The Los Angeles County child-support agency, on the losing side of a June California Court of Appeal paternity decision, asked the state Supreme Court to officially not tell anyone about the decision, so as to discourage additional paternity challenges. (Normally in America, if a man acquiesces that he is the father of a child, he is permanently responsible for child support, until adulthood, even if a DNA test later proves he is not the father. Going against the grain, the appeals court overturned Manual Navarro's paternity order based on a DNA test, and the agency petitioned the high court in August to "de-publish" that decision, fearing that other "fathers" might get negative DNA tests and thus stop paying support.) (Update: The state enacted a statute in October permitting such paternity challenges.)
Austin Gullette, 45, was arrested on Aug. 31 in West Monroe, La., after his sister caught him allegedly having sex with one of her three pigs. Two days later about 100 miles away in Florien, La., Timothy Garner, 35, was arrested after being spotted inside a henhouse, allegedly having sex with a chicken. (A sheriff's official in the West Monroe case said he had never before, in his 29-year career, seen a case of a man having sex with a pig, but then he added, to a Monroe News Star reporter, that of course there were cases involving men with "dogs, donkeys and sheep.")
Christopher Lehan, 36 (an employee of the exclusive Sedgewood Golf Club in Kent, N.Y.), was arrested in September sitting in a golf cart at night with a flashlight and a 20-gauge shotgun, after he had allegedly shot three skunks that were menacing the grounds. He was charged with various hunting violations and with carrying a loaded firearm in a moving vehicle.
University of Queensland (Australia) researchers told an entomology conference in August, after doing DNA "fingerprinting" of Nepalese and Inner Mongolian lice, that their team had disproved the apparently important general belief that body lice and head lice are separate species. And in September, Edward Cussler and Brian Gettelfinger, writing for a chemical engineering journal, showed that people swam no faster in water than in a substance twice as thick (after experiments in a pool to which "guar gum" had been added to the water to create something that, said Cussler, "looked like snot").
-- High school teacher Sonia Ornelas and her husband were charged with providing alcohol to minors after police cited at least 42 students from Pearsall (Texas) High School (mostly football players, band members and cheerleaders) for drinking at a raucous party in the Ornelases' home. The Ornelases defended themselves by saying that they had no idea alcohol was served and that they were upstairs asleep the whole time and didn't hear a thing.
-- Glen Paul Darby, contesting his drug conviction at the state Court of Appeal in Sydney, Australia, in September, argued that he not only was "searched" (sniffed) by a drug dog without probable cause but was also "assaulted" when the dog nudged Darby's pants with his snout to indicate just where the drugs were. A civil liberties advocate argued that some people are unusually traumatized by a dog's thrusting his snout against that area of the body.
-- The Montana Supreme Court ruled in September that just because police are permitted to enter a home through homeowner consent (during a loud party), they are still not permitted to open a bathroom door when a person inside is vomiting. (The vomiting woman was cited for underage drinking, but the court overturned the charge based on the illegal search.)
-- Homeowners are often startled to find that, in many states, if they give someone permission to stay with them for a while, and that guest eventually overstays his welcome, the homeowner can no longer easily eject the guest, or even have a sheriff do it, but rather must go through formal and lengthy eviction procedures. This issue surfaced most recently in Potomac, Md., when a retired social worker took in a down-on-her-luck, 39-year-old woman who, after a series of testy exchanges between the two, repeatedly refused to leave, feeling immune from eviction until the law had run its course. In August, according to police, the guest, Susan L. Sachs, was charged with murdering her host.
The race for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma (to succeed the retiring Don Nickles) was described in the press in September as so close that independent, former Green Party candidate Sheila Bilyeu, might take enough votes away from one or the other leading candidate as to influence the outcome. Bilyeu has gained notoriety in the last two decades by filing numerous lawsuits against the federal government (all eventually dismissed) demanding the removal of a radio-like device the military allegedly planted in her head in the 1970s. The device, she said, mostly sends her messages that are highly critical of her. She added in a later lawsuit that President Clinton had ordered her gassed and had stolen her dog.
A man named Ian Fleming, 33, was arrested in September in New York City after he attempted to deposit bogus, computer-generated checks into his account at a Commerce Bank in Forest Hills, in the amounts of, respectively, $5 billion and $6 billion. Police said that the week before, Fleming had done a trial run by successfully depositing bogus checks in the amounts of $350 and $1,300 and thus probably felt he was ready to move on up.
In 2002, News of the Weird mentioned a Wall Street Journal dispatch from Cuba, suggesting that Fidel Castro's 1987 vision of "apartment cows" was still a ways off. (Castro had pushed farmers to breed small cows, not much larger than dogs, that families could keep in small homes and that would supply their minimum daily quantities of milk.) Two months after that story ran, a farmer in Rockwell, Iowa, said he had bred such miniature cows but that they were not good milk producers. Cut to September 2004: An Associated Press dispatch from San Juan Y Martinez, Cuba, touted rancher Raul Hernandez, who has now apparently successfully created a small herd of 28-inch-high cows that can deliver about five quarts of high-quality milk.
Cleveland Indians pitcher Kyle Denney survived a random gunshot on Sept. 29 fired at the bus taking him and his teammates to the airport in Kansas City after a game. The bullet hit Denney's right calf but did not penetrate deep and was immediately removed by the team trainer. The bullet might have gone deeper except that Denney had on high plastic boots as part of the cheerleader's uniform he was wearing. (In end-of-season rituals in major league baseball, rookies like Denney are forced by their teammates to wear ridiculous outfits.)
Three of these four things really happened, just recently. Are you cynical enough to figure out the made-up story? (a) A Hawaiian company opened a big market in Japan for ultra-premium bottled water pumped from the ocean floor off the Big Island coast (and desalinated). (b) A man fleeing police in Maine was caught when he jumped into a car and started the engine before he noticed that the owner, working on it, had left it on jacks. (c) Police in Houston, called out on a loud-music complaint, stumbled upon a fetish party, finding 12 nude men, all virtually immobilized in clear plastic cling wrap. (d) Some farmers in Nebraska supplement declining income with adoption programs in which animal-rights advocates pay them not to slaughter their cattle.
Answer to Almost All True: (a), (b) and (d) are true.
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or WeirdNews@earthlink.net or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com.)