Excerpts from letters written by convicted murderer Christa Pike, 24, to fellow imprisoned Tennessee Satan-worshipping murderer John Fryman, who apparently believe they can communicate their love for each other telepathically (as reported in the Knoxville News-Sentinel in January): "[Blood] is quite beautiful before it turns brown." "I love the feel of life then lack thereof in my hands. And just knowing the pain I can cause after accepting so much." "I like to see blood and brains fatty tissues and wide-open ripped flesh." "See, I have an innocent baby face, the face of an angel. It disguises me to a lot of people. I need my horns so I'll have something to hang my halo on." "I used to have 3 [demons], now only one. The other 2 were weak. I do wish you'd remove this one. He may be big and tough, but he's stupid, and he's holding me back." "I'm unlike all the others, Johnny."
Hogging the money
In December, the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Fire Department was designated as the year's recipient of a $2,400 donation by a civic group that, for the fourth straight year, raised money by holding an event at a strip club, the motif of which was that dancers had their bare chests rubbed with a ham. (Despite the department's current need for $8,000 to buy a computerized talking fire truck to use in safety exhibits, the fire captain declined the contribution as inappropriate.)
In January, a 55-year-old member of the Turkish parliament died shortly after being punched in the head about five times by legislators from the far-right Nationalist Action Party who disagreed with him on whether the chamber's rules of debate should be changed. Although it was the parliament's first death, fights are known to break out there, unlike the extraordinary two-judge fistfight in January at the courthouse in New Orleans; according to WDSU-TV, the combatants were judges Steven Plotkin and Charles Jones; the results were not announced.
According to Reuters news service, a January campaign attributed to Venezuelan military dissidents has seen more than 100 pairs of women's panties mailed to current military brass to make the symbolic point that the generals have been pushed around by President Hugo Chavez. And police in Davos, Switzerland, trying to contain protesters at the World Economic Forum in January, loaded their high-pressure water cannons with manure bought from local farmers.
Ahead of the class
In December, a judge in Albuquerque approved the settlement of a class-action lawsuit against Primerica Life Insurance in which the class' lawyers get about $7.5 million in costs and fees while only two people out of the 6 million-customer "class" get any money at all ($30,000 each). Also imminent until mid-February was the settlement of a similar lawsuit against Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance in which the class' lawyers would receive $5 million plus other benefits while only two members of that 3 million-customer "class" would get any money at all (a total of $350,000). (Because of heavy criticism in the latter case, the settlement collapsed in mid-February.) Both lawsuits came about when lawyers felt the insurance companies had not disclosed the precise charges for customers who pay premiums monthly instead of annually.
Will it roll over and play dead?
Bob Manion, who has appeared as Flasher the Clown at festivals near his home in Clayton, Calif., for nearly 20 years, was rejected in January for this year's Walnut Festival and will probably be rejected as well for Clayton's Fourth of July parade, as organizers of both events say his act has started to worry people. Manion carries a small Yorkshire terrier inside his pants, and for a surprise, opens the costume and lets kids pet the dog.
History in the making
The Museum of Natural History in London decided against creating the scent of the dinosaur because it was just too disgusting, according to a February Associated Press dispatch identifying Dale Air Deodorising Ltd. of Lytham, England, as the company that had the contract to simulate the smell. Said Dale's owner Frank Knight: "The T-rex would have to be the most putrid, foulest thing that ever lived. A hyena times 10 would not even get you close." The odor would have to account for the chunks of rotted meat of its prey caught in its teeth, he said, and probably a few pus-filled wounds, as well.
The lame arm of the law
The Ontario Court of Appeal, in the course of its January ruling that drug charges against a teen-ager at a Marilyn Manson concert would have to be thrown out because of police entrapment, described a scene that some concert-goers found gross and scary in its own way: older men (undercover officers) dressed in Goth garb trying to trick kids into selling them marijuana by saying things like "Hey, man, it's going to be a wicked concert" and "Hamilton [Ontario] sucks."
Barry Darrell Freeman, 29, was convicted in January of an attempted rape last year near Philadelphia. According to testimony, things started to go bad for Freeman when the victim asked him to take off his own clothes and then chided him until he did. With his clothes off, the woman saw that he was not carrying a gun, and ran away, eventually to outrun Freeman to safety. However, during the chase, according to the woman, Freeman kept muttering something about not being able to trust a woman.
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