Eccentric British rock musician Genesis P-Orridge (born Neil Megson) and his wife and partner, Lady Jaye Breyer, are gradually transforming themselves surgically into gender-neutral human beings ("pandrogynous") resembling each other, so that eventually they will be indistinguishable, to demonstrate how overrated gender is as a point of reference. (For example, he wore a lace dress at their wedding, and she dressed as a biker guy, with moustache, and for Valentine's Day 2003, each got breast implants.) P-Orridge told SF Weekly in October that their goal is to jointly become a third person, distinct from either of them.
(1) Katherine Williams was kicked out of the public library's community flea market in Spring Hill, Tenn., in October because she offered for sale a yellow duck-shaped bath sponge, larger than a football, that happened to vibrate (to the delight of her child, she said); city officials (who were apparently focused on the word "vibrate") concluded that it must be a sex toy and said her booth violated the town's adult-business law. (2) Archaeologists excitedly announced in October that in examining ruins on the Wittenberg, Germany, property of 16th-century philosopher Martin Luther, they discovered the actual stone toilet on which he composed the manifesto that launched the Protestant Revolution. (Luther suffered chronic constipation and thus spent much of his days on the toilet.)
In November, former mayor Diana Cortez of La Grulla, Texas, and the town's former bookkeeper pleaded guilty to taking $53,700 in federal community grant money and spending it all on psychic consultations. And in August, the St. Louis (Mo.) Regional Chamber and Growth Association fired psychic David Levin after seven years' service, during which time it paid him $1.4 million in fees and expenses. Levin's business card read "executive coach," and the association president admitted Levin had "uncanny" abilities, but Levin prominently attributed his astuteness to his spiritual powers, which he said he has in common with his wife and 15-year-old son.
-- Showstopping designs for women during October's Fashion Week in Paris this year included (according to a report in London's Daily Mirror) a formal, plastic, nearly transparent bag, about 3 feet by 4 feet, designed to be worn over the head (from Dutch designers Viktor and Rolf); a set of deluxe armor plates resembling football shoulder pads (and helmet) (from Alexander McQueen); and an outfit seemingly consisting of more than a dozen foot-long black tied bows extending from the shoulders to below the waist (Viktor and Rolf).
-- Mr. Ilker Yilmaz, 28, of Istanbul, inspired to bring pride to Turkey by achieving a Guinness Book world record, decided to challenge Canadian Mark Moraal's 8.7-foot mark for squirting milk out of his eye. In October, exploiting what he called an anomaly in his tear gland, he sucked milk up his nose and pinched it 9.223 feet out of an eye socket in front of several witnesses and is now awaiting official recognition.
-- In one of the stark reminders of regional language variations in the United States, a game resembling horseshoes is fast becoming a pastime in the Midwest that likely would not be so popular under the same name in the South. In this game, contestants throw beanbag-like bags of corn toward a platform that has a hole in the center, trying to score points (in the hole, or on the platform, or knocking your opponents' bag off the platform). Some refer to the game as Corn Toss, but the more popular name, according to a September report in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, is Cornhole.
-- Included among "weapons" allegedly found on inmates at the Grafton prison in Australia, reported in September in Brisbane's Courier-Mail, were four venomous redback spiders that an inmate said were "pets" that were regularly "milked" of venom by inmates in order to produce a toxin that they could inject, to help them get high.
(1) Friends tried to persuade a 37-year-old man at a party near Greenville, Mich., in September that he was too drunk to drive home safely, but the man became enraged; in the ensuing brawl, the man was clubbed in the head with a flashlight and died. (2) Parent Deborah Meister, 46, was charged with assault in Anchorage, Alaska, in September following a public meeting on school policies at Central Middle School; according to police, Meister roughed up an assistant principal because she thought he had been too cavalier about the problem of student bullying.
Among the unsuccessful 2004 write-in presidential candidates (according to a November report on NJ.com): Jack Grimes of Maryland, who admires the leadership methodology of Saddam Hussein but would rely on telepathy and astrology to make tough presidential decisions; Sterling Allan of Utah, who alphabetized and then numbered every word in the Bible and said that the codes he produced told him to return the United States to the gold standard, among other insights; and Randy Crow of North Carolina, who says that despite a government-implanted chip in his brain, his administration would crush the "Omega Agency," which steals from people, which staged the Sept. 11 attacks, and which may have the ability to vaporize everyone.
It was one of the classics, but it happened anew, in Bloomington, Ill., in October. Donald R. Hilger was arrested and charged with robbing 11 local businesses over the previous two weeks. He was picked up shortly after a robbery of a Jewel/Osco store, and police brought two of that robbery's witnesses by the arrest scene to see if they could identify him. According to police, however, as soon as the employees spotted Hilger, Hilger pointed at one of them and blurted out, "That's the one I robbed."
A 47-year-old tribesman from Vietnam, who had relocated to a U.S. government-sponsored Montagnard community in North Carolina to escape persecution, got homesick and headed back to Vietnam in September. However, he lost his papers and is now stranded at Los Angeles International Airport because no country will issue him a visa, in a dilemma reminiscent of that of Merhan "Alfred" Nasseri, who has been chronicled several times in News of the Weird since 1988 (and in the recent movie "The Terminal") and who remains at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. The tribesman is convinced that his only chance of repatriation will be lost if he leaves the airport, but at press time, he was continuing to examine options while making his home in an airport chair.
Robbers stole $70,000 from the Lucky Dollar Casino in Greensburg, La., in November, and, acting on a deal-seeking tip from one of the robbers, police checked a creek near Baton Rouge, where two of the three moneybags were recovered. A search downstream turned up the third, which had been carried away by beavers and used in the construction of their dam, with apparently all of the money still inside. Jacqueline Wall, 25, was charged, and at least one other arrest was expected.
Joel Crytzer, 63, was charged with marijuana possession in November in Butler, Pa., when officers spotted some on the floor of his car, which they had stopped because Crytzer had been cruising down the road, seemingly oblivious of the fact that his car had only three tires. And Kevin Martzett, 39, was charged with robbery in Cass County, Neb.; according to police, besides taking money from the victim, he also forced the victim to cash a $75 government check made out to "Kevin Martzett."
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or WeirdNews@earthlink.net or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com.)