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Toy story: Among the anticipated products at the February American International Toy Fair in New York City (according to the New York Post) were a gun that shoots boogers; a squeezable doll that smells like rotten eggs; a flea (based on a pro wrestling character) that emits rank body odors after warning, "I'm gonna blow"; and a dissectible brain that oozes slime. (Not at the fair, but currently a hot Internet pass-around ad is a color poster for Japan's Kaba-Kick, a pink toy gun shaped like a hippo that appears designed for children to play Russian roulette, but with the loser merely kicked in the head by the hippo. The Kaba-Kick was discontinued by Takura Toys in 1992, but its ad apparently lives on.)

Homeless hamsters: Albuquerque, N.M., emergency room physician Sam Slishman is working to launch his Endorphin Power Co., which is a homeless shelter providing drug rehabilitation based on vigorous exercise at on-premises workout stations. Slishman also wants his center to help pay for itself, however, by selling the electric power that could be harnessed by his down-and-out population's daily workouts (pedaling, lifting, working the treadmills). Endorphin Power, Slishman says, will be the city's inspirational flagship for "social rehabilitation and renewable energy."

Dental follies: Dentist Mohamedraza Huss Bhimani (Orland Park, Ill.), who police say fondled three female patients, was arrested in his office while he was working on another patient, mid-filling (October). The patient had to rush to another dentist to have the procedure finished. And Dr. Leon Gombis (Oak Lawn, Ill.) had battery charges filed against him after he, wielding pliers, ripped a cap out of the mouth of a 58-year-old patient, believing (mistakenly) that she was behind on her payments (January).

Compelling explanations: At press time, U.S. Air Force Capt. Jacqueline Chester was scheduled for court martial in Dover, Del., for having tested positive for cocaine. In her defense, Jacqueline's now-ex-husband said that during their marriage, he had occasionally rubbed cocaine on his genitals for pleasure enhancement and that the otherwise drug-free Jacqueline might have absorbed it through her genital walls.From a Jan. 1 police report in the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun: A motorist who was clocked at 15 mph over the speed limit in Waldo, Fla., claimed that since state troopers' policy is to give a 5 mph leeway before ticketing, and since Waldo police often claim to give a 10 mph leeway, he thought the two leeway speeds could be combined to allow him to drive 15 mph over the limit.

Lame excuses: According to a police report in January on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. website, a driver in the Newfoundland district of Bonavista-Clarenville denied that he had an illegal radar detector, claiming that the black box on his dashboard was a "moose detector" that so far had kept him safe from moose. And Joseph Hubbert, 34, explained to Minneapolis police on Christmas morning that the reason he got stuck in the chimney of Uncle Hugo's Mystery Bookstore was not because he was up to no good, but because he had accidentally dropped his keys down the chimney and had to crawl down to get them.In January, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council turned down the complaint of a radio listener in Calgary, Alberta, ruling that a song by the a cappella group Da Vinci's Notebook was not necessarily obscene because it could also be about self-esteem. The song, "Enormous Penis," includes the lyrics: "I've got the cure for all my blues / I take a look at my enormous penis / And my troubles start a-meltin' away," and "I gotta sing and I gotta dance / When I glance in my pants."

Thinning the herd: A 46-year-old motorcyclist, speeding, yelling obscenities and shaking his fist alongside an 18-wheeler that had made a left turn of questionable etiquette on a Corpus Christi, Texas, street, lost control of the cycle, fell off, and was fatally dragged underneath the truck (October).

2004 CHUCK SHEPHERD

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