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April 2001


3 April 2001

About 100 relatives and friends of people who were fatally shot on the streets of Indianapolis got together recently. The goal was to memorialise the murder victims in a cookbook which gives victims' photographs, vital (ahem) statistics, and favourite recipes. The idea to publish 'A Survivor's Cookbook: Food for Our Soul' came from the Marion County prosecutor's office.

In Zebulon, North Carolina, a man was killed in an argument with his nephew. The two were trying to establish who was 'the baddest'. The uncle, Randy Miles, 36, rang emergency services to tell them that Theodore Mitchell, 48, had stopped breathing. In his own words to the 911 crew, Miles 'tried to hit me, he missed, and I held him down so he wouldn't cause no more trouble, and I wouldn't let him go until he stopped breathing'. As the dispatcher questioned him, he said, 'Look, if he dies, I ain't going to jail 'cause it's you all's fault you ain't got here yet'.

Perhaps you remember the name 'Monica Lewinsky'. Well, she recently spoke in Manhattan, New York, Weber Shandwick and representatives of another PR firm. When asked how she made it through her ordeal, she drew a parallel to the persecution and extermination of the Jews under the Nazis. At least one staffer walked out. Paul Costello, who arranged the talk, said Lewinsky's remark was misinterpreted.
In sort-of-related news, the AFP pass on a Berliner Zeitung item on a group of Holocaust survivors who are suing the US for US$40 billion. What the US did wrong, claim the plaintiffs, is not bomb the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Kurt-Julius Goldstein, vice-president of the International Auschwitz Committee, criticised US inaction during World War II, claiming 'there were others [than the Nazis] responsible for the Holocaust'. He and his fellow plaintiffs are also seeking damages from the US for theft from Hungarian Jews in April 1944.

The Kansas City Star reports on how the arrest of several teenagers and a 12-year-old led police to a much larger car theft ring. After a man saw a girl struggle with his manual transmission, police were alerted. Although this car was found abandoned (presumably because of the transmission issue), nearby another car had been stolen, a vehicle which police corporal Wes Lovett followed until three girls emerged from it and took off running. Officers followed the probable driver and her barefoot companion, leaping from yard to yard.
By this time 'they had slowed down quite a bit because of the barefoot situation and the pine cone situation', Lovett said. When clambering over fences, 'Her dress got caught on one of them, and then she jumped another, and her underwear pretty much came off there', he continued. The owner of the yard where the girls finally surrendered brought a t-shirt.

In rural Pennsylvania, the Rev. George Bender decided that his Harvest Assembly of God Church ought to have a ceremonial book, videotape, and CD burning. Bender said, 'We got a lot more attention than we were planning on' the day after 30 church members and gu ests stood in the church's parking lot singing hymns such as 'Amazing Grace'. Bender said he doesn't mind the press: 'We got some people mad at us, but it's good to have publicity. It's good.' Feeding the fire were albums by Joe Walsh, Bruce Springsteen, and Pearl Jam and Disney videos 'Pinocchio' and 'Hercules'. Bender said the church might have another book burning if it would 'accomplish something positive toward expressing our love for God'.

And in other news of Evil in Our Time, Morris County, New Jersey, officials are getting tired of people stealing Route 666 road signs, which tend to last a day or two. Road department supervisor Joseph Stuppiello said, 'This thing has got me crazy'. County transportation officials are unsure whether the signs are stolen more often by tourists or by people who want to protect the world from evil numbers. Helen Matola, who lives along the highway, said, 'You know, that's the devil'.
In the mid-1970s, New Jersey road numbers were standardised on three digits. Most county governments simply added a '5' or '6' to comply with this.

John Hopoate was suspended from hockey matches for 12 weeks after he was recently found guilty of sticking his finger in three North Queensland players' anuses. The 1995 Australian World Cup winner's 'unsportsmanlike interference' with Peter Jones, Paul Bowman, and Glenn Morrison was caught on video. Responding to Hopoate's defence, Jones said, 'It *wasn't* a wedgie. That's when your pants are pulled up your arse. I think I know the difference between a wedgie and someone sticking their finger up my bum'. Bowman said of his incident, 'He was definitely pushing'.

Jackie Sumell is a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, so now you only need to know what her art project is. She asks that women shave off their pubic hair and send it to her in a small plastic bag. Her slogan is 'No Bush! -- It's not yours, it's mine'. She has over 200 contributions so far. She wants 538 little bags, which she will hang on a clothesline as part of a National Organization for Women protest march. Sumell explained that George W. Bush won the US Presidency by 538 votes and that the display will symbolise how the election of Bush has set back pro-choice legislation.

Albuquerque's Eufemio Torres decided to give his 11-year-old daughter driving lessons after she came home from school. Torres's 7- and 8-year-old daughters were also in the car when he drove, with the eldest girl on his lap, over a curb and into a fence. Police officer Tyrone Chambers, who took the 35-year-old father to jail, noted the girl's age (in New Mexico, one can begin driving as a learner at age 15) and the inebriated state of the man. No-one in the car was wearing a seat belt. Of the incident Chambers said 'That's not good parenting skills'.

8 April 2001

Since no sources were named in this item, it might just be another " former Soviet republic having trouble" apocryphal tale. Anyway, Interior Ministry officials in Moldova reported on two women who were selling plastic bags of meat outside a butcher shop in downtown Chisinau. A customer bought some of the meat and took it to police, who arrested the women for selling human remains as food. The women, whose names were not released, said they acquired the meat from the local state cancer clinic.

I reported before on Tammy Lynn Felbaum, who was charged in the death of her sixth husband. Further reports hae emerged, in which we hear that the botched castration which caused James Felbaum's death was, according to Tammy, performed by James on himself. However, police found a surgical consent form, signed by James, in the couple's trailer. Tammy said she had nothing to do with the operation and that the form was from an earlier operation.
Tammy was Tommy Wyda, who allegedly castrated himself in 1980 in order to advance himself in Case Western Reserve medical school's sex-change surgery queue. Highlights of Tammy's life include amateur medical practice (mostly on animals, it seems) and stripping (involving crushing empty soda cans between her breasts, something like this).

In Garner, North Carolina, the husband of a day-care centre owner was arrested on multiple charges of child abuse and sexual offences. Raheem Renard Robinson, who lived at the One Big Family Day Care Center, turned himself in, stating "It's all lies". Five children interviewed by a social worker said Robinson spanked them with a fishing pole and belts, made them eat coffee grounds, taped their eyes and mouths shut with electrical tape. One girl saw one of the eight alleged victims being left in a box in the yard for several hours. Another child was forced to eat a brownie which (s)he had thrown in the toilet.
A 13-year-old occasional visitor to the centre described how Robinson showed her and another girl a pornographic movie and then gave the girls a few green condoms and told them to go have sex, particularly with someone older. Then, months later, Robinson started showing the movie again, went into his bathroom, and emerged wearing only his boxers and a green condom. He pulled up her dress but stopped touching her when she screamed, she said.
Evelyn Graham, who operates a day-care business next door to the now-closed Big Family centre, said "Spanking with a belt maybe, but the other charges seem so far-fetched".

Cabarrus County, North Carolina, commissioners unanimously voted in favour of a proclamation which called on residents to fast and pray to God for an end to the county's drought of nearly three years. Encouraged by the rain which fell two days after the proclamation passed, county officials plan to send a copy of the proclamation to every city and town in the area to get citizens' help county-wide.

In Los Angeles, a Boeing 747, which weighs 875,000 pounds, was attached to a harness split into 20 lines. At the end of each of these lines was supposed to be the penis of a Taiwanese man. The team's coach, Tu Chin-sheng, said the group, who plan to aim for a world record, have practised quite a bit. For example, three of the men's penises lugged a truck with 100 passengers three metres in a Taipei square. The Guinness Book of Records, who invited the team to fly to the US for the challenge, recently yanked their support, so please let the team know if you are interested in sponsoring the attempt.
This is part of a martial art known as Nine Nine Magic Art or, more popularly, "penis hanging". The art is supposed to enhance general health as well as virility.

In Newark, New Jersey, a father from Virginia and nine other family members were boarding a plane to Orlando, Florida, on their way to DisneyWorld. When John C. Davis's daughter Kayla started wandering up the jetway, gate agent Angelo Sottile went after the girl. He was followed by Davis, who threw the ticket agent to the ground headfirst, breaking his neck. Sottile, 52, emerged from a five-day coma with 20 per cent of his neck mobility. After the trial in which Davis was acquitted, Sottile said ;quot;I'm disappointed". Davis, who claimed he was acting in self-defence, said "During the course of the trial, our faith in the system was beginning to waver. Those 12 people restored it."

Fox Television's programme Cops follows policemen as they deal with domestic arguments, speeding, and (frequently) drunk drivers. Cops producer Murray Brandis Johnson came to Atlanta, Georgia, to meet with top police officials and prepare a segment on the city's police department. The crew had not begun taping yet when Johnson was pulled over for an illegal left turn and then failed two breath tests. The taping in Atlanta is on hold.

Caron Simmons of Orange County, Florida, was charged in the death of her husband, William. After the couple argued over the satellite television system, William allegedly hid the television control in order to frustrate his wife. Looking for it in a dresser, she found a gun, which, she told police, she pointd at her husband. Caron said she didn't mean to kill her husband, who died at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, attacked the Museum of International Folk Art for a depiction of the Virgin Mary wearing a bikini. The digital photograph features a bare-breasted angel holding Mary in a stance evocative of Our Lady of Guadalupe pictures. Archbishop Michael Sheehan said "In the recent past the Virgin Mary has been shown in contemporary art smeared with elephant dung [out of which it was actually made] and she has been depicted as a golden-haired Barbie doll. Now this!" The artist, Alma Lopez, said she is a Catholic herself and meant the piece to explore the image of Mary as a strong female figure.

MTV apologised to two 14-year-old girls who claim they were hit with faeces during the taping of the channel's Dude, This Sucks programme. Programming president Brian Graden said the episode will never be aired. Monique Garcia and Kelli Sloat, who plan to sue MTV, were standing next to the stage east of Los Angeles when the two-man act "Shower Rangers" unexpectedly turned around and opened flaps on their shorts, exposing their buttocks. One of the Shower Rangers then "emitted a spray of faecal matter", in the girls' lawyer's words. "All of a sudden I was smelling something disgusting and I started to gag. I looked around at my friends. They were covered in something. As I looked down at myself, I realized I was, too" said Garcia.

A bicycle thief was trying to evade mountain bike owner Paul Infante in the Bronx, New York. Thief Jason Vizcarrondo, 27, dodged into traffic, where he swerved to avoid a city bus and fell off the bike. As Vizcarrondo lay dying after the bus hit him, someone else swiped the bike, which remained unharmed. Police caught the second thief--a 15-year-old boy--a block away from the accident. The boy was released when Infante said he simply wanted his bike back.

The Associated Press tell us of an error made by Virginia's state Medicaid agency. Instead of pointing beneficiaries to an educational information service in Lincoln, Nebraska, the agency gave them the number of tarot reader "Miss Cleo". Agency spokeswoman Leah Hamaker said the typo on the Medicaid cards was "just one of those things". For $4.99 a minute, Miss Cleo promises insights on love and other personal matters. Linda Sue Widener, who called the number in search of adult education information for two friends, said "I'm a saved, sanctified and filled-with-the-Holy-Ghost Christian saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, and there's no way I'd call crap like that".

In light of California's power shortages, several states' tourism agencies have courted IT profesionals in an attempt to get Silicon-Valley-based companies to move their headquarters. The slightly snowier state of Minnesota has put up a billboard saying "White Outs--Occasional. Black Outs--Never". Tennessee was more direct, sending flashlights to Silicon Valley companies. The Associated Press reported that Michigan sent many cases of glow-in-the-dark mouse pads.

14 April 2001

This may seem familiar to Clippings readers. The Austrian army has begun charging to take away dead cows in the Alps by helicopter, so some farmers are blowing up carcasses to fulfil their obligation to keep streams and vistas free of pollution. Although farmers claim it's not a problem because they leave only smaller pieces which can be eaten by other animals, the vice-president of Vorarlberg province, Fritz Amann, disagrees. He brought the practice to public attention after he found cow parts while walking. Amann said that in one case a pregnant cow was blown up and "huge pieces, some weighing 100 kilos, were scattered everywhere - one chunk even landed in a pool often used for bathing by youngsters". He said "Visitors like to think the Austrian hills are alive with the sound of music, not exploding cows. It must be stopped."

The New York Post reports on a man who was caught after he added human waste to the salad bar at a Midtown restaurant. Alpine Gourmet Farm employees stopped Marco Arellano after he emptied two bottles of faecal- and urine-smelling liquid onto food trays. He is being charged with, among other things, public urination. In the same area numerous other incidents have been reported which involve a man matching Arellano's description, bottle-emptying, and foul odours coming from various foods.

In Ohio a West Virginia man fired a rifle at a store clerk as part of an attempted robbery; however, the stolen weapon's caliber didn't match the stolen ammunition.
Brian Lee Moore had been bar-hopping with a female who is not named or charged in relation to the incident, when he and his companion apparently stole a rifle from a home, drank some more, and stole some shells from a Wal-Mart. The woman stayed in the car while Moore went into an "adult" shop and demanded money from clert Walter Burkhart, whose protests that there wasn't that much money were met with a failed gunshot (although the primer wasn't struck, the shell had two strike marks). "This guy has to go down as one of the idiots of the year" said Sergeant David McGlothlin of the Ohio County Sheriff's office.

In southwest Nigeria, a mob lynched members of a religious group who are believed to have used black magic to make a man's penis disappear. The victims were members of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, which was holding a conference at the time. When Lagos resident Kunle Eniola suddenly claimed Brotherhood members made his penis vanish, residents entered the meeting and beat the eight members to death, burning their bodies afterward.

According to the Dallas Morning News, a baggage handler in Texas ended up taking a less than comfortable trip to Mexico when he was locked in a Champion Air Boeing 727's pressurised cargo hold. The crew reported that they heard a knocking sound, but they checked the plane, determined there was no danger, and took off. The airline is "investigating the incident".

A San Diego man decided to rid his apartment of cockroaches. Eighteen bug bombs later, the ceiling was torn apart and the windows broken. Cabinets were ripped from kitchen walls. A pilot light had set off fumes from the bug bombs, resulting in $50,000 in damage. Roaches were reported to have been crawling around in complete health as firefighters left the scene. "Some of them are special, I guess" said Beneberu.

Manitowoc, Wisconsin, man Jack S. Labrosse was jailed for exposing a teenaged girl to "homemade pornography". His conviction came after two teenaged girls complained about the "obscene photo of a part of his body" which was displayed in the driver's window of his car. One of the girls was "pretty traumatised".
When Labrosse dropped out of a computer course he was taking at Lakeshore Technical College during his sentence, he was asked to return the laptop computer he had borrowed from the college. A deputy found the computer in Labrosse's jail locker, along with pictures of naked girls. When the hard drive was checked, Labrosse was sentenced to additional jail time for downloading child porn with the laptop.
Although Labrosse was described as 'an aggressive user of pornography', he was told that the state prison system only allows counselling for sex ofenders who have actually assaulted someone.

A roadside attraction sculpture workshop and park burned down in Natural Bridge, Virginia. Most of the sculptures, including 'Butterflynoserous' and the winged "Holy Cow", are unharmed. Proprietor Mark Cline blames people who have been anonymously leaving him religious tracts, one of which came with a note saying he should stop doing the work of Satan or else he would suffer the wrath of God. The pamphlets started showing up when he put a monster figure on the back of his truck for a Halloween event. The most recent package included a slightly charred photo of Cline from a newspaper story about his "flying saucers" near the highway.
Cline said he hopes the fire was an accident, as flammable chemicals are used in fibreglass sculpting. However, Cline said the fire started near the 14-foot devil head by his office. He hopes to borrow some of his sculptures back for new moulds and re-open the entertainment park, which contains dinosaurs eating houses, revolving bookcase doors, etc. "Nobody needs to feel sorry for me. I can bounce back fast" he said.

In Pittsburgh, about 1500 people flocked to a house where a vision of the Virgin Mary was said to appear inside at night. More came the next day. The apparition appeared on a wooden door in an attic room. When the image reappeared, a second image came along with it as well as a faint image of a thorn-crowned face and some other religious images. Some who entered the home said they saw two pictures of Mary and one of a fish.
Among those who queued up, creating traffic jams as they waited to see the image, was Anna Jean Sunder, who said "It was moving. Emotionally, I was overcome".

A drunken University of Colorado football player broke down the door of his apartment in his eagerness to go to sleep. Unfortunately, the apartment was six miles from his own room. The 285-pound Ryan Gray crashed on a sofa while homeowner Juan Dorado-Marquez, who had awakened when he thought one of his children had fallen out of bed, screamed at him to leave. Gray left when Dorado-Marquez called police.
Meanwhile, Robert Stratton found a bicycle under his truck's rear tyres. As he picked it up, Gray emerged from the home and asked him for a ride. Stratton refused.
Dorado-Marquez, inside a patrol car as a police dog tracked Gray, spotted the door-breaker on the bicycle. He was arrested and is due to appear in court in May.

In the Netherlands, a programme called "Big Diet" is hitting the airwaves. A dozen overweight people, half men and half women, will be locked in a Houtem castle for 13 weeks and filmed. Each week, the person who lost the least weight will be sent home. Although the group's days will be filled with low-calorie foods and workouts, there will also be a refrigerator containing the group's favourite snack foods. Balancing this temptation is the prize. The person who loses the most weight will receive the equivalent of his/her lost weight, in gold.

21 April 2001

In Norway, Maine, a man was arrested for indecent exposure after he made a purchase at a convenience store with his genitals clearly visible, his zipper down. The man, whose name was not released by police, had had a previous genital-related encounter with police. Cops found him at his home with a frying pan inside his trousers. When pressed, he said the frying pan was there to protect him from harm if he were involved in a fight.

A Stewiacke, Halifax, youth was accused of tampering with a railway switch and lock, leading to a passenger train derailment near the town's main street. Six passengers with internal injuries are being monitored in hospital. Railway investigators believe the tampering occurred in the minutes after the train passed signals which might have warned engineers of a problem. Most of the item in the Canadian Press is concerned with statements such as this one by Mayor Bruce Lohnes: "My initial concerns right now are with the family and the boy". A local mother, Bonnie Joldersma, said the accusation is "unbelievable", given that a teenaged vandal might "not know the harm".

The Boston Globe reports on the new tone taken by the Holy Tabernacle Church of God in Christ Apostolic. Over 200 congregants - nearly half the parishioners - received letters from church secretary Alfreda Moore, who told them they were "in default in the payment of tithes [the payment of 10 per cent of one's earnings to the church]...for a period in excess of 90 days". The parishioners, including the widow of the preacher who worked three jobs in order to found the church in 1966, were told they had one month's warning before "all privileges of membership in the Church will be immediately suspended". Founder Joe L. Smith's daughter Sandra Smith Cosby said "Our job is to bring people in, not kick people out". A judge refused to bar the kicking-out punishment but did order the church to, following its bylaws, hold an annual meeting and to let members see the books. Some expressed concern that the tithing concern is part of a plan to kick certain people out.

You may remember when former Washington, DC, mayor Marion Barry was caught smoking crack cocaine, thanks to a hidden camera. He has now received a year's probation for shoving a female janitor at the Baltimore-Washington Airport. He also exposed his genitalia to her. Oh, sorry. He claims he was innocent but simply agreed to plead guilty anyway.

A man who robbed four San Francisco banks seemed to know what he was doing. For instance, one teller was told "And don't you dare touch the dye pack". But Scot Alan Beane, 37, dropped a Western Union money transfer receipt when robbing Union bank. His name was on the piece of paper. And in CalFed Bank his papers included a resume, which he dropped. It featured the address he was using in Massachusetts before his five-year prison sentence for bank robbery. To those who claim the deeds may have been a desperate cry for help or stupidity, the important thing, according to San Francisco police Lieutenant Bruce Marovich, is that "you shouldn't drink or take drugs and drive. You shouldn't rob banks and do the same thing".

A jury awarded a Tucson, Arizona, woman $450,000 after she sprained her ankle when she fell into a hole at Reid Park. Michele Nations's lawyer said it was the city's responsibility to post warnings about animals such as ground-squirrels that burrow in the park and to provide "a safe alternative" to having to try to avoid holes such as the five-inch-deep, 10-inch-wide hole Nations said she tripped into in 1994. The city is considering an appeal.

In Branchburg, New Jersey, 12-year-old Danica Lesko was told to stop using sign language on the school bus because it poses a safety problem. Lesko's parents received a letter saying she would be suspended for three days if she didn't stop signing. Stony Brook School Principal J. Harry Wasterholm said the girl was reprimanded since she was the only one who refused to stop signing. Westerholm said he couldn't describe how sign language could cause a disturbance, and he referred the questioner to another office, which made no comment.
The Leskos, who said they have filed a complaint and might sue over this, have already sued over the incident which allegedly caused Danica's hearing damage. Another student set off a bottle rocket in a school hallway in November.

In Miami, in a drug bust police found 25 marijuana plants, and 10 pounds of marijuana in the freezer, which was guarded by a five-foot-long alligator. The police are trying to find the homeowner. In the meantime, they report that the animal was well-fed and in good spirits, in the words of Todd Hardwick "just a perfect alligator".

The Waikato University, New Zealand, men's volleyball team has aroused the anger of the student union by wearing t-shirts sponsored by an escort agency. The shirts bore the words "Get Shagged in Horny Hamilton" and the contact details for the California Girls escort agency. The union described the sponsorship as a "university sports team surviving on the earnings of prostitutes", going so far as to claim that the players receive a 10 per cent discount on agency services. The volleyball team said they approached the escort agency for monetary help and were given shirts and NZ$500. Pete Lawton, the owner of California Girls, said he sponsored the team five years ago without incident.

In St. Louis, jurors were asked to decide a case wherein Tom and Suzi Wahl were accused of engaging in a sex show rather than participating in an educational sex seminar. The jury asked to re-watch the 18-minute video tape on which the couple performed oral sex acts in front of "a couple" of undercover police officers who had paid $200 for what the defence termed a sexual technique seminar. The jury then declared the couple guilty of misdemeanour prostitution. They received a fine but no jail sentence.

I reported on how teenager Jason Lind was badly burned when friends poured dirt bike fuel on his clothes and set them alight in imitation of stuntman Johnny Knoxille's stunt on MTV's "Jackass". Add Jose Serrano and his friends, aged 11 to 15, to the list of Connecticut's Jackasses. Imitating Jackass stunts, they were leaping over chain-link fences when they found a can of engine degreaser with the magic word "flammable".
Justin Torres, 14, lit a leg of his jeans on fire and it went out. Serrano begged to be next. After the youth wrapped a degreaser-soaked rag around his track suit bottom and set it on fire, flames spread up the windbreaker-style material. Torres finally knocked Serrano to the ground and the youths went in search of a friend's mother, a nurse.
After Serrano was taken to hospital, Torres said "We tried it better than Johnny Knoxville ... We were just lighting a shirt and pants".

27 April 2001

On a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Alaska, Michigan twins Cynthia and Crystal Mikota began screaming at each other. When a flight attendant tried to calm the 22-year-olds, Cynthia gave her a bloody nose. Then outside the lavatory, where one or both of the twins had smoked, an argument ensued in which Cynthia told her sister "Let me off this aeroplane. I gotta smoke". After one of the pilots persuaded the women to return to their seats, he sat with them to prevent trouble. Cynthia hit him and spat on another crew member. When the flight crew put Cynthia in flexible handcuffs, Crystal hit a flight attendant then jumped on the back of another and put him in a chokehold.
The pilot determined it was safest to divert the flight to Anchorage, Alaska, where FBI agents met the flight and the still-screaming twins, who face up to 20 years each in prison.

In Chalmette, Louisiana, 17-year-old Cassiday Perry was removed from class because she disobeyed the dress code. If a student wears a dress or trousers with belt loops, (s)he must also wear a belt. The school's standard approach is to rent a beltless student a belt for the day, at a cost of 25 cents. However, all 20 school-owned belts were on loan by the time Perry's infraction was noticed. She was not allowed to attend classes for the rest of the day.

At California State University at Fullerton, track team member Leilani Rios was given an ultimatum by her coach. Given the choice between quitting the track team and continuing her work as a stripper, she chose the latter, which she said pays her college bills.
The coach, John Elders, said her after-school work "would detract from the image and accomplishments of her teammates, the athletic department, and the university". Rios pointed out that Elders learned about her job from college baseball players who came to see the strip show. She pointed out that the players were wearing college caps and sweaters, whereas she doesn't refer to the college in any way during her act.

New Jersey police have charged two eight-year-old boys with making threats after they were caught playing with a paper gun in school. Hamadi Alston and Jaquill Shelton were using the gun in a game of cops and robbers. They have been suspended under the schooll's zero-tolerance policy on guns.
Police chief Steven Palamara said "What would people say if this incident was ignored and in a day, week or month the same student came to school with a firearm?"

The London Underground is now sporting Eau de Madeleine, a perfume which has been touted as formulated to counter subway smells such as sweat, food, mouse faeces, and hot metal. The scent, desscribed by The Times as a "floral bouquet of rose and jasmine combined with citrus top notes", is tailored for English smells but based on a perfume used in the Paris Metro. Mike Brown, customer service director for the underground, said "the atmosphere in our stations can be an interesting collection of odours reflecting all aspects of London life, some not so nice, but if the system smells fresh, customers feel more positive about their overall travelling experience". My faith in UK public transport is restored.

During school lunch, a nine-year-old Ottawa girl opened the wrapping of her Kellogg's Rice Krispies Square and screamed when she saw a slug inside. Julia MacKinnon's classmates ran over to see the seven-centimetre slug for themselves. The slug had a dessicated, stretched body, and its head was buried in chocolate. Julia's father John said he isn't angry at Kellogg's but wonders how the slug ended up in the snack food. He added, "I'm a little concerned about the quality control, but the kids opened this thing in the middle of the school and everybody screamed, so I think they put 200 kids off from it." Reassuringly, Jackie Nelson, "senior manager of communications" at Kellogg's Canada, said the company has the "highest-quality health and manufacturing standards".

More than 100 guests were evacuated from the Travelodge hotel in Piccadilly, York, after smoke detectors were set off. Three fire engines were despatched, per standard procedure. What was the problem? A spokesman for the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said "It seems one of the guests was over-exuberant with his body spray and set off the smoke alarms, which can be very sensitive in modern hotels."

A member of the Lousiana legislature is sponsoring a bill which would officially condemn the theory of evolution as racist and blames it for many of race-based clashes in her district. Democratic Representative Sharon Weston Broome explained that Darwin's theories promote the idea of superior and inferior races. She also wants to eventually see a disclaimer to this effect put in school textbooks. She said "If evolution has provided the main rationale for racism, and we are teaching our children evolution in schools, then correspondingly we are teaching them racist principles".

In contrast, race is being used as an argument against a loud-stereo law in Nevada. The law, which would prohibit people from driving with car stereos audible more than 25 feet away, is being denounced as racially biased. Assemblyman Morse Arberry, of North Las Vegas, said "It is going to lead to profiling. You will find it is the minority kids who will be pulled over. It is another mechanism of going after them." Bill proponent Vonne Chowning said the bill was simply a response to constant complaints from constituents that passing cars' sounds annoy them regularly.

More jackasses can be found in Independence, Ohio, where three boys decided to re-create scenes from the MTV programme and submit a videotape of them to MTV as an audition.
A 16-year-old decided to be hit head-on by a Honda Civic driven by a 17-year-old while another 16-year-old videotaped the collision. The videotape shows that the boys practised the collision before the attempt which sent the 16-year-old flying and earned him a trip to St. Elizabeth Medical Center South. The other two boys are at a juvenile detention centre.

Reuters reports that Dutch police thought they found a sleeping bear on a roadside verge just outside the village of Engelen in the southern Netherlands. However, the cops discovered that it was really a sleeping man in a bear suit. The 22-year-old man explained that he had been at a party in Engelen and had left for home after drinking 15 litres of beer.

North Carolina's Jason Vincent Revels, 19, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to read the Lassie books after he pleaded guilty to the charge of skinning and beheading his mother's mixed pit bull terrier. At a hearing, Revels said he blacked out and didn't remember killing the dog. Superior Court Judge Claude Sitton said he didn't believe Revels. The teenager told police he killed the dog because his mother told him to get rid of it.

A Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, man was charged with Peeping Tomism after he videotaped two breastfeeding mothers using breast pumps at his workplace. Christopher Simms, 34, set up a video camera in a trash bag in the closet the women used for milk collection. After Simms had taped one of the women and saved the video clips to his office computer, the other woman noticed the camera and raised the alarm. At the time of the incident, Simms, who works at Willow Grove's National Fraud Center, was already in trouble for selling a company laptop on the Internet.
Montgomery County prosecutor Mary C. Fittipaldi said "a woman has the right to pump her breast in privacy at her office and not expect anyone to be around watching".

Douglas Ryan Oeters of Boulder, Colorado, wanted to adopt a cat from the Boulder Valley Humane Society. So he offered employee Briana Rooney some photocopies of $20 bills. When he pulled out the money, on crumpled, yellow paper, "we were like 'yeah, right'", said Rooney. So the 20-year-old then paid with a real $100 bill and waited. When police arrived, he explained that he had just come from the bank, where the bills must have come from. Officers noted that the serial numbers of the 42 counterfeit bills in Oeters's wallet matched those of two real $20 bills which were also in his wallet.


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© 2001 Anna Shefl