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Archive for Thursday, December 30, 1999

WEIRD NEWS

December 30, 1999

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Desperate measures

Saskatchewan physician John Schneeberger, 38, implanted a thin, 6-inch tube of someone else's blood in his own arm in order to beat a DNA test ordered because two female patients said Schneeberger raped them. He cut open his bicep, inserted the tube and pushed it down to the crook of the arm from which blood is usually drawn. He confessed to his scheme early in his September trial, but said he was forced to do it to protect himself because someone had broken into his house and stolen a used condom. However, in December, Schneeberger was convicted.

Kevorkian plaything?

A two-day, hands-on euthanasia technology conference was held in Seattle in November, in which various techniques and products were presented, with the most promising invention the "debreather" submitted by a Vancouver, British Columbia, man. The device's mask and hose run to a jar containing a substance the man would not identify but which he said made death from lack of oxygen "quick and painless" because it filters out carbon dioxide, thus supposedly preventing the body's natural panic reflex.

Sex sells

In October, Cape Town, South Africa's tourist manager Sheryl Ozinsky said her office was planning to issue a recommended list of top-echelon brothels (even though prostitution is illegal) to help reduce crime and HIV. And in August, Robin Pike of Cape Town said national tourism officials had approved his marketing plans to draw European swingers to South Africa to sample its spouse-swappers. And in July, rancher Johan Maree said he planned to stock his wild-game farm near Ellisras, South Africa, with prostitutes and charge visitors about $45 a head to try to shoot them with paintball guns.

Metal mettle

According to a September eyewitness report in the Sunday Oklahoman newspaper, cowboy Pat Ratliff, age 78, won $1,700 from three marks in Ardmore, Okla., by tearing a quarter in half. To erase skepticism, Ratliff also took two quarters from the reporter and tore those in half, each in less than 30 seconds. Among his previous work, Ratliff tutored actor Robert Duvall in toughness as Duvall prepared for his role in "Lonesome Dove."

Beer-belly heaven

After an unsuccessful appeal to the Nebraska legislature, South Dakota's Oglala Sioux Tribal Court said in August it would have to find other ways to stop beer sales in the nearby border town of Whiteclay, Neb. (population 22). Stores in Whiteclay, far away from any populated area except the Oglala reservation, sell 4 million cans of beer a year (an average of 1,800 six-packs a day).

Artistic rumble

City officials in Recife, Brazil, voted in August to reject Francisco Brennand's proposed 100-foot-high, glowing sculpture intended as a beacon to outer space. Officials and many townspeople said the sculpture too closely resembled a phallus. When they attempted to get Brennand to modify the statue to more resemble a lighthouse, Brennand quit in disgust and smashed another structure on his way out the door.

Mushy water

In July, while Windsor, Ontario, school breakfast-program staff members looked on in anger, artist Les Levine and volunteers emptied more than 250 boxes of corn flakes in a waterfront park to commemorate a piece he had done in 1969 (to considerably more success) to support the then-fledgling ecology movement. Seagulls devoured the flakes in less than a minute, provoking a chagrined school official to note that he could have fed everyone at his school for a year with that cereal.

Also, in the last month ...

Robbers in Manila stole the entire $50,000 life savings of a recent government retiree who had withdrawn the money from a bank out of fear of Y2K computer problems. The Russian parliament passed a bill making it specifically illegal for people to eat their pets. An Austin, Tex., record label issued "The Charmer," an album of calypso songs recorded by Louis Farrakhan before he became the leader of the Nation of Islam. A half-ton, $60,000, all-chocolate, full-size replica of a Grand Prix racing car, being transported by truck to a London exhibit, arrived smashed to pieces. Ernest Bernard "Rabbit" Eady was convicted of murder in Knoxville, Tenn., based on the testimony of James L. "Chicken" Cannon.

-- Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, Fla. 33679, or Weird@compuserve.com.

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