News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

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' name as a winner in the halftime field-goal kicking promotion and waited for him to come down onto the field. And a few days later, in Victoria, British Columbia, a federal tax agent heard the announcement of the winner of radio station CKKQ's song-identification contest, recognized him as a prominent tax delinquent, and within an hour had the winner's $1,000 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 on the Dodge City coach slipped down on the street, then took off, carrying the coach into a parked car, after which it overturned and bloodied five elderly passengers.

-- Opponents of Thailand's prime minister Banharn Sipla-archa said he lied about his birthday this year when he claimed it was Aug. 19 and not July 20, and they claimed that he changed the date on the advice of an astrologer so he could be a Leo and thus a better leader. And in June, India's new prime minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, said he moved into his official residence a week ahead of schedule because his astrologers said it would be better for him.

CULTURAL DIVERSITY

-- A Washington Post story in May on marital abuse in central and southern African nations found that among certain ethnic groups, only 3 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 beaten her, he rehabilitates his manhood by beating the corpse.

-- The New York Times reported in September on Tokyo's trendy "host clubs" which feature young men as servers and dance partners and which cater only to women -- largely middle-aged women who say such clubs are virtually the only places in the country in which they can be treated well and not be expected to wait on men. And the Los Angeles Times reported in August on the success of the long-standing, 370-female Takarazuka Revue, whose most successful production number has its women cross-dressing and portraying the kind of man many Japanese women do not often get to see, according to them: the suave, romantic, affectionate, considerate male.

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

-- The Islamic Court that sets rules for the northern half of Mogadishu, Somalia, announced in September that men must have beards, as did the prophet Mohammed. Said the court chairman, "Those who shave like Elvis Presley, Sylvester Stallone, and the U.S. Marines will not go unpunished." Two weeks later, Afghanistan's new ruling Taleban leadership made a similar decree for male government employees.

-- In September, Peggy-Sue Khumalo, 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 in November, she would step up her spiritual gratitude to slaughter a cow and 10 oxen.

-- By custom in the mountain region of northern Albania, a teen-age daughter whose father passes away may make a lifetime commitment to dress and behave and conduct business as a male so as to assure that her family is not left unprotected by the absence of a man. According to a July Knight-Ridder report, other males in the villages know about the transformation and generally accept the new "men" with full male privileges.

LATEST SURGES OF TESTOSTERONE

-- The Latest in Pervert Technology: Police in Toronto, Ontario, arrested a 62-year-old retired schoolteacher in September for allegedly videotaping under the skirts of about 30 women via a "shoe cam" pinpoint-sized lens connected by wires to a camera hidden in his waist pouch. And in July, Portland, Ore., police accused Jess Mitchell Townsend, 36, of rigging a "toilet cam" in public ladies' rooms over the last two years with the wide-angle lens barely visible from inside the tank.

-- In August, Tennessee became the latest state to recognize the inadequacy of its anti-perversion statutes when it charged an Eagleville man only with indecent exposure because the state has no law against what police really believe he did, which was to have sexual intercourse with a miniature horse. But on Sept. 30, a previous oversight in Florida was corrected when its first-ever anti-necrophilia law took effect.

-- Physicians writing in the February 1996 issue of the journal Genitourinary Medicine reported having to prescribe surgery for a man with genital pain. The man reluctantly admitted that about 12 years before, during sex play, his wife had inserted a mascara brush into his urethral opening and that the tip of the brush broke off. Doctors found that fibrous tissue had covered the brush piece, trapping it.

-- This year as usual, summertime brought out foot fetishists, including a man described as age 25 and husky, who posed as a national shoe company representative in August and got at least one woman in Parsippany, N.J., to remove her shoe so he could inspect it nasally, and including a Boston high school teacher who was suspended in June for allegedly sucking the toes of a female student after school.

UPDATE

-- For at least the fifth time in News of the Weird's nine years, a girl or young woman has been convicted of dressing as a male for the purpose of improving her chances of dating another girl or young woman. A 17-year-old girl was convicted in Kingsport, Tenn., in September of three counts of sexual assault by fraud against another 17-year-old girl.

WORKPLACE TRAGEDIES

-- A 28-year-old expert mountain climber fell to his death near Redding, Calif., in September as he was demonstrating safety techniques to a group of teen-agers. He had severed his main line to demonstrate the security of the second line, but the second line failed. And two racehorses with eight victories between them died at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., in August, when they crashed into each other head-on during a morning workout.

(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 8306, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33738, or 74777.3206@compuserve.com. Chuck Shepherd's latest paperback, "The Concrete Enema and Other News of the Weird Classics," is now available at bookstores everywhere.)

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