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July 2000

20 July 2000

You get a large crop of news today, after a bit of a summer drought.

First off, we have Ikea's new recruitment campaign. Following a solid example, they are writing ads on the walls of public toilets. 'After only four days we had received 60 applications. That's four or five times more than what we would get from a normal newspaper ad', said spokesman Jimmy Ostholm. Reuters reports also that the strategy supposedly works because people are mroe relaxed when they're using the loo.

Baltimore native filmmaker John Waters gave a talk before the city's chamber of commerce at their annual dinner. His main point was that they should emphasise Baltimore's weirdness to attract tourists. For instance, rather than spend money on the Inner Harbor, they should make 'The Block' better: 'find the scariest hookers you can from over on Calvert Street and put them in windows like they do on the red light district in Amsterdam. Nobody will have sex', he said.
He thought the high rate of venereal disease was also a good selling point, saying 'at least you can get a date'. As far as a city slogan is concerned, he offered bumper stickers reading 'Come to Baltimore and Be Shocked!'

And in another idea to promot tourism, Toronto decided to put up some moose statues - 150 of them - for their 'Moose in the City' campaign. However, they have annoyed members of the city's economic development committee. Councilor Sherene Shaw said, 'All the moose have antlers which tells me that no one thought about having female moose. They're all a bunch of male moose'.
A private-sector committee designed the campaign.
'There is something alarming about this', said Shaw, but another council member, Jane Pitfield, pointed out that 'With the rate the antlers are disappearing, many of the male moose are becoming female'.

And a Milwaukee paper reports on Madison's 'Rhythm & Booms' music and fireworks festibal. During the festivities, at about 2:40am, two men went into the ladies' loo at Zorba restaurant and decided to flush what police called 'a large explosive device' down a toilet.
It exploded before the toilet was finished flushing, and 'porcelain shrapnel' went in all directions when the toilet blew up. Restaurant manager Jimmy Mitropoulos said he and patrons heard the blast and went to investigate. 'I seen blood all over in the hall', he said.
After the toilet was completely destroyed, police said they arrested an Illinois and a Montana man, but both were released because of 'medical needs'. Do it properly next time, people.

Every year on the US's Independence Day, some people manage to kill themselves with fireworks. This year is no exception. A Bay Shore, NY, man was nearly decapitated by an aerial bomb at a neighbourhood party in Long Island.
When your firework doesn't work, the best thing to do is to peer into the mouth of the launch tube. Or so Keith Seymour, 34, thought.

One might conclude that bureaucracy kills. An 87-year-old man stood in a queue in Bogotaá, Colombia, waiting for a government certificate verifying that he was still alive. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack before reaching the front of the queue.
Arturo Suspe, a former government works employee, needed a 'survival certficate' in order to continue drawing his pension. The certification scheme is intended to reduce the collection of pensions in the name of dead people.

In other countries' embarrassments we have the husband of Monaco's Princess Caroline. He apologised, including a full-page ad, to the Turkish people for urinating on Turkey's pavillion at Germany's Expo 2000 World's Fair.

And in other fecal matters, we turn to Delta, Iowa, where Michael Joseph Murphy made a splash at a city council meeting. He dumped a 19-litre bucket of faeces and urine on a table at which council members were seated. 'It hit everybody', said City Clerk Lourena Schrader said, who added, 'It was a mess'.
Murphy, 42, was displeased that his sewer line was plugged. Schrader said it was in his part of the line. She described finding what appeared to be human faeces at her front door. As for how long the situation has been going on, she said Murphy first complained in May or June but she wasn't sure because her minutes were on the back deck 'drying out'.

We had an item about a toilet. We had an item about faeces. Now let's mix the two, in a novel fashion.
West Edmonton Mall security received a complaint from an 18-year-old man that he was in the Gourmet World food court loo when a man crawled into his cubicle, rescued a pieces of faeces from the toilet bowl, and ate it.
39-year-old Darcii (not a typo) Wolfspirit was arrested in the parking lot shortly thereafter. Police are investigating a possible link with four similar incidents that occurred at the shopping centre in the last four months.

Tarantulas aren't very dangerous, but they can make for fun times in the emergency room, as one Twin Cities hopsital discovered. Aaron Jarva, 24, was taken to Minnesota's Itasca Medical Center after his room-mate reported that a tarantula had bitten his penis.
The county sheriff's report stated that Jarva apparently admitted to consuming 57 g of crystal methamphetamine in the hours leading up to the big, hairy spider being placed on his genitals.
Such a bite might be annoying - similar to a bee sting - but he may have been better off staying at home than risking the ensuing attention from authorities.

A less benign fate awaited an Ocean City, Maryland, man who wanted to cure the hiccoughs he developed after drinking a couple beers. He asked a friend to punch him in the chest, the other man - whose name was not released - finally did. Joshua Thomas Burchette then fell into a dead heap on the walkway beside the road.

A slightly more deserving death was that of Michael Rowe, 62. Those at the inquest heard that, in November, his wife, Brigid, sprayed hair mousse in his mouth before holding a blanket over his face for 10 minutes. She described herself as 'driven mad' by his snoring.
After killing him, she rang 999 and said, allegedly, that 'I think I've killed my husband. He has driven me mad'. Prior to this, Michael, a chartered surveyor, snored annoyingly enough that she slept in the sitting room while he slept in the bedroom of their Paignton, Devon, home.
Pathologist Dr Gyan Fernando said that Mr Rowe was at three times the driving limit for blood alcohol at the time of his death. The first time the case was brought up, before she was deemed unfit to stand trial, Brigid admitted she did this at a time when he wouldn't struggle.
More recently she said she meant merely to 'give him a fright' and 'I thought he'd jump up but he didn't'. She said she stopped after he made 'funny noises'. Coroner Hamish Turner said it would be best if she not give evidence at the inquest.
The verdict was unlawful death.

And from the remains of the cash-torn Soviet Union: In slightly less gruesome news, Versace has begun plans to team up with Moscow's Space Flight Control Centre. The designer is to design three suits for cosmonauts, one to be worn under space suits, where labels won't show, one for sportswear on the International Space Station, and one for wear on Earth.
In addition, a deal has been forged between the Russian space agency and Pizza Hut, who are reported to be paying $1.25 million to have their logo emblazoned on the outside of the Proton rocket. Tastefully emblazoned, no doubt.

Poor Brian McCluskey isn't having a good time in prison. For helping with chores at the Purgatory Correctional Facility, he received a bag of M&Ms. Alas, he didn't win a million dollars for his prize-ticket-containing bag. Someone else redeeemd a winning bag before he did, meaning that he is apparently to receive a coupon for a free 454 g bag of M&Ms, said a spokesman for M&M Mars.
Deputy Julie Pugmire said she gave McCluskey the M&Ms as a reward for helping her distribute commissary items. Then, other inmates advised him that the strangely coloured candies inside indicated that the 27-year-old inmate might have won the contest they's seen advertised on television.

Another death by baptism: she told police that voices told her to be good to her cats, 'baptizing them to get them ready for heaven'. She is from Florida, Dade City. She poured scalding water on six cats.
A neighbour said the 68-year-old woman threw some of her cats against the side of her house. Another said he found a dead cat on her car. But wait, you say, that's not baptism. 'I don't think she had a clue what she was doing', said Capt. David Duff, who said she has a history of mental problems and decided she didn't need her pills anymore.
Neighbours said the day before the cat slayings, she was wandering around town leaving empty casserole dishes in driveways and yelling.

We now return you to reading Sun headlines about royal guards firing their Glocks after hearing a close-range fart.

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© 2000 Anna Shefl