine in Hernandez's 1987 Grand Am, he said. The lizard was captured in good shape and a veterinarian was to give it a thorough examination in part to determine if it is male or female, said Hardwick, whose company is called Pesky Critters. He had rescued another lizard of the same species previously, and he's keeping both at his compound. "Romance could be pending," he said.

A woman, worried about crime, started to carry a hand-gun. Five months after she'd begun carrying her gun she came out to her car in a dark parking lot and found it occupied by four men. She ordered them out. They refused to move; she pulled her gun. Instantly four doors popped open and her car's occupants fled into the night. Then, as she started to load her groceries into the car, she noticed her car (same make and model) parked three spots away. (Paul Harvey broadcast)

A Perth man cut off his ears, penis and testicles in a fit of rage after arguing with a woman and has refused to have then re-attached, police said yesterday. The 32-year-old man severed the organs with a kitchen knife at his suburban home after an argument with a woman late Wednsday. Police said the man placed the organs in a freezer and drove himself seven kilometers (five miles) to a hospital. Hospital staff would not comment but a police spokesman said the man had rejected attempts to sew the organs back on. The spokesman said police had investigated but would not take action because there was no apparent breach of the law.

Duluth, Minnesota, Oct 26. A 42 yo carnival worker allegedly caught in a compromising position at the fair with a (male) sheep was first charged with voluntary deviant sexual intercourse. But that statute had been ruled unconstitutional, so he was charged with "agricultural vandalism" instead. The man later pleaded guilty to public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. The agricultural vandalism charge was dropped.

the Illinois Supreme Court reinstated a $1.5 million verdict against the Chicago Transit Authority in a 1977 wrongfull death lawsuit. The family of Koren immigrant Sang Yeul Lee had sued the CTA for inadequate warnings after Sand, who was drunk at the time, was electrocuted as he urinited on the electrified "third rail."

Several white, hispanic and fillipino boys were disiplined for a recess "game" they played with a 12-year-old African-American classmate at a Poway, California school. They pushed the boy down and started kicking him in what they called the "Rodney King game."

Third-grade teacher Lynne Strumlok was forced to apologize to students and administrators at the Delaware Elementary School in Syracuse, New York, for her discplinary warning of choice: She allegedly would pull out a pair of scissors, begin menancingly opening and closing them, and would warn students that "Mister Scissors" would cut out their tounges. A colleague, Joanne Herschkorn, allegedly told her class Mister Scissors would take tounges first, then livers.

Antonio Castro Jr. 45, and his wife pleaded guilty to defrauding the supermarket tabloids The Globe, The Start, and the National Enquirer by selling them 547 phony tips on clebrity gossip over a four year period.

Mark J. Davis, 28, was charged with trying to break into a dentist's office in Aurora, Ohio, in August. In his van, police found dental tools and orthodontic devices, and in his home in Willoughby, Ohio, they found enlarged photographs of girls' mouths as they were undergoing dental work. In Davis' pockets were 20 drivers's licenses that had been reported missing, 19 of them belonging to females who wear, or did wear, braces on their teeth. Said Aurora Polic Chief Steve Poling there is "something weird is going on here."

Lawrence Werner was charged with disorderly conduct at the Oxford Valley golf course in Levitown, Pa., in july. Werner and his group had tried to move past a slower-moving group to get to a tee, provoking a man in the slower group to threaten Werner with a golf club. Werner then pulled a .38 caliber pistol from his golf bag and, not suprisingly, his group was permitted to play through.

Dong Huibo, 24, died of injuries inflicted by one of Shanghi's notoriously agressive female bus conductors in August. The incident began when Dong took issue with the woman's description of his buttocks. She swore at him, slapped his face, and grabbed then kicked his testicles. As he scrambled to get out a window, the driver hit the accelerator, hurling Dong to the street where he died.

Robert A. Chase, 45, was charged with threating an 11-year-old boy with a knife in Madison, Wisconsin, in June. The boy was watching Chase play basketball with another adult when the opponent accused Chase of traveling. To seek an impartial opinion, Chase asked the boy, but the boy agreed that Chase had been traveling Chase then allegedly grabbed the boy, held a knife to his throat, and asked, "Now, did I travel?"

Motorist Albert Simon, 28, whose car broke down on the Manhattan Bridge in New York City at 12:50 one morning in September, looked under the hood, then fired four shot through the windshield.

The Oklahoma City daily newspaper, The Oklahoman, reported in June that a state-run juvinile counseling center in Tecumseh, Oklahoma, with only 13 clients, had 172 full-time employees and 18 other contract professionals on staff.

In January, Israel's national telephone company initiated a fax service that transmits messages to God via the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. And in May, the Roman Catholic church will unveil a high-tech confessional at a trade show in Viencenza, Italy, that will accept confessions by fax. And in December, a sect of Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, N.Y., began selling its members special beepers so wearers would know instantly when the Messiah arrives on Earth.

Assistant fire chief in Saybrook Township, near Ashtabula, Ohio, reported in November that the torrential winds accompanying a cold front, a toilet in a residential bathroom caught fire. He guessed that methane gas had been released from backed-up sewer lines.

Anchors Tsitsi Vera and Noreen Welch were suspended for three months in Harare by the government-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Co. in December for giggling uncontrollably while reporting the story of a woman whose newborn baby fell through the toilet of a train onto the track below.

San Diego, Mark Howard Larsen, 31, a was ordered, to trial in the October theft and burning of the $5,000-Barble doll collection of Glen Offield. And in Sandusky, Ohio, an eight-month-long series of Barbie vandalisms in three department stores continued in January without an arrest. More than two dozen Barbies in each store had been slashed in their private parts.

Clevland, Ohio, police captured a young man on Dec. 31 who they say carjacked a van at gunpoint from Clinton Clark, who had been sitting in it. Clark immediately and excitedly reported the theft to police. After recovering the van and checking the vehicle's identification, police also arrested Clark and charged him with having stolen the van in the first place from a neighborhood support center.

Maria Selina Anderson, 28, pleaded guilty in Baltimore in August to the murder of her husband last Valentine's Day. She confronted her husband and stabbed him in the chest after he had kept her awake almost all night playing cards with friends. According to one of the friends, what particularly annoyed Cynthia was an hour-long "deep and heated discussion about which malt liquor was the best."

Officials at the San Diego Museum of Natural History admitted they refunded admission ticket fees to "a number of people" who attented a recent exhibit of "Dinosaurs: Creatures of the Past" because the people were upset when they realize the mechanical replicas used in the exhibit were "not real dinosaurs."

CHICAGO (AP) _ Sara Lee Corp. said Thursday it will acquire the Endust and Behold brands from S.C. Johnson and Son Inc. in a deal that will make Sara Lee a major player in furniture-care products.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Keep in mind the old Saturday Night Live sketch where the couple argues over a fictious product: "Hey, it's a floor wax! No, it's a dessert topping!, No, it's a floor wax! Announucer: No, you're BOTH right!" How's that for reality imitating "art."

(Fortune magazine, May 4, 1993) In 1985, [Arkasas Governor Bill] Clinton was publicly anguished over whether to sign a costly bill providing a tax credit for contributions to higher education. The last day of the session after the clerk's office had closed, he vetoed the bill and had a staffer slip it under the clerk's locked door. After dinner, he phoned leading supporters, who persuaded him to change his mind. So he sent a state trooper back with a coat hanger to retrieve the bill, and then signed it.

Heard on the NBC Today Show, as Katie Couric was interviewing a USMC Colonel about the troops' accomodation in Somalia:
Katie: "You know, I slept with the 82nd Airborne in Saudi Arabia."
(Guest host begins laughing)
Katie: "No, I mean I spent the night with the 82nd Airborne."
(Guest host continues laughing)
Katie: "Oh, words can't express what I did with the 82nd Airborne."