News of the Weird

Week of March 7, 2004

LEAD STORY

Among the anticipated products at the February American International Toy Fair in New York City (according to the New York Post) were a gun that shoots boogers, a squeezable doll that smells like rotten eggs, a flea (based on a pro wrestling character) that emits rank body odors after warning "I'm gonna blow," and a dissectible brain that oozes slime. Also at the show, St. Petersburg, Fla., inventor Tim Engler was pushing his pump-operated, heavy squirt-gun artillery that mounts on bicycles. (Not at the fair, but currently a hot Internet pass-around ad is a color poster for Japan's Kaba-Kick, a pink toy gun shaped like a hippo that appears designed for children to play Russian roulette, but with the loser merely kicked in the head by the hippo. The Kaba-Kick was discontinued by Takura Toys in 1992, but its ad apparently lives on.)

Bright Ideas

Albuquerque emergency room physician Sam Slishman is working to launch his Endorphin Power Co., which is a homeless shelter providing drug rehabilitation based on vigorous exercise at on-premises workout stations. However, Slishman also wants his center to help pay for itself by selling the electric power that could be harnessed by his down-and-out population's daily workouts (pedaling, lifting, working the treadmills). Endorphin Power, Slishman says, will be the city's inspirational flagship for "social rehabilitation and renewable energy."

Dental Follies

Dentist Mohamedraza Huss Bhimani (Orland Park, Ill.), whom police say fondled three female patients, was arrested in his office while he happened to be working on another patient, in mid-filling (October). (The patient had to rush to another dentist to finish the job.) And Dr. Leon Gombis (Oak Lawn, Ill.) had battery charges filed against him after he, wielding pliers, ripped a cap out of the mouth of a 58-year-old patient, believing (mistakenly) that she was behind on her payments (January).

Compelling Explanations

-- At press time, U.S. Air Force Capt. Jacqueline Chester was scheduled for court martial in Dover, Del., for having tested positive for cocaine; in her defense, her now-ex-husband said that during their marriage, he had occasionally rubbed cocaine on his genitals for pleasure-enhancement and that the otherwise-drug-free Jacqueline might have absorbed it through her own genital walls.

-- From a Jan. 1 police report in the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun: A motorist who was clocked at 15 mph over the speed limit in Waldo, Fla., claimed that since state troopers' policy is to give a 5 mph leeway before ticketing, and since Waldo police often claim to give a 10 mph leeway, he thought the two leeway speeds could be combined to allow him to drive 15 mph over the limit.

-- Lame Excuses: According to a police report in January on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Web site, a driver in the Newfoundland district of Bonavista-Clarenville denied that he had an illegal radar detector, claiming that the black box on his dashboard was a "moose detector" that indeed had so far kept him safe from moose. And Joseph Hubbert, 34, explained to Minneapolis police on Christmas morning that the reason he got stuck in the chimney of Uncle Hugo's Mystery Bookstore was not because he was up to no good, but because he had accidentally dropped his keys down the chimney and had to crawl down to get them.

-- In January, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council turned down the complaint of a radio listener in Calgary, Alberta, ruling that a song by the a cappella group Da Vinci's Notebook was not necessarily obscene, in that it could also be about self-esteem. The song, "Enormous Penis," included the lyrics "I've got the cure for all my blues / I take a look at my enormous penis / And my troubles start a-meltin' away" and "I gotta sing and I gotta dance / When I glance in my pants."

-- Author Irwin Schiff, at war with the IRS for years over his aggressive claims that paying federal income tax is voluntary, may finally have turned defensive. In a back-tax-collection case in Las Vegas in January, Schiff told the court in a filing that he suffers from delusions, including a fantasy that he is the only person qualified to interpret federal income tax law. Schiff's psychiatrist said Schiff has been paranoid for years, stemming from his having lost heavily in a tax shelter that turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

Least Competent Criminals

In Tarpon Springs, Fla., William Ray Hunter, 41, was arrested and charged with defrauding a series of at least 19 Northerners who had paid him a total of $33,000 in advance to rent his mobile home for the winter starting Jan. 1. Hunter apparently had made no effort to move out by the time the tenants started arriving. Said Sheriff's Sgt. Bob Hart, "I don't think he thought too much about what would happen when everybody showed up. Most people have a plan. (Hunter) had the first part, but he didn't have the second part."

Update on Racist Dogs

The owner of the German shepherd crossbreed who made the news last year for having trained "Adolf" to raise his right paw on hearing the command "Sieg Heil," was found guilty in Berlin of displaying Nazi symbols, and he told the court that Adolf had since injured his paw and could no longer salute (February). And the McKees Rock, Pa., police dog Dolpho, that was sent for re-education in 2002 after having senselessly attacked a black child, and that was making progress in his rehab effort, backslid, senselessly attacking a black teenager (February).

Thinning the Herd

A 46-year-old motorcyclist, speeding, yelling obscenities, and shaking his fist alongside an 18-wheeler that had made a left turn of questionable etiquette on a Corpus Christi, Texas, street, lost control of the cycle, fell off, and was fatally dragged underneath the truck (October). And in Tampa, Fla., a 20-year-old man chased down another driver (both in pickups), finally jumping onto the first driver's door so he could punch him through the window. The distracted driver continued on for two blocks but finally hit a tree, which caused the truck to roll over onto the man clinging to the door, and he died at the scene (October).

More Things to Worry About

The owners of FM 106.7 in York, Pa., having ended the station's country-music format but not yet having introduced a new one, played "Pop Goes the Weasel" 24 hours a day during the interim (February). And a recently active methamphetamine lab (fuel, tubing, foil, coffee filters, and a liquid compound) was discovered in a search of cells in the Pikeville, Tenn., county jail (December). And a Pacifica, Calif., father filed a $15,000 claim against the school district, saying officials have not stopped students from taunting his 12-year-old son, who is an internationally acclaimed ballroom dancer (September).

(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or WeirdNews@earthlink.net or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com.)

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