News of the Weird

Week of September 30, 2001

(NOTE: The 10th item may be too strong for some readers.)

-- In September, Tokyo's Mainichi Daily News reported that a 25-year-old bulimic woman from Toyoda, Japan (near Nagoya), was arrested for massive violations of the country's Waste Disposal Act after being identified as the person who has, for over a year, been illegally dumping about 60 pounds a week of vomit that she had collected in plastic bags. She said, according to police, "I didn't want to throw away the vomit near my home, so I took it to faraway places."

-- A study reported in a September issue of the journal Nature presented good news and bad news about the sexual apparatus of the male earwig (which is, according to a dictionary, a "dark and slender nocturnal insect of the order Dermaptera, having horned pincers at the rear that can rise up like a scorpion's"). The bad news: The organ is thin and brittle and frequently breaks off. (Ends of penises are sometimes found inside females.) The good news: Researchers say that earwigs are equipped with a fully functional spare organ.

-- Boxer Tony Ayala, Jr., 38, whose promising career (27-0, 24 knockouts) was cut short in 1983 by a rape conviction for which he served 16 years in prison, won a big comeback fight in San Antonio in July by gaining a 10-round decision in a bout during which he wore a court-ordered ankle bracelet so that authorities could monitor his whereabouts. (In December, Ayala had been arrested on a charge of burglary with intent to commit a sexual assault; he pleaded guilty to lesser charges in September. Ayala won the July fight despite a shoulder weakened by a bullet hole, put there by the woman whose house he had allegedly broken into.)

Wedding Bell Blues

Marie Solomon, 41, was arrested at a friend's wedding in July for loudly and incessantly yelling out reasons why the couple should not marry (Bridgeport, Conn.). Groom Howard Brown, 31, was arrested in August after allegedly shooting a guest at his wedding reception because the guest had brought too many friends (San Antonio, Texas). Newlyweds Marcia Alarcon and Carlos Alarcon-Schroder were jailed in May after brawling over whose parents they would visit first (Des Moines, Iowa). Bride Kathy Naylor, 28, was arrested in August after following home a guest from her wedding reception and reigniting an earlier brawl (Crystal River, Fla.).

Can't Possibly Be True

-- In earnestly reported stories on Aug. 3 and Aug. 7, the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle informed the community that more than a thousand 30-inch-long, dried corn husk leaves had floated down from the sky onto the town over the weekend. Two meteorologists said that no weather phenomenon could have accounted for it. To add to the mystery, a Wichita-area evangelical ministry had woven "corn husks" into its pro-life message in mid-July and consequently took the phenomenon as a sign. Townspeople's favorite guess (though no evidence has yet been offered): an elaborate (and illegal) airplane prank by University of Nebraska football fans.

-- A 50-year-old man from Magog, Quebec, and his two sons, ages 26 and 23, were arrested in June and charged with a total of 47 sexual-assault-related counts. The victim was the 21-year-old daughter (sister of the younger men), who, according to police, had been molested regularly for 17 years and whose ordeal was finally brought to an end by nurses when the three men could not even refrain from molesting the woman in her Montreal hospital room, where she was undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer.

-- A serious article in a recent issue of the British Dental Journal warned people of the dangers involved in using foreign objects for relief of hemorrhoids, pointing to the experience of one patient who said he used a toothbrush for that purpose but inserted it too far and had to have it removed at a hospital by biopsy forceps.

-- In a May crime spree in Edmonton, Alberta, shoplifters hit several Blockbuster Video stores, but the only items missing were all 81 copies of the Sean Connery movie "Finding Forrester" and (even more puzzlingly) 12 copies of Adam Sandler's "Little Nicky."

-- Kids Growing Up Fast: At rodeos across the country (such as Florida's Okeechobee Rodeo over Labor Day weekend), kids as young as 3 ride, broncolike, for endurance (up to 4 seconds) on sheep ("mutton busting"), before inevitably acquiring the rodeo experience of being dumped on their backsides. And in June, state investigators examining Valdez (Alaska) Community Hospital practices found that several physicians had routinely brought their kids (from teen-agers down to infants) into operating rooms and offices while treating patients; among the episodes was one girl "assisting" her father in placing a cast and another in which a doctor's 4-year-old became frightened at a patient's shrieks during a hip-manipulation procedure and caused a major incident.

People With Issues

From the July 18 Police Blotter in the Williamson County Sun (Georgetown, Texas): "At a grocery store on the 600 block of Austin Avenue, a 27-year-old lawn specialist from Round Rock was arrested at 12:46 a.m. on charges of public lewdness. (A) male employee found the male customer between two aisles with his shorts and underwear pulled down around his ankles. The man was bent over and inserting a can of Big and Sexy brand hair spray lubricated with Suave lotion into his rectum. He told arresting officers he was attempting to sexually gratify himself. He was taken to jail."

Least Competent Criminals

-- The robber of the One Stop Grocery in Kenai, Alaska, in July got away. The store was packed with people at 9 p.m. when the man suddenly appeared with his hand in his pocket pointing a "gun" at the clerk and shouted, "Everybody freeze, don't move. You know what that means." However, everyone ignored him. He snatched some beer from the cooler and shouted again, "You people don't understand. I really mean it." One customer told him he could get in trouble talking like that. Finally, the man cussed a bit, complained again that nobody was listening to him, and left with the beer. And in June, Kevin Shegog, 41, was charged in Highland Heights, Ky., with eight gas station robberies when police finally found a witness who could identify the getaway car: It was the one with the license plate "SHEGOG."

A Long Day at the DMV

-- South Carolina's Department of Motor Vehicles has recently pared services, creating longer lines, and it has also privatized its janitorial service, which now makes an appearance only once a day. In a July incident at the Fairforest Road office in Spartanburg, an elderly man had an incontinence accident while waiting in line to renew his driver's license. Neither he nor his adult daughter waiting with him wanted to lose their place, so he had tried to ignore his urgency as long as he could, but ultimately, his bowels won, and with no one volunteering to clean the floor, lines snaked around the mess for hours. However, the man and his daughter stayed in line. Said the office's deputy director, "You can't keep someone from getting a driver's license for incontinence."

Also, in the Last Month ...

While celebrating her son's homecoming from college, Karyn Aikin suffered 1st and 2nd degree burns on her face, incurred by igniting a shot glass of 151-proof rum and trying to swallow it (Newfane, N.Y.) Professor Merryn Dineley announced he will soon start selling a historic-recipe beer in the Orkney Islands (Scotland) that is flavored with a trace of baked animal droppings (Manchester, England). Connecticut state Rep. Kevin Ryan, freshly sentenced to four months' hard time as a recidivist DUI, said he can very well conduct his legislative business from his cell and does not intend to resign. Stanford University medical professor Simon Stertzer, who just finalized the deal to buy the Palomino Club strip joint in North Las Vegas, Nev., said he plans to funnel all the profits from the club into his research on cardiovascular medicine.

(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, Fla. 33679 or Weird@compuserve.com, or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com/.)

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