News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication


-- According to an October communique from the North Korean Communist Party, "dear leader" Kim Jong Il, 55, has been promoted to "great leader," which, according to the official government news agency, is cause for "jubilation" even in the midst of national famine. The news agency added that fantastic natural phenomena were occurring to mark the occasion, including the landing of a 4-inch-long white sea cucumber by one angler and the spontaneous, prolific blossoming of numerous pear trees and apricot trees.

-- Sports Highlight Reel: In September, Susie Nelson, who lived across the street from Wrigley Field in Chicago, filed a lawsuit against the Cubs because she says a ballpark security camera was aimed at her bedroom window at times over the 18 months she lived there. And electrician Randal Jay Palmer, 37, was charged with trespass in October after he allegedly set up a video camera feed in an overhead light fixture in the Kingdome dressing room of the Seattle Seahawks cheerleaders. (According to police, the accident-prone Palmer not only hit a button that disabled the remote control, he turned the recorder on during installation, while he was looking into the lens, and police have the tape.)

-- In September the city of Kansas City, Kan., joined four Indian tribes in court to protest an economic development plan by a fifth tribe, the 3,800-member Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma. The Wyandottes plan to build a casino on pillars above a 150-year-old tribal burial ground the tribe owns in downtown Kansas City. Said one dissident: "Imagine our relatives lying here, looking up at the floor of a casino."


-- In July, Baptist minister Larry Roach decided to leave Clover, S.C., and move his New Life Christian Fellowship (motto: "A Church on Fire") to Springfield, Mo., and he was able to convince almost all of his parishioners to give him the church's assets to take with him, including $65,000 in cash. A few days later, five or six parishioners objected, but Roach dismissed them: "They're idiots. If they mess with me, I'll have their homes and cars. It's a good thing I'm a Christian. They're gonna owe me (even more money) by the time I get done with their butts."

-- Accuser Frank Martinelli, 50, testifying in August against the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., for alleged sexual abuse in 1964 by Father Laurence Brett: "He told me (fellatio) was OK because it was just another way of taking Holy Communion."

-- On New York City's list of unpaid parking tickets issued to United Nations missions, incurred during the first three months of the year, the Holy See (diplomatic arm of the Vatican) incurred eight tickets, totaling $500 in fines.

-- Police chief (and, in fact, the only paid officer on the force) Katie Holmboe of Gold Hill, Ore. (population 1,000), was fired in August based on complaints about her excessively Christian law enforcement. Holmboe once reported that a man jumped into a squad car, acting strange. Said she, "Being a former Bible student, I knew what I was up against. I prayed, and I said, 'I denounce you in the name of Jesus.' It hit the floor. It looked up at me and (hissed)." (The Town Council was also displeased that she sold Mary Kay cosmetics while on duty.)


-- In March in Granby, Mass., Fernando Morgado, 31, and gunman Antonio Andrade, 39, were preparing to slaughter a pig with a .22 caliber rifle. The pig struggled, causing Andrade to miss and the bullet to go through the tailgate of a trailer and hit Morgado in the stomach, sending him to the hospital in fair condition. In the ensuing chaos, the pig broke free.

-- On Aug. 7, police in Delaware, Ohio, and Thibodaux, La., reported that alleged child molesters had received private justice. According to police in Ohio, the wife and mother-in-law of Rodney Hosler, 27, kidnapped him shortly after he was released from prison on child-molesting charges, tied him up, shaved his body, applied hot ointment to his genitals, inserted a cucumber into his body, scribbled "I am a child molester" on him, and dumped him naked in front of a pizza parlor in his hometown, 70 miles away. In Louisiana, Adam Trahan, 17, was hospitalized with two spine fractures and swollen testicles from a beating allegedly by the father of a boy Trahan was accused of raping.


-- Several news organizations reported in March and April on Japanese men's increasing sexual fascination with high school and junior high school girls. One expert interviewed by The New York Times, Hiroyuki Fukuda, 30, editor of a magazine whose title can be translated Anatomical Illustrations of Junior High School Girls, said, "The age at which the girls seem interesting is clearly dropping. But it's only the maniacs who go for girls below the third grade."

-- An ad, from an Atlanta Journal story in May on the increasing number of Internet Web pages devoted to classified ads from prison inmates seeking romantic relationships: "Aren't you fed up with meeting all the wrong men?" (asked California inmate Ronald E. Mays, who also asked) "(Are you) In search of a truly honest and good man ...?" (Mays is serving life without parole for first-degree murder, second-degree murder, sodomy with force and kidnapping.)

-- Actress Rose Jackson filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles in June against MTM Enterprises for making her originally scripted character in a pilot episode of a UPN TV series "Good News" seem vulgar. She said her character of a church secretary was enhanced to include a romantic relationship with her pastor, which she said offended her moral sensibilities. Jackson's husband is Michael Moye, co-creator of "Married ... With Children."

-- In March in Ogden, Utah, Donna Solomon won a total of $89,500 in damages for injuries she suffered from Thomas and Darda Davis-Greene in an ongoing feud. Thomas Davis-Greene denied he did anything to incur legal liability but admitted going "ballistic" in Solomon's home. Thomas Davis-Greene is, by profession, an anger-management counselor.

-- In August the Johor Baru Religious Affairs Department in Malaysia announced that convicted sexual "deviants" would, in addition to serving prison time as punishment, be bound and whipped.


-- In June 1996, News of the Weird reported that construction worker Thomas W. Passmore, then 32, had filed a lawsuit for $3.35 million against a Norfolk, Va., hospital and four doctors over the loss of his hand. Passmore admitted to having severed the hand with a power saw because he believed it to be possessed by the devil and to having refused twice to allow doctors to reattach it, vowing that if they reattached it, he would just cut it off again. However, he claimed the defendants were negligent because they ought to have persuaded his family to overrule his poor decision. In September 1997, after a 30-minute deliberation, a Norfolk jury ruled against him.

(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 8306, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33738, or Chuck Shepherd's latest paperback, "The Concrete Enema and Other News of the Weird Classics," is now available at bookstores everywhere. To order it direct, call 1-800-642-6480 and mention this newspaper. The price is $6.95 plus $2 shipping.)

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