-- In October, Ecuadoran President Abdala Bucaram (1) released his first rock 'n' roll CD, "Madman in Love," (2) lunched with one of his most famous countrywomen, the former Mrs. Lorena Bobbitt (and found it an "extremely high honor"), and (3) endured a public outburst by his Energy Minister Alfredo Adum, who said he would like to live naked and prey on women like a caveman, grabbing them by the hair and "devouring" them.
-- For the last year, Allen Fahden has operated the READundant bookstore in Nicollet mall in Minneapolis, set up like a traditional bookstore (sections on sports, religion, history, etc.) but its 5,000-book inventory consisting of only one title -- Fahden's own management book, "Innovation on Demand." Fahden said his store is based on one of his management principles: the use of opposites to generate creative thoughts. The store's in-house best-seller list shows "Innovation on Demand" occupying each of the 10 slots.
-- The Washington Post reported in September that several self-described members of the Moorish Science Temple in Washington, D.C., had smuggled cocaine and prostitutes into the District's Lorton Correctional Complex and at one point made a 10-minute video of prisoners and women having sex in the prison chapel. The Temple "members" had taken advantage of Lorton's lax procedures for religious visitors. And convicted murderer Claude Robinson freely operates a pornography vending business inside the Edmonton (Alberta) maximum-security prison, according to a September dispatch from the Canadian Press, ordering such magazines as Swank and Gallery from the outside and selling them for about $6 each.
-- A Spanish man visiting Stockholm on business stood to inherit about a million dollars, according to an October newspaper account in Germany's daily Bild. Eduardo Perez had stopped off to pray at a Roman Catholic church and signed the guest book of a man whose body lay there in a coffin. Perez was later notified that the deceased, real-estate developer Jens Svenson, had died without heirs and had specified that "whoever prays for my soul gets all my belongings."
-- In July, after arriving at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the daughter in a family of four was refused boarding on American Airlines. Mother, father and son presented driver's licenses as ID to satisfy new FAA rules, and the daughter presented a student ID from the University of Maryland. However, the American Airlines clerk refused to accept the card, saying that even though it was issued by a state university, it didn't meet the requirement of being issued by a "government." On the basis of this denial, the family meekly gave up their already arranged vacation in Las Vegas and drove home.
-- Patrick L. Bark, 59, pleaded guilty in September in Kansas City, Mo., to selling more than 1,300 guns illegally over a two-year period, including many to juveniles and felons. Said Bark at his sentencing, "I blame half of it on the (government) for letting me go as long as they did. How was I to know (the guns) would be used in (crimes)?"
-- Burglary suspect Wesley Shaffer, 57, said in November that he was temporarily insane the night he allegedly hit a home in West Palm Beach, Fla., because he had just eaten too much cotton candy. And in a Montgomery County, Md., court in October, accused hit-man hirer Charles S. Shapiro said that tranquilizers, plus an entire bottle of extra-strength Tums ingested in the days before his guilty plea, caused impaired judgment and that he should thus be allowed to withdraw the plea.
-- In August, the Hong Kong High Court referred a 50-year-old man to a psychiatric center for treatment after he was charged with indecent assault on his son's 20-year-old girlfriend. A medical report said the man suffered from a post-concussional disorder, which was blamed on a car accident in 1962.
-- In July, the New York Post reported that Vivid Video, which produces pornographic movies and which had just signed actor Steven St. Croix to an unprecedented 33-picture deal, became so concerned when St. Croix bought a motorcycle that it purchased a $1 million Lloyd's of London policy insuring St. Croix's genitals. Said a Vivid spokeswoman, "He's an incredible talent and we don't want to lose him -- or any part of him."
-- In May, about 40 eighth-grade students from Hartford, Conn., on a class trip were stranded for a day in Washington, D.C., after their charter-bus driver suddenly disappeared. The kids said that just before dropping them off at the hotel around 11 p.m., the man had picked up a prostitute in the bus and that the two of them had ridden away into the night.
-- In August, Abilene, Texas, prosecutor Sandy Self abruptly ended the murder trial of Frank Ramos, who had been charged with bludgeoning a woman with a baseball bat, and sought a new indictment against him. Self wanted to protect his case against error and worried that an appeals court would notice that the bat Ramos allegedly used was actually an aluminum softball bat and not a baseball bat.
Ray Bell of Tallahassee, Fla., said in October that he holds the patent for a condom which belts onto a man's leg to prevent what Bell believes is the common problem of the condom's unrolling during use. But in 1992, News of the Weird reported that Merlyn Starley of San Francisco said he had the patent for such a device, which he called "condom suspenders."
On the nights of Sept. 12, in St. Louis, Mo., and Nov. 3, in Minneola, Fla., women were accidentally run over by friends and killed as they had gotten out of trucks in order to urinate on the side of the road. Driver Randy G. Phillips in St. Louis was charged with reckless homicide though he said he was merely moving his pickup truck to try to shield his companion from passing traffic. Florida driver Chad Eric Willis said he was playfully trying to discourage his companion from squatting in front of his tractor-trailer instead of at the side.
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 8306, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33738, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Chuck Shepherd's latest paperback, "The Concrete Enema and Other News of the Weird Classics," is now available at bookstores everywhere.)