Into the bowels of hell 

A 34-year-old woman was hospitalized with burns in Nashville, Tenn., in May after flushing a toilet at Nashville Arena; the toilet had caught on fire after her use, possibly due to fireworks in the building being used by the World Wrestling Federation. A 29-year-old man was hospitalized in St. Paul, Minn., in June when his bathroom exploded, probably because his burning incense ignited the gasoline he was using to clean his hands. And a 32-year-old camper was killed when a campsite toilet exploded near Montabaur, Germany, in April, probably caused by leaking gas from a septic tank.

To protect and serve

In June, three retired police chiefs from the Syracuse, N.Y., area started a business to supplement their pensions: a doughnut shop, in Lakeland, N.Y. Said one, "We took our ... police experience and put it toward what we know best."

Black like Lee

A May San Jose Mercury News story reported on the new fascination among Japanese youth with rap and hip-hop music and with a lifestyle that includes curling their hair into Afro-style hairdos, darkening their skin and drinking Dunk brand beer, which consumers believe is popular because it is dark and associated with basketball. And in June, members of a New York City workshop of Japanese students studying in the U.S. performed gospel music at Harlem's Memorial Baptist Church. Said the former Tokyo jazz club owner who started the workshops with the church's cooperation, "The black culture is very important in Japan."

We're hungry. Fetus

In May, the British government's Broadcasting Standards Committee criticized the program "TV Dinners" over an episode that featured a woman preparing a dish using her own just-born daughter's placenta. The mother, father and 20 guests sampled the dish on camera.

Wayne and suffering

In March, John Wayne Stockdall, 34, allegedly confessed that he killed his girlfriend's ex-husband in Mexico, Mo. In May, Bobby Wayne Woods, 32, was convicted of capital murder in Llano, Texas; in Vancouver, Wash., Michael Wayne Gallatin turned up as a suspect through DNA tests of five rapes and a murder; and Jason Wayne McVean, 26, was still on the lam after allegedly killing a police officer in southwestern Colorado. In June, Coy Wayne Wesbrook was sentenced to death in Houston for murdering his ex-wife and four others, and Dennis Wayne Eaton was executed for killing a Virginia state trooper and three others.

Holding the line

Joseph L. Cantey, 22, was arrested in Lindenwold, N.J., in May on several charges. Police said he had made a clean escape after burglarizing a home on May 5 and stealing a cell phone but returned on May 10 to get the victim to reactivate the cell-phone service. The victim called his company but was unsuccessful. Cantey fled, but now armed with a description, police spotted him. In the ensuing chase, he dropped 15 bags of crack cocaine and led police to three others, who were charged with possession of even more drugs.

Hidden charges

Scott Eric Smith, 32, was arrested in Oakdale, Calif., in June on suspicion that he was the one who had stolen 800 copies of the local Oakdale Leader newspaper. The newspaper contained a report of Smith's arrest on drug charges and, according to police, Smith said he didn't want his family to know about it.

Current affairs

New York divorce and palimony lawyer Raoul Felder, praising the nation's economy to a Washington Post reporter in May: "I can tell you how the economy is doing by how many mistresses come into my office looking for justice. I don't need no Greenspan."

Shore fooled us

Two weeks ago, News of the Weird reported on 13 art students at Leeds (England) University who decided to spend about $2,000 in grant money to take a beach vacation and call it an "art" project. After the Daily Telegraph and other British newspapers reported the story, the students revealed they had not gone to the beach but had staged beach snapshots and artificially tanned themselves and that their "art" project was actually to demonstrate how easy it is to fool the press.

Speaking of News Of The Weird

More by Chuck Shepherd


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