Joy to the world 

Jonathan Cantu, 39, and Charles J. Kern, 50, of San Rafael, Calif., each feeling slighted at the other's Christ-mas gift, smacked each other over the head with flowerpots and were hospitalized. Brandi Nicole Nason, 20, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., also dissatisfied with a gift, allegedly tossed a Molotov cocktail into her ex-mother-in-law's house, causing $200,000 in damage. A Victoria, British Columbia, woman was arrested for beating a man with a Christmas tree after he complained that the gifts he was carrying were heavier than the tree that she was carrying. And in Jensen Beach, Fla., after Donna Simmons-Groover won her apartment complex's Christmas-lights competition, a losing neighbor ripped out part of her display in a rage.

Droopy-drawers drawbacks

Noah Donell Brown, 24, running from police after allegedly robbing a Subway sandwich shop in Hendersonville, N.C., in October, was caught after being slowed by his baggy pants, which caught on a fence post. In November, a 14-year-old Dayton, Ohio, boy was fatally hit by a train while playing on railroad tracks with friends, when he tripped, got his baggy pants caught on a rail and could not free himself.

We are shocked, shocked

"Champion Liar Accused of Cheating": A November London Evening Standard reported that this year's winner of the World's Biggest Liar contest in Cumbria, England, read from a script instead of extemporaneously lying.

We're not worthy

Arrested for murder: Dennis Wayne Bryant of Richmond, Va., in August. Committed suicide while wanted for murder: Rodger Wayne Chastain of San Francisco, in August. Awaiting trial for murder (pending a competency evaluation): Elvis Wayne Botley of Palm Springs, Calif., in June. Murder appeal rejected: Barry Wayne Riley of Vancouver, British Columbia, in September. Acquitted of murder: David Wayne McQuater of Athens, Ga., in May. Sought by police for a 1995 murder in Bonita Springs, Fla., and suspected in a 2003 murder in Leeds, England: David Bieber, who, when he went on the lam, chose as his alias Nathan Wayne Coleman.

Can't get no satisfaction

Freelance writer Jean Lund (her pen name), 51, disclosed to the Boston Globe for a November story that she suffers from Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome (she is perpetually on the verge of orgasm) and hopes that her revelation will help people understand how uncomfortable the condition is. According to Lund and others, the arousal is much different than sexual desire and in fact is not satiated by orgasm. Suspected causes are chemical imbalances, seizures and irregular blood flow. "It's just a horror," said a 71-year-old sufferer; it "never stops, it never lets up."

Not so smoothie

Also in November, in New York City, a 79-year-old man who was using a blender to make a health drink for his wife was killed when the appliance exploded, with a glass shard severing an artery.

Driven to drink

News of the Weird reported in 1996 that Mr. Virldeen Redmon, then 67, had just been sentenced to nine and a half years in prison on three drunk-driving-related counts, the latest of his nearly 400 alcohol-related arrests since 1947. He was released from prison for health reasons in 2001, but has been arrested several times since then on similar charges (running his total to over 400), and in December 2003 was sentenced on three new counts to 17 years in prison. His driver's license was revoked in 1977.

Undercover surveillance

Triumph International, a Swiss lingerie manufacturer, presented a prototype of an anti-smoking brassiere containing perfumes (including lavender and jasmine) that are turned unpleasant by tobacco smoke.

This idea stinks

The Singapore government decided in December to list its high-tech sewage-water conversion plant as a major tourist attraction; Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong drank a bottle of the purified waste to demonstrate that it is not only safe but tasty. And sanitation officials in Oslo, Norway, said they will soon create an adventure park within the city's sewer system, including rafting, theater performances, artwork on the walls and an area for weddings and parties.

Thanksgiving on ice

In November, Jones Soda Co. of Seattle bottled 6,000 units of turkey-and-gravy soda, which, remarkably, has the consistency and taste of pureed turkey and gravy; also remarkably, the entire run sold out, with some bottles offered at a huge premium on eBay.

They call it puppy love

For New Year's, the Japanese department store Mitsukoshi Ltd. offered traditional "bento box" meals, but expressly for dogs (at least, dogs whose owners were willing to pay about $175 each). The ornate, two-layered container housed 30 delicacies, including pork dumplings, black beans, strawberry mousse and green tea, and was a bold attempt by the store to pitch to Japan's growing upscale pet market.

Looks like trouble

A 36-year-old Owensboro, Ky., woman was arrested for stealing 50 antique glass eyeballs (which have little resale value) from a hospital display case.

Speaking of News Of The Weird

More by Chuck Shepherd


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