News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication


-- Michael Guilbault, 19, pleaded guilty in December to robbing a Raleigh, N.C., convenience store two months earlier. According to the prosecutor, a delayed getaway helped police make the capture. Guilbault and his accomplice were to meet their friends Heather Beckwith, 18, and Curtis Johnson, 19, back at the getaway car nearby, but when the robbers arrived, they found the doors locked and the couple inside "in the act," as the prosecutor put it. Guilbault and his colleague were forced to wait until the couple had finished before they could get in the car, but by that time witnesses had noticed the two men pacing and yelling at the couple.

-- In December, nationally known Emory University business school professor Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, 43, abruptly resigned, and according to several news reports, it was because the school had discovered him on a video surveillance tape vandalizing a wall in a school corridor and suspected him to be the one who previously had gouged doors, woodwork and furniture in the building. Sonnenfeld had recently been passed over for the position of business school dean at Emory. Following that setback, Georgia Tech offered him a deanship but withdrew it after reports of the videotape emerged.

-- Mayors Out of Control: In December, Mayor Daniel F. Devlin, 51, of Upper Darby, Pa., defeated for re-election the month before, was charged with robbing a local bank of $1,500 by claiming to have a bomb. Three days earlier, Mayor Craig Johnson, 41, of Snow Hill, Md., was arrested and charged with malfeasance in office for permitting one of the town's police cars to be used in pornographic photos that were distributed on the Internet. According to police investigators, Johnson had also promised the pornographers access to a NASA facility on nearby Wallops Island, Va., but no photos from that site were found.


-- In August, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Perry A. Lang, a white man, was entitled to worker compensation damages, despite the fact that his on-the-job injury came from being punched in the face by a black co-worker whom Lang had just racially insulted. The court said a sensitive colleague is just one of the "myriad of risks" workers face. And in July, the Hawaii Supreme Court took a similar position in upholding a law defining on-the-job illness to include stress that is caused by being disciplined for poor work.

-- In September, Brother Eric Metivier, 28, was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly stabbing Brother Fernard Bremaud, 71, several times in a dispute at the Trappist Fathers monastery near Holland, Manitoba.

-- According to interviews conducted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the last deathbed utterance of tavern owner Anthony J. Golembiewski, 83, in August was "one, six, nine, five." Family members were puzzled, but one decided to buy a lottery ticket with the numbers. The ticket won $23,500. Said Golembiewski's widow, "Andy, you son of a bitch, you even paid for your own funeral."

-- During a televised visit to a nursing home in Tokyo in September, Japan's Emperor Akihito, trying to pick up the game of paper-scissors-rock, lost to resident Toshiko Arai, who showed scissors. Thus, by house custom, the emperor was obliged to give the woman a shoulder massage.

-- In November, the University of Nebraska, whose football team was on its way to becoming national co-champions, announced it was awarding its first-ever, full athletic scholarship to Jennifer Daugherty, of Bloomington, Ill., for its women's bowling team.


-- The president of Poland's baseball industry association, defending baseball bats in June against calls that they be made illegal since they were being used in so many street muggings: "No baseball player in Poland would use a bat for any purpose other than playing the game. The relationship between a baseball player and his bat is something sacred."

-- George Shea, of Nathan's Famous in Brooklyn, N.Y., acknowledging in July the continuing Japanese superiority in hot-dog eating contests, but pointing out American hopeful Joey Serrano of Philadelphia, who had just eaten 17 in 12 minutes: "This kid has the excitement you see only in a young athlete who is just becoming aware of the miracles his body can perform on the field of combat."

-- Awni Hasham, 58, a furniture company owner in Gaza City, explaining to The Washington Post in July why he takes seriously the rumors that Israel had introduced chewing gum that had been laced with hormones to make people so horny that Palestinian society would be disrupted: "If they can put a spaceship on Mars, they can make sex chewing gum."

-- Serge Engambe, a previously unemployed college graduate who signed on with former Congolese military dictator Denis Sassou-Nguesso, explaining in July why he accepted a militia job with an organization widely thought to butcher its enemies: "This is a unique chance in my life, in a country where young (college) graduates are not a priority of the government."

-- New Porterville, Calif., mother Shellie Lee, 20, who claimed she was unaware she was pregnant, describing the surprise birth of her son in July: "I was sitting there (on a toilet) when all of a sudden, a head came out. It just came out, bam! It slid right out and was hanging on my leg."


-- New Zealand researcher Ingrid Visser's two-year study of killer whales, released in October in New Scientist magazine, revealed that orcas eat stingrays but only after tossing them around among themselves, Frisbee-like, apparently so they can position them in such a way as to avoid the stingers when they bite down. She said she once witnessed two whales binge on 18 stingrays in a six-hour period.

-- At the Santiago, Chile, zoo in September, it took four hours' work with a crane to lift Protea, 9, a three-ton female elephant, out of a moat following a mating accident caused by a frisky but incompetent male named Jumbo, 10.

(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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