News of the Weird 


Near-meth experience

Convicted methamphetamine user Daniel Zeiszler, 22, burned his hand and arm last year in a San Francisco hotel room attempting to extract meth from his own urine in a crude recycling attempt. At his sentencing in December (at which he got five months in jail), his lawyer acknowledged that it would take "gallons" of urine to extract a usable amount of meth, rather than the one bladderful Zeiszler was working with.

Throw a barbie on the barbie

Professors at England's University of Bath, studying adolescents' reactions to brand names, revealed in December an astonishing level of hatred and violence toward Barbie dolls. Many instances were reported of torture and mutilation of Barbie, including scalping, decapitation, burning and even microwaving.

Pimps pimped my ride

In December, Terry Dresdow of Milwaukee became the latest person to have his car stolen and upgraded by the thief with fancy equipment, and then to get his car back after the thief was caught. His 1989 Chevrolet Caprice, which cost him $1,200 used, now has a top-of-the-line stereo system, deluxe spoked wheels and keyless entry.

Unenlightened self-interest

Prominent interior designer June Matheson, 72, pleaded guilty in January to poisoning several majestic trees bordering Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, just so they would no longer obstruct her view of the Pacific Ocean (and to enhance the value of her home, which she was preparing to sell). And in Media, Pa., Colleen Lacombe, 34, was sentenced in December to two years' house arrest for embezzling $325,000 from the First Church of Lansdowne, whose charity and repair-fund money she used to buy a second home and to get breast implants. (With the help of relatives, she made full restitution to the church.)

Straight flush

Seventh-grader Jasmine Roberts became a celebrity of sorts in February when her hometown Tampa Tribune published results of her winning science-fair entry, which concluded that the drinking-water ice of several local fast food restaurants contains more bacteria (including some E. coli) than the same restaurants' toilet water. She used a laboratory at the University of South Florida's Moffitt Cancer Center, where she is a volunteer assistant for a professor.

Round trip drip

The latest product for routine U.S. outsourcing is sperm, according to a November report by Wired.com. In a program established by the highly regarded Dr. Sanford Rosenberg of Richmond, Va., a potential father's sperm is shipped to a lab in Bucharest, Romania, to fertilize eggs provided by local women, with the resultant embryos frozen and returned to the United States for implanting in the mother, at about half the domestic price for the procedure.

The life aquatic

A male beluga whale signals his urge to mate by, basically, crashing into a female to draw her attention to his aroused state, according to a February Chicago Sun-Times report from the city's Shedd Aquarium. If the female is also ready, she turns her body to expose herself, after which mating is accomplished in a matter of seconds, followed by the male's abrupt and permanent departure from her life.

Rebel without applause

In January, Doug Anglin, 17, filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Milton (Mass.) High School, which he said discriminates against boys by giving better grades to students who "sit down, follow orders, and listen to what (teachers and administrators) say." "Men," Anglin told a Boston Globe reporter, "naturally rebel against this."

Trust your nutritionist

The Guo-Li-Zhuang opened recently in Beijing, exclusively serving delicacies made with animal penises and testicles, exploiting the traditional Chinese belief that such foods enhance virility. (Women can prosper, as well, because penis is good for the skin, according to a nutritionist cited in a February London Daily Telegraph dispatch.) Showcase dishes include "Dragon in the flame of desire" (which is yak) and the "hotpot" (six types of penis plus four types of testicle). The most expensive is Canadian seal penis, at about $400.

Lock hop

While camping in California's Mojave Desert in January, artist Trevor Corneliusen, 26, chained his own ankles together in order to draw an image of his legs, but when he finished, he realized he did not have the key to unlock the chain. He told sheriff's deputies that he hopped around the desert for 12 hours before arriving at a gas station, where he called for help.


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