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June 2000

6 June 2000

Dubai press agencies report that the 'divorce by e-mail' case has been dropped. The parties opted for a boring, ordinary divorce instead.
In essence, a US journalist e-mailed his wife in October to tell her he divorced her, before filing in court. Under Muslim law, a man can divorce his wife by telling her 'I divorce you' thrice.
Although the chairman of Dubai's Personal Status Court said, 'There is no such thing as internet divorce', the judge said that 'what's important is identification and not the means used to ask for a divorce'. The judge said legal amendments would be necessary for addressing identification problems, making him more aware of security issues than Microsoft, for example.

Some may think of Pineville, Louisiana, as a backwater town. They would be all too correct. Utility manager Clarence Fields acknowledged that workers connected the sewer line to an underground water pipe in the course of fixing a burst main.
In the three months since the mishap, 60 homes experienced the joys of contaminated water, though city officials stated that the chlorine in the water supply kills most bacteria.
Affected residents seemed to take a slightly less positive view. Tammy Campbell said: 'I get physically ill when I think that I have been bathing, drinking and washing my clothes and dishes in sewage water.' She described discovering that the material clogging her washing machine, dishwasher, and ice-maker filters was 'recycled' toilet paper. Other residents found their water heaters filling up with what they had assumed to be brown dirt. It wasn't.
Fields said that the city 'will have to look at the way that we do business in the Public Works Department'.

This next item came from The Times, but it still closely resembles an urban legend. A few seconds after they met, she started to hit him.
'Zhang' and 'Zhuer' fell in love through a chat room - an increasingly popular pastime in China - and then started to send e-mail to each other. They told each other that their loneliness would finally end when they met in person. Fortunately, they lived in the same province and this dream could come true with ease.
Although there are a lot of people in China, the two who met on Haimiao Beach, near Laizhou, had met each other once before, more than two years earlier, when they became partners. Police intervened as they argued about such issues as why 'Zhuer' was 'in desperate need of a boyfriend'.

A Detroit woman was crushed to death Wednesday. That isn't Clippings-worthy in and of itself, though. This woman removed herself from the gene pool by hiding in a trash compactor.
Officer Glen Woods said: 'I guess the first place she ran to hide was the compactor.' She had just managed to evade Value Village security officers who thought she might be guilty of shoplifting. Woods added that the compactor starts automatically when it senses a certain weight.
Information on the woman was not released, but we may know enough to draw our own conclusions.

I wonder whether they'll take the hint. Free pocket ash trays are being distributed this summer to visitors to German beaches. The 50,000 disposable ash trays are being supplied as part of an anti-litter campaign sponsored by the Smokers Club of Germany, the North Sea Tourism Service, Geo Saison travel magazine, and Germany's tobacco industry. Some members of the public have reported being 'offended' that smokers are being singled out for the promotion. Um.

In slightly more macabre news, a Melbourne woman tried to do what any self-respecting mother would do if she suspected her children were possessed by Satan: kill her son and then try to resurrect him.
The mother of five, whose name was not released, attacked her other children before settling on drowning her three-year-old as part of a homebrew exorcism. Her attempt to resurrect him involved lovingly pouring boiling water over his body.
She claimed to be not guilty by reason of looniness. Justice Greg James agreed with her claim.

A co-ordinated group are campaigning as write-in candidates opposing US Congressional incumbents who are running unopposed. In a move spearheaded by Michael Moore, ficus plants across the country are seeking office, taking part in one Senate and 23 House races.
The ficus platform begins thus: 'Voters have stopped going to the polls because today's politicians - Republicans and Democrats - all stand for pretty much the same things. The ficus campaign has recaptured voters' imagination in a way no other candidate can, by offering a real choice: politician or potted plant.'
Jeff Seeman, representing The Plant Opposing Representative Ralph Regula, said the campaign theory is 'Why not?' The New Jersey Board of Elections disagreed with this sentiment, refusing to accept the petition for a local ficus plant whose slogan was 'Because a Potted Plant Can Do No Harm'.
Other plants were better received. A Pennsylvania ficus went on a 'listening tour', while a Georgia candidate attended the grand opening of a greenhouse.
Rep. Asa Hutchinson said his opponent 'has remained suspiciously silent to my challenges for a debate'.

The General Accounting Office, investigating the CIA and other agencies on behalf of the House Judiciary Committee's crime subcommittee, checked to see how far they could get with fake law enforcement badges. The results? Security measures were bypassed for the investigators, who declared that they were armed and flashed badges they found on the Internet, a movie prop of a police badge, and badges found in X-Files fan magazines. The fake cops were allowed into all 21 of the targetted sites (19 federal buildings and two airports), three of which did require a second attempt.
Waved around metal detectors, the agents were not searched. In all cases, they carried a valise, which would allow listening devices, explosives, and other annoyances inside the Pentagon, State Department Headquarters, FBI headquarters, etc. 'At no time during the undercover visits were our agents' bogus credentials or badges challenged by anyone', said Robert Hast, GAO assistant comptroller general for investigations.

17 June 2000

First off, I have to report an update to the wire service report of the shoplifter being crunched in a trash compactor. Contrary to a police statement, it seems the machine was not activated by weight but manually by workers. The new AP report says workers 'had been on a break when the woman [43-year-old Gloria Terrell] apparently went inside the machine and didn't notice she was there until they restarted it'.
The Detroit Free Press reported that her mother said, 'My daughter's dead, and she left me five kids to take care of'; also, 'the police told me she stole a pair of shoes. For her to lose her life for a pair of shoes... I don't know what to say'. I'm sure we can think of something.
Also among wire service corrections, the AP reported last week that one in 30 white schoolchildren was suspended from school in the 1997-98 school year and that 87 children were expelled overall. They meant to say that one in every 18 was suspended and 87,000 were expelled.

A former exotic dancer has been awarded $30,000 due to her pain and suffering after a doctor enlarged her buttocks with silicone breast implants.
The Associated Press reports that both sides in the legal battle declared victory, though the 43-year-old Mary Gale was not pleased with the size of the award. She does hope the case will help others, saying that 'I'm hoping other women won't have to go through what I had to go through, especially the humiliation'.
The surgeon's attorney, Paul Paley, said this was a token judgement for a woman who was a 'plastic surgery junkie'. Gale had already had at least six surgical procedures and complained of the results.
In 1990, Gale said in her testimony, she paid $6,500 for an operation that left her looking as if she had two breasts attached to her posterior.

Nine 14-to-15-year-old students at the Cornwall, Canada, St Lawrence High School were punished by a two-day suspension from school after spending a free lunch hour eating at a Hooters restaurant during a field trip to the capital. It was 'injurious to the moral tone of the school' for the boys to see the halter-topped breasty waitresses who were a short walk from the Canada Science and Technology Museum, where the students were due next.
Suspendee Joey McLennan said the principal spoke with him after the lunch and 'said it was a strip joint and that I shouldn't be going there. We tried to tell her it wasn't.' Confusion may have stemmed from the fact that Cornwall's Northway Hotel boasts a strip club and sports bar called Hooterz.
The 14-year-old said that the group 'didn't really know what to expect. Someone just said, "Do you want to go?" We've been to the other restaurants a hundred times. We wanted to go somewhere different'.

Several years after a prison built a Thor temple to ensure inmates' religious freedom, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority has considered defecatory freedom worth $8000. They recently turned a porter's closet into a loo for a trans-sexual employee. The maintenance facility's new 'unisex' toilet and sink 'gives an employee a level of privacy that is not available in the other employee bathrooms', said a spokesman for the authority.
The trans-sexual repair worker is partway through the process of becoming female and felt uncomfortable without the option of a third loo. Existing facilities were also used as showers for the 35 employees.
This is part of the MBTA's efforts to show sensitivity to gender and race issues, following criticism from the state Attorney General's office that they were not doing enough. 'The bathroom issue' is the most sensitive matter for employers of people in gender transition, said Sara Herwig (nonimative determinism?), director of operations for the International Foundation for Gender Equity.

In and of itself, bestiality is hardly worthy of Anna's News Clippings. But I'll report this Enfield, North Carolina, man.
Responding to a 911 call, Halifax county sheriff's deputy Gregory Richardson found a 59-year-old man having sex with his sow in a residential area. A 10-year-old boy told his mother this was the third time he saw Roger Powell exprsesing carnal affection for his pig. He was also exprsesing his feelings verbally, reported a police captain.
Ward said Powell, being charged with the felony of a 'crime against nature', will have a mental health evaluation 'to find out why he likes to do that'.
I don't know how reliable the reports are that Powell claimed he had been having sex with the pig twice daily, for the last year, because he was concerned that his 'crack whore' girlfriend might give him AIDS.

That item was to introduce you to animal sex as found in this item. A spokesman for the Cooktown Coast Guard in Queensland, Australia, described the flabbergasted crew of a seaplane respondinng to strange sounds coming. Under their spotlights, a crododile tried to mount the lightweight vehicle's float. No-one was aboard when it tipped over and sank under the weight of the 'amorous' three-metre-long creature. Plans are afoot to rescue the vehicle from the bottom of the bay.

Having established the theme of sex in nature, how can we object to the Spanish government tourist office's guidebook? A Reuters report says that objections to the book gave rise to a government claim that it was 'printed by mistake'. One extract is this: 'With mountains the same thing happens as does with women, that the desire they provoke is inversely proportional to the number of times you've got on top of them.' The book is being withdrawn, so we may no longer read about summits that are 'hard and slippy, like Naomi Campbell's loins'.

And remember that unnatural sex is bad. Or so thought George Finley, a Floridian who was convicted after beating his wife's dog to death because he thought it was gay.
Sheriff's Captain Mike McQuaig explained that Finley 'felt that the dog was a queer-type dog and it made him angry'.
Witnesses said the 58-year-old was enraged that the neutered Yorkshire terrier/poodle kept trying to become sexual with the family's male Jack Russell terrier. Prosecutors described Finley hitting the dog with a vacuum cleaner wand and hurling the animal against a tree, whereupon it fell into a coma. Finley said he hit the dog by accident.
It's not just people from Florida who have problems. Nobuyoshi Aota is suspected of starving about 100 dogs to death. He is a dog breeder who decided the dogs could go several weeks without food or water.

And UPI reports reveal an Illinois man dying during his second wait for a kidney. The first wait, of 13 years, ended when his transplant operation began a month before his death. The second wait began when the doctors at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield discovered that they were sent a heart instead of a kidney.
On May 12, said Daniel DeVore, Jr, his friend was was incised and had his nerve endings prepared, then 'when they went to open the box, it was a heart. They had labeled in [sic] wrong'. 'It was a very unfortunate human error', in the words of an organ bank spokesman.
The Regional Organ Bank of Illinois should have sent the heart to a research laboratory in Chicago. Meanwhile, the lab had opened the package containing the kidney, and it couldn't be used. The 31-year-old John Sherman died Monday.

28 June 2000

In an Associated Press report about Lower Moreland Township, Pennsylvania, we have the man who lost his keys down a portable toilet and decided to retrieve them. His shoes and trousers awaited his return.
The man, who had been up to his hips in the toilet's lower chamber for at least 45 minutes (by his reckoning), was rescued after his cries were heard by children who were playing nearby. After they told their mother, who told the police, much of the toilet was destroyed in efforts to free the man.
Doctors treated the man, whose identity was not released, for cuts and bruises. They also removed the toilet seat from his torso.

The Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services has received a series of complaints regarding 'A Place to Grow'. The most commonly reported problem involves staff who wrap infants up 'as tight as burritos' in blankets and cover their faces with blankets until they fall asleep. Another allegation involves a baby being duct-taped to a wall by the director of the child care centre (the duct tape came loose very quickly). Staff admitted to the allegations when questioned, saying of the swaddling method 'we like it and they sleep better'. As to the duct taping, they claimed that for some reason the parent thought they were joking when they told the girl's parents that duct tape does, indeed, work for everything.

John Levendosky II was a Scout Master. He gave children the chance to win merit badges, took them camping, and had Boy Scouts strip and spank each other. One of the first activities was to learn five different codes, corresponding to five levels of undress. Another involved being tied to trees. Levendosky also took the boys out for pizza.
In police custody, the accused said he planned the outing because he was fascinated by the ideas of bondage, blindfolding, and so on. Authorities found out about the 52-year-old's escapades after one of the three boys' parents saw a 'T' that had been carved into their son's chest. Police later found what appeared to be a script for the outing; it contained 'I mark you with the T of Trust and Training'.
Sergeant William Krulac said Levendosky 'went to great pains to swear the kids to secrecy'. Boy Scout policy requires two adults to be present for activities.
'I thought they were going to learn to hike, maybe get a patch for learning something', said the mother of one of the three boys. Fuller said: 'He did not sexually assault them and the kids were not seriously hurt, but it was a very bizarre episode.' He did not comment as to whether or not the boys may have learned something.

Get your complaint forms today. Ten per cent of the British rail passengers who complained about suffering injuries in recent months were the same person. The claims all related to a shoulder injury. Of the 49 reports of the injury, a Railtrak spokesman said: 'The injuries were reported at stations throughout the rail network, from Penzance to Edinburgh, sometimes twice in one day.'

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that two women recently died in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Police said the women, from Sarai Mohan village, got into a fight after one found that the other had stolen her favourite rooster and used it as a curry ingredient.
After the middle-aged woman clubbed her neighbour to death, the thief's cousins used the same method to, in turn, kill the killer.

Television in Lima, Peru, has been enriched by 'Anything for Money', a feature of 'Laura en America' which involves such things as three men racing to eat bowls of Amazonian tree grubs. The winner received the equivalent of 13 pounds. If one prefers a little more money, a woman received 20 pounds for licking the armpits and feet of a body-builder who hadn't bathed for 48 hours.
Laura Bozzo, taking the lead from US tabloid talk shows, has blazed the way for similar programming in Peru, despite complaints from squicked viewers and those who allege that the government supports the programme because it has a direct line to the poor people who are considered vital for assuring re-election.
One complainant said: 'In my home we have a maid whose sister-in-law went with her son who has epilepsy. They were told, "That is not the theme of the day. You have to say you hate your father, and that guy over there will be your father".'

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against people who are handicapped in a 'major life activity'. So, naturally, a United Airlines air stewardess sued her employer, refusing to lose the weight she put on after being hired.
No, she is not claiming that the physical fitness requirements - loosened now to require, basically, that air stewardesses fit in the aisle of the plane - discriminate against lardos. Her complaint is that the weight is the result of fertility drugs and that her infertility is a disability since reproduction is a major life activity.

And, lastly, from the San Francisco Chronicle, we have the ideal environment for the disposal of dead bodies.
On Wednesday, the owner of a San Leandro sausage factory killed three US Department of Agriculture compliance offers. The government meat inspectors were serving him notice of violations such as the use of undercooked sausage and the lack of use of expiry dates on meat. Rather than make the changes, he shut the plant down for a time and put up a sign asking for donations to fight the meat inspectors who were harassing him.
Stuart Alexander shot the inspectors in his office at the Santos Linguisa Factory, where he allegedly had three guns. He then chased a fourth inspector down the street, missing his target. 'He looked like he was determined', said Brad Rodriguez, a 14-year-old resident of one of Alexander's nearby properties. As crowds gathered, the meat-maker then returned to the plant, fired some more shots, and then surrendered to police, explaining that 'I'm the guy you are looking for'.
The former candidate for mayor had been charged in 1996 in connection with beating 75-year-old neighbour Clifford Berg. In addition to owning the family sausage company, several VW Beetles, housedogs, housepigs, house-sheep, and various properties, Alexander also owns a trash-hauling firm.

29 June 2000

The romantic edition:
A couple travelling from Dallas were fined 5000 pounds for being pissed on their flight back to Manchester. The charges relating to their fondling of each other were dropped. But not before their employers, on whose business they were travelling, found out about the public removal of Amanda Holt's blouse and trousers. Both Holt and David Machin were fired.
After other passengers complained about the actions of Holt, 37, and Machin, 40, flight attendants asked them to stop cavorting, to no avail, according to witnesses for the prosecution. The prosecution quoted Machin as saying: 'We became a little over-familiar, that's all.'
He later took a different tone, stating that his 'drunken stupidity' almost let him throw away his relationship with his wife and three children. Holt said her actions were 'a matter of regret', as she left court with her husband.

That was UK-style romance. Here is the style of Stavanger, in Norway. Most people try to go for the most sensational, not the most banal, in proposing marriage. Frode Jonassen heard the loudspeakers in the grocery store blare out 'I love you and want to marry you. You have 10 seconds to decide'.
His girlfriend, Tone Soerensen, had stepped into a back room. Frode didn't think that odd, since she works there. But he was a little less composed when the customers started to count down from 10. He did manage to say 'yes' at the last second, reported Verdens Gang.

Or Cambodian style.
In a report from Phnom Penh, we find a man who was annoyed that he couldn't marry his lover, Nha Thavy. So the 35-year-old Hout Sitha toted an AK-47 and a bucket of petrol in the general direction of her family. After he took them hostage and threatening to shoot them and burn their house down if they didn't give their blessing to the union, the family were not rescued through police intercession. Finally, members of Sitha's own family intervened. The families came to an understanding, and the two will be married.

And we can't forget the Americans.
Kendall Francois kept romance alive by taking prostitutes home with him. Now where is the best place to keep the decomposing bodies of eight women you have killed? This Poughkeepsie, New York, idiot hid his stranglees' corpses amid various other rubbish scattered about his home, where he lived with his parents and younger sister.
Francois killed the women over 22 months. He was finally arrested after a woman he had brought home escaped.

Washington's Department of Labor and Industries recently had to deal with a slightly unusual workplace hazard after employees of Seattle's Internet Entertainment Group complained that IEG performers were being told they would be fired if they didn't use the communal Dildocam.
The hygiene concerns arose notwithstanding a memo stating: 'The Labor and Industries, Industrial Hygiene Regional Supervisor was here this morning and gave us their seal of approval and okie dokie on using this device.'
No charges were pressed because the camera was not in use at the time of the inspection.

Moving swiftly along, our last stop is an item passed on to me by one of my readers: the bathroom facilities used by 14 actresses in Manhattan. Three models found it odd that their bathroom had two smoke detectors, one above the toilet and one above the shower. Their landlord, the Aqua Model Management boss, had the smoke-detector-style cameras wired into his television and video recorder.
When the three models moved out, prior to filing suit for $800,000 plus any videotapes, they confronted Malizia, who said the cameras were for security purposes.

Time has expired. Put down your pencils and place your answer sheets in your test booklets for collection.

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