Super cuts 

A man, so far unidentified, created a frenzy in London in September when he began offering a free call-in service in which he, dressed in a full superhero costume of colorful tights, cape and mask and armed with a metal-cutting circular saw, would dispatch himself to help motorists whose cars had been immobilized by unpopular, police-installed wheel clamps (called in many American cities the "Denver boot"). "Angle Grinder Man," who has a website and a hotline number, said he had freed 12 cars so far and doesn't mind breaking the law because it's a "public service." "And I like wearing the costume."

An affair to forget

Matthew Long was acquitted of assaulting his girlfriend, Vicki Smith, in Cincinnati in September. Smith (250 pounds) had accused Long (116 pounds, one leg) of choking her with their dog's leash (although before the leash could be introduced as evidence, the dog reportedly ate it). Long testified that what really happened was that he grabbed Smith in a desperate attempt to prevent her from walking out, clinging to her as she dragged him through the house. ("Love does that," Long added.) When Smith admitted that she could throw Long around "like a rag doll," the judge found him not guilty. Both Smith and Long are married to other people.

Moby ick

In August, scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division, traveling by boat on a research mission to attach satellite-tracking devices to whales to study their habitats, managed to capture what they believe is a historical first photo: the water pattern that results from the bubble when a huge whale releases flatulence. Said researcher Nick Gales, "We got away from the bow of the ship very quickly. (I)t does stink."

If you knew sushi

The New York Post reported in August that some corporate meeting planners in New York and Los Angeles are scheduling upscale gourmet buffets in which the food (sushi is the favorite) is served on the body of a young nude or seminude woman who lies on the buffet table for up to three hours. Raw Catering (New York) and Global Cuisine (both cities) charge up to $700 per guest.

Vacations and mutations

The Cambodian government is planning a tourist attraction (museum, theater complex, food service) at the site of the cremated ashes of Pol Pot, the dictator who directed the "killing fields" murders of 2 million people.

Derrick and Patricia Cogan of Devon, England, still managed to enjoy a scheduled September holiday in their mobile home, despite the fact that just days before, it sustained about $3,400 in damage after being hit by a flying cow that fell off of a 30-foot cliff.

In August, surgeons in Beijing successfully removed a year-old baby's third leg, which was growing in her back and was actually her undeveloped twin's leg.

In June, a 26-year-old woman gave birth to a baby girl with one body and two heads at the Abu al-Reesh hospital in Cairo, Egypt.

In Rensselaer County, N.Y., two unrelated groups of girls out hiking discovered a turtle with two heads (Poestenkill, N.Y., May) and a frog with no eyes (Raymertown, N.Y., July).

What would Jesus wear?

In July, retired developer Bill Martin, 65, announced that he has agreed to buy a dilapidated park near Hudson, Fla., and convert it from its former use as a racially segregated nudist camp into a nonsegregated, Christian-themed nudist resort. Said Martin, "Body shame is an indicator of our alienation from God, self and others. It is a bondage from hell and, according to the Bible, a direct result of Satan's deception."

Closet cases

An August New York Daily News report on Manhattan's housing scarcity revealed these recent offerings: a 250-square-foot condo near Gramercy Park, $167,500; a 240-square-foot walkup on West 10th Street, $179,500; and a 160-square-foot co-op in the West Village for $135,000 (quickly taken). Said one agent, "It's owning a piece of Manhattan."

Heavy breathing

Scientists working out of the Lawn Hill (Queensland) National Park in Australia announced in June that they had found a male Lavarack's turtle, which was thought to be extinct but has apparently survived relatively unchanged for thousands of years. The turtle's primary distinction is that its sex organs and its breathing apparatus are located in the anus.

Checked out

At press time, Chicago police detective Janice R. Govern was scheduled for a dismissal hearing based on a 2001 incident in which, allegedly, she nonchalantly continued to shop in a Dominick's store even after a customer told her that the bank branch inside the store was being held up. According to a witness, she told the fellow customer to call 911, resumed shopping and in fact was waiting in a checkout line when uniformed officers arrived at the store.

Caught short

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg (whose net worth is estimated at nearly $5 billion) was rejected for a Sears credit card as he shopped in Queens (and after the error was rectified, his approved card arrived with a $4,000 spending limit).

Speaking of News Of The Weird

More by Chuck Shepherd


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