News of the Weird

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Jest Married

Australia: Greg Hall has not taken any underwear on his honeymoon. This is not because he thought it would be unnecessary. He and Lisa belong to a group of Adelaide couples who play practical jokes upon one another, such as building a brick wall behind a garage door or wiring up a tape- recorder to play the sound of a trapped cat whenever an extractor is turned on. The removal of Greg's underwear from his suitcase was only the beginning. He and Lisa will return home to find that the garden of their new house is no Sissinghurst: a television, bath, washing-machine, refrigerator and bed have been fitted to metal poles and cemented in place. Greg's mother, Eileen, is sure that he will regard it as "a jolly good joke".

Self-Medication

Texas: A survey of 900 women made by the University of Texas has found that 6 per cent have themselves taken the "date-rape" drug Rohypnol to reduce their inhibitions.

North Carolina: Migraine sufferer Molly Murrow may be jailed for going to various vets for the painkiller Torbutrol (for her own personal use) by giving various names for herself and her dog.

Squeak at the Tone

Australia: It's for you, and you and you, and you... A total of 1,600 mice has been gathered by the University of Adelaide, half of them genetically modified to make them more susceptible to tumours, to see what effect using cellphones for an hour a day, five days a week, for two years will have on them.

Yo, Deo Gratis, Man

Rhode Island: The vicar in Corby who has the Spice Girls on his answering- machine message was on to something. In Providence, the Roman Catholic Diocese is advertising for novices on MTV.

Bra-zen

Florida: A lumberjack might be OK, but for an unnamed airfield-management specialist at Eglin Air Force Base, it's another matter. He is suing for $580,000 and an apology - and to be allowed to continue wearing a bra, full make-up and earrings.

With Lucre's Aid

Long Island: A robber entered the Dime Savings Bank in Massapequas Sunrise Mall and demanded cash. The teller ignored him, so he went to a branch of Macy's, where he met with similar scorn; however, he finally struck lucky at the Greenpoint Savings Bank.

California: Cheryl Ward was offered a job as an attorney by the City Council in Pasadena - only to have it withdrawn when it was found that she was a bankrupt. She sued, and won $129,500.

Home Sweet Home

Australia: Eighty-seven-year-old Daphne Thomas has lived in the same house in Hilton for 80 years. Osteoporosis means that she now uses a walking- stick, which came in handy when she and husband Merv (also 87) woke one night to find a fat, masked man in their room. "I just banged and banged him. And every time he moaned, I gave him another whack. I reckon he's got a pretty sore head today."

Staff of Life

Ohio: Benford Clay, a teacher in Dayton, offers to strip at parties. His payment? Food stamps.

Florida: Candidate Joe Rehner is holding a fundraising meeting in a strip club; the star attraction is to be the porn actress Serenity. Rehner owns both Mons Venus and Club Flamingo, and this new-found interest in politics is a bid to see off Bob Buckhorn who - despite his name - wants stricter regulation of strip clubs.

Gone to Glory

Singapore: Lim Bee Huang and her boyfriend Yazri Jumaat went with some friends for a drink by the Kallang at the Golden Mile Complex. The pair argued. Says Lim: "I was very drunk and I jumped into the river twice without really knowing what I was doing. I was told later that only Yazri dived into the river twice to save me. The rest of my drinking pals just ran away. I went to Yazri's flat but I don't think his family can accept my presence. His father was having his prayers and I wasn't allowed to go in. I managed to see Yazri's body, but it was all covered up in cloth. I didn't even get to see his face for the last time."

Australia: A Vietnam veteran, Geoff Gregor, died at 52 from cancer and was buried on 11 November, after which staff at Bendigo cemetery realised that the plot had been reserved for somebody else. They moved him, but forgot to tell the family, who went there on Christmas Day to share a beer in his memory and learnt four days later that Geoff was in another place, which had to be opened up so that they could be assured it was indeed the one (as the staff at first alleged that the family was, in its grief, "confused"). As his father said: "All that time we have been taking flowers to his grave and having a beer - and it's been empty."

Good Food Guide

California: An increasing number of stores are being issued with photographs of drunkards and alcoholics - and instructed not to serve them, however sober.

Australia: At Risdon Prison, which has lately run into trouble by allowing its inmate-staffed fire brigade to do outside jobs, there is further controversy: 100 prisoners went on a sit-in and refused to go back to their cells in protest at being given cold toast.

Philippines: Police seized 880lb of dog-meat in Estancia, where many dogs - some rabid - have gone missing. This was before the meat could be sent to restaurants in Manila, whose customers believe that, when not from rabid dogs, it is an aphrodisiac.

Milwaukee: Nacho Mama's Mexican restaurant was opened recently and among the staff is Steve Vento who, being 4ft 4in, serves chips and salsa from his sombrero. He said that he replied to one woman, who thought he was being degraded: "I don't remember anybody putting you in charge."

This Sporting Life

Australia: Paul Johnson was thrilled when he surfed in the nude in front of 10,000 people at Bondi Beach during the Sydney Fringe Festival Nude Night Surfing Expression Session. "The thing was to be able to do something you can't really do at any other time." Lest there be any confusion, he is a 26-year-old hunk.

Australia: Although the abused 13-year-old pupil of Brett Sutton, the Olympic coach, said "What he did to me was disgusting", District Court Judge Robert Hall did not issue a jail sentence in Southport because he thought that this would handicap the athletes Sutton is training for the Sydney Olympics. Will Steve Randall be so lucky? The international umpire faces 26 charges of indecent assault in Hobart. Meanwhile, Barry Moyse, a drug-squad chief jailed for 27 years in 1988 for supplying heroin and cannabis, has been released on home detention near Port Lincoln - and has found solace as umpire at the local cricket club.

Tact

California: Two hundred Vietnamese are protesting outside the Hitek TV and VCR store in the Little Saigon district of Westminster. The owner, Truon Van Tran, was hit on the head for putting up a poster of Ho Chi Minh and flying the Communist Vietnam flag. Said one protester: "It's like putting up a picture of Hitler in a Jewish community."

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